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Conference celebrates conclusion of NURTURES science education program

The University of Toledo will recognize the conclusion of a successful science education program with a conference to showcase how local educators incorporated high-quality science inquiry into their curriculum.

The NURTURES program, which stands for Networking Urban Resources with Teachers and University enRich Early Childhood Science, was a five-year, $10 million program funded by the National Science Foundation to engage teachers and parents in supporting a young child’s natural curiosity through interactive science lessons.

The NURTURES conference will take place 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. It will feature presentations from local teachers and administrators who incorporated science inquiry and engineering in their classrooms and schools through the program.

Educators from Toledo Public Schools, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo and local charter schools will present topics that include:

  • Overcoming common science misconceptions in the classroom;
  • Developing discourse and critical thinking skills around science;
  • Incorporating engineering design at the early childhood level;
  • Integrating common core subjects with science; and
  • Engaging with parents and community resources to promote science.

During the NURTURES program, 330 teachers of preschool through third grade and administrators participated in a total of 544 hours of professional development in the teaching of science inquiry and engineering design for early childhood classrooms.

Through NURTURES, teachers were exposed to high-quality science and engineering activities and worked to use them within their classrooms to increase student comprehension and academic achievement, said Dr. Charlene Czerniak, professor emeritus of science education and research professor in the UT College of Engineering. Data from standardized testing in Toledo Public Schools show an increase in reading, early literacy and math scores in students of teachers who have participated in NURTURES, she added.

“These findings are very significant and provide evidence that the teachers in Toledo Public Schools and area schools worked diligently to improve science teaching and learning,” Czerniak said.

Led by UT, the NURTURES program engaged a number of local partners for a community-based complementary learning model to support early learners. Those partners include Toledo Public Schools, Toledo Catholic Schools, Monroe County Schools, the former Apple Tree Nursery School, the East Toledo Family Center Day Care, UT Ritter Planetarium, Imagination Station, Toledo Zoo, Metroparks Toledo, Toledo Botanical Gardens, the former Lourdes University Nature Laboratory, Challenger Learning Center, YMCA, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and WGTE Public Media.

Author to discuss campus racism at UT diversity dialogue Oct. 24

The latest installment in the University’s Dialogues on Diversity and Inclusion series will take place 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24 in the Student Union Auditorium.

“Know Better/Do Better: Deeper Reasons Why Campus Racism Exists” will be presented by Lawrence C. Ross, author of The Divine Nine and Blackballed. This lecture will focus on the reasons behind campus racism and how to overcome it.



Ross’ lecture will cover the systemic racism that has been observed on college campuses for generations and has been ignored. Ross looks at it from four different viewpoints: policy, symbolism, overt racist acts and racial micro-aggressions.

Ross was chosen to speak after a group of students heard him at a national conference and felt that he would be a good fit for the series.

“As you’ve seen over the past couple of years, there’s been more than 100 different campus racism protests, and it’s evident that colleges and universities aren’t prepared to handle it,” Ross said. “Colleges and universities are places where we educate our future leaders, and if they’re not fostering an environment that is racism-free, or creating an inclusive environment, what does that say for the future of American society?”

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a book-signing event.

Henderson Hill, assistant dean of multicultural student success, said the decision to spotlight this topic was influenced by questions and concerns about current racial tensions and issues around the country.

“I think that people should attend this discussion because it is an opportunity to have a program facilitated by a content expert who does work related to race, culture and inclusion,” Hill said.

“Our students were impressed by Lawrence Ross, and we are excited for him to visit the University and share his powerful point of view on why racism still exists on college campuses and how we can all work together to create an environment where all feel like they belong,” said Dr. Willie McKether, UT vice president for diversity and inclusion.

McKether leads UT’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion and spearheaded the development of the University’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. It is available at

Ross’ visit is sponsored by the offices of Diversity and Inclusion, Multicultural Student Success, and Student Involvement and Leadership.

UT researchers use collaborative approach to investigate hypertensive kidney disease

Nearly 70 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, putting them at risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure. And one third of those individuals with hypertension also will eventually develop kidney disease.

Researchers at The University of Toledo are taking steps to better understand the relationship between high blood pressure and kidney disease to better treat those patients.

Dr. Steven Haller

Dr. Steven Haller

“Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, served as the principal investigator of the Cardiovascular Outcomes in Renal Atherosclerotic Lesions (CORAL) clinical trial, which determined the best treatment options for renal artery stenosis, or blockage in the renal arteries of the kidney. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to renal dysfunction in this disease remain largely unknown,” said Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professor of medicine. “We knew that the protein Cd40 played an important role in inflammation and clotting in the body, but had not yet identified how it contributed to renal fibrosis.”

Renal fibrosis is a progressive condition that is the direct consequence of the kidney’s limited ability to regenerate after injury. The scarring of the kidney tissue results in a loss of function which can potentially lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

“My team collaborated with Dr. Bina Joe in UT’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology to develop a rat model to explore the role of Cd40 in this scarring,” Haller said. “We found that by interrupting this protein, the rats had a significant reduction in renal fibrosis and demonstrated an improvement in renal function”

These results mean that the Cd40 protein not only contributes to inflammation, but also may contribute to renal fibrosis and can be considered as playing a critical role in the development of hypertensive renal disease, he said.

“It has been an exciting project to be a part of,” Haller said. “I have enjoyed collaborating with the other experts we have within UT’s Center for Hypertension and Personalized Medicine to take an interdisciplinary approach to research in our quest to learn more about disease and developing preventative and therapeutic treatments.”

While medications and human trials are still several years away, Haller and his colleagues plan to take the next steps in exploring the most effective and safest ways to interrupt Cd40 and reduce renal fibrosis.

The results of the study were presented in a paper entitled, “Targeted Disruption of Cd40 in a Genetically Hypertensive Rat Model Attenuates Renal Fibrosis and Proteinuria, Independent of Blood Pressure” and were published in Kidney International in August.

UT astronomer helps capture first sharp image of famous exploding star’s raging winds

A researcher at The University of Toledo is part of an international team of astronomers pioneering a new way to understand how extremely massive stars lose mass as they evolve.

The research team focused on the most luminous and massive stellar system in the Milky Way galaxy called Eta Carinae. Its primary star is 100 times more massive and five million times more luminous than the sun. That star also is famous for losing 10 suns worth of material – huge amounts of gas and dust – into space in an enormous explosion in the 1830s.

These astronomers are the first to use what is called the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at the the European Southern Observatory in Chile to study the violent wind collision zone between two stars in the system and discover new and unexpected structures.

Dr. Noel Richardson

Dr. Noel Richardson

“The scale of the images is roughly equivalent to being able to read the small print in a newspaper from 50 miles away,” said Dr. Noel Richardson, post-doctoral research associate in UT’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The team’s methods used to revolutionize infrared astronomy and the resulting discoveries were recently published in the international journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The researchers used interferometry, which is a technique combining the light from up to four telescopes to obtain an image about 10 times higher than the resolution of the largest single telescope.

Left: The nebula surrounding Eta Carinae as imaged with ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Right: High resolution image of the wind collision zone in the central region of Eta Carinae. The two red dots indicate the positions of the two stars. Credit: ESO and Gerd Weigelt

Left: The nebula surrounding Eta Carinae as imaged with ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Right: High resolution image of the wind collision zone in the central region of Eta Carinae. The two red dots indicate the positions of the two stars. Credit: ESO and Gerd Weigelt

“It’s phenomenal,” said Richardson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s degree in physics from UT in 2004 and 2006. “Until now, we couldn’t study the Eta Carinae star system’s wind collision zone because it was too small for the largest telescope.”

The Eta Carinae star system is 7,500 light years from Earth where winds from two tightly orbiting stars smash together at speeds of up to 10 million kilometers per hour approximately every five years. Temperatures reach many tens of millions of degrees – enough to emit X-rays.

Richardson says the star is too far south to observe from UT’s telescope. The collaborators in South America sent him data to analyze every night in mid-2014, the last time the stars passed close to each other. Richardson observed the images with spectroscopy and spotted structures in the data that hadn’t been seen before.

3-D print of wind collision cavity in Eta Carinae system based on models of Thomas Madura at San Jose University.

3-D print of wind collision cavity in Eta Carinae system based on models of Thomas Madura at San Jose University.

“We’ve learned the secondary star’s wind is carving a cavity into the primary star’s enormous wind,” Richardson said. “We saw large structures pushed out into space after the winds collide, were able to pinpoint how they were moving and learned they keep that geometric shape. It’s amazing to see the tails coming off, which are the shocks in the secondary star going into orbit. We have computer and 3-D print models that can now explain the X-rays, Hubble Space Telescope observations, unusual spectroscopic features and the incredible images from the Very Large Telescope Interferometer.”

“Our dreams came true because we can now get extremely sharp images in the infrared regime,” said Gerd Weigelt of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, who led the team of astronomers from the U.S., Canada, Chile, Japan and Brazil.

“Dr. Richardson’s work is a nice example of the kinds of international collaborations with which our UT astronomers are involved,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy. “The results, which use data from the Hubble Space Telescope, show a very interesting way to map the fossil remnants of material thrown off by a famously unstable binary star system.  I congratulate him on this work and am proud to note that he is a UT alumnus.”

Three 1.8-meter telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Credit: Gerd Weigelt

Three 1.8-meter telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Credit: Gerd Weigelt

Richardson hopes this new research helps astronomers come closer to understanding what triggered Eta Carinae’s explosion in the 1800s.

“That is one of the driving motivators for myself,” Richardson said. “How do we connect the physics of what is happening today to what happened back then? There is still a lot we don’t understand about the stars we have looked up and seen in the sky for a long time. Science is a process and we want to push the envelope to solve the mystery.”

UT political science dept. hosting final presidential debate watch event for students

The University of Toledo Department of Political Science and Public Administration is holding a final presidential debate watch event with students 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Snyder Memorial Room 3066.

Political science students will watch the debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, engage in fact-checking, follow social media response and participate in a discussion and evaluation.

“The debates are the last significant events that potentially move poll numbers unless there is a sudden major economic crisis or terror attack,” Sam Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, said. “Debates are rarely game changers, but Trump is a different kind of candidate so maybe they will have bigger effects than in the past. It’s important for students to participate in the process and see both candidates side by side answering questions about issues facing the country.”

UT pharmacists remind patients to discuss medications during awareness month

Nearly half of all Americans have taken at least one prescription medication and 20 percent have used three or more prescription drugs in the last month. But according to a National Council on Patient Information and Education survey, more than half report not taking their medications as prescribed, putting them at risk for serious health concerns.

During October, which is American Pharmacists Month and Talk about Your Medicines Month, University of Toledo pharmacists are encouraging patients to build a relationship with their pharmacist in order to learn how to take medications properly, manage multiple prescriptions and reduce prescription costs.

“Your pharmacist is likely the most accessible health care provider you have,” said Lindsey Eitniear, clinical pharmacist. “Yet not enough people take the time to talk to their pharmacist about their health. That is truly unfortunate, because we can provide many services to help our patients understand and manage their medications better.”

More than 12,000 prescriptions are filled each month across UT’s three outpatient pharmacies and pharmacists work directly with patients who are recovering in the UT Medical Center or being treated in several of UT’s clinics.

“We educate patients about taking their medication properly, identifying potential side effects and managing chronic conditions,” Eitniear said. “We also work to resolve insurance concerns and explore options for reducing out-of-pocket expenses.”

New legislation also allows a physician to permit pharmacists to make adjustments to medication dosages including those for blood pressure and diabetes at the pharmacy.

“We work closely with physicians to suggest simplifying medications or to clarify what has been ordered,” Eitniear said. “This extra communication ensures patients know how to take their medications correctly and is an added safety for patients.”

Eitniear said it is safest when patients use the same pharmacy each time they need a prescription filled, particularly if the patient takes multiple drugs.

“We can track some controlled medicines and a few others are tracked through insurance companies, but there is no one database that holds all patient prescription information,” she said. “Even a seemingly simple antibiotic can cause severe interactions with some medications. Pharmacists can spot these potential hazards if prescriptions are filled in the same location.”

Consistent use of the same pharmacy also allows a relationship to form between patient and pharmacist.

Holly Smith, UTMC Outpatient Pharmacy manager said patients should talk about all medications they are taking at each doctor’s appointment. She said printouts of all prescribed medications can be requested from the pharmacy and shared with physicians and family members.

“I tell patients to carry the list in their purse or wallet so they always have it with them,” she said. “It’s also important that there is at least one designated family member who knows your health history and medications in case of emergency.”

This also is a good time to take inventory of any leftover or expired medications. Pharmacists can advise patients the proper methods for disposing of old prescription and over the counter medications.

“We accept unwanted medications in a drop box in the emergency department of UTMC,” Smith said. “Patients with injectable medications should follow the directions on their sharps container for proper disposal.”

Smith said unused medications also can be mixed with used kitty litter or coffee grounds and disposed of in the trash. Medicated patches should be folded over and stuck together before being thrown away.

“I would advise anyone getting a prescription filled to take a minute to ask a few questions about the medication you will be taking. You can even call your usual pharmacy to review medications and discuss any concerns,” Smith said. “It is our goal as pharmacists to do the best we can by our patients so they are able to care for themselves and stay well.”

UT Fall Career Fair Oct. 19 open to all students, alumni

The University of Toledo will host a Fall 2016 Career Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Student Union Auditorium.

Representatives from 100 for-profit, government and nonprofit organizations will be available to meet with students regarding full-time and part-time employment and internship opportunities at the career fair organized by the UT Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services.

Registered organizations represent a wide range of fields, and employers include Promedica, Quicken Loans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NAMSA, ConAgra Foods, Norfolk Southern, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cleveland Indians, and the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium.

The city of Toledo will have three tables at the event, one for overall city positions and internships (including the new Toledo Talent Keeps Toledo Great initiative) and individual recruitment tables for police and firefighters.

Students of all majors are encouraged to attend. Alumni also are welcome. Participants can see a full list of employers at

“This career fair is open to all majors,” said Shelly Drouillard, director of the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services. “Students are asked to wear professional dress and to bring their Rocket Card and plenty of resumés to share with potential employers.”

The Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services works to connect students to meaningful learning experiences and assist them with determining a major and career exploration. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many services offered: resumé reviews, mock interviews and job search strategies.

‘Shark Tank’ investor, FUBU founder Daymond John to speak at UT Oct. 18

The man affectionately known as “The People’s Shark” who launched a $6 billion global company from his mother’s basement will visit The University of Toledo to talk about entrepreneurship and the road to success.

Daymond John, an investor on ABC’s Emmy award-winning reality television series “Shark Tank” and founder and CEO of the clothing line FUBU, will speak 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Nitschke Auditorium as part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Daymond's BlackSuit-2“Daymond John is a highly successful entrepreneur, but also a remarkable person who constantly challenges himself to learn more and do more, much like our honors students,” Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Honors College, said. “Toledo’s vibrant community of thinkers and doers will find his story of humble beginnings, smarts and grit both familiar and inspiring. We’re excited to have Daymond John as our first speaker in the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.”

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are first come, first served. For more information, go to

UT buses will shuttle students to and from the Student Union and the Transportation Center to Nitschke Auditorium approximately every 10 minutes beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition to his success at “Shark Tank” and FUBU, John is CEO of The Shark Group, a marketing consulting agency. He also is a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and the author of three best-selling books, Display of Power, The Brand Within and The Power of Broke.

The next lecture in the series 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Doermann Theater features Alex Sheen. Sheen is founder of “because I said I would,” a social movement and non-profit organization dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. Sheen once walked 245 miles across Ohio in 10 days to fulfill a promise.

UT awarded $286,782 to continue Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness

For the second time in two weeks, The University of Toledo has received a grant to prevent and address sexual assault on college campuses and help victims.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine awarded UT $286,782 to continue operations of the University’s Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, which was created last year.

The new funding is part of $79.5 million announced recently to support 356 crime victim service providers across the state through the Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative. The funds being awarded are from the Victims of Crime Act provided to Ohio from the U.S. Department of Justice. The fund is financed by federal settlements, fines and fees.

“Victims come first, and we want to set the example of how to do this successfully for other universities across the country to follow,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness.

“In the aftermath of a crime, it’s critically important that victims have easy access to comprehensive care and services,” DeWine said. “Through these grants, agencies throughout the state will be able to continue or even expand upon the ways they help victims of crime in Ohio.”

Last week the U.S. Department of Justice awarded UT a $299,202 grant to enhance efforts to prevent and address sexual assault victimization on college campuses through the creation of a coordinated community response team. The team will develop prevention, education and intervention policies and practices for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

“This is a national issue that we are committed to tackling here at UT through education, prevention and research,” said Dr. Megan Stewart, assistant professor of criminal justice and director of development and programming for the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness.

The UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness is a community where education, advocacy and research intersect that strengthens the University’s commitment to raise awareness and increase education and prevention of sexual assault and violence.

Media Coverage
The Blade (October 14, 2016)

Canaday Center exhibit looks at architecture of housing

What do the architectural styles of American middle-class homes say about the people who live in them?

The new exhibit of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, “House and Home: The Intersection of Domestic Architecture and Social History, 1870-1970,” attempts to answer that question by looking at the way the changing architecture of homes reflects the changing role of women and the evolution of families.

The exhibit includes examples of rare Victorian home pattern books from the late 19th century, catalogs of bungalow kit houses from the early 20th century, and plans for ranch-style homes built in post-war mid-century subdivisions, all from the center’s collections.

The free, public exhibit will open Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m. with a talk by historian Dr. Amy Richter, associate professor of history at Clark University and author of At Home in Nineteenth-Century America: A Documentary History, published in 2015 by New York University Press.

“The Queen Anne style of house was a three-dimensional expression of the middle-class woman’s role in society during the Victorian era,” said Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center and interim director of University Libraries. House and Home exhibit catalog cover

The period was dominated by a “Cult of Domesticity,” where women were expected to live virtuous lives and to be worshipped for their role in raising children and caring for their husbands. To reflect this life, Victorian homes often looked more like churches than houses and were heavily embellished, both on the outside and on the inside, Floyd said.

The houses had public parts, such as the parlor where women could show off their taste and style, and private parts where servants did much of the manual labor needed to keep such large houses operating efficiently.

At the turn of the 20th century, this view of women — and the architecture of homes — changed dramatically. As the Progressive era advocated for women to assume new roles in society outside of the home, houses became much smaller, Floyd said.

“The popular home design of this era was the bungalow — a simple house with a living room that replaced the parlor. Smaller homes were necessary because servants were increasingly hard to find,” she said.

After nearly two decades of depression and war in the 1930s and 1940s, Americans were desperate for housing, especially because of the post-war baby boom. To meet this demand, houses of the 1950s were constructed rapidly, often using prefabricated components, Floyd said. Beginning with the example of Levittown in New York, huge subdivisions of ranch houses that all looked alike were constructed in the suburbs. Women were encouraged in this new era to make their homes a place of happiness and comfort for their families.

Many new products were utilized in post-war housing, such as fiberglass insulation and large two-paned picture windows. New technology focused on improving efficiency in the kitchen through new appliances like dishwashers, and coal furnaces were replaced by forced air natural gas ones.

The exhibit includes many examples of the products made by Toledo companies that were used in post-war housing; these include Thermopane windows manufactured by Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in Toledo, curtains made of Owens-Corning Fiberglas, and Libbey-Owens-Ford’s Vitrolite kitchens and bathrooms.

“It is amazing to see how much Toledo corporations impacted the homes we grew up in,” Floyd said.

A speakers’ series will feature three free, public lectures on various aspects of the connection between home design and social history. All events will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Canaday Center located on the fifth floor of Carlson Library. Speakers will be:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 19 — Dr. Amy Richter, director of the Higgins School of Humanities, who will talk about why the home has become a rich subject of historical inquiry.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2 — Dr. Douglas Forsyth, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University. Forsyth, who has published numerous articles on early 20th century homes, will speak about the architecture of that period.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16 — Dr. Katerina Ruedi Ray, professor and director of the School of Art at Bowling Green State University. Ray, a national expert on modern architecture, will talk about housing architecture of the mid-century post-war period.

The free, public exhibit will be on display through May 5.

A related exhibit, “Comfort and Convenience: Toledo Corporations and Post-War Housing Innovation,” will be on display in the art gallery area outside the Canaday Center. It will feature advertising for some of the now common products by Libbey-Owens-Ford, Owens-Illinois, and Owens Corning that shaped modern home construction.