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March 05, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Six professors awarded
Thnrnau Professorship

Recipients to
receive $20,000 for
academic programs
Daily StaffReporter
The University recently
announced six new Arthur F.
Thurnau Professorships, a pres-
tigious title granted to under-
graduate professors who have
shown excellence and innova-
tion in undergraduate teaching.
In addition to carrying the
title before their formal depart-
mental listing, the professorship
also provides each recipient with
$20,000 to attend conferenc-
es, purchase books or procure
equipment for ventures in their
academic fields. The nominees
were unanimously approved
during the University's Board
of Regents meeting in February,
and they will be officially recog-
nized at the University's Honors
Convocation this month.
"This is the favorite thing we
do all year," University Provost
Philip Hanlon said at the meet-
ing. "The Thurnau professor
is t hest honor the Uni-
versity can bestow on its staff
and specifically recognize their
contributions to undergraduate
The winners of the profes-
sorships this year hail from a
variety of departments. The six
professors who will now carry
the title are Joseph Bull, associ-
ate professor of biomedical engi-
neering; Michael Haithcock,
professor of music and Director
of University. Bands; Sadashi
Inuzuka, professor of art; Brad-
ford Orr, chair of the Depart-
ment of Physics and professor
of physics; Brian Porter-Szilcs,
professor of history, and Steve
Skerlos, associate professor of
mechanical engineering and
associate professor of civil and
* environmental engineering.

All deans and department
chairs from across the college
are solicited for nominations
for the award, Matthew Kaplan,
managing director of the Uni-
versity's Center for Research on
Learning and Teaching - the
department that coordinates the
collection of selection materi-
als for the professorship said.
The center then forwards those
materials to a rotating commit-
tee of current Thurnau Profes-
sors for review.
"What we're trying to do is
get as big a pool as possible,"
Kaplan said. "(Also) a diverse
pool in terms of faculty back-
ground and identity, discipline,
and school and college."
Kaplan added that the final
selection of professors is deter-
mined by an evaluation on five
main criteria points that include
involvement in teaching, the
professor's innovation and
excellence, and their positive
impact on their students.
"It's always a very difficult
decision because these faculty
who are nominated are the
best faculty at the University,"
Kaplan said.
Usually there are only five
Thurnau Professorships award-
ed, but this year there were
between 20 and 25 nominations
and the committee approved six
awards, Kaplan said.
Porter-Sznlcs said he was
extremely honored to receive
the award, though he suspect-
ed he may be the recipient of
an honor prior to receiving the
"The challenge is they have to
collect nominations, and letters
of support for those nomina-
tions," Porter-Szucs said. "The
associate chair of the depart-
ment asked me last December if
I could identify some students
who 'like me,' and who had good
reactions to my teaching and my
classes. I knew something was
up, but I didn't know exactly

He added that the monetary
award that accompanies the pro-
fessorship would also help facili-
tate his writing of a survey course
on the history of modern Poland.
"The most immediate use of
some of the money is a trip to
Poland in this coming summer to
do some research," Porter-Szilcs
Haithcock, meanwhile, cred-
ited his time at Baylor Univer-
sity with helping him hone his
teaching style. He said that
the focus at Baylor was not on
research, though it was certain-
ly encouraged, but rather exem-
plary undergraduate teaching.
"It's important what you say,
but it's more important that
you're listening to what the stu-
dent is takingin," Haithcock said.
Haithcock said one of the
things that has allowed him to
connect with students most is
his time with the University
Symphony Band, which allows
him to foster individual rela-
tionships with students over
multiple semesters.
"I wanted to be a great teach-
er because I respect the value of
education. I think learning is the
most exciting thing you can do,"
Haithcock said. "Whether it's
my 3-year-old granddaughter or
a 35-year-old doctoral student
or an t8-year-old freshman or a
22-year-old senior, I get a great
deal of pleasure watching people
attach themselves to things that
will help them evolve and grow."
Haithcock also said the award
money that accompanies the
professorship will also facilitate
his research and present new
opportunities for students.
"One of the things I want to
do is talk to my current set of
students and see if there is com-
puter or other equipment that
might be good for everybody,"
Haithcock said. "I think there's
some research things I'd like
to do and a couple of important
libraries I'd like to spend some
time at."

From Page 1A
of bringing medical amnesty to
Sathi was one of the students
who met with Irwin, and has
also been meeting with Univer-
sity administrators, including
Mary Jo Desprez, Alcohol and
Other Drug Policy and Preven-
tion administrator for Univer-
sity Health Service.
Desprez said she supports a
program that encourages stu-
dents to make safe decisions,
but said she believes there's a
problem with not issuing MIPs,
since the students would be
exempt from important "well-
ness check" meetings required
after a student receives a viola-
"I get worried that some of
the people that we really want
to be talking to and finding out
how they're doing and how are
they managing alcohol use ...
we're losing that avenue that we
typically had to connect with
them," she said.
Regardless, Desprez said a
change to state law is a more

From Page 1A

Dangerous tornadoes take
the life of Kentucky child

Storms rage
through the
midwest over the
Indiana toddler found in a field
after violent tornadoes died yes-
terdy after being taken off life
support, ending a hopeful tale
for survivors in the Midwest
and South picking through the
storms' devastation.
Fifteen-month-old Angel Bab-
cock of New Pekin, Ind., was
found after her family's mobile
home was destroyed in Friday's
storms. Her father, mother and
two siblings were killed.
When Angel arrived at Kosair
Children's Hospital in Louisville
Friday night, she was opening
her eyes - a hopeful sign, chief
nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said.
Things turned on Saturday,
when the swelling in her brain
didn't decrease, he said. As the
day went on, her eyes ceased to
move and she continued to dete-
riorate. There was no sign of
brain activity.
Medical staff told the family
there wasn't anything more they
could do. With extended fam-
ily gathered to say goodbye, the
family made the decision to end
life support on Sunday.
"Angel has been reunited with
her parents," her grandfather,
Jack Brough, said in a statement.
* "We want to thank God for all of
you and for your thoughts and
prayers. God will bring you and
all of us out of this. This is what
it will take. All should look to
The girl's death brings the
overall toll from Friday's storms
to 39 across five states. Rescuers
were still going door-to-door in
rural areas to rule out more vic-
tims. Another round of storms
earlier last week killed 13 peo-
ple in the Midwest and South,

the latest in a string of severe-
weather episodes ravaging the
American heartland in the past
Yesterday, people gathered to
worship, comb through piles of
debris and learn what happened
to loved ones and friends, often
without modern technology to
Cellphone signals were hard
to find, Internet was out and
electricity indefinitely inter-
rupted. In many cases, word-of-
mouth conversations replaced
text messages, Facebook status
updates and phone calls.
"It's horrible. It's things you
take for granted that aren't there
anymore," said Jack Cleveland,
50, a Census Bureau worker from
Henryville, Ind.
Randy Mattingly, a 24-year-
old mechanic, said he and his
Henryville neighbors passed on
information by word-of-mouth
to make sure people were OK:
"It was like, 'Hey, did you talk to
this guy?"' He said state police
quickly set up two gathering
points for adults and children, at
the church and at a nearby com-
munity center.
At yesterday's mass at St.
Francis Xavier Catholic Church
in Henryville, Father Steve
Schaftlein turned the church
into an information exchange,
asking the 100 or so in atten-
dance to stand up and share
what they knew.
Lisa Smith, who has been
Henryville's postmaster for
six weeks, told people that
they could pick up their mail in
Scottsburg, about 10 miles north.
She said she was most worried
about people needing medica-
tion and she had been shaking
boxes to see if they had pills
inside with hopes of connecting
them to their recipients.
A local insurance agent, Lyn
Murphy-Carter, shared another
story. The founder of her agency,
84-year-old Tom Murphy, had
told her always to keep paper

records. That proved valuable
without access to computers. She
collected about 1,000 claims Sat-
urday alone, and was gathering
handwritten claims from policy-
holders at church.
In West Liberty, Ky., about
85 miles east of Lexington, loss
of technology led to a confus-
ing and stressful aftermath for
Doris Shuck, who was clean-
ing her house when the storm
approached. She grabbed her
laptop, cellphone and iPod and
put them in a tote bag to bring
down to the basement. The
storms took her home, leaving
only the basement and front
porch. Huge piles of debris and
mattresses were strewn in the
back yard.
"I could hear the glass and
hear the wood breaking. I just
thought the house is going to fall
on top of me," she said. She had
scrapes and bruises.
After the storm passed, she
received a text message from her
mother, 70 miles away in Pres-
tonsburg, but couldn't reply.
"I was just trying to figure
out what had happened and get
my thoughts together and my
phone beeped and I looked and
it was from my mom. I couldn't
answer it," Shuck said. She went
to the hospital where she works,
but there was no Internet access
there, either.
She reunited with her hus-
band and daughter at the hospi-
tal and left for Prestonsburg to
let her mother know they were
OK. But they didn't know her
parents were on their way to
West Liberty at the same time.
"We had no way to commu-
nicate that to each other. We're
so used to our cell phones and
instant messaging. We didn't
have any of that."
Her parents asked a state fish
and wildlife officer to go to their
home. The officer eventually
found Doris Shuck's name on
a list at the hospital for people
who were accounted for.

Arbor and surrounding areas by
increasing the number of buses.
She added that students and
faculty will benefit from the new
system as it is more commuter-
"(The system benefits) a grad-
uate student doing an internship
at a non-profit based in Ypsilanti
who suddenly has faster service
and more frequent service to that
internship so they can actually
get there without feeling that
they must drive a car," Briere
said. "... A blue bus won't take you
to your home off campus, it will
take you to some stop on North
Campus and then you have to
walk to your off campus resi-
dence. The goal is to make riding
buses a lot easier."
LSA freshman Bria Graham
From Page 1A
Scott Larsen, a research pro-
fessor of medicinal chemistry
and co-director of the Vahlteich
Medicinal Chemistry Core, and
Hongmin Sun, assistant profes-
sor of medicine at the University
of Missouri. Each professor's
individual lab also contributed
additional researchers.
Larsen said the medicine
could have a vast range of appli-
cations once its commercial-
"It would work for strep-
tococcus infections including
strep throat in humans," Lars-
en said. "I believe this would
also work for some of the more
serious diseases including
necrotizing fasciitis. And also
potentially it has a veterinary
application for the treatment of
strangles in horses."
Ginsburg stressed the impor-
tance of finding an alternative
treatment method to antibiotics
for infections.
"Antibiotic resistance is
becoming an enormous problem
now since we use antibiotics so
much," Ginsburg said. "Many
of the infections we commonly
treat are very resistant to most
antibiotics. Some are even resis-
tant to all known antibiotics.
We are running out of antibiot-
ics we can use."
Ginsburg's claims are sup-
ported by the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention, which
states that antibiotic resistance
in the United States has resulted
in more than $20 billion a year
in extra medical and hospital-
ization costs and $35 million of
other costs to society.
Rackham student Bryan
Yestrepsky, a graduate student
researcher working on the proj-
ect with Larsen, agreed that
drug-resistant bacteria are a
growing threat to the overall

probable route for implementing
medical amnesty than changing
University policy since college-
level policies cannot be in "dis-
agreement with state law," she
LSA junior Sebastian Swae-
Shampine, assistant executive
director of the University's
chapter of Students for Sensi-
ble Drug Policy, attended mul-
tiple CSG assembly meetings
to speak in support of medi-
cal amnesty. Swae-Shampine
said most opponents of medical
amnesty believe it will foster an
atmosphere of over-consump-
tion without penalties, but he
said that is not the case.
"This is a harm-reduction
policy," he said. "If it's crafted
well, that's what it will do. It's
not meant to be condoning any
sort of excessive or risk-taking
He added that there are
other punishments that come
with overconsumption, regard-
less of whether or not a student
receives an MIP.
"They're still going to wake
up in a hospital room, not a
ticket in their right hand, but an
IV in their left and ... a bill for
said she rides the AATA buses
often, and the increased stops
would be beneficial.
"I think it will be really help-
ful especially in the winter when
I don't want to walk a lot," Gra-
ham said.
Councilmember Mike Anglin
(D-Ward 5) said that while he
agrees with the mass transit
plan, he believes other measures
should be implemented first.
"We have a great bus service
now, but we need to make it so
there are more stops," Anglin
said. "When we make it easier
to use the buses here in town
we will start to have the reputa-
tion of having a really good bus
system and other jurisdictions
will see the opportunity to get
involved (in a mass transit sys-
Anglin said he also worries
that the other members of the
four-party agreement - Ypsilan-
welfare of the public as tradi-
tional antibiotics become less
effective through evolved resis-
"It is becoming increasingly
important that we think of new
strategies to combat them,"
Yestrepsky said. "If we can
make a compound that breaks
the cycle of treatment leading to
resistance, it would change the
landscape of the antibiotic field
Ginsburg also said current
antibiotics that are on the mar-
ket work to kill the bacteria,
though out of the billions of
bacteria, a small number will
inevitably survive due to their
unique genetic makeups. Later,
these bacteria will replicate
repeatedly and result in a whole
new population where each and
every bacterium is resistant to
the drug, Ginsburg said.
"With what we are doing,
we are not actually killing the
bacteria, we are just forcing the
bacteria to stop making this one
gene that it needs for infection"
Ginsburg said. "The bacteria are

still growing and they're fine,
but they're not able to make you
sick anymore."
According to Ginsburg, the
general idea for the project was
generated 10 years ago when
Sun was still a postdoctoral
trainee working in his lab. How-
ever, most of the actual research
and experimentation began five
years ago.
An essential part of the
project involved an intensive
screening of chemical com-
pounds that consisted of more
than 50,000 biochemical tests,
Ginsburg added.
"Sun grew bacteria in hun-
dreds and hundreds of little
wells," Ginsburg said. "In each
well you would put a different
chemical and then we would
look for the chemicals that did
what we wanted to the bacte-
ria's genes."

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 7A
an ambulance ride, a bill for a
hospital stay," Swae-Shampine
said. "It's not a free pass, there
are still sanctions."
If medical amnesty is imple
mented at the University, both
Sathi and Swae-Shampine said
they would support expanding
it to cover other drugs-related
"There are a lot of scary drugs
outthere,"Swae-Shampine said
"A lot of drugs that can do some
serious harm in overdose or
overconsumption situations -
alcohol probably being the most
present or prolific, especially on
a college campus."
Sathi said discussion about
medical amnesty could be diffi-
cult because many people don't
want to talk about it.
"It's a touchy subject and no
one wants to talk about drugs
and alcohol," he said.
However, Swae-Shampine
said promoting these conversa-
tions and increasing transpar-
ency is imperative to solving
these issues.
"We've got to have that just
upfront discussion and that can-
dor which I find - at least in the
political realm - lacking."
ti, Washtenaw County and AATA
- will not pay their dues, causing
the city of Ann Arbor to pay more
than their share.
Specifically, he said he fears
that Ypsilanti residents will not
approve the tax increases that
would help pay for the masstran-
sit system since other taxes have
been implemented recently.
"The taxpayers of Ypsilanti
are going to be asked to approve
additional taxes upon themselves
at a time when it is very difficult
as a tax payer to approve taxes,"
Anglin said. "I think it's a good
idea to have mass transit, but I
don't think the people are going
to want to pay for it. People are
very reliant on their automobiles
Anglin added: "We have built
a tremendous amount of infra-
structure, we have put a lot into
the system and now it is the time
to get the returns from it."
Larsen said currently the
newer, more potent compounds
they have tested on animals
are not as effective as the lead
compound, probably due to high
metabolism rates.
"We still have a lot of work to
do," Larsen said. "The biggest
challenge we have had is improv-
ing the potency while maintain-
ing good stability to metabolism
by liver enzymes, which results
in rapid clearance from the body.
In addition, we are still conduct-
ing tests to determine the molec-
ular targets of the compounds in
the bacteria."
Larsen also said he believes
the collaboration has been very
meaningful and all three head
researchers have contributed
their strengths to the project's
"It's been great working with
Dr. Ginsburg, who is an expert
on the blood coagulation pro-
cess which is the mechanism by
which strep infection spreads

and the compounds work,"
Larsen said. "And although Dr.
Sun is now located at a distant
university, the science is so
exciting that we've kept the col-
laboration going."
On Feb. 13, the research team
published their findings in a
paper in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences of
the United States of America - a
biweekly science journal.
Engineering freshman
Anuraag Veturi said he sees
the discovery of the new corm
pound as a huge leap in medical
"If such a drug can be com-
mercialized, it would defiiitely
solve a lot of the dangers asso-
ciated with taking high doses of
antibiotics in an attempt to heal
faster," Veturi said. "I think the
researchers have come up with a
very innovative idea that might
just change the medicine indus-
try and how we perceive antibi-


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