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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 10, 2011

At A Glance

UI vision researcher receives grant to study inflammatory eye disease

Vinit Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, has received a five-year, $1.2 million Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.

The award is designed to prepare qualified individuals for careers that have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the nation.

Mahajan will use the funding to identify genes involved in diseases that cause retinal degeneration, and to study inflammatory eye disease, specifically a disease called autosomal dominant neovascular inflammatory vitreoretinopathy (ADNIV). Identifying specific gene mutations for ADNIV, which is an autoimmune disease of the eye, should advance understanding of the basic mechanisms of eye immunology.

For information about Mahajan's laboratory, visit


UI doctor to speak about Haiti experiences at ‘Finding God’ forum Feb. 11

At the next “Finding God at Iowa” lunch forum, Dr. Chris Buresh will discuss his work running medical clinics in Haiti after the recent earthquake, and how it has impacted his faith. His talk will be from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in the Illinois Room (Room 348) of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Buresh is clinical assistant professor and associate residency director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His experiences and work in Haiti are described in this recent article

The “Finding God at Iowa” Lunch Forum series, sponsored by Geneva Campus Ministry, meets once a month during the regular school year. Christian faculty, staff and students speak on how their faith shapes their lives, their work and their perspectives on university and social issues.
For more information, contact Geneva Campus Ministry at 319-341-0007 or  


‘Origins of the Love Duet’ explored in Feb. 17 opera lecture

The University of Iowa Opera Studies Forum (OSF) will present Francesco Dalla Vecchia Thursday, Feb. 17, for a talk titled “At the Origins of the Love Duet: Monteverdi’s and Cavalli’s Shared Strophic Arias.” The event begins at 4:30 p.m. in Gerber Lounge of the English Philosophy Building, and is free and open to the public.

Dalla Vecchia will explain the difference between a shared strophic aria and a duet, which are often confused, and how this type of aria was used in 17th-century opera for two dramatic functions: the expression of two lovers’ harmonious bond and the contrast of verbal confrontation. This talk will further examine the use of shared strophic arias in the work of composers Francesco Cavalli and Claudio Monteverdi.

Dalla Vecchia is a doctoral student in musicology in the UI School of Music of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This event is sponsored by OSF and UI International Programs.

For more information, visit or contact Roberta Marvin at 319-335-1438 or


UI anthropologist explores how Native Americans adapted to climate change

This month’s Explorers Lecture at the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, will examine how Native Americans on the Great Plains adjusted their hunting practices in reaction to climate change over the past 13,000 years

Assistant Professor Matthew Hill of the UI Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will address the changing nature of human-animal relationships through an analysis of information from archaeological sites spanning the duration of humans living on the Great Plains. The lecture, “Hunting in a Sea of Grass: Subsistence Responses to Climate Change by Native American Great Plains Hunters” will consider how environmental change combined with development of new technologies, agriculture and the bow and arrow, affected native peoples' hunting activities and meat-based diet.

Hill's research spans from Ice Age bison hunting in the Great Plains to 15th century farmers in the deserts of the American Southwest. A common theme of his work seeks to understand how populations who continually move across the landscape find creative ways of making a living. See for more about Hill.

For more information about the museum and the lecture series, visit, call 319-335-0606, or email


UI emeritus faculty member Lewis-Beck reads from new academic farce

Michael S. Lewis-Beck, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the University of Iowa Department of Political Science, will read from "Death Walks the Riviera," his new academic farce, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Prairie Lights Books. The University of Iowa's Writing University website,, will stream the reading live and then add it to the archive.

In addition to his academic works, Lewis-Beck has been published in Albatross, the UI Daily Palette, Pennine Ink, the Penwood Review, the Poet's Ink Review, Stepping Stones Magazine, Waterways, the Wapsipinicon Almanac and the Wild Goose Poetry Review.

The book was published by the local Catstep Press, a private publisher operated by Lewis-Beck's spouse, UI Center for the Book (UICB) adjunct faculty member Sara Sauers, a UI journalism alumna. In 2002 she received the Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design for her work on No Shortcuts: An Essay on Wood Engraving by Barry Moser, produced by the UICB.

Her recent letterpress work includes "Hard Candy," a collection of poems by UI Writers' Workshop alumnus Robert Dana, published in 2008. Recent digital work includes the art direction, design and typesetting for "A Watershed Year" from the UI Press.


UIMA presents screening of Basquiat film Feb. 24

Note: the correct times for the screenings are 6 p.m. for the public and 7:45 p.m. for donors. There is no 9:30 p.m. screening.

In collaboration with the Bijou Theatre, the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) presents a screening of "Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child," a film by Tamra Davis, on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Iowa Memorial Union’s Bijou Theatre.

There will be a public screening at 6 p.m. UIMA donors are invited to a private showing at 7:45 p.m.

As a graffiti artist in the crime-ridden streets of 1970s New York City, Jean-Michel Basquiat is often regarded as a black artist who battled racism from his peers but achieved critical success in the art-world in spite of it. During his rise to fame, Basquiat befriended Andy Warhol, with whom he collaborated for a short time before the latter’s death in 1987.

New York Times said the film “places Basquiat’s art in a cultural context with an enthusiasm and zest that make the many pictures shown come blazingly alive." It shines light on who Basquiat was both as an artist and individual throughout his ascent to rock-star status, and features interviews with art-world luminaries such as Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, and Tony Shafrazi.

For more information, visit or call 319-335-1727.


UI Theatres Gallery production, Feb. 24-27 is a portrait of resistance

The Gallery series of the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present "Sunshine" by Iowa Playwrights Workshop student Andrew Saito at 8 p.m. Feb. 24-26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

"Sunshine," which also utilizes resources of the School of Music, depicts an opera singer and a dancer imprisoned for speaking out against a dictatorial regime. This portrait of resistance and resilience was inspired by historical events including the Dirty War in Argentina, the Pinochet regime in Chile, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo.

The grandson of Japanese, Irish and Austro-Hungarian immigrants, Saito has been a fellow of the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, worked with Zapotec communities in Mexico and Mayan youth in Guatemala, and collaborated with Andean theatre company Kusiwasi on a play about climate change.

Saito, a finalist for a Princess Grace Playwriting Award and a Fulbright Fellowship, has worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Asian American Theatre Company and the Peruvian collective Yuyachkani. His children’s musical "Evolve!" was commissioned by Handful Players. His teaching memoir, “Between Me and the World,” was published in Teaching Artist Journal.

Admission is $5 -- free for UI students.


UI Orchestra Invitational begins with public concert Feb. 25

The 2011 Orchestra Invitational, sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Music for top high school and youth ensembles, will begin with a free Gala Concert featuring UI faculty artists, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, in the Riverside Recital Hall. Refreshments will follow the performance.

The Faculty Woodwind Trio -- Nicole Esposito, flute; Andrew Parker, oboe; and Maurita Mead, clarinet -- will open the concert with the Divertimento by Malcolm Arnold.

The Maia Quartet, the resident string quartet of the UI Division of Performing Arts -- violinist Tricia Park, violist Elizabeth Oakes, cellist Hannah Holman and guest violinist Lauren Basney -- will perform movements from Joseph Haydn's Quartet in C Major, Opus 20 No. 2, and the String Quartet No. 2 by Poul Ruders.

The UI Chamber Orchestra, conducted by graduate student Kira Horel, will conclude with the overture from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Felix Mendelssohn.

The following day at West High School young people in seven Midwest orchestras will have the opportunity to perform, attend a chamber-music coaching session with the Maia Quartet and masterclasses by string faculty, and tour the UI campus.


Photos for At A Glance items, if available, may be found at (for arts news) or (for all other news).

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.