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ForUM News from The University of Montana
  Sept. 19, 2011 | Vol. 39, No. 36 |
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UM receives $9.9 million NIH grant

UM recently received a five-year, $9.9 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources, an entity of the National Institutes of Health, to fund research on physiological processes and diseases from the standpoint of atomic structure, chemistry and physics.


The grant will fund research conducted at UM's Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, which is made up of faculty from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Division of Biological Sciences and the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The grant also recognizes the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics as an NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). UM's center is one of only four new COBRE centers in the country funded this year.


Insights gained from the research will inspire new therapeutic approaches to drug resistance, heart disease, behavioral disorders and viral diseases, said Stephen Sprang, UM program director of the NIH COBRE grant.


It will fund the specific research of four UM faculty members:


  • Klara Briknarova will use advanced spectroscopic methods to understand how viruses employ specialized proteins to invade human cells.
  • Xi Chu will use quantum mechanical methods to learn how physiologically critical enzymes use metal ions to catalyze reactions.
  • Valeriy Smirnov will use state-of-the-art biochemical methods to understand the catalytic mechanism of an enzyme that uses iron to convert the common amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter.
  • Erica Woodahl will use biochemical and spectroscopic methods to understand how certain transporter proteins alter the therapeutic effect of drugs and how this information can be used to improve drug development.  


Read more

Lecture to compare Pearl Harbor, Iraq policies

John Dower, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author considered one of the foremost experts on modern Japan and Japanese-U.S. relations, will give the first installment of the 2011-12 President's Lecture Series Friday, Sept. 23, at UM.


Dower will present "Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq" at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre. Earlier that day, Dower will give a seminar titled "Visualizing Cultures: Japan and China in the Modern World" from 3:10 to 4 p.m. in Gallagher Business Building Room 123.


Both events are free and open to the public. UM is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the President's Lecture Series, which was established in 1987 by former UM President James Koch.


Dower's lecture will draw parallels between the illusion-ridden Japanese high command before Dec. 7, 1941, and the similarly afflicted Bush administration after Sept. 11, 2001. Dower also will compare the postwar occupations to explain why American policies worked in Japan but in Iraq have become a byword for fiasco.


Read more

UM to honor distinguished alums at Homecoming

Four outstanding UM graduates will receive 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards during Homecoming weekend festivities, Sept. 30-Oct.1. The awards are the highest honor presented by the UM Alumni Association.


This year's distinguished alumni are wildlife biologist Thomas Dahmer of Hong Kong; federal judge Jack Shanstrom of Billings; actor J.K. Simmons of Hollywood, Calif.; and economist Brian Wesbury of Wheaton, Ill. 


The public is invited to attend a panel discussion featuring all four Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in the UC Ballroom. An awards ceremony and reception will follow.


UM's Homecoming Week kicks off Sunday, Sept. 25, with music and celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Southgate Mall Clock Court.


Read more

UM to celebrate American Indian Heritage Day

UM will host events Friday, Sept. 23, to celebrate American Indian Heritage Day.


The day will begin with a 7 a.m. Sunrise Ceremony by Arleen Adams in the Story Telling Area outside The Payne Family Native American Center. A teepee rising will follow at 8:30 a.m. on the Oval.


A student open forum with UM President Royce Engstrom is at 11:15 a.m. at the Bonnie HeavyRunner Memorial Gathering Place in the Native American Center, followed by the American Indian Heritage Day Proclamation by Engstrom at noon. UM graduate student Kevin Kicking Woman will be the master of ceremonies, while entertainment will feature a flute and traditional dance performance from Josh Avery and a jingle dress dance performance by Shawnee Skunkcap.


The Food Zoo will offer an indigenous menu starting at noon, and traditional Native American games will be played on the Oval at 1 p.m. A student art show will run from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Native American Center classrooms.


Journalism Assistant Professor Jason Begay will give a presentation at 2 p.m. in Native American Center Room 105.


The public is invited to attend all events, which are free except for the meal in the Food Zoo.

Mansfield Center hosts Chinese delegation

Twenty Chinese natural resource professionals have arrived in Montana in a two-way exchange program under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of State and organized by UM's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center.


The program sends Americans to China and brings Chinese citizens to the U.S., with the goal of increasing understanding of natural resource issues and one another.


During September, the visiting Chinese environmental professionals from Beijing, Guizhou, Chongqing and Chengdu will travel to Glacier National Park, Helena and the Flathead Indian Reservation to develop their understanding of environmental issues in Montana that parallel issues in their provinces. Members of the U.S. delegation are arranging visits with local businesses, nongovernmental organizations and state officials. They'll attend the UM Homecoming game and other cultural activities.


The Montana program will culminate in a public reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Stensrud Building, located at 314 N. First St. W. in Missoula. Join the group to hear about common natural resource issues shared between the two countries, personal observations from the delegates and the next opportunity for Montanans to travel to Asia on a different program theme. Refreshments will be served.


Read more

Actors to perform 'Montana Monologs' at Roxy

"The Montana Monologs," a series of pieces culled from the oral histories of Montana ranch women, will hit the stage of the Roxy Theater at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24, and Sept. 30-Oct. 1.


Written and produced by playwright and UM staff member Wendy Woollett, "The Montana Monologs" will feature monologs "Bole," "Epiphany" and "7UP." Musician Paul Kelley's original score will accompany the acts.


Tickets cost $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and $10 for students and seniors. To reserve tickets call River's Mist Art Gallery at 406-777-0520.


The performance is sponsored by Lolo's Dunrovin Ranch. A Matthew Hansen Endowment from UM's Wilderness Institute provided funding for "Bole."

Parade applications now available

Applications are now available for entry into this year's UM Homecoming Parade, to take place Oct. 1 in Missoula. Last year's parade featured 128 entries.


This year's Homecoming theme, "We Are Family," celebrates how the University's diverse family of faculty, students and staff sustains, strengthens and unites our Missoula and Montana community.


Applications are available online or by calling 243-5211 or toll-free at 877-862-5867. Applications also may be picked up at the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, 825 E. Front St., or at the Office of Alumni Relations and Alumni Association in Brantly Hall 115 at UM.


Applications, accompanied by a $30 entry fee, are due by 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. For more information, contact parade co-coordinator Danielle O'Leary at 243-4019 or email

Vote for Bhutan Ride for Climate in contest

A photo and essay featuring UM instructor Nicky Phear and student Mara Menahan's bike journey across Bhutan this summer is one of 15 finalists vying for a $5,000 charity donation in an online competition.


The contest, sponsored by media platform GOOD and Clif Bar, runs through Friday, Sept. 23. The top vote-getter will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his or her choice and a year's supply of Clif Bars.


Menahan and Phear, director of UM's Climate Change Studies Program, pedaled across the mountain kingdom in July as part of the inaugural Bhutan Ride for Climate. The trip brought together 15 teenagers from Bhutan and the U.S. to cycle 300 kilometers while exploring perspectives on climate change from farmers, foresters, monks, micro-hydro engineers and conservationists. The group documented its journey on the Bhutan Ride for Climate website.

Instructor to discuss Chinese medicine in lecture

The Fall 2011 Brown Bag Lecture Series hosted by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at UM will begin Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a presentation by Arielle Rittersmith, adjunct faculty member in the Department of Anthropology.


Rittersmith will present "Chinese Medicine and Managing Its Cultural Heritage: Biopolitics in Singapore" from noon to 1 p.m. in the Mansfield Center Conference Room, located on the fourth floor of the Mansfield Library.


All lectures in the series are free and open to the public. To view the full series schedule, click "read more."


Read more

Tech Fair features demonstrations, entertainment

UM students, faculty and staff are invited to the second annual Tech Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the UC Atrium.


Departments from across campus will be available to demonstrate and talk about technology applications, services and support. Several vendors, including Adobe, Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Verizon Wireless, also will have tables at the fair. Attendees can register for dozens of prizes by visiting at least five of the 28 Tech Fair exhibitors.


This year's fair will feature a unique musical event at noon in the UC when UM music Professor Charles Nichols conducts the Mountain Electroacoustic Laptop Ensemble, playing an original composition on laptops, iPads and iPods. 

Join Creative Writing Program for Writers' Fall Opus

Enjoy an evening of fine food and beverages, as well as silent and live auctions, Friday, Sept. 23, at the Writers' Fall Opus, a fundraiser for the UM Creative Writing Program.


The third annual event will be held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. in the Governor's Room of the Florence Building, located in downtown Missoula. Hosts will be Kevin Head and Charlie Brown.


Tickets for the event cost $35 or $60 per couple and can be purchased at the door. Attendees must be 21 or older. To RSVP call Karin Schalm at 243-5267 or email

Annual Heart Walk adds 5K run

The annual Missoula Heart Walk benefitting the American Heart Association just picked up the pace. For the first time since its inception in Missoula 16 years ago, the Heart Walk will feature both a three-mile walk and a 5K run Saturday, Sept. 24, at UM.


Dubbed the Heart Run, the timed event will begin and end on the UM Oval, with stretches of the Kim Williams Trail in between. Prizes will be awarded for each of the seven age divisions and for the overall winners in the men's and women's fields. The race fee is $20, and participants can register online.


The fundraiser will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with festivities starting at 10:15 a.m. on the Oval with a ceremony to introduce heart disease survivors and remember those who have passed away because of it. The 5K run will start at 11:10 a.m., followed by the walk at 11:15 a.m.


Read more
Library newsletter highlights resources

The Mansfield Library published the first edition of its new newsletter, Snmipnuntn (prounounced "sin-mee-pi-noon-tin"). Snmipnuntn is a Salish word meaning "a place to learn, a place to figure things out and a place where reality is discovered." The newsletter, published once each semester, is available online.


The newsletter is designed to reflect the library's services and people. It aims to provide faculty, staff, administrators and students with in-depth information about what the library offers and to highlight the ways faculty and students use its services. It also features a section called "10 Questions With..." that highlights a library staff or faculty member.

Consultant available for retirement planning

TIAA-CREF will offer individual counseling sessions to assist faculty and staff with retirement planning from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 27-28, and from 8 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at UM.


Appointments are required for the sessions, which will be held in the University Center. To make an appointment, call the TIAA-CREF Phone Center at 800-842-2009.   

President Engstrom's office hours

President Engstrom welcomes members of the campus community to meet with him to discuss issues and topics of their choice. Please call 243-2311 or email to make an appointment to meet with President Engstrom during these times.


President Engstrom's scheduled office hours for autumn semester are:


  • Wednesday, Sept. 28: 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27: 1-3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 8: 9-10:30 a.m.
Faculty/staff/retiree socials

Socials will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. most Fridays during autumn semester in the Davidson Honors College Lounge. Autumn semester dates and event sponsors are:


  • Sept. 23: College of Arts and Sciences
  • Oct. 7: Academic Affairs
  • Oct. 21: Mansfield Center
  • Oct. 28: President Engstrom
  • Nov. 4: International Programs
  • Nov. 18: College of Visual and Performing Arts and School of Journalism
  • Dec. 2: President Engstrom
  • Dec. 9: College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences
News about U
News About U

Jason Neiffer, curriculum director of the Montana Digital Academy, was recently honored as a Distinguished Educator by the Helena Education Foundation at the 2011 Celebration of Excellence dinner in Helena. Aaron Reynolds, a graduating senior and Distinguished Scholar at Capital High School, nominated Neiffer.


Ann Garfinkle, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been invited to join the editorial board of Young Exceptional Children, the premier research-to-practice publication in the field of early childhood special education. 


Cleveland, C.C.; S.Z. Dobrowski (co-authors). 2011. "Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forest: A pan-tropical analysis." Ecology Letters. 14:939-947.


Cleveland, C.C. 2011. "Throughfall exclusion and leaf litter manipulation drive higher rates of soil N2O emissions from a lowland wet tropical forest." Global Change Biology. 17:3195-3207.  


Morales, S.E. and W.E. Holben. 2011. "Empirical testing of 16S PCR primer pairs reveals variance in target specificity and efficacy not suggested by in silico analysis." Chapter 17 in Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology I: Metagenomics and Complementary Approaches. (Ed.) F.J. de Bruijn.


Morales, S.E. and W.E. Holben. 2011. "Extensive phylogenetic analysis of a soil bacterial community illustrates extreme taxon evenness and the effects of amplicon length, degree of coverage, and DNA fractionation on classification and ecological parameters."  Chapter 16 in Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology II: Metagenomics in Different Habitats. (Ed.) F.J. de Bruijn.


Sriraman, Bharath (co-author) 2011. "Immigrant and 'Alien' Reactions to Obama's Educational Policy: Disposition of Authenticity or the Politics of The Emperor's New Clothes." Journal of Educational Thought, 44(3):259-266.


Sriraman, Bharath (co-editor). 2011. Confronting Dogmatism in Gifted Education. Routledge, Taylor & Francis: New York. 248pp.  


Weinan, Sun; Katie M. Hoffman; David C. Holley; and Michael P. Kavanaugh. 2011. "Specificity and Actions of an Arylaspartate Inhibitor of Glutamate Transport at the Schaffer Collateral-CA1 Pyramidal Cell Synapse." PLoS One. 6(8):e23765.      


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phone: 406-243-4853


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