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University of Iowa News Release

May 2, 2006

UI Provost Names Faculty And Global Scholars

The University of Iowa Office of the Provost has selected six faculty members to receive Faculty Scholar Awards and two to receive Global Scholar Awards.

Global scholars are released from half their usual year of teaching, advising, administrative and service obligations for two consecutive academic years. Typically, the award takes the form of a Career Development Award for one semester each year, part of which is spent in at least one foreign country. The 2006 recipients are Catherine Ringen, professor of linguistics, and Stephen Bloom, professor of journalism, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ringen will record speakers of five languages -- Turkish, Finland Swedish, Russian, Norwegian and Hungarian -- and perform acoustic analyses of these languages using modern speech analysis software. Ringen's research will contribute to basic understanding about the organizational principles of human languages, and thus to all areas of language research, including how we acquire, lose, recognize and perceive language. Her results will inform undergraduate and graduate courses in linguistics.

Bloom will work on his nonfiction book, "Tears of Mermaids: The Secret History of Pearls," which uses pearls as a metaphor to explore the interconnections of global politics, finance and fashion. Bloom's account begins with Columbus's third voyage to the New World, then moves to pearl-trading capitals Paris and New York, to Bombay -- the center of stringing -- and finally to Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Tahiti, China and Mexico, which are hubs of pearl cultivation today.

Faculty Scholar Awards give leading scholars the opportunity for creative, extended and concentrated work on their research. Recipients are released from half of the usual obligations of teaching, advising and service for three consecutive academic years. Typically, the award takes the form of a Career Development Award for one semester of each of three years.

The 2006 recipients are Michelle Scherer, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering; Mark Sidel, professor in the College of Law; Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, associate professor of anthropology, Claire Fox, associate professor of English and international studies, and Johanna Schoen, associate professor of history and women's studies, all in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Sonya Franklin, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and radiation oncology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Scherer will study the behavior of iron oxide nanoparticles in air, water and soil. She will explore the fundamental hypothesis of nanoscience that says things do not simply scale down in proportion to size and try to assess the impact of these tiny iron particles on water quality, their potential as biomarkers and their role in global carbon cycling. The project will train graduate and undergraduate students to use advanced spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to tackle complex, interdisciplinary problems.

Sidel will study aspects of human trafficking and forced labor in the United States and Asia. He will explore measures to protect victims, prevent trafficking and punish perpetrators at the federal and state levels; the use of civil remedies against traffickers; the distinctions between forced labor and severe unfair labor practices; anti-trafficking measures in American foreign policy; and the politics of anti-trafficking initiatives.

Colloredo-Mansfeld will compare patterns of economic growth in two culturally diverse centers of textile manufacturing in Ecuador's northern Andes. In one place, family-owned firms produce everyday clothes following international fashion, and sell them nationally. The other city is proudly indigenous and exported 1,500 tons of handicrafts a year in the late 1990s. In 2000, a national financial crisis dealt trades in both towns a severe blow. Colloredo-Mansfeld's work will document whether culturally rooted ideas still guide production, and if they can grow through collective management. Working with a team of international researchers, he will develop comparative cases in other Ecuadorian and Colombian locations.

Fox will work on her book, "Creating the Hemispheric Citizen," which examines inter-American cultural policies of the Cold War period. The book highlights the significant role of the Pan American Union arts programs in shaping the post-War boom in Latin American art, and establishes precedents for the supranational cultural policies that accompany the development of contemporary trade blocs such as NAFTA.

Schoen will study the history of 11 women's health clinics across the country. The study will analyze women's reproductive health care services since the late 1960s, highlighting the ways in which structural as well as local political, social, and institutional factors influenced service delivery and access. Schoen's project will examine the impact of access to sex education and reproductive health services on women's sexual and reproductive decisions and experiences.

Franklin will continue her work in constructing designer proteins for use in selective and targeted chemotherapy. Current platinum-based chemotherapeutics are effective, but indiscriminately kill healthy cells along with cancer cells, causing harmful side effects. Using her expertise in metalloprotein engineering, Franklin will build proteins that bind DNA-crosslinking metals such as platinum, and deliver these metals to DNA sequences of choice.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077, lesly-huffman@uiowa.edu; Writer: Kris Yows