News » Archives » July 2010

Silliman named Darcy Distinguished Lecturer in ground water science

Author: Nina Welding

Stephen E. Silliman

Stephen E. Silliman, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the 2011 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer by the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation. As the 2011 lecturer, Silliman will present a series of lectures on groundwater hydrology to numerous host institutions throughout the 2011 calendar year.

Silliman’s expertise is in groundwater flow and transport in heterogeneous media, stochastic hydrology and water resource development and management in developing countries. Most recently, his work has focused on groundwater development and protection strategies based in both the United States and Western Africa, with an established research program in Benin, West Africa, forming the foundation of these efforts. This work involves numerical and in-country field efforts involving both undergraduate and graduate students working in close collaboration with faculty and students from the national university in Benin. His research has been supported by a number of agencies, ranging from the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation to private foundations.

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“Wait-and-see” effect not always caused by economic uncertainty, Notre Dame research shows


Economic uncertainty

Business uncertainty leads to quick drops in economic activity, according to a long-held belief in economics. New research from the University of Notre Dame casts doubt on that assumption.

Published recently by the National Bureau of Economic Research, research by Notre Dame economist Eric Sims and colleagues from the University of Michigan and the University of Munich found no evidence that increases in uncertainty cause a wait-and-see effect, or slowing of economic activity.

“We wanted to tackle the question of whether surprise increases in business uncertainty lead to large and quick drops in economic activity,” Sims says.

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Notre Dame researchers seek to identify new anti-tuberculosis agent

Author: Marissa Runkle

Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller, the George and Winifred Clark professor of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame, has received a $1.9-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance tuberculosis research. The epidemic tuberculosis infects an estimated 14.4 million people and kills some 4,500 every day. Many strains of the disease have become resistant to the standard treatment that involves taking multiple drugs for several months.

Miller and his research group aim to understand TB’s essential iron sequestration machinery to discover new targets and exploit this pathway for developing novel anti-TB agents. The synthesis of the iron sequestering siderophores from mycobacteria allows for the exploitation of a “Trojan Horse” drug treatment with new and existing drugs. The grant also will help the lab advance its current lead small molecule anti-TB agents, which are nanomolar inhibitors of drug-resistant strains, through in vivo pre-clinical development, patenting, and potential partnering with industry to bring new treatments to the marketplace.

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$5 million gift from James Parsons and Carrie Quinn to endow directorship at Notre Dame

Author: Dennis Brown

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Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases

James Parsons and Dr. Carrie Quinn, a married couple and graduates of the University of Notre Dame, have made a $5 million gift to their alma mater to endow the directorship of the University’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases.

“The work of Notre Dame researchers in the area of rare and neglected diseases is perfectly suited to our Catholic mission and is one of our top priorities,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., University president. “We are immensely grateful to Jim and Carrie for this generous gift, which will contribute immeasurably to our efforts to increase awareness, enhance research, find cures and, most importantly, bring hope to families afflicted with these forgotten diseases.”

The first Parsons-Quinn Director of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases is Kasturi Haldar, Julius Nieuwland Professor of Biological Sciences and a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2008.

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Fulbright foreign language teachers get crash course in American culture and academics



The University of Notre Dame will host its fifth annual Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) orientation for the coming academic year, bringing foreign language teachers from 28 countries (representing 21 languages) to campus Aug. 10 to 14 (Tuesday to Saturday) for a series of workshops designed to enhance their teaching in the United States. The program also will introduce them to important features of American culture in preparation for their teaching experiences across the country.

Most of these scholars have never been to the U.S. and will participate in workshops covering everything from how to prepare a syllabus to the rules of American football. See the schedule of events for a complete list of workshops as well as other orientation details.

Notre Dame is one of only five universities selected by Fulbright and the U.S. State Department to host such an orientation. Upon completion, the teachers will travel to their host institutions, where they will teach undergraduate foreign languages.

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Fire at Notre Dame’s Grotto is extinguished; no injuries

Author: Dennis Brown

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

A fire at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at the University of Notre Dame was extinguished Monday evening (July 26) by the University’s fire department. There were no injuries, and the cause is undetermined.

The interior of the Grotto has been closed while officials determine if it is safe to enter. Visitors may still pray at the perimeter of the shrine.

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Notre Dame achieves "great workplace" distinction


Great Colleges to Work For

The University of Notre Dame has again earned Honor Roll distinctions in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Great Colleges to Work For program.

The Great Colleges program evaluates universities on the basis of a dozen criteria such as teaching environment, facilities, compensation and benefits, and the faculty and staffs’ sense of respect and appreciation. The program is three years old; Notre Dame has participated in the past two years, earning Honor Roll distinctions both years.

The primary factor for awarding the Great Colleges designation is employee feedback on a survey about the workplace environment administered by the Great Colleges program partner, ModernThink L.L.C.

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Notre Dame video garners national/international awards


Honors Opportunities in the Arts and Sciences

A promotional video for the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has won a gold award in the recruitment category from Aurora International Awards, and the Telly Award for best recruitment video.

Produced by NewGroup Media, a South Bend-based creative media communications company, the video, titled “Honors Opportunities in the Arts and Sciences,” features opportunities available through departmental honors tracks, undergraduate research opportunities and the Glynn Family Honors Program.

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New Notre Dame department applies math research to real world problems

Author: William G. Gilroy


Could a math problem hold the key for curing cancer? How about predicting the stock market? A newly created department at the University of Notre Dame is using the tools of applied mathematics to solve real world problems, including insights into blood clot formation and the spread of cancer, forecasting the behavior of stock markets and modeling environmental phenomena.

The new Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics in the Notre Dame College of Science will provide students with access to a growing and increasingly important field of study. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that the related field of computational science is one of the top five up and coming majors and statistician and bioinformatics rank highly in job opportunity surveys.

The new bachelor of science in applied and computational mathematics and statistics and a graduate program in the same discipline are designed to produce professionals who can solve important real world problems by building and using mathematical models of phenomena ranging from biology to physics, engineering, economics and business to explain relationships and simulate how the phenomena will behave.

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Notre Dame researchers receive medical technologies grants for Indiana-based initiatives

Author: Nina Welding

Indiana CTSI

Three University of Notre Dame faculty members—Basar Bilgicer, Bradley S. Gibson, and Paul Helquist—have been awarded grants from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI) as part of the Collaboration in Translational Research Pilot Program. Another faculty member, Joshua Shrout, received a Young Investigator Basic Science award, and two graduate students — Apryle O’Farrell and James Clancy — have been awarded predoctoral fellowships by the organization.

Each of the CTSI-CTR teams, led by Bilgicer, Gibson and Helquist, will receive $75,000 to conduct research and foster collaborations focusing on new medical treatments and services.

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AD&T secures NSF grant for high-frequency imaging system

Author: Nina Welding

AD&T logo

A team in the Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics (AD&T) Initiative at the University of Notre Dame has been awarded a grant of $359,281 for the development of a room-temperature, portable terahertz (THz) imaging system from the National Science Foundation (NSF) via the Integrative, Hybrid and Complex Systems (IHCS) program.

Led by Research Assistant Professor Lei Liu, Associate Professor Grace Xing and Professor Patrick Fay of the Department of Electrical Engineering, the team is working to develop an imaging device and nano-scale detectors that would create such a system, one that would more affordably capture high-quality images in real time at room temperature.

According to Liu, who will design the overall system and test the THz detectors developed by the team, the entire system would operate like a camera but in the submillimeter-wave and THz range of the electromagnetic spectrum — between radio frequency and the optical region.

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Notre Dame’s Father Richard Warner elected superior general of Congregation of Holy Cross

Author: Dennis Brown

Rev. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C.

Rev. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., director of Campus Ministry at the University of Notre Dame, has been elected the 12th superior general of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He will succeed Rev. Hugh W. Cleary, C.S.C., effective at the conclusion of the congregation’s General Chapter meeting this week in Rome.

“Father Warner has served Notre Dame with distinction in many and varied capacities, and we are collectively – and I am personally – indebted to him for his wise counsel, witness to the Gospel and service to our campus and broader community,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “The General Chapter has made an astute decision in electing Father Warner to lead our congregation and, while we will miss him and his ministry at Notre Dame, we rejoice that his talents will be shared in new ways around the world.”

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Notre Dame research shows children’s school performance tied to family “type”


Mark Cummings

The way a family interacts can have more of an impact on a child’s predicted school success than reading, writing or arithmetic, according to a University of Notre Dame study published recently in the Journal of Child Development.

University of Notre Dame Professor of Psychology Mark Cummings and colleagues at the University of Rochester studied the relationship patterns of some 300 families (with six year-olds) over the course of three years, and found distinct family-school connections. Specific family “types” emerged as predictors of school success.

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Alliance for Catholic Education conducts its 15th Commencement

Author: William Schmitt

ACE Commencement

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The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) conducted its 15th Commencement exercises July 10 (Saturday) with one of the nation’s most distinguished leaders in the field of education addressing the 106 graduates who received master’s degrees.

Anthony Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, praised the ACE graduates for embracing their formation as Catholic school teachers and principals in the spirit of a vocational call. Watch Speech

He quoted to the audience in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center the words of President John F. Kennedy, from the 1960 Inaugural Address: “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

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Notre Dame chemists receive $5.5-million NIH grant to fight bacterial infections with new drugs

Author: Marissa Runkle

Mayland Chang

Mayland Chang of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame has received a five-year, $5.5-million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to conduct translational research aimed at the discovery and development of drugs to fight serious gram-positive bacterial infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The award, significantly greater than typical grants at the research level, required a product development plan for moving a compound towards commercialization in addition to the usual scientific plan.

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In memoriam: Notre Dame historian J. Robert Wegs

Author: Michael O. Garvey

James Robert “Bob” Wegs

James Robert “Bob” Wegs, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame, died Wednesday (July 14). He was 73.

A native of Quincy, Ill., Wegs was graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb in 1963. As an undergraduate there, he studied for a year overseas at the University of Vienna. He earned a master’s degree in German history from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1966 and a doctoral degree in Central European history from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1969.

Specializing in modern European social and economic history, especially in Germany and Austria, he taught at New York University from 1969 to 1976 and for a year at Vanderbilt University for a year before joining the Notre Dame faculty in 1977.

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In memoriam: Notre Dame geologist Rev. Michael J. Murphy, C.S.C.

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Michael J. Murphy, C.S.C.

Rev. Michael J. Murphy, C.S.C., professor emeritus of geology at the University of Notre Dame, died Sunday (July 11) at Holy Cross House on campus. He was 87.

A native of Butte, Mont., Father Murphy attended St. Francis Grade School and Columbia Prep in Portland, Ore., before coming to Notre Dame’s Moreau Seminary. He was ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in Portland in 1949.

After ordination, he worked in a variety of ministries at Notre Dame while taking classes in geology and earned a bachelor of science degree from the University in 1951. He did graduate work in geology at the University of California, Berkeley while serving at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Oakland before returning to Notre Dame to earn a master’s degree in 1953.

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Notre Dame Energy Center receives $2.8-million energy research grant

Author: William G. Gilroy

Notre Dame Energy Center

The University of Notre Dame Energy Center has been awarded a $2.8-million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) stimulus grant for a research project aimed at dramatically improving how the country uses and produces energy.

DOE is awarding a total of $92 million from the American Recovery and Investment Act to 43 cutting-edge projects that focus on accelerating innovation in green technology while increasing America’s competitiveness in grid scale energy storage, power electronics and energy-efficient cooling systems.

The Notre Dame DOE-funded research, titled “Mechanical Vapor Compression: Compact, Efficient Air Conditioning with Ionic Liquid Based Refrigerants,” is aimed at developing more efficient ways of using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant in cooling systems.

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Notre Dame students in Uganda safe after terrorist attacks

Author: Dennis Brown


Fourteen University of Notre Dame students and one staff member serving and working in Uganda this summer are accounted for and safe after the terrorist bombings that killed scores of people Sunday in the capital city of Kampala.

“We are relieved and grateful that our students and staff are safe,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “At the same time, our prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured in this senseless attack.”

There are seven Notre Dame students participating in the Center for Social Concerns’ International Summer Service Learning Program in the cities of Gulu, Jinja, Kyarusozi and Nkozi. The students teach and provide business consulting and other services in the country.

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Science dean to ride from “Desert to Dome” to mark new Notre Dame-Parseghian Foundation partnership

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Desert to Dome

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Gregory P. Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, and his wife, Renate, will embark on a 2,200-mile bicycle ride this summer to mark the newly strengthened partnership between Notre Dame and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation.

“Desert to Dome: Riding for the Lives of Children” will begin July 24 (Saturday) in Tucson, Az., the home of the Parseghian Foundation, and will culminate in the Crawfords’ arrival on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind., in August.

Notre Dame and the Parseghian Foundation last month announced an enhanced relationship formed in order to support and advance research initiatives to find treatment and cure options for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), a rare and deadly neurodegenerative disease that primarily strikes children before or during adolescence.

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Notre Dame continues support for local communities

Author: Brendan O’Shaughnessy

South Bend, Indiana

The University of Notre Dame this week made a second round of voluntary contributions to the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, the town of Roseland and St. Joseph County as part of its $5.5 million commitment over 10 years.

“These contributions reinforce our commitment to partnering with local government leaders in order to have a positive impact in the community where we are located and where our employees call home,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University. “We are confident that local government leaders know how the funds can best be used for the common good of their constituents.”

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In Memoriam: Notre Dame mathematician Pit-Mann Wong

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Pit-Mann Wong

Pit-Mann Wong, professor of mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, died Saturday (July 3) at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center of liver cancer. He was 61.

A native of Shantou, a port city in southern China, he grew up and attended schools in Hong Kong, becoming that city’s first-ranked high school student before entering National Taiwan University, from which he was graduated in 1971. He emigrated to the United States to do graduate studies at Notre Dame, earning a doctoral degree in mathematics in 1976. After teaching at Tulane and Rice Universities, he joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1980 and was promoted to full professor in 1985.

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Notre Dame builds new home for the Alliance for Catholic Education

Author: William Schmitt

Carole Sandner Hall

Construction is underway to build a new home for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and elements of the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) at the University of Notre Dame.

The new building, to be called Carole Sandner Hall, will connect to the historic Institute for Educational Initiatives building, which was designed by University founder Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. The historic structure, undergoing its own extensive renovation, will be joined to Carole Sandner Hall at the heart of campus adjacent to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Grotto and the Main Building.

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Notre Dame’s nonprofit business program offers scholarships to Peace Corps volunteers

Author: Carol Elliott

Peace Corps

The University of Notre Dame’s nonprofit business degree program is partnering with the Peace Corps to offer financial help to volunteers newly returned from service fields. The Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA), housed in the Mendoza College of Business, will provide a scholarship of $10,500 to one returning Peace Corps volunteer accepted into the program beginning with the summer 2011 class.

The partnership is part of the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program, which offers financial benefits such as scholarships, reduced tuition and university credit in advanced degree programs at more than 50 participating colleges and universities. In addition to their academic studies, Fellows/USA participants apply the experience they acquired as volunteers abroad to programs that benefit underserved U.S. communities.

Notre Dame’s MNA is the first business school that offers a master’s degree to participate in the Fellows/USA program.

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