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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 14, 2009

At A Glance

UI engineer receives four-year, $1,460,984 NIH grant for bone quality research

Punam Saha, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has received a four-year, $1,460,984 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an advanced technology for bone assessment that may help physicians better diagnose osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

The grant involves developing a tool to assess the quality of trabecular bone, which adapts to stress and is often found in the vertebrae, radius and other sites in the human body where osteoporosis occurs. Currently, CT and MRI images of trabecular bone provide insufficient resolution, resulting in fuzzy images.

The central idea of the project is that a new index called the tensor scale -- which simultaneously measures shape, size and orientation -- will be very sensitive in detecting remodeling effects of the bone.

Saha, who also holds a joint appointment in radiology, said that the technology developed in the project will help physicians to diagnose patients at early stages of osteoporosis, monitor their disease status and observe the effects of therapeutic treatments.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis and low bone mass affect 44 million Americans.


Ceramic artist to present annual UIMA Levitt Lecture

Kurt Weiser, a renowned ceramic artist, will present the University of Iowa Museum of Art's (UIMA) annual Jeanne and Richard Levitt Lectureship, "American Crafts in Context," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in Room W151 of the John Pappajohn Business Building on the UI campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A professor at Arizona State University, Weiser creates intricately painted porcelain ceramics that overflow with lush foliage, women, serpents, birds and other animals.

Weiser is the latest in a line of luminaries the Jeanne and Richard Levitt Lectureship series has brought to the UIMA since it began in 2002 after being endowed by Madelyn Levitt of Des Moines in honor of her brother and sister-in-law.


UI Libraries, coffee shops mark Constitution anniversary

The UI Libraries and two local businesses are marking the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Thurs. Sept. 17.

During the week of Sept. 14-18, a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution will be available for free at the North Circulation Desk of the Main Library, courtesy of Rep. Dave Loebsack.

The Java House on Washington St. in Iowa City and T-Spoons locations in Old Capitol Town Center and on Market Street will also shine a light on individual rights established by the Constitution for the whole week of Sept. 13-19. The Java House will feature the Bill of Rights by designating each brew station for one of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. T-Spoon's has created a special latte that is sure to be the "perfect union" of cream or milk and coffee.

To learn the basics of research on U.S. Constitution, see the Libraries research guide:


Skloot reconstructs his forgotten life in Sept. 18 reading

Poet and nonfiction writer Floyd Skloot will read from his memoir "The Wink of Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life" at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in Prairie Lights Books at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free event will be stream live and archived at the University of Iowa Web site

"The Wink of Zenith" includes the Pushcart Prize-winning essay "The Voice of the Past," and the volume was named one of the Top 10 Northwest Books by the Oregonian and one of the Best Western Books by NewWest magazine.

Skloot reconstructs his early life in spite of a brain-ravaging virus at the age of 41 that left him with memory impairment. His detective work included listening to old songs, watching movies, rereading books, talking to family members - anything to spark a memory.

Skloot has published 15 books, winning numerous awards. His memoir "In the Shadow of Memory" was a finalist for the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay. His work has also been included in "The Best American Essays," "Best American Science Writing," "Best Spiritual Writing," "The Art of the Essay," and "In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction."


Internationalization, Diversity Provost Task Force open forums Sept. 21, 28

University of Iowa faculty, staff and students are invited to attend one of two open forums, hosted by the UI Internationalization and Diversity Provost Task Force, to gather input to help the 19-member committee develop a proposal for focused areas of excellence related to internationalization and diversity on the UI campus.

The east side forum will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. The west side forum will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, in the Med Alumni Auditorium, Room E331 General Hospital at UIHC.

The open forums are designed to gather input on areas of focused excellence where the UI leadership can apply resources strategically and make progress towards a more diverse, inclusive and international University of Iowa. Members of the task force will be present to gather input.

During the forum, participants will have the opportunity to provide input on areas such as campus climate, student success and retention, teaching and research, and outreach and engagement related to internationalization and diversity. The committee will then incorporate this feedback into their final recommendations to Provost Wallace Loh in December.

For more information, contact Julie Blair at 319-335-0488.


Lecture on hospital palliative care is Sept. 23

The annual Joe L. Parkin lecture will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, in 1110-A Medical Education and Research Facility on the University of Iowa campus. Hosted by the UI Center on Aging, the lecture on hospital palliative care will be preceded by a reception at 3:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Diane Meier, M.D., director of both the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Under Meier's leadership, the number of palliative care programs in hospitals nationwide has more than doubled since 2004.

The lecture is supported by a gift from the Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago in memory of its former president Joseph Parkin, who attended the UI from 1940 to 1943.

For more information, contact Barbara Reasner at 319-335-6576 or


Lunch with the Chefs returns to IMU Sept. 24

Lunch with the Chefs is returning to the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Main Lounge, starting Thursday, Sept. 24.

On selected Thursdays each month from September through November and again from February through April, the IMU's award-winning chefs will host, prepare, and serve a four-course meal with a different culinary theme each month.

The themes for 2009-10 are:  Sept. 24, "Un Giorno in Italia" (A Day in Italy); Oct. 22, "Lunch with the Kings" (Thai food); Nov. 19, "French Bistro"; Feb.18, "Stockholm in Winter"; March 11, "Mumbai to New Delhi"; April 15, "Running of the Chefs" (Spanish theme).

Cost of the meal is $8 for UI staff and the general public, $7 for University of Iowa students. The lunches begin at 11:15 a.m. and end at 12:45 p.m. All guests will be served on a first-come-first-served basis.

For more information, see, call 319-335-3138 or email


'Thursdays at Figge' talk set for Sept. 24

University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards will present a "Thursdays at the Figge" art talk on Sam Gilliam at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second St., Davenport.

Gilliam, a contemporary artist, created revolutionary work in the 1960s and 1970s by using newly developed artist-quality acrylic paints on large expanses of canvas. He remains one of the most highly praised African-American artists in the world. His work "Red April" is included in the UIMA's current exhibition at the Figge, "A Legacy for Iowa: Pollock's 'Mural' and Modern Masterworks at the University of Iowa Museum of Art," on display through Dec. 31.

Admission to the Figge is free for UI students, faculty and staff who present their UI ID cards, UIMA donors who present their donor courtesy card, and Figge Art Museum members. The general public is also welcome at the event for regular Figge admission prices: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children ages 3-12.

For more information on the UIMA visit To learn more about the Figge, visit


'Fossil Guy' program continues Sept. 26 at Museum of Natural History

The second program of the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History's fall "Fossil Guy" series, will focus on the Ice Age period in Iowa.  The free, public talk, titled "When Giant Ground Sloths Roamed Iowa," will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, in Macbride Auditorium, located on the second floor of Macbride Hall.

The program is conducted by local amateur paleontologist Don Johnson and will discuss Ice Age mammals that lived in Iowa, focusing on the recovery of giant ground sloths collected by the museum, and how a new species of giant sloth never before found in Iowa may change the understanding of these extinct animals.

Johnson will have specimens of numerous Ice Age fossils including mammoths, mastodons and horses from his personal collection available for the audience to see and touch.

Each "Fossil Guy" program consists of a 20-minute talk followed by a question-and-answer session for visitors to get an up-close look at the fossils in Johnson's collection. The series is designed as a hands-on, interactive way to teach children about paleontology.

For more information on the "Fossil Guy" and other museum of natural history programs, see or call 319-335-0606.


Museum of natural history to screen 'The World's Greatest Fair' Sept. 27

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History will present a screening of the documentary "The World's Greatest Fair" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, in Macbride Auditorium. The free, public event is part of the monthly "Movies @ MNH" series.

The two-hour documentary looks at an important time in American history, when the World's Fairs reached their height of popularity in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, which was the largest world's fair in history.

The feature-length film presents hundreds of never-before-seen images, the first high definition transfer of rare motion pictures of the fair, and interviews with nationally recognized historians, authors and world's fair experts.

The film is being shown in conjunction with the new exhibit "The Museum Goes to the Fair", a special exhibit displaying artifacts from the museum of natural history's Philippine collection acquired during the 1904 World's Fair, which will be on display at Old Capitol Museum through February 2010.

For more information on this and other museum of natural history programs visit or call 319-335-0606.


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Campus events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar:

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, please contact the sponsoring department in advance.