The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, September 11, 2009 - 7A
find 'fat gene'
President Barack Obama walks toward Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. on Wednesday.
Eight years after 9-11, Obama
has th bullhorn on terrorism
Finding also has
The quest to find a pharmaceu-
tical cure for obesity may have just
taken one big step forward.
Researchers at the University's
Life Sciences Institute, under
Director Dr. Alan Saltiel, recently
discovered thatsuppressing a par-
ticular gene called IKKE in mice
conveyed resistance to the effects
of a high-fat diet.
IKKE, also found in humans,
encodes for a protein kinase,
which turns on and off other pro-
teins in a cascade pathway. The
kinase is ultimately responsible
for regulatingthe metabolic genes
that can cause obesity. The study
found that deletion of IKKE - a
so-called "obesogene" - and its
associated protein kinase boosted
metabolism in mice.
According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention,
an estimated 34 percent of U.S.
adults aged 20 and older were
obese in 2008, with 32 states hav-
ing a prevalence greater than or
equal to 25 percent.
Fed a fat-enriched diet for
three months over the course of
the study, mice without IKKE
gained little weight compared
to those with IKKE, which were
later declared obese. Prelimi-
nary differences in the low-grade
inflammatory responses, which
characterize obesity, were seen as
soon as six weeks into the study.
Unlike previous genetic mark-
ers linked to obesity, IKKE has
thus far been the first to largely
negate the effects of diet.
Dr. Shian-Huey Chiang, an assis-
tant research scientist in the lab
and an author of the study, said she
initially planned to study insulin
signaling in context of diabetes.
Chiang said she worked with
the family of genes collectively
known as IKK and soughtto study
its role inglucoseuptake and insu-
"In the past 10 years, lots of
studies have shown that inflam-
mation is associated with dia-
betes," she said. "People used to
think that obesity just jumped
to diabetes, but they didn't know
what happened in between."
What Chiang and her col-
leagues found instead was a defin-
itive link between one particular
gene from the IKK family and
obesity in mice.
"We were expecting them to
gain weight like the control mice
and see the progression of insu-
lin sensitivity, but instead we saw
little change in body weight,"
Chiang said. "For them, it was like
having McDonald's everyday for
Chiang said the serendipitous
finding will no doubt spark fur-
ther research into the powers of
the protein kinase.
Previous studies have shown
that mice with disabled IKKE
were also more susceptible to
viral infection, illustrating the
gene's potential role in mounting
an immune response.
"To stay lean, this is a bad gene
to have, but for protection against
viral infection it's great," Chiang
The complex pathway under-
lying the gene's expression, con-
sequently, is still a deterrent for
pharmaceutical companies to
develop IKKE protein kinase
inhibitors, she said.
development of kinase inhibitors
is already under way and a drug
against obesity may be viable,
"Gene suppression could help
with energy expenditure, but
staying on a healthy diet and
exercising is still going to be key,"
Obama finds himself
0 at helm of two wars
WASHINGTON (AP) - On Sept.
11, 2001, Barack Obama was driving
to a state legislative hearing in Chi-
cago when he heard the first sketchy
reports of a plane hitting the World
Trade Center on his car radio. The
40-year-old state senator spent the
afternoon in his law office watching
"nightmare images" of destruction
and grief unfold on TV.
Within days, he'd issued a state-
ment about what the nation should
Beyond the immediate needs to
improve security and dismantle
"organizations of destruction,"
Obama wrote, lay the more difficult
job of "understanding the sources
of such madness." He wrote of "a
fundamental absence of empathy on
the part of the attackers," of "embit-
tered children" around the world, of
the seeds of discontent sown in pov-
erty, ignorance and despair.
r The nuanced musings of an
obscure state senator, Obama's
statement never even made the big
Americans were listeninginstead
to President George W. Bush, shout-
ing into a bullhorn at Ground Zero.
To weary rescue workers and a sor-
rowing nation, Bush declared: "The
world hears you, and the people
who knocked these buildings down
will hear all of us soon."
Eight years later, Obama has the
bullhorn. And the way forward in
the fight against terrorism is any-
thing but clear.
Obama approaches his first 9-11
anniversary as president saddled
with two wars that followed the
2001 terrorist attacks, and confront-
ed at everyturnby difficult leftovers
from Bush's response to them.
Public sentiment toward U.S.
involvement in Afghanistan is sour-
ing as combatcdeaths grow and ques-
tions persist about flawed Afghan
elections. The drawdown of U.S.
troops in Iraq is moving forward,
but at a slower pace than envisioned
by candidate Obama. Defense Sec-
retary Robert Gates speaks of "a
certain war-weariness on the part
of the American people."
There are sticky questions about
what parts of Bush's anti-terrorism
program to keep, what parts to lose,
what parts to investigate.
Obama's goal of shutting the
detention facility at Guantanamo
Bay in Cuba within a year is bogged
down in case-by-case complexities.
The phrase "war on terror" has
fallen out of favor: Obama avoids
usingit,he says,to keep fromoffend-
Keeping Americans safe, the
president says, is "the first thing I
think about when I wake up in the
morning; it's the last thing that I
think about when I go to sleep at
Bush used to say the same thing.
He pledged to "rid the world of
evil," and framed the worst act of
terrorism on American soil with a
black-and-white clarity that belied
the complex challenges that lay
Obama, more discriminating in
his speech, has struggled to craft a
clear message as he faces difficult
decisions about how best to pro-
tect Americans and amid growing
doubts about his ability to do so.
An AP-GfK poll released this
week finds the president's approval
ratings for his handling of Afghani-
stan and Iraq slipping, and declin-
ing approval, as well, for his efforts
to combat terrorism.
On Friday's 9-11 anniversary,
Obama will visit the Pentagon
memorial to those who died there
in the 2001 attacks, and meet with
loved ones of the dead. He issued a
proclamation Thursday honoring
those who died and urging Ameri-
cans to mark the anniversary with
acts of community service. He also
pledged to "apprehend all those
who perpetrated these heinous
crimes, seek justice for those who
were killed, and defend against all
threats to our national security."
The president's challenge, says
former Bush foreign policy adviser
Juan Zarate, is to "find a balance
where he's clearly marking 9-11 as
a key historic moment from which
his current policies flow, but also
not allowing it to define him," as the
attacks defined Bush's presidency.
"The Bush administration was
often viewed as too firmly planting
its policies in 9-it and in the war on
terror," said Zarate, now an adviser
at the Center forStrategic and Inter-
In the years since 2001, Ameri-
cans' fears about terrorism gradu-
ally have diminished as people have
moved on with their lives.
They worry more now about the
economy, health care and unem-
ployment, polls show, and they
elected a new president with high
hopes that he would act decisively
on those issues and with underly-
ing expectations that he would keep
GM to offer money-
Chief Justice Roberts surprises
Law School students, crashes class
Plan intended to
dispel worries about
company's new cars
General Motors is hoping to
jump-start its revival by guaran-
teeing car buyers that if they don't
like their new Chevrolet, GMAC,
Buick or Cadillac, they have 60
days to bring it back for a full
The marketing effort that
starts Monday is called "May the
Best Car Win" and aims to win
back customers leery of GM since
it filed for bankruptcy protection
earlier this year. The nation's larg-
est automaker needs to improve
sales so it can repay billions in
government loans and stay in
New GM Chairman Edward
Whitacre Jr. will appear in the
initial burst of ads, telling view-
ers in his folksy, Texas accent
that he too had doubts about the
company when he joined this
summer. Now, he likes the cars
he's seen, and consumers should
too. If they don't, they can have
their money back.
Running through Nov. 30, Gen-
eral Motors Co. will allow buy-
ers of new GM vehicles to return
them, no questions asked, for a
full refund within 31 to 60 days.
The vehicles must not have
more than 4,000 miles on them
and the drivers must be current
on their payments.
The offer applies to the Detroit
company's four remaining brands:
Chevrolet, GMAC, Buick and
Cadillac. The Pontiac brand,
which GM is phasing out, is not
eligible. Leased vehicles are also
The campaign will also pit
GM's four brands directly against
foreign competitors, focusing on
quality, performance, fuel econo-
my and design.
From Page 1A
late' and then you sit down in your
regular ol' property class, trying
to finish the last few pages of last
night's reading when you realize
that there are a lot of alumni hang-
ing around your class for some
reason - a lot of stern looking
alumni," she wrote in an e-mail.
"Then when Dean Caminker
r announces the Supreme Court
Chief Justice Roberts to every-
one," she continued, "you sud-
denly realize that stern looking
alumni is the Secret Service and
you think 'Damn, it rocks to be at
While in the class, Roberts
invited students to ask questions
and engaged them in conversa-
tion - and even cold-called on one
From Page 1A
have had in the past for our winter
In the past, the milestone jour-
ney, free to those of Jewish descent,
was grouped with other schools
across the country to cut costs.
But this year, Hillel will be team-
ing with IsraelExperts to fund and
strengthen the program - even
providing a tour bus that is exclu-
sively available to Wolverines.
Sheren says the new partner is
the major reason for the private
"IsraelExperts is an excellent
trip provider," she said. "They are
able to offer a really great itiner-
ary that's filled with both fun and
learning which is what we try to
"Without any warning, he
walked over (to) the professor's
lectern, found the class seating
chart, and announced, 'And we'll
start with a question from,' and
proceeded to cold-call a student
for the first question," Peterson
"The entire room erupted with
laughter as Roberts played on the
law school pedagogical tradition,"
Law School student Alex Sarch
got to ask Roberts a question.
"I was lucky enough to get the
chance to ask the chief justice a
question during the class today,"
he wrote in an e-mail. "His answer
was humorous and insightful, and
I felt very privileged to be there for
A few unlucky students, who
arrived late to class, had a very dif-
ferent experience - being locked
out after Roberts's security detail
cordoned off the room.
In response to the students who
were locked out, Caminker sent an
e-mail apologizing for the lockout
and for telling the students in the
hallway to be quiet.
"I'm very sorry the marshals
couldn't let them in once we start-
ed (which I didn't know would
happen), and in particular I'm
sorry that I felt the need to ask
them to quiet down when they
were already missing out - which
probably added insult to injury,"
He added: "I hope they can all
attend the Q&A at Hill. And of
course they still have a good story
to tell, even if it's not quite the
Roberts will be in Ann Arbor for
the next couple of days, holding a
question-and-answer session at
Hill Auditorium this morning and
speaking at the groundbreaking of
the Law School's academic build-
ing this afternoon.
Roberts, who - according to the
Winter 2008-2009 Notre Dame
Magazine is a die-hard Notre
Dame fan - is also scheduled to
attend the University football game
against Notre Dame tomorrow.
He attended last year's Michigan
versus Notre Dame game in South
Bend, Ind., accordingto the article.
Weiner said he especially
enjoyed Roberts's response to a
first-year law student who asked
what advice the chief justice would
have for law school students.
Weiner wrote, "He said, 'It's
With IsraelExperts as a new
partner, a private bus with 40
seats during the winter is now
available for Michigan students,
"We think there will be more
applicants due to the amount of
waitlisted students from this past
summer," she said.
Lauren Schuchart, engagement
associate at the Penn State Hillel,
said the size of a school could make
a big difference in the amount its
respective Birthright trips receive.
"It's very lucky," she said, refer-
ring to the University of Michigan's
Hillel. "For many schools, they get
less than a full bus and go on the
trip with other campuses. We have
had to waitlist more people than we
have had to in the past."
In State College, Penn.,
Schuchart said she has noticed
that the number of available spots
is falling short of the high number
"For our trips, we have received
less seats in the past than the
amount of applicants we have,"
Schuchart said. "It's in the num-
bers. It is unfortunate, but at the
same time, we are still sending stu-
dents to Israel."
A similar story to the one here is
playing out in East Lansing, where
Michigan State University Hil-
lel Director Cindy Hughey says its
Israel trip has not been affected
much by the economic crisis either.
Hughey said their program is
expecting the same number of stu-
dents and the same amount of fund-
ing as in previous years.
"I am not anticipating any
change and there have been no cuts
in funding," says Hughey. "We are
doing quite wellwiththe number of
applicants that we are getting."
The National Birthright Organi-
suffered economically during this
past year. In fact, it has seen even
more funding than before, Deborah
Camiel of the National Birthright
"We weren't really touched by
Madoff, because we weren't invest-
ed," Camiel said.
"If anything, we are in the mid-
dle of a new campaign, which is a
national campaign. We are trying
to spread out ina financial way and
have a bigger base," she continued.
"We have exceeded the total num-
ber of gifts that we had last year. I
think we might be one of the few
Jewish organizations to increase
our number of donors."
According to Sheren, IsraelEx-
sity of Florida, Sun Coast Campuses
and Wesleyan University.
From Page 1A
part in formal recruitment than
we did at this time last year," she
Although recruitment started
during the first school week, IFC
president Ari Parritz wrote in an
e-mail that he feels that rush will
be even stronger this year than it
has been in thepast.
"IFC will award eight $1,000
scholarships to new members this
year and we have encouraged our
chapters to act similarly in defray-
ing the costs of joining the Greek
community," he wrote. "We held
an extremely successful recruit-
ment training event last week
and we intend to capitalize on our
chapters' energy and enthusiasm
for fall recruitment."
While IFC and Panhel each
hold a council-wide recruitment,
the other two Greek councils
on campus - the Multicultural
Greek Council and the National
Pan-Hellenic Council - handle
the process differently.
Carmen Loo, MGC vice presi-
dent, wrote in an e-mail that
instead of holding a mass recruit-
ment meeting and having all the
potential recruits rush together,
each individual MGC organi-
zation takes charge of its own
"The organizations create their
own schedules in which they put
on various events for rushees to
come and get to know more about
their specific organization and
members," she wrote. "These
events range from socials, work-
shops, food-incorporated get-
togethers, mixers, sports events,
informational meetings, etc."
She said the groups hold sepa-
rate events so that recruits can
get a sense of the 19 house's indi-
The recruitment process for
most MGC organizations starts
during the first two weeks of
school, with the process length
ranging from two weeks to
around a month, depending on
"MGC will look over each
organization's events, making
sure things are appropriate and
everything runs smoothly, but
it is essentially each individual
chapter's job to recruit for itself
and organize its own rush pro-
cess," she wrote.
The National Pan-Hellenic
Council's rush process works
similarly to that of MGC.
David Middleton, National Pan-
Hellenic Council vice president,
said that each organization has
its own informational meetings,
but there is also an Open House
in October. Middleton said the
National Pan-Hellenic Council's
recruitment process starts later
in the year because each chapter
schedules rush in conjunction
with their national chapter.
FOLLOW THE DAILY ON TWITTER
@michigandaily @michdailynews @michdailysports
F \ '4