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We Must Tell the True Story of Native Americans

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:31am

The drive from Moline, Illinois, to Salem, Massachusetts, was much less leisurely than the trip from Tucson to Moline. My mother, sister Cydney and I piled into the car and had two days to make a 1,200-mile drive with threats of 60 mph winds and hail.

I thought about all of the "Indian stuff" I saw along the way, particularly place names that obviously have been borrowed from Native languages. I wondered about the depth to which the general population understands the origins of those place names — and if the general population acknowledges the peoples from whom those names derive.

We arrived safely in Salem the night before the first day of my Peabody Essex Museum (or PEM) Native American Fellowship orientation and had dinner with the three other fellows and the coordinators of our summer program.

The other fellows and I became fast friends — the kind of friends you intuitively know will have a long-lasting impact on your life.

Jordan Dresser, of the Northern Arapaho Tribe from Wyoming, already has been given three nicknames within our group. That is a very positive sign in Native communities, given that teasing is cultural currency.

The youngster of the group, Halena Kapuni-Reynolds (Kanaka Maoli), who is Native Hawaiian and from Hawai’i, has become a parental figure of sorts, making sure that everyone is fed and feels comfortable and welcome in any situation.

Lastly, there is Alex Nahwegahbow (Anishinaabe and Kanien’keha:ka) from Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada. Nahwegahbow almost feels like the twin I never had. From our personal tastes to our scholarly pursuits, we are kindred spirits.

On our first day of orientation, PEM staff welcomed us with a blessing by Elizabeth James Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) and Leah Hopkins (Niantic/Narragansett), who are representatives of local tribal nations. The two women honored us with gifts of greeting, inviting us to be guests on their homelands. In this gesture of gifting, there is a tacit agreement that we will uphold their standards of dignity and respect while we’re here.

In addition to receiving this warm welcome, PEM staff took us on tours of Salem's historic downtown and waterfront, and even went above and beyond to take us to pick up groceries and other necessities.

Throughout our orientation week, each of us had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Dan L. Monroe, the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and chief executive officer of the Peabody Essex Museum, about our aspirations for our fellowship work. He imparted words of wisdom that will guide us in our time at PEM, which was founded in 1799.

At the end of our orientation week, we participated in our first of nine leadership workshop sessions that focus on professional development within museums, including sessions on effective communication, cultural interpretation and exhibit design.

We also began work in our assigned departments.

As the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture, I have the honor of working with the esteemed Karen Kramer, PEM's curator of Native American Art and Culture. Like being able to work and live with Nahwegahbow, Kapuni-Reynolds and Dresser, working with Kramer already feels like a serendipitous and synchronous relationship.

At the conclusion of our orientation week, I reflected on the trip from Tucson to Salem. I contemplated the erasure of Native peoples from those landscapes, and the subsequent erasure of Native peoples from popular culture and mainstream consciousness. While that seems like quite the downer, it really isn't.

I sat there, smiling, confined to the car, anticipating that I would be going to a place to do work that says, "Hey, mainstream America, we're still here." That we as Native people — we, as four Native American fellows — can, and will, be able to talk about our cultural items and tell our own stories from our lived experiences. That I am going to a place where Native people can interpret those cultural items and stories for the benefit of the museum and for the world. And that we fellows can do that on our own terms.

And that is exactly what PEM is giving us the opportunity to do.

Photo: John de Dios/UANews

Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the U.S. and abroad. It is the UA's 100% Engagement initiative in action, and the experiences will prepare the students to be real-world ready upon graduation.

Categories: Social Sciences and EducationTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeByline: Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, 2015 UANews Student Columnist |UANow Image: Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Wednesday, June 17, 2015Medium Summary: As a Peabody Essex Museum fellow, UA graduate student Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu will have opportunities to discuss Native cultural items and narrate indigenous experiences.Feature on Front: YesShort Summary: Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu says the Native story must be reinterpreted accurately. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

UA Initiative to Aid Large Brazilian City

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 2:31pm

The mayor of Brazil's fifth-largest city is turning to a familiar source for help with an array of urban challenges.

Roberto Cláudio Rodrigues Bezerra is only 39 — not even 10 years removed from his postgraduate studies at the University of Arizona — and he acknowledges that his hands are full in leading Fortaleza, the state capital of Ceará, located in northeastern Brazil.

Although Brazil has had a national health care system in place for nearly 30 years, Roberto Cláudio says resources have been lacking to improve its quality. One-fourth of his city's budget goes to health care and the pressures placed on it by a high crime rate, drug addiction and traffic safety problems. A recent measles outbreak also underscored the city's limitations.

Fast-growing Fortaleza, with a population of 2.6 million and 21 miles of coastline, is also Brazil's second-most inequitable city, and the gulf between rich and poor is widening. Fortaleza was one of the host cities for soccer's World Cup in 2014.

"We have to give priority to the poorest neighborhoods of the city," Roberto Cláudio said in a recent visit to the UA's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, from which he holds a master's degree in public health (2002) and a doctorate in epidemiology (2006).

"That's not magic. That takes time. A major priority is to improve the quality of life in the poorest neighborhoods of the city, and that takes a multidimensional approach.... We must destroy the Berlin Wall of shame that separates the rich city from the poor city."

Assistance is coming in the form of I3For, an initiative involving the University of Fortaleza, the city and the UA. The initiative will involve research, community development, an innovation ecosystem that connects to industry, and a partnership of the universities. Mike Proctor, the UA's vice president for global initiatives, has been working with Roberto Cláudio on the details.

"There are research projects and faculty (at the UA) with expertise and knowledge in areas of our interest," Roberto Cláudio said. "That will be part of the collaboration."

Roberto Cláudio, who has been in office for two and a half years, said the job of mayor "is a major honor but also a major responsbility." During his tenure, he said he has implemented policies and programs in education, infrastructure, the economy and areas of social concern. Although he originally had planned to be a doctor, he gravitated to public health while at the UA and then to public service upon his return to Brazil. He is a native of the country's northeastern region.

"I got involved (in politics) to defend what I had studied," he said. "Some progress has been made, but things had deteriorated so much. No one solves a local health care problem in four years."

Describing Fortaleza's challenges as "very profound," Roberto Cláudio said the initiative with the UA is unusual.

"It will be one of few international collaborations to address a city's problems," he said. "We are very hopeful about the outcomes."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations — CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Fast-growing Fortaleza, whose mayor is UA alumnus Roberto Cláudio Rodrigues Bezerra, will receive assistance directed by the University's Office of Global Initiatives.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Students Serving Students

Sat, 06/13/2015 - 6:48pm

University Emergency Medical Services, or University EMS, serves the University of Arizona campus and its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Operations run seven days a week, 24 hours a day, during the fall and spring semesters.

University EMS, which began as a student club a few years ago, responds primarily on an EMS-equipped golf cart. The organization has members from all majors, ranging from physiology and nutrition to education and communications. All units responding to medical emergencies on campus consist of two Arizona-certified emergency medical technicians.

University EMS operations are based out of the Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall, where crews receive 911 call information from the UA Police Department communications center. On the scene, immediate basic emergency medical care is provided until the Tucson Fire Department or Southwest Ambulance arrives to further treat and transport the patient. Monthly continuing education courses are held and weekly mock drills are performed to keep members current on protocols.

University EMS also provides contract medical standby services at campus events and functions.

For more information, email

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): HealthTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  University EMS Video of University EMS Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Meet a crew from University EMS, which started as a club and now provides around-the-clock emergency medical services for the UA. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, June 15, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

'Tough Phase' for Cotton Growers, UA Dean Says

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:07pm

Shane Burgess has an answer for those who say it’s time to drop cotton from Arizona’s "five C’s" for the demands it places on water resources.

Not so fast.

Although farmers planted more than 161,000 acres of cotton in Arizona in 2013 — the second-highest total for any crop in the state — irrigated farmland actually has decreased in recent decades with improvements in technology and crop engineering.

That’s not to say that the state’s cotton farmers aren’t concerned. Burgess, dean of the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was the keynote speaker at a recent conference of the Arizona Cotton Growers Association in Flagstaff and picked up on the farmers’ anxiety in the meeting’s one-word theme: "Survival."

"They’re going through a tough phase, but they’ve been through tough phases before," Burgess said. "They’re hoping the cycle will come back up."

Federal officials are saying Arizona’s water deliveries from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project may be cut as soon as next year. That doesn’t bode well for agriculture, which uses about 70 percent of the state’s water.

A recent story by the investigative website ProPublica, headlined "Holy Crop," took the position that federal dollars are propping up water-wasting Arizona cotton farmers.

However, Burgess said Gov. Doug Ducey got it right when Ducey said the state’s stewardship of water has been exceptional over the years.

"Water has been important (to Arizona) forever," Burgess said. "It has been the story since the Hoover Dam was built.

"It’s not an all-of-a-sudden problem. This is a well-managed issue in Arizona. But in California, it’s a problem."

The disappearance of the $17.1 billion that agriculture contributes to Arizona’s economy isn’t something residents should be rooting for, Burgess said. For example, Yuma County, where the UA has a strong Cooperative Extension presence, ranks in the top 0.5 percent of U.S. counties in total crop sales — and the top 0.1 percent in vegetable and melon sales and lettuce acreage.

But Arizona farmers are businesspeople first and growers second, Burgess said.

"Their business is land," he said. "They’ll produce whatever is the smartest thing for them. Sometimes that’s cotton. Other times it’s alfalfa, cattle or building houses. They’ll use (the land) for its highest and best use."

Burgess said Cooperative Extension, which has brought UA research into rural communities throughout the state for decades, plays a significant role in agriculture’s infrastructure.

"Agriculture is an industry that uses bio and information technologies," he said. "We take direct risks at the University (in research) that private industry can’t afford to take. If they pay off, industry picks them up, and this directly contributes to Arizona’s economic growth. No other Arizona university does this."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations — CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Shane Burgess says they're not water wasters, noting that irrigated farmland in Arizona actually has decreased in recent decades.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Center Studies Climate-Civilization Link

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 5:31pm

How did long-gone peoples respond to changing environments in their homelands? How did catastrophic events impact human populations? What conditions allowed empires to rise and triggered their collapse, and what can today's societies learn about the future?

A new interdisciplinary research center bringing together faculty from the University of Arizona's School of Anthropology, Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and Department of Geosciences is poised to shed light on how people in the Mediterranean — often referred to as the cradle of civilization — dealt with shifting weather patterns, deluges and droughts, and dearth and abundance.

The establishment of the Center for Mediterranean Archaeology and the Environment, or CMATE, builds on a legacy of more than 75 years of cross-disciplinary collaboration between the world's founding laboratory for dendrochronology and colleagues in the School of Anthropology (currently celebrating its centennial year), geosciences and other units at the UA. Dendrochronology is the science of dating wood based on its growth rings­.

The creation of CMATE was celebrated in a special joint issue of the journals Radiocarbon and Tree-Ring Research, both housed at the UA.

By combining different perspectives and methodologies for reconstructing the past, the goal is to assemble a continuous, high-resolution chronology of the Mediterranean region spanning multiple millennia. Such a chronology will help researchers gain a greater and more highly resolved picture of past human and environmental interactions in the cradle of Old World civilizations.

"In addition to improving our understanding of the development of Mediterranean civilizations, CMATE aims at improving and transforming the region into the world’s premier 'observatory' for the study of human-environment interactions in deep time," said CMATE director Steven Kuhn.

"Just as the present may provide a key to understanding the past, understanding the past may provide the key to future predictions," said Charlotte Pearson of the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, the associate director of CMATE, who also is affiliated with the School of Anthropology. "Why did some civilizations decline and some endure? How were past societies impacted by natural events such as droughts, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis or earthquakes, and over what time frame? Those are the kinds of questions we want to answer."

Parallels between the Mediterranean and the American Southwest allow the CMATE scientists to apply decades of expertise in connecting tree-ring research to archaeology and climate research, according to Pearson. For example, both regions share the occasional appearance of droughts at critical moments in history, which needs investigation. Other aspects are very different.

"In the Mediterranean, we don't have trees like 'Prometheus,' bristlecone pines that are up to 5,000 years old, growing undisturbed in remote locations," Pearson said. "There, people have cultivated and populated the land, practiced agriculture, cut down trees, built structures, gone to war with each other and so forth. Therefore, the wood they left behind is disturbed. It's a cultural record of wood, so we have shorter sequences of tree rings with gaps for some critical periods that we are constantly working to fill."

Accordingly, scientists visualize the Mediterranean as a complex puzzle, and solving it requires the collaboration of several disciplines.

"We can get one part of the picture with tree-ring science, another with archaeology or geology, and another with radiocarbon dating," Pearson said. "CMATE brings together just that combination of expertise, knowledge and skills to form a bigger, better, composite image."

The UA experts contributing to the CMATE Special Issue are pioneering fresh chronometric approaches such as analyzing signatures of Earth's magnetic field recorded like timestamps in ancient fired ceramic structures (Eleni Hasaki in the School of Anthropology with collaborators from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece).

"In recent decades, our European colleagues have constructed extensive archaeomagnetic databases that facilitate the dating of fired ceramic artifacts, from metal furnaces to pottery kilns and bread ovens," Hasaki said. "They join forces with archaeologists to refine dates of artifacts and sites over wide chronological horizons. Closely-dated activities enrich our understanding of a variety of topics, from craft technologies to human interaction within social and commercial networks."

Others are applying radiocarbon dating to figure out that hackberries found in Neolithic trash heaps in Turkey were left behind there about 12,000 years ago (Jay Quade of the Department of Geosciences and Mary Stiner of the School of Anthropology).

By unlocking the stories hidden in the tree rings of wood that once was part of cargo ships and harbor pilings excavated in what today is the Turkish capital of Istanbul, associate research professor Tomasz Wazny of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research discovered that the wood was hauled in over large distances around the Black Sea.

Other tree-ring research professors, Ramzi Touchan and David Meko, are starting in the present and working back in time, reconstructing the first detailed histories of drought across the Mediterranean and North Africa over the last 2,000 years. Meanwhile, Valerie Trouet is investigating the regional and global forcing on Mediterranean climate. Just as in the Southwest today, drought is becoming a pressing issue in the Mediterranean. It also was a big issue in the past.

One such time was the so-called 4.2 kiloyear event — a period of unusual drought so named because it started about 4,200 years ago. It is the subject of the lead article in the special issue authored by Malcolm H. Wiener, an internationally acclaimed prehistorian and member of the CMATE steering committee who recently received the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor by the Hellenic Republic for his contribution to the study of Aegean prehistory.

"Around that time, the pyramid-building in Egypt ceased, and carvings show emaciated figures, hinting at a famine," Pearson said.

But the changes described by Wiener were not limited to the Mediterranean and Near East.

"China appears to have undergone major fluctuations in this broad general time period, although the dates are still somewhat uncertain," Wiener said. "Human history has been marked by major episodes of climate change, pandemics — perhaps climate-related — and human response including migrations, sometimes accompanied by independent innovations such as the widespread appearance of bronze weapons and of sailing vessels." 

Wiener currently is working on a publication on the collapse and revival of Mediterranean and Near Eastern societies at the end of the Bronze Age.

Said Pearson: "Much debate surrounds questions like whether climate really did cause the collapse of ancient empires. The further you go back in time, the fuzzier things become, and the only way we can get answers is to pull together lines of evidence from multiple disciplines and arrange them in a chronologic framework that is as precise and accurate as possible."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsExtra Info: 

Read the story about "Prometheus," the world's oldest known tree, here.  

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The Center for Mediterranean Archaeology and the Environment brings together experts from a variety of disciplines to solve some of the most pressing mysteries of how civilizations, past and present, cope with changes in their environment.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

For Father's Day, 5 Ways Dads Matter

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 4:29pm

The bond between mother and child has long been recognized as critical to children's development, but what about Dad?

Increasingly, scientists have turned their attention to the role of fathers in the family. It's a timely topic, as an estimated one-third of U.S. children grow up in homes without their biological dads, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.    

At the University of Arizona, researchers are investigating the role of fathers under the Fathers, Parenting and Families Initiative, a research and education effort within the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families. The McClelland Institute is housed in the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, part of the University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

One of the unique offerings born from the initiative is an innovative UA general education course dedicated entirely to the topic of fathering. Taught by husband and wife Dieter and Netzin Steklis, the class, called "Men, Fatherhood and Families: A Biocultural Perspective," looks at fatherhood across a variety of species and cultures and throughout different periods of history.

In honor of Father's Day this weekend, the Steklises and other campus researchers weighed in on a few of the ways dads can make a difference.  

They provide life lessons during playtime.

For more than 20 years, the Steklises have observed the behaviors of mountain gorillas in the wild and have drawn some compelling connections between gorilla and human dads, especially in the way that they play.

Dads in both species, the Steklises say, often engage in "rough and tumble" play with their little ones — think playful wrestling or tossing toddlers in the air. It turns out this may offer more than fun and giggles; the Steklises believe this style of play may help train children in emotional regulation.

"Emotional regulation is reacting in an appropriately emotional way — not over-responding or under-responding — and it takes learning," said Dieter Steklis, professor at UA South and a UA affiliate professor of psychology and adjunct professor of family studies and human development.

When dads roughhouse with their kids, it's in a controlled and safe environment, and although Dad is larger and stronger than the child, the child learns that he or she is not in danger and they don't need to overreact with fear in the situation, Dieter Steklis said.

They influence choices about sex.

Bruce Ellis, the John and Doris Norton Endowed Chair in Fathers, Parenting and Families, has conducted research on how fathers influence sexual behavior in their teenage daughters.

His published findings show that girls who receive lower-quality fathering tend to engage in more risky sexual behavior in adolescence, while higher-quality father-daughter relationships seem to be uniquely protective against risky sexual behavior.

In a current study, Ellis and Danielle Delpriore, a postdoctoral research associate in the Norton School, are looking into the topic even further, studying sisters whose parents divorced and whose father moved out of the home.

Although the research is still in progress, the expectation, Delpriore said, is that older sisters, who spent more time with a high-quality live-in father, may engage in fewer risky behaviors than their younger sisters.

They breed good fathers.

Research suggests that young boys who grow up with good fathers have a more positive attitude about fatherhood when they eventually become dads themselves.

Henry Gonzalez, a UA doctoral candidate in family studies and human development, studied this idea specifically in Hispanic families, and found that biological dads aren't the only men who can have this sort of impact.

Gonzalez found that the presence of an involved biological father or a strong father figure — such as a grandfather, uncle or godfather — influences how Hispanic boys think about fathering when they grow into adults, making it more likely that they will become engaged fathers themselves.

"The American family structure is changing, so we should account for different types of men other than biological fathers helping to raise a child," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez presented the findings in Philadelphia earlier this year at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, along with Melissa Barnett, UA associate professor of family studies and human development.

They support Mom.

There's no question that being a parent is a daunting job, especially for those who must do it alone.

An involved father not only has the potential to positively impact a child but also to help relieve the burden on the mother, contributing to her happiness, well-being and ability to be a better and more balanced parent herself.

"We know becoming parents is highly stressful, and we know the quality of parenting varies by the quality of the parents' relationship," said Netzin Steklis, a lecturer in family and consumer sciences. "The first way you can help a child have good developmental setting is by having a good quality relationship that includes supportive co-parenting."

Which leads to the next way that dads matter.

They are relationship role models.

Healthy mother-father relationships can set a positive example for young children as they prepare to join social settings themselves, according to research.

Dads are just one half of the equation, of course, but they are an important one, researchers say, as children observe and emulate their parents' behaviors, whether it's on the playground, in the classroom or in their own romantic relationships in the future.

"It can affect their social relationships — how they get along with peers and how they treat the opposite sex," Netzin Steklis said.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Alexis BlueByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA researchers weigh in on how dads can make a difference, from imparting life lessons to serving as role models.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Grad Leads STEM Teaching Fellows

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:58am

Lisa Kist, who earned her master's degree from the University of Arizona College of Education's Teachers in Industry in 2012, leads a team of teachers from Tucson's Gridley Middle School that has been selected to be part of the inaugural Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows.

The Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows is a nationally competitive program offered by the University of Notre Dame Center for STEM Education to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction and learning.

Ronald W. Marx, dean of the College of Education, lauded the work of Kist, now a teacher at Gridley, and April Knippen, a professional development participant who works with Kist at Gridley.

"They have used their connections with industry afforded by their studies to help Gridley develop a truly outstanding STEM education program," Marx said. "Notre Dame's selection of the Gridley team members as Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows is recognition of the national leadership that we are developing in southern Arizona in STEM education."

The team of Gridley teachers was chosen as Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows as part of a cohort consisting of 10 school teams and 35 teachers, selected from eight states across the nation.

"Your cohort represents a wide range of contexts, experiences and student populations," Matthew Kloser, director of the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education, wrote in a letter announcing the honor.

Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows receive paid travel, lodging and meal expenses for summer institutes and retreats, along with a $6,000 stipend. Fellows receive 100 hours of professional development and training in STEM teaching, learning, assessment and leadership. The group also has access to content-specific instructional coaching.

Teachers in Industry, a partnership with Tucson Values Teachers, combines paid summer industry work experiences for STEM teachers in local businesses with either a master's degree in education or professional development credits. For three summers, teachers are hired by local STEM-related businesses and paid at industry levels for their work. 

"The teachers bring their real-world experiences back into their classrooms while building in-depth and practical knowledge of the workplace," said Julia Olsen, director of Teachers in Industry, which is available in southern Arizona, the Phoenix area and via distance access for teachers in rural areas.

Teachers in Industry recently was identified by Change the Equation, a national group of 100 CEOs, as one of the leading STEM education programs in the nation.

Colleen Niccum, a Tucson Values Teachers board member, also lauded the work of Kist and Knippen.

"Lisa and April best exemplify how both schools and businesses benefit from a program like Teachers in Industry,” said Niccum, a retired Raytheon executive who helped create the Teachers in Industry program.

"As a result of her summer work experience, Lisa brought virtual design technology from Raytheon into a new virtual reality classroom, which inspires students to pursue career paths that could lead them to jobs at Raytheon or other high-tech companies — exactly the result we hope to achieve with STEM education programs."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA College of EducationExtra Info: 

For more information about the Teachers in Industry program, contact director Julia Olsen at or 520-621-5682. For more information about Tucson Values Teachers, contact Marian Salzman, the executive chair, at 520-327-7619 or 646-361-1837.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Led by alumnae Lisa Kist, a team of teachers from Tucson's Gridley Middle School has been selected to be part of the inaugural Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

Dusty Secrets Could Help Asthma Sufferers

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 4:39pm

Researchers in the University of Arizona's BIO5 Institute have entered into a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products and Janssen Biotech Inc. to leverage foundational discovery research aimed at determining environmental factors that underlie asthma and allergies.

The project's goal is to identify compounds present in dust in the farm environment that may be protective against asthma. Findings from this study could lead to the development of medicines to prevent the disease.

While asthma is known to have a genetic component, the recent dramatic increase in its prevalence across westernized countries cannot be due to this factor alone, suggesting that environment plays a major role. Asthma, the most prevalent childhood disease, affects more than 278 million people worldwide and predisposes individuals to a range of serious consequences later in life. Yet, current approved therapies address only symptoms and do not halt disease progression.

"This important study seeks to determine which environmental factors predispose for — or protect against — respiratory diseases like asthma," said Dr. Fernando Martinez, UA Regents’ Professor of Pediatrics and director of both the BIO5 Institute and the Arizona Respiratory Center. "As a result, we will know which exposures ought to be avoided, and which natural environmental products could be transformed into medicines that promote lung health and prevent asthma."

Principal investigators on the study include Martinez, as well as Dr. Donata Vercelli, professor of cellular and molecular medicine in the UA College of Medicine, and Shane Snyder, professor of chemical and environmental engineering, who holds joint appointments in the UA Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Public Health. All are BIO5 members.

The critical nature of early childhood environmental exposures in asthma development has been well documented in previous studies that revealed strong protection against asthma in children raised on traditional animal farms in Alpine Europe and in the United States. Children exposed to farm life early on, specifically those coming in contact with livestock, hay and silage, show a much lower prevalence of asthma (1.4 percent) compared with almost 12 percent among children from non-farming environments.

Recent studies by Martinez, Vercelli and collaborators showed that similar differences in asthma prevalence are found in two unique U.S. farming populations, the Indiana Amish and the South Dakota Hutterites. While both communities share a lifestyle known to affect asthma risk, the Amish live on single-family traditional farms and use horses for work and transportation, whereas the Hutterites live on large, communal farms and embrace modern farming technology. Interestingly, the percentage of Amish children suffering from asthma is much lower (5.2 percent) than the 15 percent of Hutterite children.

In collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products and Janssen immunology scientists, the UA researchers will conduct studies using dust samples obtained from Amish and Hutterite communities, with the aim of identifying which specific compounds may be protective against asthma or allergies.

The team is uniquely poised to tackle this study. Its work began in 2012, when collaborators Dr. Mark Holbreich in Indianapolis and Carole Ober at the University of Chicago collected airborne house dust samples in Amish and Hutterite homes. Studies using a mouse model of asthma that was developed in Vercelli's lab then revealed that inhalation of Amish dust extracts was sufficient to strongly protect the mice from asthma-like changes in the lungs. Even more striking, administration of Amish dust extracts suppressed genes that underpin allergic lung inflammation, whereas gene activity in mice exposed to Hutterite dust remained unchanged.

"Although we don't know what substances in dust are responsible for these effects, it is likely that it is not a single compound," Vercelli said. "Rather, we expect a complex mix, because the effects we see are extremely pronounced."

One of the goals of the collaboration is to dissect the biological responses triggered by exposure to the "protective" compounds in dust to learn what the mechanisms are, so they can inform the development of new therapies, she said. Although too early to tell at this stage, possible findings include agents that protect against existing asthma and agents that prevent asthma.

"What we see in reality in the farming population is prevention," Vercelli said. "It's not like they develop asthma, and once they have it, it gets milder. They just never get it.

"We are hoping to find a protective agent, and whether this is something that can also be used to treat existing asthma, we have to see."

While studies have shown that asthma begins early in life, data also suggest that environmental exposure is probably important throughout life, Vercelli explained. "There is something to be said for maintaining that environmental pressure. This has not been studied very carefully, and it is is something we are going to learn from this study."

The study hinges on the team's interdisciplinary expertise and technology, with Vercelli and Martinez focusing on the clinical aspects and Snyder bringing to the table technology and expertise in analyzing particulates and dust.

"Finding the links between genetic disposition and environmental triggers makes the pairing of clinical practice and basic research all the more important," Martinez said. "Interdisciplinary, translation-minded entities like the BIO5 Institute and the Arizona Respiratory Center encourage colleagues from different backgrounds to collaborate on ideas and protocols that address both scientific and clinical applications. The UA is focused on creating the type of environment, facilities and collaborations needed to make outcome-based research a reality."

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LLC will highlight the collaboration as one of its new alliances with life science companies and research institutions around the globe to explore early-stage innovation just ahead of the BIO International Convention, to be held June 15-18 in Philadelphia.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: In the first study of its kind, researchers in the UA's BIO5 Institute have set out to identify compounds in dust samples from Amish farming communities that could prevent asthma.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Fellow Prepares for 'Best Decade' of Life

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:58am

Photo: John de Dios/UANews

Yá’át’ééh! Shi éí Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu yinishyé. Honágháahnii eí nishłį dóó biligáana báshíshchíín. Áádóó Ashiihi éí da shicheii dóó biligáana éí da shinálí. 

Hello! My name is Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu. I am One-Who-Walks-Around Clan born for White Man (specifically Belgians and Croatians). My maternal grandfather is Salt Clan and my paternal grandfather is of the White Man (specifically Belgians).

The above is how Dinè (Navajo) people introduce ourselves in Dinè bizaad, the Navajo language, and is a way for Navajos to identify our relationships to others based upon our clan system. Navajo culture is matrilineal, so my first clan is my mother's clan passed down from her mother, and so on. My clans are how I identify myself in relation to my family, and they are something that can never change about me as a person.

In the academic world, I am a doctoral student in the Department of American Indian Studies with a concentration in American Indian education. I am also working toward a certification in higher education.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, I had the pleasure of working at the Arizona State Museum as a graduate research assistant in three divisions: American Indian relations, education and exhibits. My experience at the museum directly led me to an incredible summer opportunity at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Out of a highly competitive application process, I was selected to be the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture.

In addition to having the privilege of earning this prestigious fellowship, I also was able to take this opportunity to drive cross-country from Tucson to Salem with my sister, Cydney, to visit both sides of our family. Cydney and I left Tucson just as the Old Pueblo was approaching uncomfortably warm temperatures. After winding our way through the majestic White Mountains and Salt River Canyon, we made our way to Dinè Bikèyah, the Navajo Nation, to visit our relatives.

Once we arrived on Navajo lands, John Denver's "Country Roads" came on the radio. I teared up reminiscing about the numerous summers my mom, sister and I drove from the opposite direction — from Illinois to Arizona — and my mom would play that song on cassette or CD the moment the Rocky Mountains came into view. It's a song that will forever conjure feelings of going home, whether that home is Dinè Bikèyah, Illinois, Tucson or elsewhere. 

Although Cydney and I were only on the Navajo Nation for a short 24-hour visit, we hiked down Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona, with our cousins and had lunch with our grandparents, Nelson and Rosalie Tsosie.

As we were about to leave town, Papa Tsosie left us with wise words as he always does, explaining to his "million-dollar grandchildren" the importance of Navajo kinship systems, what it means to be Honágháahnii and that we should always have a positive attitude and never feel sorry for ourselves, regardless of our circumstances.

We left Many Farms, Arizona, with those words in mind and drove through southern Colorado and the snow-capped tops of Wolf Creek Pass late into the night, finally seeking sanctuary in Pueblo, Colorado. We were able to enjoy a five-mile run along the Arkansas River and a boat cruise along the Pueblo Riverwalk before the final push to Moline, Illinois, where both of our parents and the majority of our father's side of the family reside.

During our four days in Moline, my sister and I spent most of our time with our parents and other family members. I celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by my father's side of the family. It was the perfect introduction to what I anticipate will be the best decade of my life. And it's all beginning with a remarkable journey to the East Coast.

Stay tuned for the next part of my trip that details my travels from Illinois to Massachusetts, orientation to PEM, and meeting the three other PEM Native American Fellows.

Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the United States and abroad. It is the UA's 100% Engagement initiative in action, and the experiences will prepare the students to be real-world ready upon graduation.

Categories: Teaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeEducationByline: Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, 2015 UANews Student Columnist |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 10, 2015Medium Summary: Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu is serving as the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu is a fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

Startup Aspirant Combines Business, Aerospace Engineering

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:39am

Photo courtesy of Andrew Granatstein

As my fourth and final year of undergraduate studies fast approaches, I am becoming increasingly aware that attending college at the University of Arizona was the best decision I made during my first 20 years of life.

I came out of high school knowing exactly what I wanted to do after college and what I wanted to study, but my path toward those goals has constantly adapted. My goal has always been to start my own private space corporation and to make my mark on this world by taking humanity to other worlds. This point in history is the perfect time to do just that.

With creative minds like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos — to name a few — innovative space companies are popping up all over the world and injecting momentum into the blossoming industry that is the private space sector. To join these titans in the industry, I need to gain a unique set of skills, both technical and business-related, in order to understand the ins-and-outs of space travel technologies and subsequently take these technologies to the international (and perhaps someday interplanetary) market.

This summer, I will be interning at Aztera, a Tucson-based technology development company. I will start building the unique skill sets of experiences and know-how that are necessary to succeed in the technology startup world.

But let me back up a few steps.

I grew up in Wenatchee, Washington, a unique town also known as the "Apple Capital of the World" because of its abundance of orchards and impact on the tree fruit industry. My free time was spent boating and kayaking on the beautiful lakes and rivers in the area, snowboarding in the mountains and over the ridges, and playing sports.

In high school, I discovered an affinity for math and physics, and I eventually fell in love with the concept of outer space, the final frontier. When searching for colleges, I made it a priority to apply to schools where I could escape the perennial gray winters while taking advantage of unique opportunities and a top-tier education to reach my goals.

The UA stole my heart as soon as I visited campus. Deciding to attend school out of state was a very easy decision with regards to personal growth, but also an extremely emotional decision with regards to leaving my home scenery, close friends and loving family.

I knew I wanted to major in aerospace engineering in the Honors College and I was pre-admitted to both when deciding to attend the UA on scholarship. During my freshman year, I quickly realized I wanted to continue taking post-required math classes, so I signed up for the minor in mathematics. Then, during my sophomore year, I further realized that I might not want to be an engineer for my entire career. I discovered that while I was studying aerospace engineering to garner the technical background necessary to launch a space company, I needed to supplement that with strong business acumen.

Luckily for me, the UA has one of the most prestigious entrepreneurship programs in the country in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. I was admitted for my junior year. Through the program, I went from zero business knowledge to being the general manager of my team's water monitoring and conservation company, H2knOw. I gained skills in management, financial modeling, marketing, writing a business plan, leadership and networking to go along with my "rocket science" background.

The program taught me the skills necessary for the next steps of my journey: interning at Aztera and working on my co-founded venture, H2knOw.

This summer, I will be working closely with other startup ventures that Aztera is managing and developing by helping to take new, proprietary technology to the market and using existing technology in original, innovative ways. I will get to work with technologies as diverse as unmanned aerial vehicles and solar energy, and in industries such as optics and digital marketing. I also will be pushing the product development of H2knOw's first viable product so that we can apply for patents and approach investors and potential customers.

During these next two months, I will get to share my experiences with you and hopefully serve up a hot plate of inspiration along the way.

Andrew Granatstein is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the United States and abroad. It's the UA's 100% Engagement in action, and the students' experiences will prepare them to be real-world ready upon graduation.

Categories: Campus NewsTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeEducationByline: Andrew Granatstein, 2015 UANews Student Columnist |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 10, 2015Medium Summary: Andrew Granatstein shares why he chose to study at the UA and what he hopes to gain from working this summer for a Tucson-based technology development company. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Andrew Granatstein will work this summer with a technology development company. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

Measuring 'Hearing Flexibility'

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 6:47pm

I am fascinated by the act of communicating with speech. 

I have an idea in my head and I want to get it into your head, so I make a bunch of weird movements with my mouth in order to cause a pattern of changes in the air pressure around my head. These changes flow toward you on a wave and result in minute movements of molecules sitting in your ear canal. These movements result in vibrations of the ear drum, the ossicles (tiny bones in the ear that you may have learned as the hammer, anvil and stirrup), then the basilar membrane and finally the smallest of movements of little hairs (stereocilia) that lead to the firing of auditory nerve fibers. 

Then your brain has to decode these neural responses into the idea that was in my head.

This is an amazingly complicated process, yet one that occurs with such ease it can become easily taken for granted.

Of course, there are times when it becomes apparent how difficult the task of communication actually is, such as when there is substantial background noise (as in a restaurant) or if the speaker has a strong accent. 

Listeners appear to differ substantially in their ability to understand speech in these challenging conditions. 

Of course, some individuals have even greater obstacles to understanding speech, such as profound hearing loss. 

One of the marvels of modern medicine has been the development of the cochlear implant — a bionic ear — that can be used by those individuals with deafness or a profound hearing loss. The bionic ear receives sounds from the surrounding environment through an external microphone and transfers them directly to the auditory nerve as electrical impulses. The result is far from clear speech, akin to a harsh whisper. 

While the bionic ear has helped many people, there also are substantial differences in how well people perform listening to speech through these devices. This leaves one to wonder why there are such large individual differences in people's abilities to understand speech in challenging listening situations, whether they have normal or impaired hearing.

My dissertation research focuses directly on this question of explaining the variation in people's ability to understand degraded speech. In particular, I have used a simulation of the sound that comes from a cochlear implant to degrade speech and present it to individuals with normal hearing. 

This allows me to look at variability in performance without any differences in hearing ability or possible co-existing neural problems.

My hypothesis is that these differences in speech performance are related to our general ability to shift attention to aspects of sound that are reliable in a particular listening environment.  The proposal is that this ability varies in the human population and people who are high in this "hearing flexibility" will be better at dealing with speech in noise, foreign accents, rapid speakers, and … the degraded sounds from the bionic ear.

We currently do not have a standard way of measuring "hearing flexibility." That is one of my goals for my dissertation and the work that will follow my hopefully successful defense of the dissertation.

Such a measure may prove to be useful for predicting outcomes for the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants. In addition, it will begin to shed light on how all of us manage to comprehend each other most of the time despite the innumerable challenges of communicating with sound.

Kathy Carbonell is a doctoral candidate in the UA's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Carbonell's dissertation co-chairs are Huanping Dai, an associate professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, and Andy Wedel, an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics. Carbonell anticipates that she will complete her program at the UA in December 2015. After graduation, she plans to continue developing her current line of research and pursue either a postdoctoral position or an academic position that would enable her to teach.  

Photography: Beatriz Verdugo/UANews

Categories: Science and TechnologySocial Sciences and EducationTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent LifeResearchEducationByline: Kathy Carbonell, UA's Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences |UANow Image: Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Friday, June 12, 2015Medium Summary: Cochlear implants are examples of bionic ears, says Kathy Carbonell, a doctoral student in the UA Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Carbonell intends to inform future research on how people are able to understand speech.Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA doctoral student Kathy Carbonell studies how people are able to understand speech. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

4 Students Selected as UANews Columnists

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 3:39pm
    Andrew Granatstein is serving as an intern this summer with Tucson-based Aztera, a technology development company. (Photo: John de Dios/UANews)   Elizabeth Sutton is a junior in the UA School of Dance. She will attend two summer intensives in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sutton)   Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu was selected as part of a fellowship with the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. (Photo: John de Dios/UANews)   Leishara Ward with her children, Zawadi Ng'ang'a (right) and Devante Mungai. (Photo: John de Dios/UANews)  

To amplify student voices and share the University of Arizona experience with a broad audience, four students have been selected to participate in a new columnist initiative during the summer.

The UANews Student Columnist initiative will provide a platform for undergraduate and graduate students to share their summer experiences working and conducting research.

Students applied to serve as columnists and were selected through a competitive process. Applicants were required to be in good academic standing and have an internship, research position, training or other work solidified at least through the summer of 2015. The four finalists were selected based on their academic success and future promise.

The selection committee members were:

  • Pete Brown, director of communications for the College of Engineering.
  • La Monica Everett-Haynes, senior communications manager for University Relations, Communications.
  • Lisa Romero, senior director of communications and public affairs for the BIO5 Institute.
  • Paul Tumarkin, marketing and communications manager for Tech Launch Arizona.

Members of the first cohort of UANews student columnists are:

Andrew Granatstein

Granatstein, an Honors College student studying aerospace engineering, intends to one day launch his own private space corporation.

Granatstein will spend the summer serving as a business associate intern for Aztera, a technology development company that worked with the UA's Tech Launch Arizona to expand TLA's Wheelhouse Arizona, a network of business and product experts from a variety of industries. Tucson-based Aztera offers solutions in technology development, prototyping, manufacturing, equipment testing, and the commercialization of inventions and discoveries.

Granatstein is also a student in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, where he is developing skills in management, financial modeling, marketing and other competencies, which he said complement his background in engineering.

"At the culmination of my senior year, I will receive my Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering as well as the irreplaceable, non-quantifiable education I received in entrepreneurship from the Eller College of Management," he said.

Elizabeth Sutton

Sutton is a junior in the UA School of Dance, one of the top dance programs in the country. Also, she is a communications major who is studying business administration.

"I have enjoyed every second of my experience at the UA, and plan to make the most of the two years I have left," Sutton said.

Prior to her time at the UA, Sutton participated in dance competitions and in numerous stage performances, including the WNBA Sparks halftime show, the Power of Youth and Dancescape in Los Angeles. She also has spent several summers training with renowned choreographers at various summer intensives, including the California State Summer School for the Arts, SoulEscape, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and River North Dance Chicago. 

This summer, Sutton will complete two intensives, which are rigorous, immersive training programs.

First, she will attend the Perry-Mansfield summer intensive in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The premier training organization offers competitive programs, drawing dancers from across the U.S. and abroad.

Sutton then will attend the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensive in Chicago. The preparatory program is designed for pre-professional and early-career dancers.

Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu

Tsosie-Mahieu (Navajo) is a doctoral candidate in the American Indian Studies program.

She is one of four fellows to be selected to work with the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts, and she will serve as the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture, working closely with Karen Kramer, the curator of Native American art and culture.

Living with other fellows at Salem State University during the summer, Tsosie-Mahieu will work on forthcoming Native American exhibits and programs. She also will conduct research and participate in outreach under the Native American Graves Protections and Repatriation Act.

The two main exhibits with which she will assist are "Native Fashion Now," a traveling exhibit of Native American fashion from the 1950s to the present, and an exhibit on the late T.C. Cannon (Kiowa/Caddo), an influential Native artist of the 1960s and '70s. Both exhibits will debut at the museum at the end of the year. 

Tsosie-Mahieu also will visit other museums in the region, including those in Boston and New York.

Leishara Ward

Ward is in the Masters in Public Administration program in the in the School of Government and Public Policy and also working toward a certificate in collaborative governance.

With more than 11 years of professional experience working in government, both in the U.S. and in Africa, Ward has a background in regional development. She is also a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow, having volunteered in Kenya. 

This summer, Ward will serve as a public administration intern with the U.S. Agency for International Development. She will be stationed in Tanzania, working with the U.S. Embassy. During her time abroad, Ward will help the Tanzania office establish a monitoring and evaluation program for its development projects.  

"After spending 2.5 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, one year processing refugees for the U.S. Resettlement Program in Africa and nine years as a regional transportation planner with the state of California, I decided it was time to go back to school," Ward said.

The first columns are available online:

The student columns will appear on the UANews blog,, through mid-August.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Four UA students, representing the UA's 100% Engagement initiative, will spend the summer writing about their work with a technology development company, the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts, summer initiatives with dance companies and U.S. Agency for International Development in Tanzania.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Cinnamon Component Prevents Colorectal Cancer in Mice

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 7:21pm

Research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and the UA Cancer Center indicates that a compound derived from cinnamon is a potent inhibitor of colorectal cancer. 

Associate professor Georg Wondrak and professor Donna Zhang, both of the College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, recently completed a study in which they proved that adding cinnamaldehyde — the compound that gives cinnamon its distinctive flavor and smell — to the diet of mice protected the mice against colorectal cancer. In response to cinnamaldehyde, the animals’ cells had acquired the ability to protect themselves against exposure to a carcinogen through detoxification and repair. 

"This is a significant finding," said Zhang, who, along with Wondrak, is a member of the UA Cancer Center. "Because colorectal cancer is aggressive and associated with poor prognoses, there is an urgent need to develop more effective strategies against this disease." 

Added Wondrak: "Given cinnamon’s important status as the third most consumed spice in the world, there’s relatively little research on its potential health benefits. If we can ascertain the positive effects of cinnamon, we would like to leverage this opportunity to potentially improve the health of people around the globe."

Wondrak's and Zhang’s study, "Nrf2-Dependent Suppression of Azoxymethane/Dextrane Sulfate Sodium-Induced Colon Carcinogenesis by the Cinnamon-Derived Dietary Factor Cinnamaldehyde," has been published online and will appear in a print issue of Cancer Prevention Research. 

A story about the cinnamaldehyde study appears on the College of Pharmacy’s website. 

The next step in the research is to test whether cinnamon, as opposed to cinnamaldehyde, prevents cancer using this same cancer model. Because cinnamon is a common food additive already considered safe — it’s not a synthetic, novel drug — a study in humans may not be too far off. 

Wondrak outlined questions to investigate going forward: "Can cinnamon do it, now that we know pure cinnamaldehyde can? And can we use cinnamaldehyde or cinnamon as a weapon to go after other major diseases, such as inflammatory dysregulation and diabetes? These are big questions to which we might be able to provide encouraging answers using a very common spice." 

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Karin LorentzenByline Affiliation: UA College of PharmacyHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: When cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its distinctive flavor and smell, was added to the diet of mice, it protected them against exposure to a carcinogen. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Increased Trade With Mexico Called Vital

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 4:07pm

Arizona exported $8.6 billion worth of goods to Mexico in 2014, a 22 percent increase from the previous year — and one of the highest export growth rates in the U.S.

It’s a bright spot for the state, as post-Great Recession growth continues to lag behind expectations.

At the annual "Breakfast With the Economists" event recently, George Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management, and Roberto Coronado, assistant vice president and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-El Paso, offered context for those figures to a crowd of more than 330 southern Arizona business and public policy leaders.

Last year, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, along with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Office of Tourism, partnered with Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center to launch the Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators website, The site focuses on Arizona’s trade with Mexico, assessment of the role of Arizona’s border ports of entry in the U.S.-Mexico border region, and monitoring of key indicators of Mexico’s economy.

"Mexico is the third-most important trading partner for the U.S. and the top export partner for all border states," Coronado said.

Overall, U.S.-Mexico trade flows reached record-high levels in 2014 at more than $530 billion, representing exports plus imports. Forty-one percent of Arizona’s merchandise exports go to Mexico.

Coronado’s presentation at the June 3 event focused on Mexico’s improvements to macroeconomic policy and its structural reforms, as well as its economic outlook, with particular focus on the border region.

"After a strong recovery from the so-called Great Recession, Mexico’s economy entered a soft patch since the second half of 2013," Coronado said. "Mexico’s economy has been gaining momentum since the second half of 2014, but growth has been moderate at best."

Arizona’s economy is likewise characterized by slow growth, but there’s a good chance that growth will improve, Hammond said. "And trade with Mexico matters in our state’s overall economic health," he said.

At 41 percent, Mexico dwarfs Arizona’s other top export partners, which include Asia (25 percent), Europe (18 percent) and Canada (10 percent).

In 2014, minerals and ores became Arizona’s top export commodity to Mexico, surpassing both computer and electronic products, and electrical equipment and appliances, the latter being Arizona’s long-standing top exports.

Over the last 10 years, the minerals-and-ores share of total exports to Mexico rose from 0.2 percent in 2004 to 26.6 percent in 2014.

"A large part of that is copper," Hammond said.

Hammond noted one development to keep an eye on: the impact of the rapidly rising value of the dollar on exports.

"The dollar is up roughly 20 percent over the year against major currencies," he said. "More importantly for Arizona, the dollar is up significantly against the peso."

Exports are driven by exchange rates, relative prices and relative income trends. "So a rapidly rising dollar means that Arizona goods and services become more expensive to Mexicans," Hammond said. "Accordingly, Mexican goods and services become less expensive to Arizonans. That is a recipe for slower Arizona export growth, all other factors remaining the same."

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Liz Warren-PedersonByline Affiliation: UA Eller College of ManagementHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The country dwarfs Arizona's other trade partners with a share of more than 40 percent, although growth of both economies has been only moderate since the Great Recession.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Dancer Prepares for Rigorous Summer

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 2:33pm

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sutton

I am an avid lover of dance and art, and a zealous believer in adventure. 

This summer, I will attend two summer dance intensives: the Perry-Mansfield summer intensive in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensive in Chicago — which is my favorite company.

Dancing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekdays will be the norm, and I will be working with many of the top professionals in my field, receiving exceptional training. This will help me to make immense improvements in my technique and artistic movement. I also will be provided the tools to explore new and challenging movement qualities, broadening my artistic vocabulary.

I will be experiencing what it would be like to be in a professional dance company, preparing for my professional career in dance. Attending the summer intensives will be an invaluable opportunity for me to network with other pre-professional dancers, artistic directors and renowned choreographers.

Also, I am excited to expand my understanding of the dance community outside of Tucson and my hometown of Moorpark, California, experiencing both the rural setting in Colorado and the bustling city life of Chicago.

While I have led a very busy life, my family and my schoolwork have remained priorities. I graduated high school with a 4.32 grade-point average.

The oldest of three — my sisters are Emily and Carly — I was born and raised in Moorpark, a small suburban town located on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I was blessed with two loving and supportive parents, Kevin and Julie Sutton, who helped me to begin dancing at the age of 3. I was actually very bad when I first started dancing. I was not very flexible, and dance did not come easily to my body, but my parents always inspired me to keep trying my best. Over the years, they attended every dance competition and performance and, to this day, are still the most loving and supportive parents that exist.

As I grew older, dance became not just a recreational activity but also a passion.

In 1998, I joined a dance competition team at the nationally competitive Pam Rossi's Dance Ten dance studio and, from 1998 to 2013, worked countless hours in the studio every day. I dedicated myself to formalizing my technique and discovering my own unique movements and artistry.

In addition to Rossi, I have trained under many other incredible dance teachers and choreographers. I have participated in dance competitions and many stage performances, including the WNBA Sparks halftime show and Dancescape in Los Angeles. I also have spent many summers training at various intensives, including the California State Summer School for the Arts, SoulEscape, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and River North Dance Chicago. 

Then, a dream came true: I began my studies at the University of Arizona's School of Dance.

Often, dancers skip attending college and go straight to dancing professionally. I believe attending the UA was the right decision for me. Because the UA School of Dance is one of the top dance programs in the country, its curriculum is very rigorous and parallels that of a conservatory. The school has been so valuable to my training, and it has helped me to produce more mature, artistic movement. Attending the UA also has allowed me to network with the faculty and other students, and I have had many more opportunities to perform and choreograph than I ever had before.

I begin classes every day with multiple technique classes in ballet, modern and jazz. Throughout the day I also attend various elective dance classes, including pointe and Pilates. That is in addition to academic classes I take for my studies in communications and business administration. Generally, I end my days with multiple rehearsals for faculty and student choreography.

I have performed multiple works, including the Arizona Repertory Theatre's production of "Oklahoma!" and the School of Dance's "In the Shadow of the Dreamers," which was choreographed by Amy Ernst, a UA associate professor of dance.

With the intensity of the program comes great reward, and I believe that in my short time at the UA, I have learned so much about my art form and about myself. My passion for dance grows every day, and I am so thankful to be part of an artistic community that inspires me to follow my dreams of being a professional dancer.

I am excited for a summer filled with dance and personal growth, and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences through UANews.

Photo: Nehama Shots

Elizabeth Sutton is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the United States and abroad. It is the UA's 100% Engagement in action, and the students' experiences these students have will prepare them to be real-world ready upon graduation.

Categories: Teaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: 2015 UANews Student ColumnistStudentsStudent LifeByline: Elizabeth Sutton, 2015 UANews Student Columnist |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 10, 2015Medium Summary: Elizabeth Sutton will travel across the country to participate in summer intensives in dance. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA dancer Elizabeth Sutton will receive even more professional dance training. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

Field Course Encourages Landscape Time

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 1:58pm

To develop deeper connections with various landscapes, a group of University of Arizona students and their instructor recently completed a 10-day trip through Arizona, California, Utah and Nevada.

Led by Eric Magrane, a doctoral candidate in the UA School of Geography and Development and a graduate research associate with the UA Institute of the Environment, the trip was part of a summer course in geography, the "American Landscape Field Course."

Over three weeks, students learned about some of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest and Western regions of the U.S. through an artistic perspective while visiting iconic sites, federal public lands, national forests, state parks and former military airfields.

"I believe that in-depth experiences and encounters are at the heart of learning and that it's useful to expand the idea of what a classroom can be," Magrane said. "In the spirit of experiential learning, I wanted to get students out into the field to visit some of the amazing sites in the Southwest, particularly some sites that reflect art and environment."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency references a growing body of research indicating that Americans spend about 90 percent of their lives in built structures with little access to the natural environment. That is a startling finding, especially at a time of accelerated changes in the climate and when issues directly related to natural resources are prevalent in policy discussions.

Magrane is attuned to the need to improve understanding about environmental issues. He is a member of the Art & Environment Network, coordinated by the UA Institute of the Environment and involving artists, writers, humanities scholars and environmental scientists on and off campus. Network members work to catalyze public involvement on environmental issues and challenges through forums, exhibitions, courses, workshops and other events.

Magrane's class was supported by the UA Green Fund and included visits to the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, the art pieces "Spiral Jetty" and "Sun Tunnels," and the Nevada Museum of Art Center for Art + Environment.

Students were encouraged to think about ways that geography informs how people develop a sense of place, and how experiences and decisions are embedded in the landscape. Course discussions often were held around a campfire, as the group camped most nights of the trip.

"The landscape can be approached in so many ways," Magrane said. "The landscape tells stories. You can think about it environmentally and you can also think about it culturally. As we travel in this field course, we engage in an ongoing discussion about the different ways to think about landscape — culturally, politically, environmentally and artistically."

Magrane said students encountered diverse perspectives along the way. For example, the group received a tour of the Center for Land Use Interpretation's Wendover artist residence site from Matt Coolidge, the center's director; it explored the Center for Art + Environment’s archives with Sara Frantz, the center's archivist; and it was briefed on the history of the Great Salt Lake and on the natural history of bison by Antelope Island's Charity Gibson.

Cat Hulshoff, a second-year graduate student in art history who specializes in pre-Colombian art history, said she took interest in the course because of the experiential learning component.

"The expansion of the classroom in this sense has been invaluable," said Hulshoff, who also has a background in fine arts and American art history. 

Most valuable to Hulshoff was learning about the process of map making and American exceptionalism, both within the landscape perspective, and also interacting with rangers, land managers and artistic directors.

"They have been so hospitable and willing to spend large chunks of time with us to assist in how we, as students of any number of backgrounds, can interpret the landscapes and continue them in future discourse," Hulshoff said. "The sites we visited have been made very accessible to us as learners, and it has encouraged me as a researcher to explore other avenues in the search for information and academic support."

Allison Koski, a UA senior studying regional development, said the course was beneficial from theoretical and applied perspectives.

"This class has been revolutionary from anything I have taken before and is very progressive," said Koski, adding that her background in studio art served as a complement to the class.

"A lot of the sites stress the importance of bringing in art, because art contributes to the awareness of the areas we have seen," she said, noting that each of the students' respective areas of study — history, environmental sciences, planning and art — was represented in the class.

"I definitely think that learning in this capacity is helpful for getting value out of a student's college career," Koski said. "There is something special about the structure of this class that allows us to think and discuss freely while on the road, and I feel that I have learned more valuable concepts in this class than I have in a classroom."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: In an exploration of landscape, culture and the environment, a UA summer class led by Eric Magrane completed a four-state road tour. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

'Nomadic' Professional Finds Stability as UA Student

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 1:45pm

Although the idea that "the only constant is change itself" dates back to the ancient Ionian philosopher Heraclitus, the adage continues to prove true. My life is no different. 

I was born to two young college dropouts who, in San Francisco in the early 1970s, thought it was cooler to go on a survival trek in the desert than to finish a second semester of school. But when they discovered that I was on the way, they traded in their backpacks for a bread truck and found work in the fields picking strawberries.

Despite our glamorous lifestyle, we eventually rejoined society when my father enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. 

We moved every few months at first, but even after he was discharged we kept moving and moving and moving. I attended five different elementary schools — there are only six grade levels — and my junior high and high school were in different cities as well. The longest I ever lived anywhere during my childhood was three years. 

I asked my dad recently why he always kept us moving so much, and he simply said that he was trying to improve himself; the rest of us were just along for the ride. Although both of my parents eventually finished college and now sustain a more stable lifestyle, my childhood was spent growing up alongside them as they explored what they wanted out of life.

As an adult, I have found that my early nomadic upbringing has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I make friends easily and tend to embrace change. I adore the freshness of new opportunities. On the other hand, I have had to learn appreciation for a stable lifestyle, and how to build relationships that last more than three years. 

When my own daughter was born in 2003, I chose to test myself in a small town in Humboldt County in California. I took a job with the state, bought a house and learned why people do "spring cleaning." This experiment in stability, as I called it, helped me learn about long-term relationships with people, employers, schools and kids' sports teams.

Professionally, my work experience has been as diverse as my physical environment.

While in school, I did odd jobs in food service and even drove city and university buses. After undergrad, I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Kenya for 2.5 years, followed by another year processing refugees for the U.S. Resettlement Program throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. I interviewed Somali refugees in Nairobi, Sudanese Lost Boys/Girls and Eritrean survivors of torture in Kakuma Refugee Camp, and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide who took refuge in Lusaka, Zambia. 

Finally, after almost four years in Africa, I returned to the U.S. and undertook the most challenging job I will ever have: motherhood.

The last decade has given me a plethora of wonderful memories, emotionally trying experiences and a frustratingly stable career. Living in one house, in a small town, doing the same job year after year, I felt a strange dichotomy of comfort and stifling stagnation. My experiment in stability was slowly killing me, and I had to make a drastic change. 

While we had become an integral part of our community, fresh, new career opportunities were beyond my reach, and I knew that it was time for graduate school. This is what brought me to Tucson and the University of Arizona.

Now, as a student in the Master of Public Administration program, I am finding my footing as I explore all of the possibilities. My peers recently voted me the 2015-2016 president of the MPA Student Association. I have been awarded a summer internship with the U.S. Agency for International Development's Africa Bureau in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and I’ve been given this awesome opportunity to share it with you through UANews. 

This summer, I plan to embrace the changes that I know are coming, both internally and externally, and joyously share them. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I know I will enjoy writing about them.

Photography: John de Dios/UANews

Leishara Ward is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the United States and abroad. It is the UA's 100% Engagement in action, and the students' experiences will prepare them to be real-world ready upon graduation.

Categories: Teaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: 2015 UANews Student ColumnistStudentsStudent LifeByline: Leishara Ward, 2015 UANews Student Columnist |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 10, 2015Medium Summary: Leishara Ward, a student in the UA's Master of Public Administration program, has a summer internship in Tanzania. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Leishara Ward has a summer internship in Tanzania. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video: 

UA Press Author Appointed US Poet Laureate

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 12:01pm

The Library of Congress has named University of Arizona Press author Juan Felipe Herrera as the nation's 21st poet laureate.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Herrera, who will assume his duties in the fall for 2015-2016.

"I see in Herrera's poems the work of an American original," Billington said. "His poems engage in a serious sense of play — in language and in image — that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity."

The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford University, and received a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

About being named poet laureate, Herrera said: "This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me."

Herrera will participate in the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 5 and will officially open the annual literary season with a reading of his work at the Coolidge Auditorium on Sept. 15.

Herrera joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.

In addition to Glück, Simic and Merwin, Herrera is among the national poet laureates who have previously spoken at the UA Poetry Center, an internationally renowned poetry library. Herrera spoke at the center in 1993 and again in 2009. His 2009 talk, held at the center during the Tucson Festival of Books, is available online.

"I want to take everything I have in me, weave it, merge it with the beauty that is in the Library of Congress, all the resources, the guidance of the staff and departments, and launch it with the heart-shaped dreams of the people," Herrera said. "It is a miracle of many of us coming together."

For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, a PEN USA National Poetry Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and a PEN/Beyond Margins Award.

Herrera also has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows.

Elected as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, Herrera also served as poet laureate of California from 2012 to 2015.

Herrera has published seven collections with the UA Press, including "Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems," which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award after being published in 2008.

His long-standing relationship with the UA Press began in 1994, when he became the inaugural author of the award-winning Camino del Sol Latina/Latino literary series. Herrera's most recent work, "Senegal Taxi," was published by the UA Press in 2013.

As one of the first publishers to spotlight poetry, fiction and essays from both emerging and established voices in Latina/Latino literature, the UA Press and its critically acclaimed Camino del Sol series has provided a literary home for writers such as Ray Gonzalez, Demetria Martinez, Patricia Preciado Martin, Richard Blanco, Sergio Troncoso and Luís Alberto Urrea.

"We are so thrilled to see Juan Felipe Herrera receive this prestigious appointment," said UA Press director Kathryn Conrad.

"His work gives voice to the voiceless and speaks to readers all over the world," Conrad said. "We are honored to be one of the publishers of his transformative work."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA PressExtra Info: 

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,

let me tell you what a poem brings,

first, you must know the secret, there is no poem

to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,

yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,

instead of going day by day against the razors, well,

the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket

sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from

the outside you think you are being entertained,

when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,

your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold

standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,

is always open for business too, except, as you can see,

it isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into

the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,

you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,

the mist becomes central to your existence.


Excerpted from "Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems" by Juan Felipe Herrera. Copyright ©2008 Juan Felipe Herrera. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arizona Press. This material is protected from unauthorized downloading and distribution.


Established in 1959, the UA Press is the premier publisher of academic, regional and literary works in the state of Arizona. Through its publishing program, the UA Press seeks to enrich the University's mission by connecting scholarship and creative expression to readers worldwide.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Several collections by author Juan Felipe Herrera, who has been named the nation's 21st poet laureate, have been published by the UA Press. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

UA Race Track Program Basks in Baffert Win

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 6:17pm

As he registered some time ago for the inaugural Pan American Conference on thoroughbred breeding and racing, scheduled to coincide in New York with the fabled Belmont Stakes, Doug Reed allowed himself a momentary flight of fancy.

"Wouldn’t it be neat," he thought, "if there was the possibility of a Triple Crown winner?"

Reed, coordinator of the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona, got his wish — and so much more — at Saturday’s 147th running of the Belmont in Elmont, New York.

The Triple Crown, one of the most coveted and elusive prizes in sport, was indeed on the line. And the horse trying to become its first winner in 37 years was American Pharoah, trained by UA alumnus Bob Baffert, whose previous shots at the Crown had come up short ast Belmont in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

On Sunday, Reed still could barely believe what he had witnessed in person: an historic, wire-to-wire victory for the graceful 3-year-old Pharoah and the gregarious 62-year-old Baffert, a distinguished presence in his shock of white hair, red tie and blue suit. Horse and hero were engulfed by a crush of media and well-wishers afterward.

Reed said he never will forget the roar of 90,000 spectators as Pharoah made the final turn on the 1½-mile track, carrying jockey Victor Espinoza and the fervent hopes of racing fans the world over.

"The crowd, I’ve never experienced anything like it," Reed said. "As the horses turned for home, the crowd just exploded. People were crying. Afterward, they just swarmed (Baffert). He was inundated. There were cameras in his face and that of the horse."

Another highlight for Reed was a photo tweeted shortly after the race of Baffert being congratulated by trainer Todd Pletcher, also a UA alumnus and product of the Race Track Industry Program, or RTIP. Pletcher had two horses in the Belmont field, Materiality and Madefromlucky.

The two trainers, among the most successful in horse racing history, were featured in the week leading up to the Belmont by USA Today, in a story that dwelled on the UA’s niche program — a quiet, 40-year success that is known to everyone in the industry but to few outside of it.

Back when the program was just a colt, in the late 1970s, Reed had interest as a graduate student and applied. He even had a $2,000 grant in hand. But he took a job in Maryland instead, only to hire on 20 years — and several career stops — later as the program’s coordinator after a vacancy had materialized.

"This program is known," Reed said. "The UA gets a boatload of exposure from it, in circles that you wouldn’t realize."

To say that Reed and his associate coordinators, Wendy Davis and Liz Bracken, are hyperconnected in the horse racing industry is an understatement. They know everyone. Reed said he ran into at least two dozen alumni of the UA program at Belmont, and there are about 600 alumni internationally.

Bracken, a graduate of the program who came aboard as an administrator two years ago, worked at Belmont Park for 16 years and supervised four interns from the UA when she was with the New York Racing Association.

"As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you can go anywhere," Bracken said of the program’s students, who number about 40 in a typical year. "People in the industry will call us and ask, 'Do you have somebody?' … We know what our students are going to get here."

Davis, also a program graduate, who has been in an administrative capacity since 1991, said the RTIP began because the industry wanted a better-prepared workforce to run its business side. Led by the efforts of Jack Goodman in raising a hefty endowment and aided by its land-grant status, the UA won out and remains the only four-year university program that focuses specifically on racing. (The University of Louisville has an equine business program.)

As trainers, Baffert and Pletcher "are both at the top, at the highest level together," Davis said. "But we have people on the business side making decisions at that same level."

The UA program’s symposium, held annually in December, is one of the largest racing conferences in North America and is known for its plethora of networking and internship opportunities for students. Reed already has his sights set on Baffert as a special guest for the 2015 edition.

Reed said he wouldn’t be surprised if American Pharoah’s Triple Crown brings even more attention — and students — to the RTIP.

"I always ask students what got them interested in racing," Reed said. "Many say they were enamored by a particular horse. That’s fairly common with students who don’t come from horse racing families.

"American Pharoah is that kind of horse. He’s a big horse. He stands out. He looks the part of a star."

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Doug CarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations — CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: American Pharoah, trained by UA alumnus Bob Baffert, is the first Triple Crown winner in decades, and the University's Race Track Industry Program is enjoying some reflected glory from the horse's historic run.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Tech Launch Arizona Scores Big Win

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 6:49pm

In 2013, Tech Launch Arizona facilitated the licensing of a medication therapy management technology invented at the University of Arizona's College of Pharmacy to SinfoníaRx, a UA startup.

Now, two years later, worldwide retailer Walmart will implement the technology to improve patient outcomes in its pharmacies.

Walmart announced last week it will use SinfoníaRx's proprietary software to proactively monitor prescription medications and identify potential problems within a patient's regimen. As concerns are identified, pharmacists will work with patients and their prescribers to improve medication usage and reduce health care costs. The system monitors prescription use for approximately 300 health plans representing more than 6 million patients across the nation.

According to a 2013 study by the IMS Institute, medication misuse accounts for more than $200 billion in unnecessary health care expenses. The effort has the potential to improve the care of patients with chronic illness across the continuum of care.

"This is an ideal outcome," said David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, the UA office responsible for moving inventions emanating from University research from the lab to the marketplace.

TLA was established in late 2012 by UA President Ann Weaver Hart to transform UA research discoveries into intellectual property, leading to patents, licenses and commercial products. In 2014, the UA recorded 188 invention disclosures, realized $1.6 million in revenues from intellectual property and spun out 11 new companies.

"As a land-grant university, it is the responsibility of the UA to develop solutions for societal problems, one of which is the growing challenge of managing negative medication interactions," Allen said. "The agreement between SinfoníaRx and Walmart is helping expand the impact of UA research, so we couldn’t be more delighted."

J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the UA College of Pharmacy, said research conducted by the college "laid the foundation for understanding the extent of medication problems" in the U.S.

"One of our college’s lifelong goals has been to resolve medication problems, and we are proud that SinfoníaRx is operationalizing the solutions discovered here," said Bootman, co-chair of the Institute of Medicine committee that released the highly publicized report "Preventing Medication Errors."

SinfoníaRx is a health care company whose mission is to provide the highest-quality solutions for health plans, patients and caregivers. Originally established in 2006 at the UA, SinfoníaRx pioneered modern medication therapy management, or MTM, services. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinfonía HealthCare Corp.

"We are incredibly excited to launch this new program with Walmart," said Kevin P. Boesen, founder and CEO of SinfoníaRx. "Managing complex, chronic illnesses is a real challenge. We are honored to work with Walmart to help patients live better lives."

Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S. by revenue, represents an enormous opportunity for SinfoníaRx. The chain serves more than 250 million customers each week in nearly 11,500 stores in 27 countries. In fiscal year 2015, the company reported sales of nearly $486 billion, and it employs more than 2 million worldwide. 

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Paul TumarkinByline Affiliation: Tech Launch ArizonaHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The newly announced partnership of UA startup SinfoníaRx and Walmart on medication management, which had an assist along the way from TLA, is described as "an ideal outcome."Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: