U-M, MSU receive $1.4M NSF grant for joint STEM project

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University have been awarded a three-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation grant for CLIMBS-UP, a collaborative research project to study inclusive environments in science, technology, engineering and math within academia. Isis Settles, U-M professor of psychology, and Afroamerican and African studies; and Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, MSU professor of fisheries and wildlife, and the Lyman Briggs College, are leading a multi-institutional team of researchers investigating how inclusivity affects outcomes of early career scholars in STEM fields. “This new grant allows us to broaden our scope to study new disciplines, all with the goal of helping to broaden participation in academic STEM careers,” Cheruvelil said. Read more about CLIMBS-UP.

Precision Health holding virtual symposium

The 2020 Precision Health Virtual Symposium: At the Intersection of Research and Community will take place via Zoom from 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Sept. 23. The symposium celebrates and explores the latest research in the fast-moving, multidisciplinary field of precision health. This year, the event will focus on the important role of community participants in research and the positive impact research can have on communities. Learn more or register for the symposium.

Financial aid applications for low-income students lag during pandemic

The economic hardship for low-income families caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have another casualty: high school seniors accessing financial aid to attend college. Applications for federal and state financial aid for college are a leading indicator of how many students will enroll in and complete a college degree. A U-M study shows that those applications have not increased in tandem with the additional need. The FAFSA and the Tuition Incentive Program, Michigan’s largest state scholarship program for low-income students, can unlock substantial resources available to needy students in the state. Yet the study found “the increased financial need of students due to the pandemic has not resulted in increased financial aid applications.”

U-M spinout Asalyxa Bio developing inflammatory treatment platform

Asalyxa Bio, a startup with neutrophil targeting drug-delivery technology invented at U-M that aims to treat a wide range of inflammatory diseases, has secured seed funding to advance toward the first in-human trials next year. Asalyxa Bio was co-founded by U-M scientists and Orange Grove Bio, a New York-based venture operating company. The company’s chief scientific officer is Lola Eniola-Adefeso, who was among the few Michigan researchers working during the depths of the lockdown because her group was making progress on a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, including the variety found in COVID-19 patients. The company’s lead program is ASX-100, a technology that delivers an anti-inflammatory agent directly to overreactive neutrophils. The arrival of ASX-100 reduces the activity of these immune cells and minimizes harm to the body from the immune overreaction that triggers what’s known as a “cytokine storm.” Read more about this project.

Those at risk for diabetes eligible for free program

Faculty, staff and retirees with higher-than-normal blood sugar can participate in a free diabetes prevention program through their U-M health plan. The program is covered with no out-of-pocket cost for faculty, staff and retirees enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network health plans and who meet eligibility criteria. Their adult dependents also are eligible. Eligibility is based on clinical evidence of prediabetes or risk factors that place the person at high risk for prediabetes. Eligible health plan members can apply for the program at omadahealth.com/uofm. The portal opens Sept. 1. Applicants will complete a brief form to determine eligibility and risk factors. Within a few days, they will be notified of whether they qualify. New groups begin weekly. The program is based on a one-year curriculum, with continuing support for up to an additional year. Learn more on the Human Resources website.

UM-Dearborn launches new writing program

UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters has launched a new Professional Writing and Rhetoric program. The program begins this fall and is geared toward students who are interested in understanding how to write for different audiences, learning how to draft a variety of documents and specializing in specific areas of writing such as technical, business or cross-cultural. “We want to help students design their professional identities, strengthen their writing, learn how culture and communication come together, and gain practical experience,” said Mike MacDonald, associate professor of composition and rhetoric. “Writing is essential in almost every field. This program is designed to give our students control over their professional identities as writers as they look toward the job market.”

Compiled by Ann Zaniewski, The University Record

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