Nominations sought for Neubacher Award

Nominations are being accepted through Aug. 5 for the 31st annual James T. Neubacher Award. The award recognizes University of Michigan faculty, staff, students and alumni who have made significant achievements in empowering people with disabilities, advocating for or advancing disability rights or disability justice, and increasing the accessibility of programs and services to promote disability inclusion. Established by the university’s Council for Disability Concerns in October 1990, the award is a memorial to James T. Neubacher, a university alumnus and columnist for the Detroit Free Press who advocated for equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. For more information or to submit a nomination, visit cfdc.umich.edu/neubacher.

Revision to Board of Regents’ Ordinance proposed for public comment

Revisions to a section of the Board of Regents’ Ordinance have been proposed and are now being posted for public comment. The revisions deal with the description of weapons prohibited on U-M property, and add an exemption for knives “with a blade in excess of 3 inches when used solely for preparation of food, instruction or maintenance.” A PDF version that highlights the proposed wording changes can be viewed here. Address any comments to publiccomments@umich.edu by July 13.

Michigan Drug Discovery awards pilot grants for new projects

Three innovative drug discovery projects targeting cancer, fungal infection and vision loss are moving forward at U-M with early-stage funding from Michigan Drug Discovery. Michigan Drug Discovery helps U-M faculty advance early biomedical research toward clinical translation. Researchers awarded pilot grants receive financial support to access technology and expertise in drug discovery core laboratories at the university, helping promising projects attract funding from federal agencies, foundations and industry partners. Including these three newest projects, Michigan Drug Discovery has invested approximately $3 million in 79 drug discovery research projects across the university. In turn, the projects have gone on to secure more than $34 million in federal grants and other support. The latest pilot grants were awarded to James Moon of the College of Pharmacy, Medical School and College of Engineering; Teresa O’Meara of the Medical School; and Daniel Goldman of the Medical School. Read more about these projects.

UM-Dearborn named gold-level veteran-friendly school

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has named UM-Dearborn a gold-level veteran-friendly school. The program, which offers bronze, silver and gold awards, recognizes higher education institutions that are committed to supporting the needs of military-connected students. Tom Pitock, UM-Dearborn’s Veteran Affairs coordinator and assistant director of the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion, said UM-Dearborn met all of the award criteria, which includes things like having an established process for identification of current student veterans, offering veteran-specific career services and having a veteran-specific website. In addition to services such as individual orientation for newly admitted military-affiliated students, a dedicated career services counselor and priority registration, UM-Dearborn also has veteran-focused programming.

Amazon makes corporate gift to U-M philanthropic venture fund

Amazon is contributing $200,000 to the Accelerate Blue Fund, a U-M philanthropic venture fund — representing the first corporate gift received by the fund that aims to help develop and commercialize promising U-M technologies. The donation brings Accelerate Blue nearly to the halfway point of its initial goal of $2 million. By the end of the year, officials expect to start evaluating potential investments in U-M technology-based startups. Accelerate Blue is an evergreen source of early-stage, risk-tolerant, high-impact capital for U-M high-tech startups. All investment returns will go back into the fund for future investment in new U-M startups. The fund, approved by the regents in October, plans to make initial investments of between $25,000 and $250,000 in startups in areas such as cybersecurity, legal tech, mobility, artificial intelligence, mobility and sports, and climate technology.

Maternal obesity linked to increased risk of early-onset neonatal sepsis

The risk of early-onset neonatal bacterial sepsis increases with maternal obesity, according to a new study by U-M and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Lead researcher Eduardo Villamor, professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, and his colleagues used a nationwide population-based retrospective cohort of about 1.9 million live singleton infants born in Sweden between 1997 and 2016. The infants were followed through their first three days of life for a culture-confirmed sepsis diagnosis, and mothers were categorized according to their weight. The researchers also considered co-variables such as maternal age, country of origin and education level. Villamor said the study built on previous research. Villamor said sepsis, a generalized bacterial infection that can be fatal, can have long-lasting consequences even in children who survive it, especially in terms of neurodevelopment. The study was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Compiled by Ann Zaniewski, James Iseler and Jeff Bleiler, The University Record

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