|FRONTRUNNERS Winter 2000|
Designing Plans to Revitalize the City
The city of St. Louis, home to 1 million people in 1950, now has only 300,000 residents. Planners and designers nationwide have been struggling with the big question of how to use the resulting vacant land.
Last spring, more than a dozen School of Architecture students had a chance to help answer that question while gaining hands-on design and planning experience in a central area of the city. The 15 graduate-level students participated in a studio taught by Gyo Obata, B.Arch. '45, chair of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc., and the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor, and Eric Mumford, assistant professor of architecture.
The studio focused on St. Louis' JeffVanderLou area. Coincidentally, the neighborhood also is the focus of a Danforth Foundation community reinvigoration initiative. Although the studio is separate from the Danforth initiative, WU students have been welcomed at that group's meetings and have been able to collect information about the residents' priorities and needs.
"This studio reinforces the architecture school's interest in the American cityparticularly in St. Louison both a theoretical and practical level," says Dean Cynthia Weese. "I believe it is important, as the only architecture school in St. Louis, that we contribute suggestions for solutions to urban problems."
The studio was part of the joint Washington University/University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Design program, which has been funded by the Graham Foundation.
Social Work Education's Reliance on Research Grows
Creating a national center on social work research within the National Institutes of Health is one of several initiatives endorsed by a new coalition of social work deans who met at the University June 23-25, 2000. Deans from the universities of California-Berkeley, Chicago, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania discussed strategies for advancing social work education through research.
"An increased reliance on research has helped transform social work education and practice over the last decade, but this trend must be broadened and intensified if the profession hopes to truly fulfill its mission," says Shanti Khinduka, dean of WU's George Warren Brown School of Social Work (GWB), which hosted the meeting.
Convened by Ronald Feldman, dean of social work at Columbia University, the meeting was open to deans and directors of "Research One" schools of social workschools with $3 million or more in annual outside research funding. The nation has nearly 150 social work schools, but fewer than a quarter meet the criteria for Research One status. GWB received more than $5 million in outside research funding in 1999-2000.
Creating excitement at the meeting was the news that a bipartisan group of legislators has introduced a bill proposing the establishment of a national center to support and conduct basic social work research.
William Danforth Honored with Academic Award
Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth is the 20th recipient of the American Association of University Professors' (AAUP) Alexander Meiklejohn Award.
Established in 1958, the Meiklejohn Award recognizes outstanding contributions to academic freedom by a college or university president or governing board. Danforth was honored on June 9 for his unwavering defense of academic freedom throughout his career in higher education.
"I am honored to receive the Alexander Meiklejohn Award from the AAUP, especially since it was previously given to one of my heroes and predecessors as chancellor of Washington University, Ethan A.H. Shepley," says Danforth, now vice chairman of the University's Board of Trustees. "Chancellor Shepley firmly defended academic freedom in the McCarthy era of the 1950s. "Washington University's tradition of academic freedom is continually renewed and advanced by the local chapter of the AAUP," he continues. "Recognition should really go to that organization ... ."
Washington University is the first institution to have two recipients of the award.
Chronicling the History of Freedom
Culminating an initiative launched here nearly 15 years ago, the Center for the History of Freedom has announced plans for the 15th and final volume in its landmark series chronicling the birth and development of basic human freedoms.
"This will complete the first effort to treat the evolution of modern freedom," says Richard W. Davis, professor of history in Arts & Sciences and director of the center since 1989. "It will not be the last such history to be attempted, but our volumes and the favorable critical reception they have received show that we have raised a number of interesting and important issues. We certainly trust and hope that the investigation will go on elsewhere."
The writing of the final volume, Realms of Freedom in the Modern Chinese World, is scheduled to begin in the current academic year. It will be edited by noted Chinese scholar William C. Kirby, a former dean and professor in Arts & Sciences here and now a history professor at Harvard.
Kirby will write one of the 12 chapters in the volume, as will William C. Jones, the Charles F. Nagel Professor Emeritus of International and Comparative Law. Jones, a leading Chinese legal scholar, will write on "Chinese Law and Liberty in Comparative Historical Perspective."
The history of freedom project was launched in 1985 by the late J.H. Hexter, a specialist in British history who taught at WU and other leading American universities for more than 60 years. When complete, the one-of-a-kind 15-volume series, published by Stanford University Press, will trace the history of modern freedom from its 17th-century Western origins in England and the Netherlands to its current somewhat erratic and uncertain emergence in China.
Constructing Career Pathways
One might think finding teenagers willing to give up six weeks of summer vacation to learn about careers in construction would be challenging, but more than a few takers helped launch WU's new Minority Youth in Construction Program (MYIC). In fact, about 75 African-American teens applied to enroll in the program, and 33 were accepted. And they were committed not only to last summer's session but for the next three summers.
"We were surprised at the overwhelming response," says Sandra Marks, director of supplier diversity programs. "We planned on having 25 kids, but the parents were very interested in having their children on the campus."
Sporting MYIC shirts, the teens donned hard hats and toured construction sites. In addition to learning about various construction trades and career opportunities, they attended daily sessions in Eads Hall to build their math and computer skills.
The students, ages 13-15, also are participating in ongoing personal development and life-skills activities, including oral and written communications, and financial planning.
Ralph Thaman, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management, created the program to encourage early interest in construction careers.
Engineering School Honors Microsoft CEO Ballmer
The School of Engineering and Applied Science presented Steve Ballmer, president and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, with its Excellence in Engineering and Technology Award on July 13.
More than 900 people attended the afternoon ceremony at Graham Chapel.
The School gave the award to Ballmer in recognition of Microsoft's products and technologies for emerging markets, including the recently announced "Next Generation of Windows Services" (NGWS), a platform for desktop personal computers, servers, non-PC devices, and the Internet. The platform is expected to enable a seamless interaction across different computing devices, software services, and data sources.
The School established the Excellence in Engineering and Technology Award to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary leadership in transforming innovative ideas in engineering into new products and technologies.
Ballmer, 44, joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. During the past 20 years, Ballmer has headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In July 1998, he was promoted to president, and he was named chief executive officer in January 2000.
Points Are Not Moot for Law Students
Moot courts may, by virtue of their name, sound inconsequential, but last spring students at the School of Law captured genuinely high honors in a number of national lawyering skills competitions.
Third-year students Andrew Ruben and Gilbert Sison and second-year students E. Regan Loyd, Kevin Ray, and Edward Shin ranked third out of 132 U.S. teams and 13th among more than 300 teams worldwide in the 2000 Phillip Jessup International Moot Court World Cup. The team, coached by Leila Nadya Sadat, professor of law, won the Southeast regional competition to advance to the national and international competition.
Third-year students Anastasia Burkham, Jared Montgomery, and Rena Samole reached the quarterfinals in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, in which 75 teams competed. The team's adviser, Maxine I. Lipeles, who holds a joint appointment in the School of Law and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, directs the law school's Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic.
Third-year students Gabrielle Melissa Ince and Bart Starr won Best Brief in the Midwest regional round of the Giles Sutherland Rich Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition, in which more than 20 teams competed. In the Saul Lefkowitz Intellectual Property Law Moot Court Competition, second-year students Heather Dary, John Hein, and Danica Rodemich took second place in the regional round, in which 12 teams competed. Charles R. McManis, professor of law, serves as the adviser for both competitions.
Second-year students Kevin Gordon and Edward Shin won second place in the Midwest regional round of the American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition, out of a dozen teams competing. The faculty adviser is Ann Davis Shields, lecturer in law.
Exploring Urban Design Issues
The School of Architecture is launching a new Master of Urban Design degree program, which will focus on contemporary urban issues through a unique blend of architectural, landscape, and planning perspectives. The post-professional degree program, to be offered beginning in fall 2001, will combine course work with research design studios tackling community projects.
"The new one-year degree program is targeted at professional architects, landscape architects, and planners who wish to further their knowledge and become conversant in contemporary metropolitan issues," says Jacqueline Tatom, assistant professor of architecture and co-director of the program.
Tim Franke, program co-director and assistant professor of architecture, says, "The program will tackle a diverse set of problems through a cross-disciplinary approach to metropolitan design."
Dean Cynthia Weese, FAIA, noted that the program builds on the School's longstanding tradition of addressing urban issues through high-quality, innovative design. "Faculty and students lending their design expertise to community solutions has been a hallmark of this School," she says. "The new program will provide a formal means of combining our strengths in urban design, architectural design, and landscape design to address issues so essential to the future of American cities."
New Pediatric Research Building Dedicated in Fall Ceremony
Among the priorities in the Campaign for Washington University is $150 million for new construction and renovation to ensure that the physical plant will continue to serve well the needs of this vital, world-class research university.
One of the projects, the new McDonnell Pediatric Research Building, was dedicated September 13, 2000. The 10-story facility consolidates pediatric research activities at Washington University Medical Center, which until now had been conducted at five separate sites, in one building. The School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital have worked together on medical research and pediatric health care for more than eight decades.
A $20 million naming gift was provided by James S. McDonnell III, John F. McDonnell, and the James S. McDonnell Charitable Trust.
Probing Welfare Reform's Impact on Native Americans
"Empowering American Indian Families: New Perspective on Welfare Reform" was the topic of a national symposium hosted by the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in May. The symposium was one of the School's 75th anniversary events.
Because many American Indian tribes are struggling to cope with new challenges and opportunities brought about by recent reforms in the federal welfare system, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held a meeting, in conjunction with the symposium, to help tribal leaders develop a collective strategy to influence reauthorization of welfare-reform legislation in 2002.
"When politicians were haggling over provisions of original welfare-reform legislation, no one paid much attention to how these changes would play out in Indian country," says Eddie F. Brown, director of the Buder Center. "If Indian leaders want to have a say in how welfare-reform legislation is modified in 2002, we need to reach some consensus soon on what our strategy will be."
Exploring Social Change Through Graphic Design
Typography, generally speaking, is not a hotbed of social activism. Unless, of course, you're talking to Sarah Spurr, associate professor and coordinator of the visual communications area at the School of Art, who regularly teaches a section on graphic design as a tool for social change.
When National Mental Health Awareness Month occurred last May, Spurr invited guest speakers from the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of St. Louis, an affiliate of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, to share their stories with the 38 juniors enrolled in her Typography 2 class. In response, the students created a series of posters that address both the facts and the myths surrounding mental illness.
"None of us really knows what mental illness means until we're confronted with it in our own lives," says Spurr. "We may think we know something about depression or schizophrenia, but the reality is that, as a society, we push these illnesses under the rug."
Spurr says the assignment "was to use text and image together to convey a social message, which presented students with some really complex problems. Over four weeks they had to generate their topic, research it, write their own copy, create the illustrations, and art direct the whole piece."
The posters were of two general categories: teaching and advocacy. The first group examined the reality of mental illness, from basic information to symptoms and statistics. The second group addressed topics surrounding the treatment of people who suffer from mental illness.
Seed Capital Aids Student Businesses
With a little seed capital, some promising ideas generated by students in the Hatchery() entrepreneurship program at the John M. Olin School of Business might grow into big businesses. That's the thought behind the Skandalaris Seed Capital Fund, established through a $1 million pledge by Robert J. and Julie Skandalaris of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as part of the Campaign for Washington University.
"I know firsthand that having sufficient capital at the right time can spell the difference between success and failure for a new business," says Robert Skandalaris, a venture capitalist who funds companies through BlueStone Capital Partners, TRADE.COM, E-Grad.com, Big Net Inc., Noble International Ltd., three bank holding companies, and Twenty-First Century Advisors.
"My wife, Julie, and I wanted to supply upfront funding for promising Hatchery students, helping them cover start-up costs until they can secure venture-capital funding for the long term."
The couple's daughter, Kristin, is an Arts & Sciences student at the University.
Since its inception in 1997, the Olin School's entrepreneurship program has "hatched" numerous successful ventures: The Ice King, selling a frozen confection at shopping malls; "bare ware," a distributor for custom T-shirts; SmithCenter, manufacturers of organic outerwear; and everbank.com, an Internet bank.
The fund's investments typically will be between $10,000 and $20,000, though other amounts may be given at the discretion of the Hatchery() Advisory Board. Generally, one or two plans will be approved yearly.
About 10 other top business schools have similar funds, but Olin is the only one to have the Hatchery() program and a seed capital fund, according to Barton Hamilton, assistant professor of economics and management and director of the Hatchery().
Future of Research: Digital Archives
Three faculty projects will be made available in digital form, improving access to scholarly resources and providing opportunities for both teaching and research, by the University's Digital Cultural Resources Group (DCRG).
Choosing the projects from a variety of proposals, the DCRG had the following criteria: the creation of a new resource for teaching or research in the arts, humanities, or social sciences; and providing opportunities for the DCRG to learn about issues of copyright, intellectual access, and technology.
Glenn D. Stone, associate professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, will oversee the creation of a database of photographs with accompanying narrative drawn from the extensive collection of John W. Bennett, professor emeritus of anthropology and Distinguished Anthropologist in Residence. The database will serve as a record of Bennett's career and discuss what it means to be a cultural anthropologist.
Jeigh Singleton, associate professor in the School of Art's fashion design program, will develop a database of photographs of garments from a collection donated to WU by the late Eula Fulton, an important figure in fashion marketing. Singleton's students will expand the resource by contributing drawings and documentation.
Jacqueline Tatom, assistant professor of architecture and director of the School's Metropolitan Research and Design Center, will produce a series of digital maps of the St. Louis area. Using the Geographic Information System program, Tatom will develop a database using information about neighborhoods, buildings, and other features drawn from old maps held by the Missouri Historical Society and contemporary maps provided by city and county offices.
Corrections: The Washington University in St. Louis Magazine staff apologizes for the following errors. In the Mark Levin alumni feature in the summer 2000 issue, Professor Emeritus of Pathology Paul Lacy's name was misspelled. In Lasting Lessons in the fall 2000 issue, Professor Leslie Laskey's name was misspelled. Also in the fall 2000 issue, the University College feature should have stated that graduate certificates are offered not only in math, but in education, international affairs, and nonprofit management. Please accept our sincere apologies for the oversights.
People Around Campus
The University's Board of Trustees elected three new members on May 5: David V. Habif, Jr., director of Teaneck Radiology in Teaneck, New Jersey; Walter L. Metcalfe, Jr., chairman of Bryan Cave LLP, in St. Louis; and Howard L. Wood, co-founder and director of Charter Communications, Inc., in St. Louis. The board also named two former trustees to emeritus statusJerome F. Brasch, president of Brasch Manufacturing Co., Inc., in St. Louis, and Alvin J. Siteman, chairman and president of Site Oil Co. of Missouri.
David C. Beebe, the Jules and Doris Stein Research Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, has been named president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the world's largest vision research organization. Beebe is a professor of cell biology and physiology, and director of the Cataract Research Center at the School of Medicine.
Michael R. Cannon has been named executive vice chancellor. Cannon was formerly vice chancellor and general counsel.
Richard A. Chole, the Lindburg Professor and head of otolaryngology at the medical school, has been named a director of the board of the American Board of Otolaryngology. The 25-member board oversees accreditation of doctors who have trained in otolaryngology.
C. Robert Cloninger, the Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, received an award from the American Society of Addiction Medicine for broadening the understanding of the addiction process through research.
Alex S. Evers, the Henry Eliot Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the anesthesiology department at the School of Medicine, is the new president of the Association of University Anesthesiologists. He is a professor of internal medicine and of molecular biology and pharmacology.
Stuart I. Greenbaum, dean and professor of finance at the John M. Olin School of Business, was named the first Bank of America Professor. The chair was established to honor Andrew B. Craig, III upon his retirement in 1998 as chairman of NationsBank, now Bank of America.
Jeff Pike has been reappointed dean of the School of Art. In addition to overseeing the School, he will participate in the development of the Visual Arts and Design Center (VADC) as a member of the VADC Executive Committee. He also serves as associate professor of art in the illustration concentration.
Robert A. Pollak, the Hernreich Distinguished Professor of Economics in Arts & Sciences and in the Olin School of Business, has received the Mindel C. Sheps Award, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Population Association of America. The award is given biennially for outstanding contributions to mathematical demography and related fields.
Robert H. Waterston, the James S. McDonnell Professor of Genetics and head of the Department of Genetics at the School of Medicine, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 2. Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on an American scientist or engineer.
Patty Jo Watson, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society. The 250-year-old scholarly organization promotes "useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and scholarly outreach."
Finding Genes Involved in Depression
Theodore Reich, the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Psychiatry and professor of genetics at the School of Medicine, is helping lead an international team of geneticists in a three-year study that will attempt to uncover the genetic basis of depression.
Reich is the principal investigator for the St. Louis site, one of 10 in the United States and Europe. WU will be the only U.S. center recruiting study participants. Researchers hope that the study, sponsored by British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Wellcome, will provide new insights into genetic and environmental factors associated with unipolar depressionknown as clinical depression or major depression.
Reich plans to recruit 120 families in which some members suffer from depression and others do not. Investigators will take advantage of new information from the human genome map as they search for genes related to depression.
Distinguishing "Self" from "Other"
Challenging an important scientific dogma, immunologists have discovered a new way the body distinguishes its cells from foreign cells so it can destroy microbes without harming itself. The findings, reported in the June 16 issue of Science, suggest a new approach to autoimmune disease and ovarian cancer.
Like soldiers, cells that kill harmful bacteria and parasites must recognize invaders so they don't destroy their comrades with friendly fire. Until now, scientists thought that only immune cells called natural killer cells were equipped for the job. These cells scan other cells for a "security badge" called MHC class I. If this badge is missing or altered, the offending cell is destroyed.
But researchers at the School of Medicine have discovered that cells called macrophages, which eat microbes and damaged cells, also can distinguish self from other. Instead of relying on MHC class I, they recognize a cell-surface protein called CD47.
"The beauty of the CD47 system is that a macrophage with a single receptor can discriminate between self and foreign. If it sees a particle with CD47, it knows all is well. If it sees a particle without CD47, it knows the particle is foreign and potentially dangerous," says Per-Arne Oldenborg, lead author of the Science paper and a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Frederik Lindberg, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and an assistant professor of molecular microbiology.
Researchers Identify Key Enzyme in Aneurysm Development
Up to 9 percent of people older than 65 are carrying a time bomb that one day could kill them in minutes: a weak area in the aorta, the main artery coursing from the heart. When the aorta ruptures, it spills blood into the abdomen, halting circulation. Now, researchers have identified a key enzyme that damages the aortic wall. They also have found that a drug called doxycycline, currently used as an antibiotic, keeps the enzyme in check and helps mice avoid abdominal aortic aneurysms.
"This might turn out to be the first feasible pharmacological therapy for preventing aneurysm expansion in patients," says Robert W. Thompson, associate professor of surgery, of radiology, and of cell biology and physiology at the School of Medicine. Thompson and colleagues reported their findings in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.