Institute on the Environment Appoints Jessica Hellmann New Director
Consortium member center the Institute on the Environment (IonE) has named renowned scholar Jessica Hellmann as its new director beginning August 31, 2015. Dr. Hellmann is currently on the faculty of Notre Dame, and is best known for her research on climate change. She'll be taking the reins from IonE interim director Lewis Gilbert and succeeding Jonathan Foley, who led the Institute from 2008 to 2014 before his departure to the California Academy of Sciences.
Susan M. Wolf Article in Minnesota Medicine Privacy Issue
The June 2015 issue of Minnesota Medicine, the official publication of the Minnesota Medical Association, features a piece on "The New World of Genetic Test, Families and Privacy" by Consortium founding chair Susan M. Wolf. The article reviews case law dating back to the 1990s about a physician's "duty to warn" and shares insights about medical information-sharing by physicians gained from original research led by the Consortium. Since 2005, we've collaborated with scholars across the country on a series of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded projects analyzing the issues involved in the return of genomic results and incidental findings to research participants. The resulting publications have had a major impact on the national debate.
New Techology Uses Bacteria to Clean Water so Wild Rice can Thrive
Despite its cultural, environmental and economic signficance to Minnesota, wild rice has been threatened by high levels of sulfate resulting from agricultural and industrial sources. A team of researchers led by Michael Sadowsky, director of Consortium member The Biotechnology Institute, is developing a solution using bacteria drawn from the ecosystem and (eventually) powered by renewable energy. Sadowsky explains, “This system takes advantage of naturally occurring processes to effectively remove sulfates from the state’s water. . . . [It] will allow us to expand water treatment in hard-to-reach areas of the state where much of the wild rice is produced.” The project is part of the state-funded MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program, where researchers from different departments work beyond the limits of their disciplines to address complex challenges.
Blacklock Exhibit Shows Healing Power of Art
A new gallery exhibit by renowned North Shore landscape photographer Craig Blacklock opens today, his first since being severely burned in a fire. Blacklock is a senior fellow at Consortium member the Center for Spirituality and Healing. In addition to collaborating with the Center on Wellscapes, a series of videos for stress relief and healing, Blacklock created a birch tree installation in the Pain and Palliative Care Clinic at Children's Hospitals of Minnesota. Dr. Kris Catrine, a University of Minnesota alumna who works at Children's, notes the healing power of art for her patients: "It physically changes you, we have proof it lowers your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, treats anxiety," said Dr. Catrine. A Kare 11 profile has more background on the exhibit, currently on display at Gallery 13 in Minneapolis.
Osterholm Receives University's Highest Honor
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has named Michael T. Osterholm a Regents Professor, the highest recognition given to faculty by the University. Osterholm is director of Consortium member Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), and is considered one of the leading public health experts in the country. In addition to his academic and policy activities, Osterholm is the author of a New York Times best-selling book, Living Terrors: What America Needs to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe, which became a blueprint for the U.S. government’s response to the post-9/11 anthrax attacks. To learn more about this honor, click here.