At this time, I’d like to share some news from around the UW System. There is a lot of good work being done, and we all can take pride in that.

  • Researchers at UW-River Falls are advancing the field of cancer research. Biology professor and Regent Scholar Timothy Lyden’s project builds a “living biopsy” of tumor tissues, letting doctors develop and test individual cancer treatments. Dr. Lyden is collaborating with private industry like Marshfield Clinic and Microscopy Innovations to further refine the process and expects to launch the technology in a new spin-off company – Artificial Tissue Systems.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has awarded UW-Stout a grant of nearly $1 million to help address the need for more vocational rehabilitation counselors. Stout’s master’s degree program in vocational rehabilitation trains students to aid those with disabilities in starting or returning to the workforce. The degree is offered on campus and online, and boasts a 95% job placement rate.
  • It was revealed last month that UW-Madison Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka and his team have developed an effective vaccine to stop Ebola, which has claimed over 10,000 lives worldwide in its most recent outbreak. The vaccine developed by Dr. Kawaoka is especially promising as it is a “whole virus” vaccine, affording a superior level of protection against an illness which currently has no known treatment. While the vaccine has proven safe in primates, human trials will be necessary to bring this life-saving research to those who need it.
  • While UW-Madison works on treating Ebola, UW-Milwaukee is improving our ability to test for it. UWM Materials Engineering Professor Junhong Chen is teaming up with the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a nanotech sensor to detect Ebola proteins with a simple spit test, giving health officials the tools to rapidly detect and contain the deadly virus. The team plans to have a prototype ready in just ten months.
  • While many were focused on March Madness, the UW-Stevens Point men’s basketball team claimed its fourth Division III national championship in late March, defeating Augustana College 70 to 54. UW-Stevens Point is now one of four teams in Division III to win four national titles in men’s basketball. Congratulations to Coach Alex Richard and his team.
  • Not to be outdone, UW-La Crosse claimed national championships in two sports. The UW-La Crosse women’s indoor track and field team claimed its first NCAA Division III championship, after multiple previous second-place finishes. In addition, the Eagles gymnastics team captured its 16th national title, with the second-highest team score in history, that record being held by UW-Whitewater.
  • UW-Parkside and Gateway Technical College have just signed a transfer agreement that extends their current 16 partnerships to now include Gateway information technology programs. The five new agreements between Gateway’s Information Technology Department and UW-Parkside’s Business Department will enable Gateway graduates to transfer up to 57 credits which could be applied to UW-Parkside business majors and enter the university with junior academic standing. Efforts like this are providing more educational and career opportunities and a faster pathway to a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  • A team from UW-Barron County recently claimed the 4th-place Legacy Trophy at the Rube Goldberg national competition in Columbus, Ohio. Each team submitted an incredibly complex machine with dozens of moving parts in an attempt to complete this year’s Rube Goldberg challenge of erasing a chalkboard. UW-BC’s machine allowed for the maximum of 75 steps to complete this task. It’s all about making the simple… complicated!
  • UW-Whitewater students and faculty are taking a 7,000 light-year trip – at least with their eyes and minds. Physics professor Robert Benjamin was approved to utilize the Hubble Space Telescope for a total of 21 hours to study galactic winds which may hold the key to determining the future of our galaxy. Competition to use the Hubble, arguably the most famous telescope in the world, is fierce. Less than a quarter of proposals are accepted, so this is an incredible opportunity for UW-Whitewater students and faculty.
  • UW-Eau Claire’s forensics team has extended its state championship streak to 31 years. The competitive speech team, founded in 1944, thought it was vying for its 23rd straight championship this year – already pretty impressive – when tournament records were discovered that show Eau Claire’s win streak actually stretched over three decades. Best of luck to the team as they now head to nationals, where they routinely place in the top ten in the country.
  • UW-Milwaukee was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create an Innovation Corps (or I-Corps) site, whose purpose is to nurture and support multiple, local teams to move their technology concepts into the marketplace. The initiative will leverage the existing partnerships among five universities in the region: UWM, Marquette, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Concordia University. The I-Corps grant recognizes the great stuff UWM has already been doing and also offers a gateway to new resources.
  • UW-Platteville was ranked the best university in Wisconsin for return on investment for its students by compensation researchers at The rankings showed a Bachelor’s degree from UW-Platteville had a 20-year return of over $467,000 – over seven times the total cost of earning a degree. Kudos to UW-Platteville.

That concludes my report on news from around the System.

See the previous “News from Around the UW System