FRONTRUNNERS — Winter 2008

   

 
The Center, named for the Danforths, features dining areas, lounges, meeting rooms, and offices for student leaders and student services professional staff. (Photo by David Kilper)
Danforth University Center Opens for Students
The William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth University Center opened its doors to the Washington University community on August 11, 2008. The Center, named for the Danforths, features dining areas, lounges, meeting rooms, and offices for student leaders and student services professional staff. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of several donors, the new building features three premier spaces.

Trustee Ann Rubenstein Tisch, A.B. ’76, and her husband, Andrew, are supporting the new Danforth University Center with a $2 million gift. To honor their commitment, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced that the Center’s commons will be named Tisch Commons.

Washington University is the recipient of many significant gifts from the late Lynne “Angel” Cooper Harvey and her husband, the legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey.

Added to their many gifts is the Angel and Paul Harvey Media Center in the new Danforth University Center, which is supported by a gift of $1.2 million.

The Harvey Media Center provides workspace for WUTV and a host of print publications, including Student Life and The Hatchet. The new recording studio features a 24-channel audio mixer with a software program for digital recording. WUTV now has a professionally designed news set equipped with technology to create state-of-the-art newscasts and programs.

Thanks to a generous gift to the Danforth University Center by Stephanie Brooks Dains, A.B. ’69, and her husband, John, B.S.B.A. ’68, dining has become a truly great experience.

The Dains Dining Hall sits in the center of the first floor, flanked by the Tisch Commons on the north side; the University Café on the west; and the servery, located to the east of Dains Dining Hall. A formal dining space called the Orchid Room is on the south end of the servery; Ibby’s Bistro, a full-service restaurant, is located at the northeast corner.

A formal dedication for the Center is scheduled for April 2009.



New Hearing Aids Pass the Test
The sound of a noisy restaurant was the crucial test of new hearing aid technology in a study conducted by researchers at the School of Medicine.

The study tested a new hearing aid technology—open-fit hearing aids with directional microphones.

“We found that the open-fit hearing aids with directional microphones on average gave wearers a 20 percent improvement in speech intelligibility in the restaurant setting compared to not having a hearing aid or wearing an open-fit aid without a directional microphone,” says Michael Valente, director of the Division of Adult Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology at the medical school. “We are the first to show that a directional microphone in open-fit can provide improved performance in noise.”


Campus Prepares for Emergencies
Washington University launched its “Where to Go” campaign in fall 2008 to help the University prepare for emergency situations.

The emergency Web site—emergency.wustl.edu—contains information about what to do in particular emergency situations, such as an earthquake, fire, or violence on campus.

The University is in the process of instituting an Emergency Notification System, which sends emergency messages via text messages, phone calls, and e-mails to WUSTL accounts.

Members of the WUSTL community should visit emergency.wustl.edu to provide cell phone numbers, so the University can reach all members in a crisis.


At the Institute for Public Health’s Inaugural Symposium on September 5, students, faculty, and staff learned about many of the public health projects under way at the University.

Institute for Public Health Debuts
The Institute for Public Health hosted its inaugural symposium on September 5, 2008, at the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Medical Campus.

The overall goal of the event was to raise awareness of public-health research and service activities currently conducted at the University.

“Through the interdisciplinary focus of the Institute, we can tackle public-health issues in innovative ways. One of our primary goals is to help improve health status right here in St. Louis,” says Edward F. Lawlor, dean of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the William E. Gordon Professor.

Lawlor is the founding director of the Institute for Public Health.

The Institute aims to improve community and international health by creating new knowledge; produce new forms of public-health teaching and research; bring medical, social, and physical science discoveries to the community; and train advanced leaders in public health.

Drawing expertise from across the University, the Institute will focus on cross-campus collaborations in the field. The initial areas of focus include genetics and population health, health disparities in the St. Louis region, international diseases and interventions, environment and health, and health services and policy.


Bonobos could become extinct in the wild in less than a decade. (Photo courtesy of Marian Brickner)

Saving Endangered Apes Biologist’s Aim
A biologist at Washington University is the mastermind behind a project that has led to an informative book on an endangered species of ape.

Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, is the driving force behind I’m Lucy: A Day in the Life of a Young Bonobo. The book, written by Mathea Levine, Goodenough’s daughter, features the photographs of St. Louisan Marian Brickner. Famed primatologist Jane Goodall wrote the afterword.

All profits from I’m Lucy go to the Bonobo Conservation Initiative and the Roots & Shoots program.

Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest relative to humans, with a genome that is 98 percent similar to our own.

The book can be purchased online at www.bonobokids.org.


Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Imperial College London

Students ‘Dig’ Mars Mission Assignment
From the landing of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission Lander on May 25, 2008, through November 2, when NASA lost contact with the spacecraft, mission researchers commanded the lander to find soil and ice samples, and to take pictures of the Red Planet (right).

Among the University mission workers were Raymond E. Arvidson, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor; Thomas C. Stein, a computer specialist in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences; and four students.

The goal of this group was to infer from images and other data the geological history of the landing site and imply some theories about current and past climate.

Just one week after landing, the Phoenix Mars Lander took its first scoop of Martian soil to test the robotic arm.

“I was the ‘dig czar,’ helping organize the team’s desires for digging with the robotic arm,” says Arvidson.

The students were Phoenix Mission documentarians, responsible for recording all that was done on the mission and for naming geological sites in the area.

“Landing Day was exciting, especially when … we saw those first images of the open solar arrays,” says Tabatha Heet, A.B. ’08, a graduate student in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences.


Business School Forms Alliance with Indian Institute
The Olin Business School and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) announced the creation of a partnership designed to advance research, teaching, and cultural understanding.

The collaboration opens opportunities for students and faculty at both institutions. The schools plan to organize joint programs in business and industry management training. The agreement facilitates the creation of joint publications, conferences, and research projects. It also establishes new exchange programs for faculty and students.

“We are very excited about our connection with the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta,” says Mahendra Gupta, dean of the Olin Business School and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management. “Both schools excel in business education and research, and the ability to join forces will strengthen both of our reputations as global leaders.”


Social Work Professor Helps Veterans Cope with PTSD
A recently released Department of Defense report shows a 50 percent increase in documented post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases in veterans in 2007. Monica Matthieu, an expert on veteran mental health and an assistant professor of social work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, says, “While it is important to know the number of men and women returning from war with PTSD, it is also critical that veterans and their family members know where to go to access mental health services.”

Matthieu notes that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA Medical Centers and Vet Centers have specialists that assist military service members who have returned home and find themselves struggling with their recovery and readjustment to civilian life.

“Often the family, friends, and military buddies closest to our veterans are the ones that find the resources for veterans needing assistance,” she says. “They are the bedrock of support for many veterans and are usually the ones that notice problems, such as chronic difficulties sleeping, concentrating, and reacting as if they were back in a war zone.”

A number of evidence-based approaches are used to treat PTSD, from cognitive behavioral therapies to the use of certain medications.


Kerri Morgan (right) practices with trainer Steve Bunn for the wheelchair track races at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

Morgan Sets Record at Paralympic Games
Kerri Morgan, instructor in the Program in Occupational Therapy at the School of Medicine, set a U.S. record in the women’s 100-meter T52 wheelchair track race at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing on September 15, 2008.

Her U.S. record also was a season-best time for the 100-meter event. With a time of 21.56 seconds, she placed first among the American athletes and fifth overall. Morgan also placed fifth in the 200-meter T52 wheelchair track race with a time of 40:82.

Disabled since the age of 1, Morgan became interested in wheelchair sports about seven years ago. She originally focused on rugby and did everything she could to play on the same level as the males. [There are roughly 500 male wheelchair rugby players in the United States and only about 10 female players.] Taking the advice of team members, she began to push a track chair during the off-season to increase her speed. As a result, Morgan was invited to try out for the national U.S.A. rugby team, the first female to do so. Though she didn’t make the team, she refocused her training and worked with her coaches, Steve and Alicia Bunn, to try to qualify for the U.S.A. Paralympic track team.

“I qualified to go to the U.S. trials [for the Paralympic track team] in June 2008 and won first place in the 200-meter and second in the 100-meter,” says Morgan. “My times were fast enough to receive an invitation to the team. The rest is history.”

Morgan adds that she received a lot of support along the way. This support came from family, friends, colleagues, students, and local organizations. Emerson Electric helped her out financially, while ShowMe Aquatics and Fitness and the St. Louis Wheelchair Athletic Association provided her with training.

“I could not have accomplished what I did without all this support,” she says.


One of Ian Weaver’s works that was displayed in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition is Black Power Helmet (2008).

Art Student First to Win MFA Grant
Ian Weaver, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in May 2008 from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, has won a $15,000 M.F.A. Grant, a prestigious award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York.

Weaver was one of 15 students nationwide to receive the award, and the first ever from Washington University.

Though primarily a painter and printmaker, the Chicago native focused this past year on multimedia installations informed by anthropology and archaeology, as well as African-American and European history.

Weaver’s work, A Partial History of the Black Bottom Community, was on display in the Sam Fox School’s 2008 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. The exhibit included 11 works in a variety of media that formed a fictionalized account of Chicago’s Black Bottom neighborhood. This neighborhood is a historically African-American enclave, where Weaver’s mother grew up. It was bulldozed in the 1950s to make room for the Dan Ryan Expressway.

“I wanted to marry an accepted historical format, the educational museum, with the story of my mom’s community,” says Weaver.


The sundial on the Cupples I building façade on view in Brookings Quadrangle marks 100 years in 2008.

Campus Sundial Marks 100 Years
On August 8, 2008, a group of sundial enthusiasts met in St. Louis to tour 15 area sundials, some of historical importance, including one on the campus of Washington University that is marking its centennial anniversary. The sundial on the Cupples I building façade, donated by the Class of 1908, faces south on Brookings Quadrangle. The motto on the sundial is “I am a shadow/So art thou/I mark time/Dost thou?”

The tour, organized by Donald L. Snyder, senior professor of electrical and systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, was one component of the 2008 Annual Conference of the North American Sundial Society.

Sundials can be traced to antiquity and come in many designs. Some are elaborate and beautiful, others plain and practical, but all measure time by the position of the sun. Key components of sundials are a shadow-casting object called a gnomon and a surface with lines indicating the hours of the day and important dates.

Two other sundials exist at the University, one inlaid on a sidewalk between Crow Hall and the Earth & Planetary Sciences Building and the other in that building itself on a Mars rover-scaled replica. The sundial is in use on Mars with Spirit and Opportunity for color calibration for the rovers’ cameras.

The core of sundials is a stew of mathematics and physics. “I’m interested in them because of their mathematical relation to the position of the sun at any time,” says Snyder, who has made a number of portable, wooden sundials for family members. “It is a thing of beauty to design an instrument on the basis of mathematics, the physics of solar and Earth motion, and the effects of sunlight.”


Giammar Mentors St. Louis Students in Science
During summer 2008, Dan Giammar (standing), associate professor of energy, environmental, and chemical engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, mentored a local high school student. Giammar worked with Nevin Peeples (seated), a senior at Saint Louis University High School, to study lead concentrations in drinking water.

Peeples was one of 83 high school students participating in the 2008 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program, which provides high school students with the opportunity to participate in research at one of St. Louis’ distinguished academic institutions. Overall, 21 University faculty members volunteered with STARS in 2008.

For his efforts, Giammar received the Environmental Engineering Student Association’s Professor of the Year Award and the Association of Graduate Engineering Students “Big Fish” Mentor of the Year Award.


Law Students Serve in Developing Nations
Several Washington University law students interned in South Africa, Ghana, and Cambodia with legal aid agencies, public interest law offices, and international organizations this past summer. The internships in South Africa and Ghana are part of the Africa Public Interest Law & Conflict Resolution Initiative, led by Karen Tokarz and Kimberly Norwood, both professors of law. The initiative fosters study, travel, and research in Africa.

In summer 2008, five students worked for 10 weeks with the Legal Aid Board in South Africa. This organization provides free legal assistance on civil and criminal matters to indigent South Africans. The students engaged in client interviewing and counseling, legal research and writing, trial preparation, and appellate brief writing.

Three students spent 10 weeks with the Black Sash, a human rights organization in South Africa. They helped with client intake and research, served as liaisons with service providers, monitored parliament, observed the implementation of government programs, provided assistance to paralegals, and taught legal education in the community.

Additionally, six students interned at the Legal Resource Centre in Ghana. The centre works with communities to ensure human rights, social progress, and economic development, especially in the areas of civil liberties, health, employment, education, and housing. These students were involved in client counseling and advocacy, community education, and dispute resolution.

Four others spent the summer at Bridges Across Borders in Cambodia, “an international, nongovernmental organization formed to address the root causes of violence and hatred in the world.” The organization is a collaboration of activists, artists, students, and educators.


Sreenivasa Jonnalagadda (left), associate professor of medicine, and J. Christopher Eagon, assistant professor of surgery, perform the first incision-free procedure for obesity in the United States.

First Non-Surgical Obesity Procedure Performed
Doctors at the School of Medicine have performed the first non-surgical procedure in the United States that restricts the size of the stomach to treat obesity. The investigational procedure uses direct endoscopic visualization with specialized instruments passed into the stomach through the mouth. The first U.S. patient received the treatment on July 23, 2008, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

The procedure was part of the TOGA Pivotal Trial, a multi-center study evaluating an incision-free procedure using the TOGA® System (transoral gastroplasty). Like surgery to treat obesity, the TOGA procedure alters a patient’s anatomy without any incisions to give a feeling of fullness after a small meal.

“The key benefits from an endoscopic procedure, as compared to laparoscopic or open surgery, are a quicker recovery period, shortened hospital stay, decreased risk of complications, and an incision-free procedure,” says Sreenivasa Jonnalagadda, associate professor of medicine and co-principal investigator at the St. Louis study site.

Both Jonnalagadda and J. Christopher Eagon, assistant professor of surgery and local co-principal investigator for the study, expect the TOGA procedure eventually could be performed on an outpatient basis with sedation rather than general anesthesia, depending on the study’s results.


Honors
Annette Appell, professor of law, was named the inaugural associate dean for clinical affairs at the School of Law.

Melvin S. Blanchard, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Medical Education in the Department of Medicine; Lannis E. Hall-Daniels, assistant professor of clinical radiation oncology; and Cherilynn Shadding, director of the outreach program in The Genome Center at Washington University, each received a 2008 Excellence in Health Care Award from the St. Louis American Foundation.

Eleven students received Fulbright Scholarships for the 2008–2009 academic year. The winners include Emilie Boone, Raymond Deng, Maria Dominguez, Risa Edelman, Maurice Gattis, Elizabeth Hague, Geoffrey Hart-Cooper, Kevin Hess, Jessica Rothstein, David Sobol, and Neil-Jeremy Wingkun. These students will spend a full academic year in a host country.

Jeffrey D. Bradley, associate professor of radiation oncology, was named the first director of the Kling Center for Proton Therapy. The Center is scheduled to open in summer 2009 at the Siteman Cancer Center at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Jill E. Carnaghi, assistant vice chancellor for students and director of campus life, and Michael G. Brown, coordinator of the Office for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Involvement and Leadership, were recognized with awards from the American College Personnel Association. Carnaghi received the Esther Lloyd-Jones Professional Service Award, and Brown received the Val DuMontier New Professional Award.

Michael R. DeBaun, professor of pediatrics, of biostatistics, and of neurology at the School of Medicine, was named the Ferring Family Chair in Pediatric Cancer and Related Disorders.

John M. Doris, associate professor of philosophy in Arts & Sciences, was named a fellow of the National Humanities Center for the 2008–09 academic year.

Allyson Gibson, a doctoral student in physics in Arts & Sciences, received a prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award for the 2008–09 academic year.

R. Gilbert Jost, the Elizabeth E. Mallinckrodt Professor of Radiology and director of the Edward Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, was named to honorary membership in the European Society of Radiology.

Tim Lempfert, associate director of the Office of Residential Life, was named 2008–09 president-elect of the Missouri College Personnel Association.

Timothy McBride, professor of social work, was named the first associate dean for public health at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, was honored with the 2008 St. Louis American Foundation Lifetime Achiever.

Thalachallour Mohanakumar, the Jacqueline G. and William E. Maritz Professor of Surgery and professor of pathology & immunology, received the American Society of Transplantation/Astellas Basic Science Established Investigator Award.

Patrick S. Moreton, managing director of the Washington University-Fudan University Executive MBA Program, has been promoted to associate dean at the Olin Business School.

George Murphy, professor emeritus of psychiatry, received the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Lifetime Achievement Award.

Joseph A. O’Sullivan, the Samuel C. Sachs Professor of Electrical Engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, was appointed dean of the University of Missouri–St. Louis/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program.

Troy Parades, professor of law at Washington University School of Law, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner.

T.S. Park, chief of pediatric neurology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Shi Hui Huang Professor of Neurological Surgery at the School of Medicine, received the H. Richard Winn Prize, the highest honor of the Society of Neurological Surgeons.

Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III and Robert D. Schreiber received Washington University’s 2008 faculty achievement awards. Roediger, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, won the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award, and Schreiber, the Alumni Professor of Pathology and Immunology in the School of Medicine, won the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award.

John Schael, director of athletics, was named the AstroTurf Division III Central Region Athletic Director of the Year.

Richard J. Stanton was named associate vice chancellor and associate dean for administration and finance at the School of Medicine.


Troy Ruths averaged 20.5 points per game for the Bears during the 2007–08 season, and he led the Bears to a national championship last spring.

Ruths Named Academic All-American of the Year
Troy Ruths, B.S.E.S. ’08, of the national champion men’s basketball team has been honored as the 2007–08 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Ruths is the first student-athlete in Washington University history to receive the honor.

The announcement was made to a national television audience on August 12, 2008, on ESPNU. Ruths, one of two student-athletes honored nationally, picked up the college division award.

“Winning the Academic All-American of the Year award is a dream come true for me,” says Ruths, who began work in fall 2008 on a doctorate in computer science at Rice University. “I’ve always felt college athletics were all about sports competition and academic achievement.”

Honored as the 2008 NCAA Division III National Player of the Year, Ruths led the Bears to a 25–6 record and the national championship on March 22, 2008. “We are so proud of what Troy has accomplished both on and off the court during his career at Washington University,” says coach Mark Edwards. “Being named the Academic All-American of the Year is an unbelievable honor and one that is well-deserved. He is the true student-athlete who left his imprint on everyone he worked with at the University.”

As a senior, Ruths started all 31 games and averaged 20.5 points, with a .507 field goal percentage, and 6.5 rebounds per game. He ranked second on the Bears’ all-time scoring list (1,801).

The Academic All-American of the Year honor, dating to the 1987–88 season, is chosen from the student-athletes who have been awarded Team Member of the Year honors, which Ruths was awarded in men’s basketball. From more than 360,000 student-athletes in the nation, 816 are selected as Academic All-America Team Members, 24 are selected as Team Members of the Year, and two are named Academic All-Americans of the Year.


The award-winning Spiral House by Dean/Wolf is anchored to a shear rock formation.

Kathryn Dean to Lead Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design
Acclaimed architect Kathryn Dean, founding partner of Dean/Wolf Architects in New York City, has been appointed director of the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. She previously served on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture.

“Kathryn brings incredible experience to this important new position,” says Bruce Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and dean of architecture in the Sam Fox School. “She will maintain her innovative architectural practice in New York City, while building on her extensive teaching experience to help us envision, design, and develop the future of our School.”


Stem Cells Treat Sickle Cell Disease
Children with sickle cell disease often face severe pain, organ damage, recurrent strokes, and prolonged hospital stays. Although medical interventions can lessen the symptoms, there is no cure.

In an effort to change that, researchers at the School of Medicine are leading a nationwide, multi-center clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of transplanting blood stem cells into children with severe sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder affecting red blood cells. In patients with this disease, red blood cells contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin that causes the normally round, flexible red blood cells to become stiff and sickle-, or crescent-, shaped. The sickle cells can’t pass through tiny blood vessels, which can prevent blood from reaching some tissues and can result in tissue and organ damage, pain, and stroke.

For more in-depth information, please visit: mednews.wustl.edu.