Announcements


Fulbright U.S. Student Program Virtual Information Sessions

The Graduate School and Office of Global Engagement

The Fulbright Program provides annual grants for U.S. students wishing to conduct research, teach English, or earn a graduate degree in a foreign country. Senior undergraduates and graduate students in all disciplines are eligible to apply. The application deadline is typically in October.

Please join us to learn more about this prestigious opportunity at one of two upcoming information sessions:

Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 | 10-11 a.m.

Click here for the Zoom link.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 | 3-4 p.m.

Click here for the Zoom link.

Learn more about the Fulbright Program here and read about the six students selected as Scholars and Alternates last year here.

Still have questions about the program? Write to Howard Lehman, Fulbright Program Director, at lehman@poli-sci.utah.edu.

Applications for Daniels Fund Ethics Award open

University of Utah Communications

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business is sponsoring its annual awards program to acknowledge faculty and/or staff for their significant contributions to ethics education.

The awards are extended to faculty and/or staff members who significantly enhance the teaching of ethics in their classes and/or engage with student organizations to foster the involvement of students in ethics-related issues. In each case, the award recognizes the incremental contribution to ethics education both inside and outside of the classroom.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative welcomes applications from across campus. For more information and a link to the awards application form, click here.

Please note that the awards are for courses and contributions delivered in Academic Year 2019-20, not for courses or contributions that are proposed for future delivery. Applications are due Feb. 28, 2021. 

Submit your Black History Month event

University of Utah Communications

February is Black History Month (BHM) and several events are already planned. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the U wants to hear about what you or your department or college are working on.

Please submit your event here and EDI will add it to the BHM calendar.

Save the dates: Women’s Week 2021

University of Utah Communications

Save the dates for Women’s Week 2021 which will take place March 8-12.

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Pioneering the future: From basic discovery to bedside

Julie Kiefer
associate director, science communication, University of Utah Health

From Basic Discovery to Bedside tells the tale of a rare milestone being accomplished many times over within the past year. Three research labs at U of U Health have translated their basic science discoveries into therapeutics that are being tested in clinical trials for their benefit to human health. These stories are part of Pioneering the Future, a campaign celebrating high-impact discoveries made by today’s scientists.

Next-generation treatment for ALS

Meeting a family with a nervous system disorder—ataxia—set Stefan Pulst, chair of neurology, on a path to build a new treatment for a different neurological disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The result is a molecular therapy that shows promise for treating a deadly disease.

HIV advance built from the basics

Fueled by pure curiosity, biochemists Wes Sundquist and Chris Hill have been learning how the virus that causes AIDS is built. In the process their research stumbled onto a discovery and spurred a new drug that could make lives better for people with HIV/AIDS.

Blinding the body to HIV infection

Biochemists Michael Kay and Debbie Eckert have taken a clever approach to combat HIV/AIDS. The team has built a drug from the mirror image of pieces of proteins, called D-peptides, that promises to be effective and long-lasting.

I want to read From Basic Discovery to Bedside.

2021 DNA and U of U Health cycling kit

Wellness and Integrative Health

Warmer weather is right around the corner and it is that time of year again to get your U of U Health Kit to sport during your training. This year, however, we have new gear available. You can now order mountain biking gear and running layers, as well.

All orders must be placed by Jan. 31, 2021. Production and delivery will then take six to eight weeks after that.

Are you a Wellness Warrior? Look for an email with an exclusive discount code for your 2021 kit. Become a Wellness Warrior and you also can receive a discount code for your order. Join our cause today.

Carsten Rott appointed to Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair

Michele Swaner
advancement coordinator, Depts. of Mathematics and Physics & Astronomy
Carsten Rott stands in the foreground. The background are green mountains.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Carsten Rott

Carsten Rott at Tateyama, Japan

Professor Carsten Rott, who will join the Department of Physics & Astronomy in early 2021, has been appointed to the Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair. Rott will hold the chair through December 2025.

“It’s such a great honor to be appointed, and I’m looking forward to my arrival at the U to begin my work,” he said.

The Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair was established to honor and continue the work of late Jack W. Keuffel, a professor and pioneer in cosmic ray research at the U from 1960-1974.

More about Rott

For as long as he can remember, Rott has been fascinated by the night sky, the stars, and the planets. As a child growing up in Germany, he could see the Orion nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and star clusters. He wondered what these objects were and what else was in the night sky waiting to be discovered.

He combined his love of astronomy with learning computer programming and was fascinated by the ability to write computer programs to model biological systems, fluid dynamics, and astrophysics. By comparing the outcomes of his simulations, he could check to see if his intuition was correct or if he got the physics right, which was invaluable in training his logical thinking skills. “As a high school student, I spent many months trying to understand why my simulations of rotating galaxies would not maintain spiral arm structures or why my models of stars weren’t stable,” he said. Struggling with such questions made him want to understand the underlying phenomena.

Rott studied physics as an undergraduate at the Universität Hannover and went on to receive a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2004. “Becoming a physicist has at times been a challenge, but it has broadened my horizons so much, and I’m extremely happy I decided to pursue a career in science,” he said.

High-energy neutrinos

His research is on understanding the origins of high energy neutrinos, which are subatomic particles similar to electrons, but with no electrical charge and a very tiny mass. Neutrinos are abundant in the universe, but difficult to detect because they rarely interact with matter. These particles originate from distant regions of the universe and can arrive on the Earth more or less unhindered, providing scientists with information about distant galaxies. High-energy neutrinos are associated with extreme cosmic events, such as exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, outflows from supermassive black holes, and neutron stars, and studying them is regarded as a key to identifying and understanding cosmic phenomena.

“One of my main research focuses is to look for signatures of dark matter with high-energy neutrinos. By studying them, we can explore energy scales far beyond the reach of particle accelerators on Earth,” he said.

While most of his work is considered pure research and doesn’t have immediate applications, Rott did figure out a new way to use neutrino oscillations to study the Earth’s interior composition. He spent several months at the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo to collaborate with researchers on the topic, and he hopes this new method can help scientists better understand and predict earthquakes.

IceCube Neutrino Telescope

Rott has been a member of the IceCube Neutrino Telescope since the start of the construction of the detector in 2005.  IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector designed to observe the cosmos from deep within the South Pole ice. The telescope uses an array of more than 5,000 optical sensor modules to detect Cherenkov light, which occurs when neutrinos interact in the ultra-pure Antarctic ice. When a neutrino interaction occurs, a faint light flash is produced, allowing them to be detected.

Approximately 300 physicists from 53 institutions in 12 countries are part of the IceCube Collaboration, which tries to solve some of the most fundamental questions of our time, such as the origin of cosmic rays, the nature of dark matter, and the properties of neutrinos.

The team of scientists has already achieved some amazing scientific breakthroughs with this telescope. For example, they discovered a diffuse astrophysical neutrino flux in 2014 and recently achieved the first step in identifying the sources of astrophysical neutrinos associated with a highly luminous blazar, which was discovered in 2018. A blazar is an active galaxy that contains a supermassive black hole at its center, with an outflow jet pointed in the direction of the Earth. Over the next years, the team looks forward to making more discoveries by observing the universe in fundamentally new ways.

Life in Korea

Before joining the U, Rott was invited to Korea to begin a tenure-track faculty position at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU). “I was excited to be part of a university that had the vision and determination to become a world-leading university, and I was able to build one of the largest astroparticle physics efforts in Asia, while accomplishing many of my research objectives,” he said.

He enjoys Korean culture and life in Korea, which is very practical and straightforward. “In Korea, people like to get things done fast,” he said. “It’s great to get rapid feedback, for example, on a proposal. You know quickly if your proposal is funded or not.” Being based in Korea has allowed him to collaborate more closely on other projects, including the COSINE-100 dark matter experiment and the JSNS2 sterile neutrino search and the Hyper-Kamiokande neutrino program in Japan. He plans to spearhead initiatives to establish stronger ties between the U and leading universities in Asia.

Future research

Currently, the IceCube team is in the middle of preparing an upgrade to the IceCube Neutrino Telescope. This new telescope will be installed within two years in Antarctica. For the IceCube upgrade, Rott’s team has designed a more accurate camera-based calibration system for the Antarctic ice. Improved calibration will be applied to data collected over the past decade, improving the angular and spatial resolution of detected astrophysical neutrino events.

“The origin of high-energy neutrinos and any new phenomena associated with their production remains one of the biggest challenges of our time,” Rott said. “I’m extremely excited about correlating observations of high-energy neutrinos with other cosmic messengers. To establish any correlation, it’s essential that we can accurately point back to where neutrinos originated on the sky.”

Rott further explains, “We hope that the IceCube upgrade will be just the first step towards a much larger facility for multi-messenger science at the South Pole that combines optical and radio neutrino detection with a cosmic ray air shower array.”

Refresh your office for 2021

Print & Mail Services

Welcome to a new year and a new semester! We at University Print & Mail Services hope the winter break allowed you to relax and start 2021 refreshed.

Need COVID replacement signs?

As the pandemic continues into the new year, you might notice your COVID-19 safety signage is starting to wear out. Refresh your office with new safety signage for the start of the semester.

You can order replacement COVID-19 signs from our online store UPrint or call 801-581-6171.

2021 calendar

Whether you’re working from home or on campus, our 2021 Animals of the U calendar is a great addition to your office. It’s filled with important academic dates, including paydays, holidays and semester deadlines. Showcasing some of the U’s biggest pet fans, it’s sure to keep a smile on your face throughout the year.

Order online at UPrint or over the phone at 801-581-6171. Need help ordering? Watch our video “How to Order 2021 Calendars.”

We’re here for you

Connecting in a time of social distancing and overloaded inboxes can be difficult, but we are here to help. Print & Mail Services is on campus and open to help you create eye-catching designs, provide quality prints and assist with your mail needs.

For help, please reach out to your project coordinator or give us a call at 801-581-6171.

Have a successful semester, and we wish you good luck in the new year.

Do the right thing: Report suspected fraud or abuse

Office of the Chief Audit Officer

The university is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and encourages employees and others to report any dishonest or improper act that violates the law, wastes money or endangers public health or safety. Employees are encouraged to report suspected improprieties to their supervisor or to a higher authority if the supervisor is involved. Also, the university has an ongoing contract with EthicsPoint, a private company, to administer an ethics and compliance hotline: 888-206-6025 or online at EthicsPoint. This service ensures confidentiality and provides 24/7 availability.

Hotline reports are regularly investigated, and often assist university leaders to halt improper behavior, address policy violations and resolve other problems. Past reports have been instrumental in correcting issues such as misuse of university resources and unauthorized hiring of relatives.

If you suspect or know of fraud or abuse, report it to management. If you feel unable to communicate your concerns directly to management or another appropriate university department, use the hotline. Provide details—names, dates, times, amounts, circumstances, witnesses, etc. You can even check back and respond to questions from the person investigating your report without divulging your identity.

File sharing and copyright violation notice

University Information Technology

Every year, as a result of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the University of Utah distributes a notice about its policy regarding peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright violations. All students, faculty and staff should understand that it is a violation of federal law and university policy to share and/or distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Violators may be subject to civil and criminal prosecution under federal law, as well as personal sanctions specified in university policy.

Please review the policy notice. If you have any questions, please contact the campus Help Desk at 801-581-4000, option 1 or helpdesk@utah.edu.

New ways to look at stream health

Paul Gabrielsen
science writer, University Marketing & Communications

In recent years algal blooms in Utah’s waters, particularly in Utah Lake, have highlighted the problem of eutrophication—a high level of nutrients in water that causes a range of ecological problems. But some of the cascading effects of eutrophication aren’t well understood. So Jennifer Follstad Shah, assistant professor of Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and her colleagues combed through scientific studies that documented the effects of nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus—which can enter streams and lakes as pollutants—on food webs.

They found that the effects of the pollution are extensive and not limited to algae growth, with additional population growth in insects that eat algae and fish that eat insects. But nutrients also enhance rates of microbial decomposition of leaves and other organic matter in water. The researchers noted that this decomposition enhancement occurred in streams that were shaded, preventing algae growth. The researchers concluded that if regulators use the amount of chlorophyll in water, a measure of algae growth, as the primary indicator of eutrophication, they might miss significant impacts of nutrient pollution on waterways.

“Having a broader focus than algae for assessing stream health is important because streams and rivers process a large fraction of organic matter derived from terrestrial habitats,” Shah said. “In addition, leaf or cotton strip decomposition assays also are becoming a more common tool resource managers use to assess the health of aquatic ecosystems.”

Read more about this research here.

University Abusive Conduct Policy

Human Resources

During the last legislative session, the Utah Legislature passed the Abusive Conduct Reporting Amendments, H.B. 12.  This bill requires all employers within the Utah System of Higher Education to provide training to their employees regarding abusive conduct and to create a policy for resolving abusive conduct reports among their employees.  In alignment with this bill, the University of Utah has approved Interim Policy 1-021 Abusive Conduct and associated interim rules, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

This new interim policy and rules apply to all University of Utah employees, including University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics.  This policy and its related rules underscore the University’s commitment to maintaining and promoting a workplace free of Abusive Conduct, provide a definition of what Abusive Conduct means, and establish a method by which employees can report and the University can resolve Abusive Conduct.  H.B. 12 also established a statutorily required annual training for all covered employees regarding recognizing and resolving Abusive Conduct in the workplace.  This training will be sent to all employees in January 2021.

For more information, visit the Abusive Conduct website.

MLK Jr. Saturday Service Projects

Morgan Aguilar

Registration is open for the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. service projects. In-person, on- and off-campus options will take place Saturday, Jan. 23. Self-directed and virtual options are available throughout MLK Week, Jan. 18-23.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bennion Center organizers have arranged for small in-person volunteer opportunities that require face coverings, sanitizing hands and allow for physical distancing. There are also opportunities available for pick-up and drop-off, and projects that can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Explore volunteer opportunities and register here.

2021 call for Distinguished Mentor Award nominees

Rick Solis
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Nominations for the 2021 Distinguished Mentor Award are now open. The Graduate School established the Distinguished Mentor Award in 2006 to honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The Distinguished Mentor Award is for faculty from any discipline. The deadline for submitting nominations is Feb. 12, 2021.

Save the date: MLK Week 2021

University of Utah Communications

MLK Week 2021 at the University of Utah will be held Jan. 18-23, 2021. The theme this year will be “Good Trouble,” a term often associated with former United States Rep. John Lewis.

At the University of Utah, we celebrate the educational access and opportunities that Dr. King’s legacy has provided in the United States. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week (MLK Week) has become a platform to engage students, faculty, staff and community members in critical conversations around contemporary civil rights issues and race in America.

MLK Week is planned by a volunteer committee of students, faculty and staff collaborating across the university. All are welcome to get involved and participate.

Learn more and view this year’s planned events here.

Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education

Morgan Aguilar

Save the date for the next Friday Forum on Racism in Higher Education!

The fourth iteration of the series will be Friday, January 29, 2021. During the December break, we encourage everyone to rewatch any missed sessions in preparation for the January Forum which is titled, “A Call for Racial Healing.”

Meet the speakers:

  • Marlon Lynch, chief safety officer at the University of Utah, moderator
  • Said Ibrahim, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Weill Cornell Medicine, panelist
  • Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe, Native Hawaiian affairs program officer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, panelist
  • Tia McNair, project director for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, panelist
  • Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, panelist

Learn more about the panelists and get notified when registration opens here.

Submit a proposal for a breakout session here.

Travel restrictions extended

University of Utah Communications

The University of Utah is currently restricting all business travel, including having guests on campus, through March 15, 2021. This travel restriction applies to ALL faculty and staff travel, all university-coordinated student travel and all guest/recruit travel. Approved exceptions to this restriction must adhere to all the following procedures:

  • The requesting department must prepare a memo describing reasons travel is necessary at this time and measures to be taken to address safety for the traveler and those who will be in contact with the traveler during and following the trip.
  • The memo must be approved by one of the following individuals:

Main Campus Academic Affairs: Sarah Projansky, associate vice president for faculty, sarah.projansky@utah.edu
Main Campus Staff: Wendy Peterson, deputy chief HR director, wendy.peterson@utah.edu
U of U Health Academics: Dayle Benson, chief of staff for Clinical Affairs, dayle.benson@hsc.utah.edu
U of U Health Hospitals and Clinics Staff: Sarah Sherer, senior human resources director, sarah.sherer@hsc.utah.edu

An exception will require final approval by the cognizant vice president. Exceptions must be fully approved and attached to an approved UTravel Concur Request at least one week prior to the start date of travel.

In-State Travel: We encourage our campus community to be informed about the transmission level assigned to different counties by the state when traveling on university-related business within Utah. We encourage students, staff and faculty to limit travel when a high transmission level is in place and to follow all health protocols, including wearing a face covering, when travel is necessary. We also recommend traveling with one person/household per vehicle.

Personal Travel: We continue to encourage you, when considering your personal travel choices, to follow travel advisories issued by your local and state authorities. If you choose to travel, you may be restricted from returning to work depending upon the specifics of your circumstances. There are things you can do to minimize health risks to yourself and others, such as quarantining before traveling to visit high-risk individuals and checking your health status by monitoring your temperature and other symptoms of COVID-19. There are now a number of commercially available coronavirus test kits that can be used to assess your status.

NOTE: Upon return, ALL individuals are expected to complete and submit a “Returning Traveler Self-Reporting Form” following the instructions linked here. If you have questions regarding this restriction or exception procedures, please fill out the ASK US form.