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June '97 issue, @CWRU

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Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and the biotechnology company Athersys Inc. have created the first artificial human chromosomes by using essential elements of natural chromosomes: telomeres, which are on the end of normal chromosomes, and centromeres, which are specialized regions of DNA that are essential for the proper control of chromosome distribution during cell division. Huntington F. Willard was the study's senior author and is chairman of the Department of Genetics at CWRU and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

This is a breakthrough in medical research and provides scientists with a powerful new tool for the study of human genetics. Artificial chromosomes may also offer a new approach to gene therapy and the treatment of a broad range of genetic diseases. The synthetic microchromosome system now allows scientists to perform detailed studies on the nature of chromosomes--essentially the next phase of the Human Genome Project, which is to move from just mapping genes to actually understanding how they work and influence human disease.

The study's lead author was John J. Harrington, a postdoctoral fellow at CWRU, and now vice president and director of research at Athersys. Other authors include Gil Van Bokkelen, president and CEO of Athersys, Robert Mays, of Athersys and CWRU, and Karen Gustashaw, of CWRU.


Children are exposed to alarmingly high levels of violence, and those with the greatest exposures are at high risk for suffering severe psychological trauma, according to a study by Case Western Reserve University's Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of 2244 youngsters ages 8 to 14, in third through eighth grade at 11 Northeast Ohio schools.

Researchers documented the children's own violent behaviors and their exposure to violence as either witnesses or victims. Using a psychological test that measured levels of anxiety, depression, anger, post-traumatic stress and dissociation, they found that youngsters with the highest exposure to violence (the top 25 percent) suffered seriously elevated levels of all five symptoms at a significantly higher rate than those exposed to the least violence. Professor Mark I. Singer and co-principal investigator David B. Miller, an assistant professor, reported their findings in Columbus at a briefing for the governor's cabinet and for policy makers and community leaders.


A $50,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation will enable economists, business leaders, and government officials from Russia and the nations of Eastern Europe to study at Case Western Reserve University.

The Coca-Cola/Case Western Reserve University World Leadership Program will bring three visiting professionals to Cleveland and Atlanta each year. They will attend a 12-week program organized by CWRU, consisting of two courses in fields relevant to each fellow, and a specialized seminar created for the program. The program also will include site visits to plants, offices, and businesses throughout Greater Cleveland, and a week-long visit to Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta.

The program's director will be Robert D. Hisrich, the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at CWRU's Weatherhead School of Management. Hisrich has been a Fulbright professor at the International Management Center and the Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development in Budapest, Hungary. Fellows will be selected by a committee comprised of representatives from CWRU, the U.S. Embassy in Russia, and the Russian government and will be on campus in late summer.


Nearly 2,000 Case Western Reserve University students received diplomas during May 18 commencement exercises. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, the commencement speaker, received an honorary degree, as did two CWRU alumni--Paul Berg, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and June Osborn, a national AIDS expert. Also during the Commencement Convocation, David D. Van Tassel, the Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History, became the fourth recipient of the Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize. The honor recognizes his outstanding achievements in teaching, research, and scholarly service which have benefitted the community, nation, and world. Van Tassel is creator of National History Day and edited the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the nation's first city encyclopedia.


Case Western Reserve University and the Universities Space Research Administration are collaborating with NASA on a new National Center for Microgravity Research on Fluids and Combustion, the only one of its kind dedicated to microgravity research. The $17.8 million center, funded by NASA in cooperation with the NASA Lewis Research Center, will be based at CWRU and will advance microgravity research in fluid physics and combustion science. Simon Ostrach, the Wilbert J. Austin Distinguished Professor of Engineering at CWRU, will be the center director.

The behavior of fluids in space has important implications for the development of mission-enabling technologies, such as fuel to power the spacecraft. Knowledge about combustion processes is critical for spacecraft fire safety. The center is also expected to lead to applications of new technologies that can be used here on Earth to advance more efficient power generation, pollution abatement, improved manufacturing processes, and biomedical innovations.


Charles Rosenblatt has conducted numerous levitations of liquid crystals in his physics lab in an effort to understand how these technologically important materials operate in microgravity conditions.

Rosenblatt and Philip Taylor, both Case Western Reserve University professors of physics and macromolecular science, have a $270,000, four-year grant from NASA to conduct these earthbound experiments. If successful, they may have the opportunity to have similar experiments performed on a space mission.

It is important to study the levitated materials, because liquid crystals have different surface properties when viewed from different angles. Liquid crystals are part of a $10 billion industry that uses the materials in displays from wrist watches to laptop computers.


Case Western Reserve University is part of a consortium that includes federal, state, local, and corporate partners which has provided funding for BioEnterprise, a facility with office and laboratory space designed to meet the specific needs of emerging biomedical companies. BioEnterprise provides early-stage, bio-oriented companies with the technological infrastructure they need for the next phase of their growth. Laboratories are equipped with features such as de-ionized water, fume hoods, lab benches, and emergency eyewash and shower stations. It occupies the first two floors of the CWRU-owned University West building, 11000 Cedar Avenue.

CWRU President Agnar Pytte said BioEnterprise is a "crucial element in strengthening the region's position in the biomedical field." He noted that much of the technology employed by BioEnterprise's first tenants was developed in partnership with CWRU.

In addition to its importance for biomedical companies, BioEnterprise will serve as an anchor of Cleveland's Technology District, an area targeted to include technology-based businesses among its occupants.


M. Christina Gabriel, a senior official at the National Science Foundation, will become Case Western Reserve University's vice president for research and technology transfer, effective July 1. CWRU President Agnar Pytte appointed Gabriel to the position after a national search.

Gabriel will help to formulate, implement, and communicate university policies affecting research activities, including the commercialization of CWRU research into the marketplace. Gabriel also will supervise the Office of Research Administration and CWRU's technology transfer program. She joined the NSF in 1991. Since becoming acting assistant deputy director for engineering in September, she has held joint responsibility for managing the NSF Engineering Directorate's approximately $300 million annual federal investment in research and education.


Keeping some preterm infants with their mother continuously from birth under a nurse's supervision may be more effective than extensive use of high-tech equipment, according to a Case Western Reserve University nurse-researcher. Gene Anderson, the Mellen Professor of Nursing at CWRU, has received $1.1 million from the National Institute of Nursing Research to study 100 healthy preterm infants and their mothers at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Anderson believes there is an opportunity to maximize care for preterm infants right after birth if they are healthy, and to avoid possible costly medical complications. The mother actually stabilizes the infant's temperature, respiration, and heart rate when the diaper-clad infant is lying prone on her chest with direct skin-to-skin contact, she notes.


The general hospital in Klaipeda, Lithuania, has a new oral and maxillofacial surgery unit named in honor of two Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry faculty members whose volunteer efforts have brought modern facial reconstructive surgery to that Baltic nation.

John DiStefano, an associate clinical professor in the dental school, and Jerold Goldberg, interim dean and chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery, were on hand when the new DiStefano/Goldberg Oral and Maxillofacial Unit at Klaipeda General Hospital was dedicated in late May.

The event coincided with their fourth medical mission to Lithuania. Besides the two CWRU oral surgeons, the medical team included 12 other medical caregivers from Cleveland institutions, including the CWRU schools of medicine and dentistry, University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic. The team did 22 corrective surgeries, general dental care, and training.


Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine has launched a Visual Sciences Research Center, after becoming Ohio's first medical school to receive a center core grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the center. The five-year, $1.8 million grant signals major support for the medical school's advancement of the visual sciences.

Staffed by 30 faculty, the center is a joint effort of five CWRU departments from within the School of Medicine--ophthalmology, genetics, neurology, neurosciences, and pathology--as well as UHC and the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. An NIH center core grant provides support for the joint research effort of researchers from several disciplines.


The Reinberger Foundation has contributed $345,000 to establish a new laboratory to provide engineering students with hands-on experience working with the kinds of machines, processes, and technologies they will use in industry. The laboratory will have computer numerical control equipment that uses a computer to generate numerical values for desired path and tool positions, a computer-controlled inspection machine that examines machine parts, and a machining center that makes complicated parts with contoured or prismatic surfaces.

William Reinberger, a retired engineer from TRW Inc., and Robert Reinberger, a retired aerospace engineer from NASA Lewis Research Center, graduated from the Case School of Applied Science (now the Case School of Engineering) in 1943.



...___ No, that isn't a typo, but it illustrates how a student in Robert E. Dunn's "Introduction to Music: The Listening Experience I" may visually interpret the opening phrases of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Dunn, Case Western Reserve University assistant professor of music, received a Glennan Fellowship to write a new teacher's guide for Music 221. He readily admits few will find his way of teaching music appreciation--by typing dots and dashes, bouncing tennis balls to beats and meters or composing a piece of music played by crumbling paper or banging bottles--as the standard offering for the course for non-music majors.

"Music 221 is likely the last music course these students will ever take," said Dunn. "I want to leave them with a lasting impression of music."


A nurse-researcher at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is teaching urban African-Americans, who often rely on hospital emergency rooms for their asthma care, ways to self-manage their disease. Carol Blixen, associate professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University, received a $20,000 grant from Glaxo Wellcome Inc. to assess the feasibility of a nurse-run asthma education program for hospitalized African-Americans with asthma.

Asthma education programs which teach self-management, correct use of metered-dose inhalers, and appropriate treatment plans improve symptoms and lead to lower rates of health care use, Blixen said. African-Americans suffer double the rate of hospital admissions for asthma than other races.


Case Western Reserve University ranks 13th among the nation's "100 Most Wired Colleges" and third among the "Top Five Wired Party Schools," according to a survey by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine in its May issue.

Editors based their rankings on a survey of 300 institutions, looking at four main criteria--academics, hardware and wiring, social services, and student services.

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