2A - Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
In Other Ivory Towers
Michigan Myths Professor Profiles
Photos of the Week
Sharing his way to
Molecular, Cellular and Devel-
opmental Biology Prof. Robert
Bender doesn't consider himself a
teacher. Instead, he views his work
in the classroom and laboratory as
"We're notan institution of high-
er teaching. We're an institution of
higher learning," Bender said. "The
fun thing that I like to do is learn,
and then let mystudents come along
with me and see how I learn and
share my ability to learn."
Bender's interest in shared
learning influenced his decision to
become a high school teacher after
graduating from the Massachu-
setts Institute of Technology with a
Bachelor of Science in life sciences
"When I left college I was the
right age, but very young. I was
terrified of the aggressiveness of
molecular biology. I thought, 'I can't
hack this, but I love this.' I loved
sharing the learning process so I
went off and taughthigh school," he
said. "I thought that teaching high
school would keep me forever, but
after a few years my fingers itched
and then it was off to graduate
Bender returned to MIT and
earned his Ph.D. in Microbiol-
ogy in 1976. His decision to pursue
research and teach at the University
was the result of the University's
honesty during the interview pro-
"(The University of) Michigan
didn't promise anything it couldn't
confirm in writing," he said.
Shortly after taking the position,
the National Institutes of Health
approached Bender with an idea.
He began working on a study of the
Nitrogen Assimilation Control pro-
tein in 1979 and has since continued
to research the NAC in his laborato-
ry in the Natural Sciences Building.
Bender credits his success in
receiving grants to continue study-
ing the NAC proteins for 30 years to
his writing abilities.k
"I've gone 30 years without ever"
havingto resubmit a grant," he said.
"Each time I've sent it in it was
funded. Part of that is because of my
When it came down to decid-
ing on his major as an undergradu-
ate, Bender said he was deciding
between comparative literature and
"People still had a much broader
view of intellectual activity. And
now because science is so much
bigger and there is so much of it
and the educational system has
changed so much, people are much
more tracked and much less broadly
exposed - and that's kind of tragic,"
he said. "But hey, the world Chang-"
COURTESY OF ROBERT BENDEF
en." Biology professor Robert Bender has been researching nitro-
-HILLARYBOKgen assimilation control at the University since 1979.
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CAMPUS EVENTS & NOTES
Green and white Donations stolen International Copyright talk
WHERE: Between Keech and
WHEN: Monday at about 10
WHAT: The sidewalk and a
fire hydrant were defaced with
green and white paint some-
time on Friday, University
Police reported. The cleaning
cost is estimated at $1,000.
WHERE: The 2300 block of
WHEN: Monday at about 4
WHAT: A University bus
leaked fluids into the street,
University Police reported.
Clean up assistance was pro-
vided for the chemical spill.
WHERE: The Matthaei
WHEN: Monday at about 8:30
WHAT: An unknown subject
broke into a donation box in,
the Children's Garden some-
time over the weekend, Uni-
versity Police reported. The
box usually contains about
$100 in donations.
WHERE: Angell Hall
WHEN: Tuesday at about 1
WHAT: A lock's core was
removed from a door in Angell
Hall, University Polite report-
ed. Building services told
University Police the damage
WHAT: In honor of the
50th anniversary of the
Peace Corps, a conference
will be held on the future
of international service.
WHO: The Brook-
WHEN: Today from
8:30 am. to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Ross School of
Business, Blau Aditorium
WHAT: The lecture will
be led by Ann Holder,
associate professor of his-
tory at the Pratt Institute.
She will discuss history,
race, gender and sex.
WHO: Institute for Research
on Women and Gender
from 4 to 6 p.m.
WHERE: Lane Hall,
WHAT: Neal Netanel, a
professor at the University of
California Los Angeles will
give a lecture on the history
of Jewish copyright laws.
WHO: The Frankel Cen-
ter for Judaic Studies
WHEN: Today at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: 202 South
Thayer St., Room 2022
WHAT: Novelist Paul Ther-
oux will talk about hisexpe-
rience with the Peace Corps
and how it changed his life.
WHO: UM Center for
Ethics in Public Life
WHEN: Tonight at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Harlan Hatcher
Graduate Library, Room 100
" Please report any
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Surgeons at the Shepard
Center in Atlanta, Georgia
injected stem cells into a
patientwith aspinal chord inju-
ry, USA Today reported. This
is the first federally approved
experiment involving the injec-
tion of human embryonic stem
Tim Tebow was estimated
to be worth $2.5 million a
year to the University of
Florida as a quarterback. Yet his
scholarship was only $13,000.
The pay-for-pay debate lives on.
A transgender teenager in
Texas unsuccesfully ran
for Homecoming Queen,
FoxNews.com reported. The
high school senior, Andy More-
no, says she identifies herself as
female though she was raised
male. According to FoxNews.
com, she believes the results
of the voting for Homecoming
Court reflect discrimination.
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Peace council members Two more suspects charged
in Afghanistan request
peace gesture from U.S.
in NYC anti-gay beatings
Members of council
ask for release of
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP).
- Releasing Taliban figures
detained at Guantanamo Bay and
scratching scores of others off the
U.N. sanctions list would jump-
start peace talks aimed at ending
the 9-year-old war, members of
Afghanistan's new peace council
The council members, who
hold their first business meeting
yesterday, said goodwill gestures
from the U.S. and international
community could spur reconcili-
ation talks - perhaps at a neutral
location in Saudi Arabia, Turk-
menistan, Egypt or Turkey.
The momentum for a political
solution has been slowly build-
ing in Afghanistan as public sup-
port for the war has waned in the
West. The renewed push for peace
comes as the last of 30,000 U.S.
reinforcements have arrived in
Afghanistan, pushing deeper into
areas long held by insurgents.
Many top military and diplo-
matic leaders have publicly sup-
ported peace efforts, though they
remain skeptical that insurgents
are ready to lay down their arms,
embrace the Afghan constitution
and sever ties with al-Qaida and
other terrorist networks.
Ethnic minorities and women,
who were repressed under the
Taliban, have expressed concerns
about what any deal with the mili-
tants would bring. Most members
of the Taliban are Pashtuns, the
largest ethnic group in Afghani-
stan. The minority Tajiks, Uzbeks
and Hazaras are not likely to sit
quietly on the sidelines if Karzai, a
Pashtun, makes a deal with insur-
But Staffan de Mistura, the top
U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, said
all parties including the Taliban
know there is no military solu-
tion to the conflict. He predicted
the next several months will be
particularly violent because both
the Taliban and international
forces will be applying maximum
pressure on each other to position
themselves for possible negotia-
In hopes of finding a peace-
ful resolution, Afghan President
Hamid Karzai recently set up the
68-member council to guide for-
mal talks with the armed opposi-
Karzai said this week that his
government has been talking with
the Taliban "countryman to coun-
tryman" for "quite some time." He
characterized the talks as unof-
ficial personal contacts - not
official contact with the Taliban
"That hasn't happened yet and
we hope we can begin that as soon
as possible," Karzai said.
Arsala Rahmani, a member
of the peace council who served
as deputy education minister in
the former Taliban regime, said
yesterday that discussions were
under way for the United States or
United Nations to guarantee safe
passage for representatives of mil-
itant groups to meet somewhere
outside of Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Iran to discuss ways to recon-
cile with the Afghan government.
Rahmani, who insisted he was not
speaking on behalf of the entire
council, said neutral meeting sites
under discussion were in Saudi
Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan
Rahmani said trust must be
established between the Taliban
and the U.S. and other Western
players. Release of four or five top
Taliban prisoners from the U.S.
detention center at Guantanamo
Bay and the de-listingof about150
individuals linked to the Taliban
from the U.N. sanctions list are
the key stumbling blocks to nego-
tiating peace, he said.
A second member of the peace
council, who spoke on condition
of anonymity because of the sensi-
tivity of the issue, said the Taliban
will show more flexibility if such
measures are taken.
"When that trust can be estab-
lished, the political process can
move forward," Rahmani said.
Publicly, the Taliban have
rejected the peace council, calling
it an "American initiative to delay
the withdrawal of foreign troops
In Washington, State Depart-
ment spokesman P.J. Crowley said
the U.S. was considering modifi-
cations to the U.N. sanctions list,
but that the matter of releasing
prisoners from Guantanamo Bay
was unrelated to the Afghan peace
"On an ongoing basis we are
evaluating modifications to the
individuals on the sanctions list at
the U.N.," Crowley said yesterday.
"We've made some adjustments
during the course of this year.
And as we work through issues
and, you know, in collaboration
with the U.N. and other members
of the U.N. Security Council, that
is certainly possible."
Rahmani and the other mem-
ber of the peace council also
said Pakistan should release or
give Afghanistan custody of its
Afghan prisoners, including the
Afghan Taliban's No. 2 leader,
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Baradar was arrested in Febru-
ary in a joint raid with the CIA
- a move some analysts believe
was driven by Pakistan's desire
to guarantee itself a seat at the
negotiating table. Rahmani said
Baradar was one of 31 Afghan
Taliban figures being held in
Pakistan because they were will-
ing to talk peace.
"We don't know where they are,
whether in prison in Pakistan, or
maybe living comfortable in guest
houses," he said.
Pakistani Prime Minister You-
suf Raza Gilani tried to dispel
concerns about his country's role
when asked about Taliban peace
talks Tuesday, but also reminded
observers of the leverage Pakistan
has in the process.
"Look, nothing can happen
without us because we are part
of the solution. We are not part of
the problem," Gilani paid.
Ten suspects total
NEW YORK (AP) - Two addi-
tional suspects were charged yes-
terday in several brutal attacks that
authoritiesnbelieve weretouched off
because gang members thought one
of their recruits was gay.
A tenthsuspect, 22-year-old Jose
Dominguez, surrendered to detec-
tives yesterday and was arraigned
in the Bronx Criminal Court on
charges of gang assault, sexual
abuse and unlawful imprisonment
as hate crimes. It wasn't clear if he
had an attorney. No one answered
the phone at an address provided
A suspect who was arrested
Monday, Ruddy Vargas-Perez, was
arraigned yesterday on charges
including robbery, gang assault and
unlawful imprisonment as hate
Benjamin Heinrich, an attorney
for Vargas-Perez, said his client
was innocent and denied that he
was even present at the attacks.
He described Vargas-Perez as a
hardworking carpenter and fam-
Police say Dominguez and Var-
gas-Perez participated in at least
one of the attacks on two teens and
two men on Oct. 3.
Members of a street gang who
called themselves the Latin King
Goonies targeted a 30-year-old
gay man after he apparently had a
sexual encounter with one of their
recruits, authorities said.
The 17-year-old was beaten and
sodomized with the handle of a
plunger until he confessed to his
involvement with the older man,
authoritiessaid. The mob later went
after the 30-year-old, luring him to
an abandoned apartment they used
for partying, where they tied him
to a chair and assaulted him, police
Another 17-year-old was also
attacked because it was believed
he too had an encounter with the
30-year-old man, and the older
man's brother was also attacked
after gang members went to their
shared apartment and robbed the
place of cash and a TV, police said.
Initially, authorities said nine
people participated in the attacks,
but later concluded there were 10.
Police say Dominguez has been
accused of hitting the first victim
with a pipe.
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