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University of Iowa News Release


May 19, 2008

Heimdal accepts post at Lakeside Laboratory

University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL) limnologist Dennis Heimdal earlier this month accepted the position of laboratory scientist at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Regent Resource Center in Milford.

Limnologists study the life and phenomena of fresh water, especially lakes and ponds. In this new position, Heimdal will expand water-quality monitoring, environmental testing and on-site educational opportunities in Iowa's Great Lakes region. A native of Joice, Iowa, Heimdal also will serve as a resource to interpret water-quality data for other public health agencies and for citizens in the northwest part of the state.

"Dennis has devoted 15 years to improving water quality through his work at the UHL and previously with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources," said UHL Director Chris Atchison. "His commitment to serving the state continues in the position at the Lakeside Lab, where Dennis will build on the center's heritage of improving the quality of life in northwestern Iowa."

The Lakeside Laboratory is one of the nation's first biological field stations. From its 147-acre campus on the western shore of West Okoboji Lake, the center offers year-round research and educational programs with residential facilities. Credit coursework, coordinated through the UI Division of Continuing Education, enhances academic opportunities for students at all three regents universities.

A partnership announced earlier this year between the University of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the University Hygienic Laboratory will expand the use of the Lakeside Laboratory facilities for water-quality analysis and monitoring.

"Good water quality is essential to our local economy, outdoor recreational pursuits and quality of life," said Peter van der Linden, executive director of the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. "The partnership will promote good stewardship of this important natural resource. We are excited to be a part of this effort."

Since 1997, Heimdal worked as a limnologist for the UHL. Prior to that, he served as a natural resources aide for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries in Solon and Spirit Lake, Iowa, and as a biological science technician for the National Park Service in Van Buren, Mo. Heimdal received a bachelor's degree in biology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

The UHL will provide administrative support for the Lakeside Lab.  Lee Friell, manager of the UHL facility in Ankeny, is the project manager for the water-analysis partnership. Beginning July 1, an expanded menu of tests will be performed on the campus with analytical results available in a timely manner for samples collected from northwestern Iowa.

The Lakeside Laboratory was founded in 1909 by Thomas Macbride, former president and professor at the UI. When the laboratory was built, it was the only field station on the North American Prairie. In 1936, the unique facility became a state institution. Today, the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is operated cooperatively by the UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa through the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Information about the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is available online at

The University Hygienic Laboratory is part of the University of Iowa and is the state of Iowa's environmental and public health laboratory. The UHL is the designated laboratory for the Iowa Neonatal Metabolic Screening Program, with facilities located on the Oakdale Campus in Iowa City and at the Iowa Lab Facilities in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb. Among its many services, the laboratory functions as a consultative and analytical support facility for state agencies, health professionals and citizens.  The UHL performs analyses on samples from virtually all matrices, including human clinical specimens, air, drinking water, wastewater, soil, sediment, industrial effluents, oil and fish.

Additional information about UHL, its programs and services is available online at

STORY SOURCE: University Hygienic Laboratory, 102 Oakdale Campus, H101 OH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5002

MEDIA CONTACT: Pat Blake, 319-335-4177,