Focus on CU Faculty

A monthly digest of CU’s headline-making news from around the globe
February 2014

University of Colorado Boulder

CU-Boulder Nobel laureate Thomas Cech has added another distinction to his resume with his appointment to the first National Commission on Forensic Science. Cech, a CU Distinguished Professor who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry, was one of seven chemists among the 33 commission members selected out of a pool of more than 300 applicants. Daily Camera, Jan. 15

CU-Boulder’s Prashant Nagpal, left, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, and Franck Vernerey, right, assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, each received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award. Daily Camera, Jan. 13

CU-Boulder astronomer Emily Levesque has reported the discovery of another Thorne-Żytkow object candidate – a star where a red giant or supergiant contains a neutronstar at its core. It is considered the strongest candidate to date. Levesque announced her discovery at the 223rd American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C. Discovery News, Jan. 7

Mark D. Gross, who taught at CU from 1990 to 1999 as a professor of computational design, returns to the CU-Boulder campus for the ATLAS director position from Carnegie Mellon University. ATLAS is a campuswide institute that integrates information and communication technologies in education, research, creative work and outreach. Daily Camera, Jan. 15

A CU-Boulder study found that giving students a computer-based individualized review and study schedule can better help them retain lessons.

“Data collected from a population of learners can be leveraged to personalize review for individual students, yielding significant benefits over one-size-fits-all review,” said CU-Boulder researcher Robert Lindsey. Headlines and Global News, Jan. 21

Some scientists say that unlike the Arctic, where sharp declines in the ice on sea surfaces have been linked to warming, sea ice in the Antarctic has actually increased. “We’re constantly struggling against that statement, that Antarctic ice is increasing,” said Sharon E. Stammerjohn, a scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at CU-Boulder. “It misses key changes that are happening. And there are really strong climate signals in those changes.” The New York Times, Jan. 6

A study has found that natural gas plants emit a tiny fraction of the smog-causing gases and slightly more than half of the greenhouse gases emitted by their coal-burning counterparts,

“Since more and more of our electricity is coming from these cleaner power plants, emissions from the power sector are lower by 20, 30, even 40 percent for some gases since 1997,” said Joost de Gouw, lead author of the study and an atmospheric scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at CU-Boulder. Scientific American, Jan. 9

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

One hundred years ago this April, as many as 25 people, many children, were killed outside of Trinidad. They call it the Ludlow Massacre. The ensuing conflict between striking coal miners and company-controlled militia went on to take the lives of an estimated 200 people. To commemorate this dark era in our state’s history, CU is employing academic and artistic resources to bring new light to a not-so-distant time.

“This is what I call a collage performance,” said Glen Whitehead, assistant professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and director of the music program at UCCS. “I like the challenge of bringing in disparate musical genres and artists to collaborate and create a product larger than itself.” The Gazette, Jan. 28

The cadet honor code is at the heart of the controversy concerning covert cadet informants at the Air Force Academy. Fred Malmstrom, a 1964 graduate of the academy and a visiting scholar there for 13 years, and his co-author on several papers about the honor code, David Mullin, a UCCS professor, say informants are a consequence of the long-term deterioration of the honor code. The Gazette, Jan. 19

Almost all cases of the flu in Colorado have been confirmed to be the H1N1 strain that is covered by this year’s vaccine. Because of the ages of those being affected and because of how quickly sickness can spread in classrooms, UCCS medical staff have been trying to get the message out about how important it is for students to be vaccinated.  “Students tend to think that either they won’t get it or they haven’t had it yet so they haven’t experienced how bad it can be,” said Stephanie Hanenberg, executive director of health services at UCCS. “So once they get it, they tend to come in volume for the flu shot.” KOAA, Jan. 9

The El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Collaboration at UCCS is partnering with Peak Venture Group to sponsor a business plan competition 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 24 at The Lodge on campus. The format is similar to the popular “Shark Tank” television series in which entrepreneurs pitch their plans to a panel of judges. The Gazette, Jan. 13

Referring to the proposed UCCS Sports Medicine Center, one of the key components of the City for Champions proposal, former CU Regent Jerry Rutledge is confident. “You don’t have to worry about that. If I know Pam Shockley-Zalabak — and I do — she has already got that deal put together, and she’s moving on to the next step,” Rutledge said. Colorado Springs Business Journal, Jan. 2

University of Colorado Denver

When divided by whether crime in Denver is up or down, Police Chief Robert White and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey have a nearly 18 percentage-point difference in opinion about the way crime is trending. Although there is some science to crime statistics, said Callie Rennison, an associate professor at CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs. “Anyone who tells you, ‘Here’s my stat, it’s a perfect one,’ immediately don’t trust them. No stat is perfect, but some are less perfect than others.” The Denver Post, Jan. 22

A goes rose to CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning for establishing its Contemporary Traditional Architecture Initiative and hiring noted classicist Christine Franck to run it. It attests to the vigor with which modernism has stifled any regeneration of the traditional programs it expunged from architecture schools in the 1940s and beyond. Providence Journal, Jan. 28

A newly released book written by two Colorado professors argues that more U.S. combat veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the U.S. than anywhere else because the condition has become a cultural phenomenon.

Jean Scandlyn, a CU Denver research associate professor of health and behavioral sciences and anthropology, and Sarah Hautzinger, a Colorado College associate professor of anthropology, teamed up to write “Beyond Post-Traumatic Stress: Homefront Struggles With the Wars on Terror.” The Gazette, Jan. 19

Five university teams worked on a design for a “superefficient rowhouse” for Sustainability Park in the Curtis Park neighborhood as part of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Denver Superefficient Housing Challenge. Teams were tasked with designing rowhouses 50 percent to 60 percent more efficient than code within DHA’s real-world budget constraints.  Community members gave the People’s Choice Award to teams from CU Denver and the University of Utah. Confluence Denver, Jan. 22

The number-crunchers at the consumer website NerdWallet have considered various factors and determined Denver is a good place to be looking for a job this year. A great place, actually. One of the best.

“The University of Colorado Denver has a substantial career services department that even offers a Certificate of Employability to help students find employment in a competitive job market,” the site states. Denver Business Journal, Jan. 9

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Richard Krugman, M.D., announced he will soon leave his position as dean of the CU School of Medicine, where he has served more two decades. Krugman, a pediatrician who came to prominence as head of the Kempe National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, will stay on at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora until a successor is found. The Denver Post, Jan. 13

This season pregnant women make up 22 percent of patients hospitalized with the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to this flu, which is alarming because many Colorado women are choosing not to take the flu vaccine,” said Jaime Arruda, an OB/GYN and an assistant professor in the CU School of Medicine. “This is not a good idea. The flu can cause severe illness among pregnant women, resulting in preterm labor, hospitalization and death.” 9News, Jan. 22

Experts have warned that synthetic cannabinoids appeared to be growing more potent. Colorado-area emergency rooms noticed a sudden surge in admissions related to the drug from Aug. 24 to Sept. 19. Andrew Monte, an assistant professor in emergency medicine and medical toxicology at the CU School of Medicine, said 263 people visited area emergency rooms, mostly young men. Los Angeles Times, Jan. 21

The past few years, there has been a lot of interest in ancient grains — not rice, wheat or corn past its use-by date, but the seeds and grains that once were the staples of human diets. There’s good reason for that.

“Fiber content is where kamut, farro, barley, millet and other ancient grains differ from brown and white rice,” said Bonnie T. Jortberg, assistant professor of family medicine at the CU School of Medicine. The Denver Post, Jan. 15

What you eat can affect how you feel and perform while exercising, making it vital to provide your body with the essential nutrients and energy to help you feel good and allow for optimal physical activity. Michelle Cardel, a nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, says it is vital to provide your body with the essential nutrients and energy to help you feel good and allow for optimal physical activity. 9News, Jan. 9

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