Monthly archives: January, 2016

Massage Therapy Shows Health Benefits

UIC physical therapy researchers find that massage therapy not only eases muscle soreness, it benefits cardiovascular health.

Project Exploration: Job Opening

Project Exploration photoProject Exploration

Job Description

Position Title: STEM Facilitator

Program Dates: January 20-June 10, 2016/3:30pm-5:30pm

Location: Wednesday-Funston Elementary, 2010 N Central Park Ave (Spanish speakers needed)

The mission of Project Exploration (PE) is to make science and engineering accessible to traditionally overlooked communities, particularly minority youth and girls.

Position Summary:

PE is hiring a STEM Facilitator for two programs, Codesters and Brothers4Science (B4S), held at Funston Elementary. Programs are held one day a week for approximately 90-120 minutes at each site with 15-20 middle school students in each session. Codesters takes place on Tuesdays and is a coed class that teaches Python text so students can create their own mini programs. B4S will be conducted on Wednesdays and is a boys only program that exposes students to a variety of science and engineering fields with visiting STEM Professionals.


Provide support in recruiting youth from school and collect participation documentation

Establish an enthusiastic engaging learning environment for the youth

Prepare team building activities and establish a set Code of Conduct with the youth

Set up and clean up each session that includes snacks, journals, supplies and materials

Document sessions by capturing digital photographs at each session and caption them appropriately

Provide support in preparing session materials for scientist that include ensuring session agendas are complete, bringing supplies and materials to program site

Prepare thank you cards

Collect copies of any materials distributed by presenters for our files

Make sure presenters have the supplies and AV support they need for their presentations

Distribute a daily agenda to pass out to youth and introduce STEM professionals

Facilitate introductory sessions and keeping youth engaged during other sessions

Collect attendance at all sessions, administer pre-and post-evaluation with the boys

Write a blog post each month about the program

Lead program sessions in the absence of STEM professionals (for B4S)

Prepare students and invite parents for culminating event, Reflection of Knowledge


Commitment to social justice and Project Exploration’s mission

 Must have a strong science or engineering background for B4S

 Must have strong tech and coding background for Codesters

 Must have strong writing, editing skills and be able to use social media

 Extremely detail-oriented and able to juggle several tasks simultaneously

 Ability and desire to work both within a team and independently when necessary

 Youth development, urban education or teaching experience a plus

 Must have a car to get to designated program site and transport supplies


Please email résumés: Syda Taylor, Director of Programs & Community Relations


Diabetes Drug Studied For Healing Wounds

Timothy Koh, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition

Timothy Koh, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition


A drug taken orally to control blood-sugar levels in diabetic patients may promote wound healing when applied directly to injured tissue, according to a researcher at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.

Timothy Koh, professor of kinesiology and nutrition, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, is researching wound healing in diabetic individuals.

Timothy Koh, professor of kinesiology and nutrition, will use a four-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a translational study of the diabetes drug glyburide for wound healing in humans, beginning this summer. He has been studying glyburide in mice.

Koh says that studies in his laboratory showed that glyburide applied directly to wounds in diabetic mice improved healing. The drug, he says, may modify the activity of macrophages — cells that are crucial in healing.

Research in other laboratories has shown that glyburide inhibits a cellular structure called the NLRP3 inflammasome, “which is kind of a danger-sensor for the immune system,” Koh said.

Other groups, he said, have found that the elevated sugar levels in diabetes may activate the inflammasome.

“When this pathway is activated, an inflammatory response is mounted, macrophages get angry and cause tissue damage,” Koh said.

Sustained activity of the inflammasome may cause chronic inflammation and impaired healing, resulting in chronic wounds, commonly appearing as foot ulcers in diabetic patients.

The human study will enroll 60 older diabetic patients. Half will have their wounds treated with glyburide, and the other half will be treated with a placebo for one month.

Koh suspects that wounded tissue communicates with the bone marrow, where macrophages are produced — and in diabetic patients, the signals may be amplified or extended in duration. He hopes to see whether those signals can be controlled by applying glyburide to the wound.

“We’ll measure inflammatory cells in the wounds, the blood, and the bone marrow,” he said. “We’ve been studying how this treatment works in diabetic mice, and now we will extend these studies to diabetic patients.”

Koh’s current work builds on previous research targeting inflammation in wounds so that healing can progress. He also studies the use of low-intensity vibrations to spur the formation of tissue to heal wounds. Both projects are in collaboration with Dr. William Ennis, clinical professor of surgery and director of UIC’s Wound Healing and Tissue Repair Clinic.

By Anne Brooks Ranallo

Two UIC Researchers “World’s Most Influential”


John M. Davis, professor of psychiatry, studies the biological basis of mental illnesses

John M. Davis, professor of psychiatry, studies the biological basis of mental illnesses

Frank Chaloupka

Frank Chaloupka, director of the UIC Health Policy Center, looks at the economics of harmful health behaviors like smoking and substance abuse.


Two UIC researchers are among “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds” included on the 2015 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list.

Psychiatrist John M. Davis and health economist Frank Chaloupka are among 3,000 researchers worldwide “ranking among the top 1 percent most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact,” said Thomson Reuters.

The list is based on an analysis of published journal articles and citations considered an objective measure of a researcher’s influence over the past 12 years.

Davis studies the biological basis of mental illnesses and how psychotropic drugs work to treat these illnesses. His research helped introduce the concept that mental illness can be caused by biochemical abnormalities.

He is interested in the role of nutrition on health, particularly heart disease and stroke. His research on the effects that a mother’s diet during pregnancy may have on her child’s intellectual capacity and mental health led to revised Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Davis is professor of psychiatry and research professor of medicine in the UIC College of Medicine.

Frank Chaloupka, director of the UIC Health Policy Center, looks at the economics of harmful health behaviors like smoking and substance abuse.

Chaloupka studies the effects of local, state and national policies on smoking, substance abuse and other unhealthy behaviors.

His work challenges the idea that many smokers are so dependent on nicotine, they will continue to smoke no matter how much it costs. Instead, he found, increases in cigarette prices — including tax hikes — lead to significant reductions in consumption and smoking.

Chaloupka directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on the Economics of Tobacco Control. He is the principal investigator of the UIC research team Tobacconomics.

He served on an Institute of Medicine committee to review Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020 and the ad hoc National Research Council Committee on the Illicit Tobacco Market.

Chaloupka is distinguished professor of economics in the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of the Health Policy Center in the Institute for Health Research and Policy.

Nik Theodore, professor of urban planning and policy in the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, was a 2014 Highly Cited Researcher.

By Sharon Parmet


Students and Staff Continue Volunteering In Chicago


UIC students and employees volunteering in Chicago. — Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlan

UIC Students and employees spent the day off school and work helping others Jan. 18 during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. However, the volunteering efforts continue with service projects sponsored by Student Leadership Development and Volunteer Services.

Participants can paint, decorate and clean shelter spaces, bake cookies or write comfort cards for the Illinois Medical District Guest House. Projects also benefit A Safe Haven Foundation, Casa Central, and other service agencies.

“One of the things that we’re intentional about when we’re setting up sites for days of service is that we want volunteers to learn about the community they’re helping and learn about the organization to really understand the root causes of what is needed,” said Olivia Desormeaux, graduate assistant in Student Leadership Development and Volunteer Services.

Desormeaux wants students to have a chance to connect with Chicago.

“We want to emphasize the importance of our surrounding communities,” she said. “We really like the idea of viewing UIC as part of the community.”

By Melissa Martinez

100 Years of Chicago Latino Art Goes Online

Latino Art

The UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research will create a Chicago Latino artist directory with support from a Chicago Community Trust grant

A hundred years of Latino art in Chicago will be showcased in a new online archive, funded by a $40,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to a national Latino research group based at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a national consortium of 25 university-based Latino research centers, will establish a Chicago Latino artist directory dating back to the early 1900s that will include image galleries, biographies, artists’ statements and related website links. Users will be able to sort information by artist name, country of origin, gender, decade, art form or theme.

The grant also will support panels and workshops led by Chicago-based artists at Latino Art Now!, the program’s national conference, April 7 – 9.

“Artists, collectors, curators and scholars will benefit from the website as a valuable research and educational tool,” says Maria de los Angeles Torres, executive director of IUPLR. “The related conference programs offer a platform for local artists to share and discuss contemporary issues and influences around Latino art in urban spaces.”

IUPLR will call for submissions for the directory and for Chicago-focused proposals for the conference in February. Conference events sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust grant will be recorded and made available on the directory’s website.

The grant is IUPLR’s second art initiative to receive funding this year. In May, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the program $20,000 to develop a virtual gallery that will enable users to curate online exhibits of artwork from Chicago Latino artists.

Torres said the program wants to engage artists, museum professionals, students and community organizations in conversations about the creation and dissemination of Latino art in global cities, particularly Chicago.

“The production of Chicago artists deserves greater attention in national Latino art narratives, debates and public engagement,” said Torres, who is professor of Latin American and Latino studies at UIC.

The Latino Art Now! conference, which is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, will host events at UIC, the Chicago Cultural Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

“Spring of Latino Art,” a series featuring more than 60 community-based exhibitions and events related to the conference, will run from March through June at venues across the city.

Latino Art Now! conference registration and more information is available online.

Founded in 1983, IUPLR aims to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S.  The group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

Story By: Brian Flood

“Manufacturing Connect” Driving Mentorships For STEM Students In The Austin Community

Picture Individuals, left to right: Back: Mentee Diamond -Sophmore with UIC Engineering Mentor Lorena;UIC NSBE Mentor Beni next to Mentee Antolin and Beni’s Mentee Christian (both Sophomores); Mentee Shallom with NSBE President and Mentor Matt. Front UIC-SWE Engineering Student Jen with Mentee Kenyanna; UIC Education Mentor Nira with Mentee Amber.

Picture Individuals, left to right: Back: Mentee Diamond -Sophmore with UIC Engineering Mentor Lorena;UIC NSBE Mentor Beni next to Mentee Antolin and Beni’s Mentee Christian (both Sophomores); Mentee Shallom with NSBE President and Mentor Matt. Front UIC-SWE Engineering Student Jen with Mentee Kenyanna; UIC Education Mentor Nira with Mentee Amber.

Manufacturing Connect is a nationally recognized initiative of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (MRC).   The program’s main goal is to prepare students for a successful STEM college experience and career success through NIMS (National Institute of Metalworking Skills) certification in manufacturing. The program serves students at the Austin Multiplex, 231 N. Pine, on Chicago’s west side.

Manufacturing Connect represents a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, local manufacturers, the Chicago Teachers’ Union, and the Austin community. Manufacturing Connect is recognized as promising practice for career pathway education and training linked to in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering, and related fields.

Since 2007, Manufacturing Connect has prepared high school students for the workforce and college. In 2014, through a grant from the Department of Labor, the mentoring program was added.

This program model is a site-based STEM-Business Mentoring Program, providing 1-on-1 meetings with students and caring adult mentors who meet once or twice a month for an hour, over the period of a year. Mentors transparently share their life experiences as a means of helping students navigate the world and plan their future. A partnership with Junior Achievement provides for soft skills sessions, establishing several trainings to empower our youth who have been fortunate to secure mentoring partnerships with UIC’s  National Society of Black Engineers, the UIC- Caterpillar Aurora (Engineering/ focused Site-based Program at Caterpillar), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Business Focus Site-based Program at the Federal Reserve) and Austin Multiplex (a variety of Community members mentor at Austin Multiplex).

Manufacturing Connect is grateful for the many opportunities with the families, students, schools and businesses in the Austin community and around Chicago. Together, we are empowering Chicago’s youth and, in turn, working towards the greatness of our world around us. Our desire is to provide over 100 Manufacturing Connect Students with a wonderful caring mentor.

To learn more about becoming a mentor at Manufacturing Connect, feel free to contact Leslye Long, Assistant Director and Mentoring Coordinator, at or 773-534-6326 .

By Leslye Long

College Fair Hosted by LULAC on Jan. 26th

2016 LULAC College Fair January 26 ENG

This Is UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Maria De Los Angeles Torres

María de Los Angeles Torres is director and professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She taught political science at DePaul University in Chicago from 1987 to 2005. She was a faculty Associate at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, 2000-2001 and was a research fellow at Chapin Hall University of Chicago 2002.

She is author of two books, The Lost Apple: Operation Pedro Pan, Cuban Children in the US and the Promise of a Better Future. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2004 and In the Land of Mirrors: The Politics of Cuban Exiles in the United States. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1999. She edited By Heart/De Memoria: Cuban Women’s Journeys in and Out of Exile. Philadelphia: Temple University, 2002 and co-edited, Borderless Borders: Latinos, Latin American and the Paradoxes of Interdependence. Philadelphia, Penn.: Temple University Press, spring 1998. She has also published on issues of diversity, “Democracy and Diversity: Expanding Notions of Citizenship,” in David W. Engstrom and Lisette M. Piedra eds. Our Diverse Society, Washington DC, NASW Publishers, 2006. She is a frequent contributor in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers.

Currently she is a co-Principal Investigator for another on Youth Politics in the Age of Globalization, funded by Chapin Hall and the Kellogg Foundation and was Co-Pi for a National Science Research Foundation Project: Civic Engagement in Three Latino Neighborhoods. She was a UIC CIC fellow 2006-2007 and is a member of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Diversity.

UI Cancer Center, Governors State to Address Cancer Disparities in Suburbs

Dr. Winn

Robert A. Winn, MD, associate vice president for community-based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center

The greatest burden of cancer in the Chicago region has moved from the city to the suburbs.

The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago’s south suburbs.

The grant will support the development of an integrated program for GSU junior faculty that provides training to perform independent research and to lend career-development support to minority undergraduate and graduate students at Governors State who are interested in health disparities research.

“Governors State University has invested substantially in its basic and health science faculty and programs and is well-positioned to make a dent in bringing down cancer rates locally,” says Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community-based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System and director of the UI Cancer Center. “The University of Illinois Cancer Center can help by sharing our expertise in cancer research and delivering community-based cancer prevention and intervention strategies where they are needed most.”

The region has seen a “geographic shift” in the areas with the highest cancer rates, from the city to the suburbs, says Karriem Watson, senior research specialist and administrator for community-engaged research at the UI Cancer Center. “But many suburbs don’t have the infrastructure of robust academic and research cancer centers, or the specialized expertise among their faculty, to address the growing disparities that exist within their local communities,” he said. “That’s what we hope to build with GSU.”

“Partnering with the UI Cancer Center will increase the capacity of GSU to serve as a center of health disparities research in a community that is disproportionately affected by cancer,” said Dr. Rupert Evans, chair and program director of health administration at Governors State and co-principal investigator on the grant. “It will also build our faculty’s ability to pursue larger federal grants for projects that will address high cancer rates and mortality in the Southland community.”

“The faculty and students have a very organic relationship with the communities we serve,” said Dr. Catherine Balthazar, chair of the department of communication disorders at GSU and another co-principal investigator on the grant. “Because of the trust we have with the community, we can help bring the opportunity to participate in community-based cancer research and in clinical trials through our partnership with the University of Illinois Cancer Center.”

The grant also supports a breast cancer pilot project led by Dr. Kent Hoskins, associate professor of hematology/oncolology in the UIC College of Medicine and member of the UI Cancer Center, and faculty from Governors State with expertise in behavioral health and health disparities. The project will test the efficacy of a mobile device app that lets primary care physicians screen women for elevated risk of breast cancer and provides information on genetic counseling. The research team will determine whether use of the app influences women to make recommended follow-up appointments with genetic counselors.