FRONTRUNNERS — Spring 2009

   

 
Senior Joey Korein (left) and junior Vidya Santosh, both Burning Kumquat members, harvest basil plants in the community garden just east of Alumni House. (Photo: Joe Angeles)

Students Garden for Community
To raise consciousness of food and environmental issues, several students started a community gardening program, the Burning Kumquat, at the University. The student-gardeners, some 40 members, grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers to be sold to the St. Louis community. The garden, approximately 7,840 square feet, is located just east of Alumni House on the University’s Danforth Campus.

“Our purpose is to empower each other with the shared experience of practicing sustainable urban agriculture,” says Hitomi Inoue, an architecture student in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and a member of the Burning Kumquat. “The garden is a place where Washington University and the surrounding community can reconnect with and care for the land. Through the work and joy of growing food, we hope to inspire responsible food practices and to provide local produce in our community.”

Some of this produce includes okra, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, potatoes, bell peppers, basil, and rosemary, to name a few. Students sell the food; flowers, such as sunflowers and marigolds; and spices at the North City Market in St. Louis during the summer and at the University during the academic year.

In addition to growing produce at the University, group members volunteer at other gardens and host events both on and off campus.

The Burning Kumquat received start-up funds from the Campus Enrichment Fund through Student Union. The garden is recognized as a community garden by Gateway Greening, which provided a grant that paid for the majority of its soil. The garden started its seeds in the University’s Jeanette Goldfarb Plant Growth Facility.

To learn more, visit www.theburningkumquat.com.


(Courtesy Photo)

Landmark Reached in Cancer Research
For the first time, scientists decoded the complete DNA of a cancer patient and traced her disease, acute myelogenous leukemia (at right), to its genetic roots.

A team of researchers at the Genome Sequencing Center and the Siteman Cancer Center at the School of Medicine sequenced the genome of the patient and the genome of her leukemia cells to identify genetic changes unique to her cancer.

“Our work demonstrates the power of sequencing entire genomes to discover novel cancer-related mutations,” says Richard K. Wilson, director of the Genome Sequencing Center. “A genome-wide understanding of cancer, which is now possible with faster, less expensive DNA sequencing technology, is the foundation for developing more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer.”


Population Growth Puts Dent in Natural Resources
“Population growth is driving all of our resource problems, including water and energy. The three are intertwined,” says Robert Criss, professor of earth & planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences. “We cannot expect to sustain exponential population growth matched by increased per capita use of water and energy.”

For decades, Criss has taught a popular course for undergraduates, Human Use of the Earth.

“Ground water, fossil fuel resources, cropland, and forests are being depleted or degraded,” he says. “Arguments can be made that for a sustainable world, we already have too many people, far more than can live by decent standards.”

Criss says real change can come if the country can grasp the great risks involved with our present approach.

“There is an old saw that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he says. “Oddly enough, that is our current energy policy, and it is not a winner.”


(Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.)

Fair Offers Volunteer Opportunities
Students, faculty, and staff participated in a University-wide Public Service Fair in the Danforth University Center on September 23, 2008. Sponsored by the Gephardt Institute for Public Service and the Community Service Office, this event featured more than 60 nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers and interns for a variety of opportunities. The Gephardt Institute hopes to make this an annual event.


Seigle Hall provides light-filled teaching, office, and meeting spaces for social sciences and the School of Law. (Photo: Joe Angeles)

Harry and Susan Seigle Hall Dedicated
Seigle Hall’s dedication on September 25, 2008, marked a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary work between the social sciences and the School of Law.

The building—named for alumnus and philanthropist Harry Seigle and his wife, Susan—provides light-filled teaching, office, and meeting spaces for the law school and the departments of economics, education, and political science, all in Arts & Sciences.

Seigle Hall is the first academic building on the Danforth Campus to be named for an alumnus living outside of St. Louis. Harry Seigle, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University in 1968, and Susan Seigle reside in Chicago.

The four-story, 145,736-square-foot Seigle Hall contains 15 classrooms—the most of any Danforth Campus building—four seminar rooms, and 139 offices for faculty, staff, and graduate students. It also features three faculty lounges, six meeting spaces, three spacious conference rooms overlooking Francis Field, and a large lobby on each level.

Besides the economics, education, and political science departments, Seigle Hall houses the Center for Applied Statistics; Center for Dynamic Economics; Center for Empirical Research in the Law; Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; Center for New Institutional Social Sciences; Center in Political Economy; Center on Urban Research and Public Policy; Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy; and Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.


Olin students debated European policy during a mock parliament at the Espace Leopold, a complex that houses the original legislative chamber of the European Union. (Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia)

European Policy Debated in Mock Parliament
As part of a semester-long internship in 2008, students from the Olin Business School had the chance to present their ideas and debate possible outcomes to the European Commission in a mock parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

The event took place after the students spent a week researching the issue of European Union (EU) expansion and acquiring firsthand data. They traveled in pairs to 19 different capital cities where they met with government officials and other experts who could address the issue. During the mock parliament, the students represented the views and interests of the countries they had visited.

During the semester, students learned about the financial aspects of the EU and its future development. They also had the opportunity to improve their interviewing
and debating skills.

The European tour is part of a study-abroad semester for undergraduate finance students at the University. These students also complete research papers at the conclusion of their internships.


(Courtesy Photo)

Physical Therapy Students Volunteer in the Dominican Republic
Josh VanRiper, president of the Program in Physical Therapy’s Class of 2010, was one of six physical therapy students to travel to the Dominican Republic in summer 2008. The students worked in Santo Domingo at the Cure Center for Orthopedic Specialties, a pediatric hospital that provides orthopedic surgeries to low-income children and adults. The team volunteered physical therapy services; helped recent surgery patients regain mobility, get out of bed, and use crutches; and observed surgeries.


Advancing Clean Coal Technology
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced the establishment of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization during a news conference on December 2, 2008. A news conference also was held in Hong Kong on December 8, 2008.

During the past year, the University has dedicated more than $60 million in financial resources to advance education and research related to energy, environment, and sustainability. The new consortium will receive additional support in the form of research partnership commitments of $5 million each from Arch Coal and Peabody Energy and $2 million from Ameren, to be paid over five years.

The consortium aims to make St. Louis the nation’s center for clean coal research by bringing researchers, industries, foundations, and government organizations together to research clean coal technology.

“The knowledge and technology we will be able to create together will over time mean lower costs to customers and global environmental improvement,” Wrighton says.

The consortium draws upon the strengths of the University’s Department of Energy, Environmental, & Chemical Engineering; the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES); and the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership (MAGEEP); as well as the St. Louis regional coal companies, Arch and Peabody Energy; and the utility company Ameren. It is anticipated that several additional corporations will join the consortium.


The relationship between a superfluid and superconductor could shed light on the behavior of neutron stars, above. (Photo: NASA/Dana Berry)

Understanding the Motion of Neutron Stars
University researchers have drawn the first detailed picture of the way a superfluid influences the behavior of a superconductor. These calculations could change scientists’ understanding of the motion of neutron stars.

A neutron star, the high-density remnant of a former massive star, is thought to contain both a neutron superfluid and a proton superconductor at its core.

“Not many people have thought seriously about the interactions between a superfluid and a superconductor that are co-existing like this,” says Mark Alford, associate professor of physics in Arts & Sciences. “They tended to treat the two components separately.”

Separately, the two phenomena are well-understood. A superconductor allows a flow of current without resistance. Similarly, a superfluid flows without friction. Unlike superconductors and superfluids, a superfluid-superconductor does not exist on earth. But, understanding its hybrid behavior may be a first step toward creating one in the lab and understanding what occurs inside neutron stars.

Alford and graduate student Gerald Good studied the interactions between superfluids and superconductors.

Their research could be a first step to explaining the rotation of neutron stars.

“Sometimes you are pushing forward the state of knowledge a tiny step at a time,” says Good, “but here maybe we pushed it two steps.”


A children’s theater was the centerpiece of an architecture competition. (Photo: Eric Cesal)

Architectural Competition Reinvents Children’s Theater
St. Francis de Sales church, popularly known as “the Cathedral of South St. Louis,” has been a local landmark since the end of the Civil War. Its six-building campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of those buildings includes an 8,000-square-foot children’s theater in urgent need of renovation. In fall 2008, five teams of architecture students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts worked to develop plans for the theater as part of the Community Service Competition at the Sam Fox School.

“The agenda for this project was to create a schematic design proposal that can be used by St. Francis de Sales as both a fundraising tool and as a basis for construction documents,” says graduate student in architecture Eric Cesal, who organized the competition with fellow graduate student Ali Lang.

A team led by graduate teaching assistant Ellen Leuenberger received the first-place prize of $300. Team members included students Denny Burke, Alexander Harner, Michael Heller, Rachel Kerr, and June Kim.

The winning design focused on the theater’s entry sequence, creating a large exterior courtyard filled with organic gardens and meeting areas.


This model represents John Ezell’s set design to The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which played at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in 2004 through 2005. (Photo: Stan Strembicki)

University Exhibit Showcases Alum’s Stage Designs
St. Louis native John Ezell, B.F.A. ’54, is one of contemporary theater’s most influential scene designers. He has created hundreds of sets for major companies and festivals across the world.

From September 11 through November 22, 2008, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ Des Lee Gallery presented Bold Strokes and Finesse: The Stage Designs of John Ezell. The exhibition surveyed the breadth and scope of Ezell’s work.

Considered a “director’s designer,” Ezell is known for respecting the playwright’s textual prescriptions while also infusing a sense of eclecticism, scholarship, and art history.

He has worked on more than 350 productions for many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Istanbul Theatre Festival, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, and the Royal Danish Ballet.

Ezell collaborated extensively with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, where his credits range from Almost September and Death of a Salesman to The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His work on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Heartbreak House were nominated for Kevin Kline Awards for Outstanding Set Design in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

In 2001, he received Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Currently serving as the Hall Family Foundation Professor of Design at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, Ezell heads the theater department’s scenic design area. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Recently, he was appointed by the International Theatre Institute and the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology to design the U.S. exhibition at the Prague Quadrennial in 2011.


(Photo: Joe Angeles)

Volleyball Player Featured in Sports Illustrated
Senior outside hitter Alli Alberts of the volleyball team was featured in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of Sports Illustrated in the November 3, 2008, issue.

“Faces in the Crowd” is a weekly feature in the magazine that highlights six athletes from all levels of competition across the country. Alberts was honored for her 50 kills and 45 digs that helped the Bears capture a 4–0 week and a 3–0 start in the University Athletic Association (UAA) competition, and that earned her AVCA/Sports Imports Division III National Player of the Week honors on October 7, 2008. She was the first student-athlete from Washington University in more than two years to garner AVCA National Player of the Week honors.

Alberts also was named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second Team.

During the 2008 season, the volleyball team finished 32–7 overall and won the UAA conference with a 10–1 record. Five members received AVCA All-America honors.


Anne Carol Goldberg, associate professor of medicine, talks with patient Ted Harrison while he undergoes LDL apheresis treatment. (Photo: Tim Parker)

Treatment Filters Out Cholesterol
Diet and lifestyle changes, combined with medication, can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with high levels of so-called bad cholesterol. But some patients genetically predisposed to high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) do not respond well to drug therapy.

Now School of Medicine physicians can help these patients with a technique called LDL apheresis, a treatment with an FDA-approved system known as HELP (Heparin-induced Extracorporeal Lipoprotein Precipitation), which filters LDL cholesterol out of the blood.

“Blood is separated into red cells and plasma, and the plasma is run through a device containing material that grabs on to bad cholesterol particles,” says Anne Carol Goldberg, associate professor of medicine. “It removes them from the blood. Then the plasma is put back together with the red blood cells, minus the LDL, and returned to the body.”

The therapy reduces LDL cholesterol levels by at least 50 percent, according to Goldberg, a cholesterol specialist. Unfortunately, the bad cholesterol will begin to build up again in the days and weeks following treatment, so patients must receive treatment twice a month.

The Center for Advanced Medicine at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the only site in the St. Louis area to offer LDL apheresis.


As part of the Community Light Project, students worked with artists to create light installations. (Courtesy Photo)

Pulitzer Foundation, Brown School Join Forces
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work announced a new partnership. Through events, publications, and community projects, the Brown School and Pulitzer hope to explore how social work and the arts can interact in a meaningful way.

A street festival on October 3, 2008, the first public event of the partnership, celebrated the Community Light Project (CLP), an initiative with the goal of bringing together people of all ages and interests around light, art, and community.

The CLP involved art and music projects with elementary, middle, and high schools as well as other institutions such as the Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to other programming, select students from area schools, under the guidance of commissioned artists, created light installations in their individual schools. They worked together to build a collaborative light installation that is displayed in the Grand Public Arts Plaza in St. Louis.

“This project sought to open dialogue about what light means to different community members,” says Lisa Harper Chang, manager of community engagement, a joint position shared by the Pulitzer Foundation and the Brown School. “The Pulitzer Foundation and the Brown School were able to explore what role light and art can play in the process for community change.”


Honors

Matthew Arthur, director of incident communications solutions, was named a director-at-large on the board of the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education.

Stephen F. Brauer, chairman of Hunter Engineering Co., was named chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, effective July 1, 2009.

The Board of Trustees also elected six new members: George P. Bauer, president and CEO of GPB Group Ltd.; Gregory H. Boyce, chairman and CEO of Peabody Energy; John F. Dains, CEO of Helm Financial Corp; Steven F. Leer, chairman and CEO of Arch Coal Inc.; George Paz, president and CEO of Express Scripts Inc.; and Harry Seigle, founder of The Elgin Co. Seven eligible regular-term trustees were re-elected to the Board: John W. Bachmann, George W. Couch III, Andrew E. Newman, Craig D. Schnuck, Andrew C. Taylor, Ronald L. Thompson, and John D. Weil. Three former regular-term trustees were elected to the Board: David V. Habif, Jr.; W. Patrick McGinnis; and Mary Ann Van Lokeren. Two new emeritus trustees were appointed: John H. Biggs and Floyd E. Bloom.

Philip E. Cryer, the Irene E. and Michael M. Karl Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism in Medicine, received one of two 2008 Novartis Prizes for Long-Standing Achievement in Diabetes.

Ralph G. Dacey, Jr., the Henry G. and Edith R. Schwartz Professor and chair of neurological surgery, was named president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery.

Ralph J. Damiano, Jr., the John M. Shoenberg Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine and cardiac surgery chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was named the physician “Health Care Hero” by the St. Louis Business Journal for his work in advancing surgical treatments for atrial fibrillation.

Adrienne Davis, professor of law, was installed as the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law.

Gabriel de Erausquin, associate professor of psychiatry and of neurology, received the 2008 Klerman Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). The Klerman Award honors outstanding clinical psychiatric research initiated by early career scientists who have received NARSAD grants.

Barbara Flagg, professor of law, was named the John S. Lehmann Research Professor for 2008–09.

Alberto Friedmann, an exercise physiologist in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, received a lifetime achievement award from the Southeastern Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Friedmann, a seventh-degree black belt, is considered one of the top martial arts instructors in the country.

Jeffrey I. Gordon and David M. Holtzman were elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors medical scientists in the United States can receive. Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Genome Sciences, and Holtzman is the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology.

David H. Gutmann, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor of Neurology, director of the Neurofibromatosis Center, and co-director of the Neuro-Oncology Program at the School of Medicine, received the Elliott Osserman Award for Distinguished Service in Support of Cancer Research from the Israel Cancer Research Fund in New York City.

Chris Todd Hittinger, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Genetics, was named the Maclyn McCarthy Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation.

Tuan-Hua David Ho, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, was elected president of the American Society of Plant Biologists, the most influential plant biology professional society in the world.

Mark J. Manary, professor of pediatrics, was named the Helene B. Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

Patricia McKevitt, a social worker in the Chromalloy American Kidney Center in the Department of Medicine, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Kidney Foundation’s Council of Nephrology Social Workers.

William A. Peck, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine, director of the Center for Health Policy, and former executive vice chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine, was among 20 honorees named Ageless-Remarkable St. Louisans by the St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System. Peck and the other honorees were chosen for their commitment, vivacity, generosity, and contributions to the St. Louis community.

Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Psychology in Arts & Sciences, and Robert D. Schreiber, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pathology and Immunology, received faculty achievement awards. Roediger received the Arthur Holly Compton Award for Faculty Achievement, and Schreiber received the Carl and Gerty Cori Award for Faculty Achievement.

L. Maureen Valente, director of audiology studies in the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences and an assistant professor of otolaryngology, received the inaugural Margo Skinner Award for her “dedication to the field of audiology.”

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton was selected as the unanimous choice for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association’s first-ever Exemplary Administrator Award. Wrighton was recognized for his “endless support of the network of interfaith campus ministries at Washington University.”

Younan Xia, professor of biomedical engineering, was installed as the inaugural James M. McKelvey Professor.


Camilla and Stephen Brauer are longtime supporters of Washington University. When it’s completed, the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall (drawing below) will serve as home for the School of Engineering’s Department of Energy, Environmental, & Chemical Engineering. (Photo: Joe Angeles)

Brauers’ Generosity to Support Engineering for Years to Come
A major commitment from Stephen and Camilla Brauer will help implement the long-range, strategic plan of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced in October 2008.

The commitment—made in the form of a challenge grant—will match all gifts and commitments from alumni, parents, and friends—up to the maximum of the commitment by the Brauers—that are earmarked for support of the annual and long-term needs of the engineering school.

“Steve and Kimmy Brauer are two of St. Louis’ and America’s most distinguished citizens,” says Wrighton. “They have been steadfast friends of Washington University for many years, and through their leadership, generosity, and service, they have left an indelible imprint both on the University and the School of Engineering.”

In fall 2008, ground was broken for the second building in a new complex for the engineering school. Wrighton announced that the building will be named in honor of the Brauers to recognize their long-standing devotion to and impact on the University.

When the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall is completed in 2010, the 150,875-square-foot facility will serve as home for the Department of Energy, Environmental, & Chemical Engineering; provide space for the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy & Sustainability; and share facilities with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

An innovative feature will be a 90-seat distance-learning classroom—the first of its kind at the University—that will be available for use by all academic departments and schools.

This building also is being designed as a green structure.

“Kimmy and I are proud to be so closely associated with Washington University,” says Brauer. “The growth of the University and its rise in reputation in the last 20 years have been truly remarkable. We believe the School of Engineering has terrific potential both for the University and for society; as well, it can be a catalyst for economic development in the St. Louis region. We are happy to add our support to its success.”

Stephen Brauer, former U.S. ambassador to Belgium, is chairman of Hunter Engineering Co., a leading manufacturer of computer-based, automotive service equipment for the global market, with its headquarters in St. Louis.

His long association with the University began in 1987 when he joined the National Council for the School of Engineering. Appointed to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1991, he was just named Board chair effective July 1, 2009.

“The University has benefited greatly from Steve’s wisdom and experience,” says Wrighton. “As vice chair and now chair-elect of the Board of Trustees and chair of the School of Engineering’s National Council, he is helping guide the long-term, strategic planning process that will set the direction for both the University and the School as we work to address the challenges facing society in our fast-changing world.”

Camilla Brauer is vice chair of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. At the University, she serves as a member of the Danforth Circle Committee of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society. In 1996, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives named her the Outstanding Fund Raising Volunteer in the United States.

The Brauers have provided significant support for scholarships for students in the engineering school and in the Olin Business School. They endowed the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Engineering and have contributed generously to support other initiatives, including facility expansions. They are Life Patrons of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.


Editors’ Note: The editors regret not fully explaining a University study on stem cell research and sickle cell disease in the winter issue’s FrontRunners. Please see mednews.wustl.edu/news/page for more information.
• More than one group of students stood in for then-Sen. Joseph Biden, Gov. Sarah Palin, and moderator Gwen Ifill. The students pictured on last issue’s back cover were senior Joe Cavanagh, junior Madeline Thoman, and junior Danielle Porter, respectively.