University Awarded $12 million NSF Grant to Improve Urban Futures
The University of Minnesota has received a $12 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to bring together scientists, industry leaders, and policy partners committed to building better cities of the future. The project is led by Anu Ramaswami, director of Consortium member Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, professor at the Humphrey School and in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. The grant has two other co-directors: Patricia Culligan at Columbia University and Armistead Russell at Georgia Institute of Technology. Since estimates indicate more than three billion more people will live in cities in 2050, the grant-funded network will focus on ways to reimagine infrastructure to create high-density cities that are highly functional, promote the health of residents and the environment, and are livable. “We have to think in new ways about a city’s physical infrastructure to develop sustainable solutions,” says Prof. Ramaswami.
Job Opportunity at Consortium: Associate Director of Research
We are seeking a full-time, non-laboratory position to work under the guidance of the chair, Prof. Susan M. Wolf, JD, and other faculty members to design, secure funding for, and implement research projects at the Consortium. A full job description is available here. To apply, external candidates should click here. Current University of Minnesota employees need to log into their MyU accounts and use this link. Job ID is 303641.
Consortium Research Associate Moves to Minnesota State College Student Association
Rebecca Branum, JD, has been hired as the new policy director at the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA), an advocacy group for students at public two-year colleges in the state. MSCSA works to ensure students have access to high-quality public education and leadership opportunities. Ms. Branum worked for the Consortium for 4 years in a variety of roles, most recently as senior research associate to Professor Susan M. Wolf, and also served as a law clerk for Senator Al Franken. She received her JD from the University of Minnesota and her BA in economics from Boston University. Says Branum, "My new position at MSCSA allows me to apply the policy and legal research I conducted at the Consortium and in Senator Franken's office to real-world issues of educational access and workforce development."
Cancer Survivor Advocates for Participation in Clinical Trials
In an interview posted today, pancreatic cancer survivor Scott Nelson describes the ongoing importance of patient participation in clinical trials. When he was diagnosed in 2004, Nelson was part of an experimental eight-week chemotherapy and radiation regimen that shrank his tumor to the point where it was successfully removed surgically. He now works as a volunteer advocate for other cancer patients at the university's Masonic Cancer Center, and was part of last year's Consortium conference on family genomic privacy. You can watch a video of his panel remarks and all of the conference sessions here.
Innovative Guinea Ebola Vaccine Study Pays Off
An article in Science Magazine describes a remarkable Ebola vaccine trial conducted by a team for the World Health Organization (WHO). The researchers' approach was partly dictated by an unexpected decrease in the number of Ebola cases, nullifying traditional vaccine research involving thousands of participants. The Guinea consortium opted for an unusual "ring" vaccination design, in which only the people most at risk — those who came into contact with an Ebola infected person and the contacts' contacts — were enrolled. The trial yielded a finding of 100% statistical efficacy for the vaccine, inspiring praise from epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, director of Consortium member the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). “We will teach about this in public health schools,” notes Osterholm.