Around Campus: Friday, March 14, 2014

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Around Campus to Return March 24

Around Campus will be joining you for spring break, so you won't hear from us until Monday, March 24. Have an awesome and safe break. Don't forget the sun screen!

For those of you staying in Greeley, check out Downtown Greeley for a list of things to do and places to eat. Remember to bring your UNC student ID to get offers through Bear Biz.

Bears Edge NAU 62-60, Advance in BSC Tournament

UNC's men's basketball team edged Northern Arizona 62-60 yesterday (March 13) to advance to tonight's Big Sky Conference Championships semi-finals, where they'll play No. 1 seed and tournament host Weber State at 7 p.m. in Ogden, Utah.

The Alumni Association will host another watch party at the Dugout, 2509 11th Ave., Greeley, with free food, giveaways and drink specials.

The game will be streamed live by America One Sports.

More about yesterday's game is on the UNC Athletics website. Go Bears!

Garden Theatre Roofing Work Will Create Extra Traffic, Odors

The re-roofing of the Garden Theatre March 17-25 will cause increased noise and traffic in the area, and pedestrians may notice unusual smells that are normal for the products being used. For additional information, please contact your building coordinator or Chris Bowers at 351-2725.

UNC Faculty Receive Combined $645,000 in USDA Grants

UNC faculty researchers were recently awarded multiyear grants totaling more than $645,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

UNC biologists Patrick Burns and Susana "Karen" Gomez are the lead project directors on their grants and will conduct separate research projects focused on improving agriculture.

Burns was awarded a $495,975 grant through August 2017 for a project to address early pregnancy loss in beef and dairy cattle, a major problem that translates to millions of dollars lost in meat and milk production.

Burns has conducted extensive research on the topic, having previously received a USDA grant to study the effects of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil on reproductive tissues. His initial findings that fish oil reduces the hormone prostaglandin, which must be blocked during pregnancy, show promise for widening the window for pregnancies to occur.

The current study will examine the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on lipid microdomains and mobility of prostaglandin receptors on the plasma membrane of luteal cells. Outcomes from these studies may allow for the development of new feeding strategies with omega-3 fatty acids to regulate the reproductive cycle and prevent early pregnancy loss in dairy and beef cows

Future outcomes from these studies may allow for the development of new feeding strategies with omega-3 fatty acids to regulate the reproductive cycle and prevent early pregnancy loss in dairy and beef cows.

Gomez is studying three-way interactions involving potatoes, soil fungi and insects. Potato is the fourth most consumed food crop in the world and is a leading vegetable crop in the United States. In Colorado, it is grown year-round in the San Luis Valley and northeastern plains.

Her project also involves two pests of agricultural importance, the potato aphid (phloem-feeding insect), and the cabbage looper (chewing insect). Most plants can form beneficial associations with fungi found in soil -- known as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) -- by obtaining nutrients in exchange for carbon that is supplied to the fungus.

The project outcomes will serve as a foundation to achieve the long-term goals of determining how this ancient symbiosis modulates crop resistance against insects, which could potentially lead to the discovery of genes useful in developing insect-resistant crops.

By employing the symbiosis to modulate above-ground resistance in crops, AMF could be adopted as an environmental-friendly method to manage economically important pests in the field. This method has the potential to enhance resistance by "priming" plant defenses thereby leading to reduced applications of pesticides and phosphate fertilizers.

Grant Details

Patrick Burns and Susana "Karen" Gomez, assistant professors in UNC's School of Biological Sciences, received research funding from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture for these projects:

Title: "Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Bovine Luteal Cell Lipid Microdomains and PGF2a Signaling"
Project Director: Patrick Burns
Funding: $495,975 through Aug. 31, 2017
Faculty Web page:

Title: "How do Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Affect Potato-Insect Interactions?"
Project Director: Susana "Karen" Gomez
Funding: $149,930 through Jan. 31, 2016
Faculty Web page:

UNC Professor Named President of International Special Education Organization

Robin D. Brewer, associate professor of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado, has been elected the 2014 president of the Council for Exceptional Children, an international membership organization supporting 28,000 special education professionals.

Brewer will serve as a voting member and presiding officer of the CEC board of directors as well as the leader of the Representative Assembly, which includes two representatives from each state and provincial unit, division and the student membership of CEC.

In addition, Brewer will be responsible for providing leadership for CEC's planning and programs, working with the executive director on the operation of the organizational budget, conducting and presiding over meetings of the board and the assembly, overseeing the operations of all board committee, workgroup and advisory group meetings and activities, and working closely with the executive director and board on the creation of CEC's strategic plan.

A veteran teacher, administrator and teacher-educator, Brewer has been an active member of CEC for more than two decades, and worked in a variety of volunteer leadership positions prior to being elected president.

She received her doctor of education in Special Education (behavior and severe needs emphasis) and her masters in Special Education (severe/profound needs) from the University of Northern Colorado, her bachelor of science degree in Special Education from the University of Oklahoma, and her associate of arts in Psychology from South Oklahoma Community College.

UNC Faculty Author to Release Book on Acting

A Tony winning actor featured in University of Northern Colorado professor Ken Womble's new book, Inside Act: How Ten Actors Made It — and How You Can Too, will join him to launch the book.

Debra Monk is scheduled to be among the actors appearing with Womble for a book signing at Drama Book Shop on March 19 in New York.

An accomplished actor and Associate Professor of Theatre at UNC, Womble interviewed 10 award-winning actors in the book, which sheds light on what makes actors successful. He documents the experiences of working actors by exploring the choices they made at critical moments in their careers and how those choices led to substantial results.

"The inspiration for the book arose from my work with aspiring professional actors," Womble said. "I've seen there is a chasm between learning how to act and becoming a successful actor, which many talented actors are never able to bridge. That is what this book does."

The book also includes interviews with each actor's "success team," their agents, managers, directors and teachers, to get their perspective on each actor. Chapters conclude with an analysis of each actor's success, and in the book's final chapter Womble identifies the most frequently used actions, skills and beliefs — the master keys to the actors' success.

Womble teaches acting at UNC, one of the country's top professional actor training programs — with grads appearing on Broadway, and working in film and TV.

To support this project Womble received a grant from UNC's Provost Fund for Research, Dissemination and Faculty Development.

Inside Act is published by Hansen Publishing Group and is available at Actors interviewed include Monk, Eric Ladin, Krysta Rodriguez, Tony Yazbeck, James Earl, Gary Beach, John Tartaglia, Robert Clohessy, Jose Llana and Richard Portnow.

For more information on Womble, visit or

UNC Student’s Company Named Finalist in Another Competition for Startups

UNC freshman Raj Reddy, already a finalist in the Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge, has been named one of five finalists in the first-ever University Startup Challenge that's part of the seventh annual Angel Capital Summit March 18-19 in Denver.

Reddy's company, Omirown Entertainment, develops games for mobile smartphones.

The winner of the Denver event will receive small business development and accounting services, and servers and digital storage, and will be eligible to receive offers from potential investors attending the summit.

In the March 25 MCB competition, Reddy will compete against four other finalists for a first-place prize of $25,000 and business incubator services from UNC BizHub, the university's new business incubator.

The Entrepreneurial Challenge will be broadcast as a television program at 9:30 p.m. March 29 on KTVD Channel 20 and later streamed on