Low-fat Diets Not the Answer to Obesity Epidemic, says U Researcher

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A University of Minnesota nutritional epidemiologist is among those taking issue with a New York Times op-ed claiming diets that are high in protein and fat are to blame for the rise in overweight Americans over the past several decades. Dean Ornish, the author of the essay, advocates for a very low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. However, some experts don't think the science supports his argument. In a Scientific American article, Lyn Steffen, a nutritional epidemiologist at the School of Public Health is quoted as saying, “I believe the low-fat message promoted the obesity epidemic.” Read the entire article here

Susan Wolf on Nanotechnology Oversight

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Nano particles

Prof. Susan M. Wolf, JD, chair of the Consortium, was a plenary speaker at the 2015 Global Conference on Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology. The event, held in Minneapolis beginning April 19, is sponsored by the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In her talk, Wolf discussed the challenges of evaluating and regulating potential risks and hazards of nanotechnology, and shared the results of an NIH-funded consensus project she led on oversight for human subjects research in nanomedicine. Publications related to the grant are available here

BP Oil Spill: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Monday, April 20, 2015
Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning

Five years ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and causing environmental and economic destruction. In the aftermath of the disaster, the Consortium presented a lecture by Prof. Daniel Farber, JD, of the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at the University of California, Berkeley. His talk, "Blue Bayou: The BP Deepwater Horizon Blowout and the Social and Environmental Erosion of the Louisiana Coast," argued for environmental law to take a more holistic view, one that considers multiple environmental threats and links communities with ecosystems; the lecture is available on video here. National Public Radio broadcast two five-year retrospectives today analyzing long-term effects of the spill and changes to safety standards since its occurrence. 

Sustainable Water Use in Minnesota

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Chart of Twin Cities water usage 1940-present

In a wide-ranging talk called "Land of 10,000 Lakes: Water for Our Future," Prof. Deborah L. Swackhamer, PhD, discussed Minnesota's water supply and possible shortages ahead. An article in MinnPost provides an overview of the lecture and includes charts demonstrating how Twin Cities water use has changed since the 1940s when the suburban building boom began. Prof. Swackhamer is on the faculty of the Water Resources Center, one of the Consortium's 19 member centers. A video of her presentation, part of the Minnesota Zoo's Our World Speaker Series, can be viewed here

U Professor Advocates Investment in Energy Grid to Benefit US Economy

Monday, April 13, 2015
Wind turbines

An article in Forbes outlines the argument for investing in the grid to build the US economy, quoting Massoud Amin, engineering professor at the University of Minnesota and chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid“This vision is also about job creation and economic benefits,” Amin said, noting that for every $1 invested in the nation’s network, as much as $6 is returned, not to mention the 47,000 new jobs since 2012.


Intramural Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota graduate and professional students who were awarded research funds through our 2014-15 grant progam. Learn more here.

Consortium Updates

Muin Khoury of the CDC Discusses Public Health Genomics

On April 16, 2015, the Consortium hosted the final event in the 2014-15 Lecture Series on Law, Health & the Life Sciences. An overflow crowd of researchers, physicians, pharmacologists, informaticists, genetic counselors and others had the opportunity to hear about work being led by Dr. Muin Khoury of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute to fulfill the promise of genomic medicine across large populations. Dr. Douglas Yee of the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center provided commentary from the perspective of as a practicing physician who also conducts research and leads a major cancer center. A video of the lecture will be posted on this website; please check back.


Rex Chisholm on Using EHRs in Genomic Research 

On March 12, 2015, Prof. Rex Chisholm of Northwestern University and the eMERGE Network shared results of more than a decade of research using data collected in Electronic Health Records (EHRs). He explained some representative discoveries made through analyzing the data and how that information has been translated into the clinical setting to help improve patient care. Prof. Pamala Jacobson of the Institute of Personalized Medicine at the U of M provided commentary, describing the way mobile and wearable devices will both improve data collection and present new privacy challenges. Watch a video of the lecture here.