One Tree, One Planet art

All are invited to interact with the ‘Tree of Life’ at the One Tree, One Planet exhibit, Feb. 4

Please join the campus community on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at the Weidner Center for One Tree, One Planet—a ground-breaking, biodiversity interactive projection created by internationally renowned artist Naziha Mestaoui in collaboration with scientists at the University of Florida.

Interact with the artwork and explore the Tree of Life to understand the connections between our species (Homo sapiens) and other organisms. A downloadable app allows you to become part of the artwork, merging your heartbeat’s rhythms with the projection, producing music patterned after the DNA sequences shared by all organisms on Earth.

One Tree, One Planet is a project dedicated to helping humans understand their connections to all life on earth, as well as how the earth can be protected.

The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Cofrin Family Hall at the Weidner Center with a public lecture by Florida Museum Distinguished Curators Douglas and Pamela Soltis at 4 p.m. The one of many in the year-long celebration of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity’s 20th Anniversary.

Learn more about One Tree, One Planet and download the app at: www.onetreeoneplanet.org

2020 UW-Green Bay Alumni Awards Collage

UW-Green Bay to recognize outstanding young and distinguished alumni at 2020 Alumni Awards Dinner, Feb. 28

LaForce President and CEO Brian Mannering will receive an Honorary Alumni Award

Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will recognize a number of outstanding alumni and one honorary alumnus at the 2020 Alumni Awards Dinner, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 in the Phoenix Rooms on the Green Bay Campus at 5 p.m. The event is open to the public. The cost is $50 per person. For more information, contact the UW-Green Bay Alumni Office at 920-465-2074 or alumni@uwgb.edu.

Receiving this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award are Neil Diboll ’78, Todd Jadin ’84, Paul Northway ’90 and Lisa Merkel ’00 and ’10. Diana Delbecchi ’10 and Amanda Reitz ’08 will be honored with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award and Brian Mannering, CEO and president of LaForce, will be designated as an Honorary Alumnus.

The Alumni Awards highlight UW-Green Bay graduates and other individuals who have made special contributions to UW-Green Bay, their communities and professions. Awardees go through a nomination and selection process by committee consisting of internal staff and past Alumni Award recipients. About the awardees:

Neil Diboll
Neil Diboll

Neil Diboll ’78 (Environmental Sciences) is currently a prairie ecologist at the Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wis. He attended the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, MI (Boot Camp for Biologists) during the summer of 1977. He has since worked for the U.S. Park Service in Virginia, the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. In 1982, Diboll began his involvement with Prairie Nursery, producing native plants and seeds and designing native landscapes. He has since devoted his efforts to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants, in contemporary American landscapes. In addition to helping popularize the use of native plants long before they were “cool,” Diboll developed the first scientific methodology for designing prairie seed mixes. Diboll’s work includes designs for residential, commercial and public spaces throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States. The essence of Diboll’s philosophy is that we, as stewards of the planet, must work to preserve and increase the diversity of native plants and animals with which we share our world. The protection of our natural heritage and our soil and water resources is essential to maintaining a high quality of life for today and for the children of future generations to come.

Todd Jadin
Todd Jadin

Todd Jadin ’84 (Business Administration) is vice president of Associate Relations and Talent Management for Schneider, a premier provider of transportation, intermodal and logistics services. In this position, Jadin is responsible for delivering an exceptional associate experience on behalf of the company. He is accountable for corporate recruiting, learning and development, change management, associate relations, employment law compliance and the human capital processes—which includes performance appraisals, succession planning and overall talent management. He began his professional career with Schneider in Feb. 1985 as an extended coverage manager. Since then, he has held leadership positions in nearly every operating unit of the business. Previous roles during his 35-year tenure have included director of Network Planning, general manager of Integrated Delivery Fleet Services, senior vice president of Dedicated Services, senior vice president of Operations, vice president of Alliance Capacity and vice president of Schneider’s Mexico division. As an industry expert, he has represented Schneider on the Council of Logistics Management, the North American Transportation Alliance, the American Trucking Associations Intermodal Council and the BNSF Customer Advisory Board. He has also been recognized as a “Logistics Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine. Most recently, he was awarded the inaugural Don Schneider Presidential Award by Schneider in Feb. 2019. Jadin served or continues to serve his community in his role on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Green Bay, the UW-Green Bay Founders Association and the UW-Green Bay Alumni Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Schneider Foundation core team. In addition, Jadin has been actively involved in youth basketball in the Green Bay area. He serves as president of the Green Bay Area Girls Basketball Association, he coached numerous boys and girls Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball teams and he was a member of the boys’ varsity staff at Notre Dame Academy High School. He has been married to his wife, Sara, for 30 years, and together they have four children: Hanna, Kate, Dante and Tessa.

Paul Northway ’90 (Business Administration, Political Science) joined American National Bank in 2013 as part of a succession plan for key executives who were retiring. In his current role as CEO, Northway is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the local business bank, as well as being the caretaker of the company’s culture. Northway is also a member of the bank’s Board of Directors. With nearly 30 years of experience in the financial industry, Northway is very adept at developing mutually beneficial relationships throughout the community. Prior to joining American National Bank, Northway had leadership roles at Baylake Bank (regional

Paul Northway
Paul Northway

president) and Associated Bank (Commercial Banking Team leader). Northway is a lifelong resident of Northeast Wisconsin, having grown up in De Pere. He obtained an MBA at UW-Oshkosh and completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. Passionate about his alma mater, Northway and his wife, Kristin, have established a scholarship at UW-Green Bay for business students. He serves as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees. A season ticket holder for men’s basketball and a supporter of the Phoenix Fund, you will find him cheering on the Phoenix from his seats behind the bench. Additionally, Northway regularly speaks to classes on campus about the topic of selling and sales management. In 2012, he was recognized by the Cofrin School of Business as an honorary inductee into Sigma Beta Delta. Other community involvement includes service on the board of directors and executive committee of both, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley and Curative Connections. Northway served as the chair of Curative’s Rising Tide Capital Campaign in 2018. His contributions in the community have been recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (Marie Krohn Award) and Neighborworks Green Bay (Community Builder Award). Northway and his wife have two children, Andrew, a current UW-Green Bay student, and Aaron.

Lisa Merkel
Lisa Merkel

Lisa Merkel ’00 and ’10 (Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning) A passionate teacher, Merkel has been an educator at Green Bay West High School since 2001, where she currently teaches Physical Science and Chemistry classes. The effects of poverty on learning was the focus of her research as a graduate student at UW-Green Bay. For nearly a decade, Merkel developed and taught two graduate classes related to the education of impoverished children to area educators and administrators through the UW-Green Bay Outreach Program (now Continuing Education and Community Engagement). She contributes her expertise on the effects of poverty on learning in a variety of programs including the Green Bay West Building Leadership Team, AVID, S3 teaching teams, Student Council and the Medical College of Wisconsin Equity Team. In 2014, won an equity award from the Green Bay Education Association for her dedication and commitment to uniting cultures through education. In 2016, Merkel was awarded the Herb Kohl Foundation Fellowship Award for teaching excellence and innovation in the State of Wisconsin. In 2018, she received a Serious About STEM (SAS) grant for $100,000 from the Medical College of Wisconsin to implement the program she developed to increase positive outcomes for first-generation female students interested in STEM fields. Lisa and her husband, UW-Green Bay Professor Brian Merkel, love spending time with their three beautiful children and Jade, an unapologetically spoiled Weimaraner and true baby of the family.

Diana Delbecchi 10 (Psychology and Human Development) is a passionate social justice advocate with a key interest in refugee rights and issues around educational equity. After graduating from UW-Green Bay in 2010, she served as the University’s Student Employment and Scholarships coordinator for almost five years. Leaving to pursue her own dreams of a higher education, she moved to Ireland and received a Master’s Degree in Gender, Globalisation and Rights. Since graduating in 2016, she has spent time working abroad in a refugee camp providing educational programming for out-of-school refugee youth, where she conducted a research project that led to the design and implementation of the first youth education program in a refugee camp of 700 residents. Delbecchi also helped found a local group for resettled refugee youth in Green Bay called the United ReSisters. This group helps make the dreams of college education accessible, affordable and achievable for these young women. The group recently published a book on their experiences titled “The First Winter.” Delbecchi also served as the assistant director for a freshmen travel program at St. Norbert College and is currently the Green Bay Area Public School’s first-ever Community Schools Resource coordinator. Delbecchi was a contributing author for the scholarly publication, “Journey to Refuge: Understanding the Refugee, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools.”

Amanda Reitz ’08 (Elementary Education) is the founder of Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary (HEA). She was born, raised, educated and now lives in Green Bay. Reitz’s passion is simple; she loves creating positive change for pets and people across the nation. She founded HEA at just 21-years old. This dream wasn’t supported by everyone. Her father’s words were, “forget about it…it’s never going to happen.” Ironically, he has been extensively involved every step of the way. Today, both of her parents and her brother have made HEA’s

Amanda Rietz
Amanda Rietz

mission their life’s work. Reitz founded HEA when many communities were killing more than 50% of the dogs and cats that entered their animal shelters. Since 2006, HEA has successfully paired more than 4,000 companion animals with loving families. While proud of the impact, Reitz is far from satisfied. There are still hundreds of thousands of animals dying in shelters every year. She wants to see a world where the life of every companion animal matters. Reitz has been recognized by UW-Green Bay’s Inside Magazine as a Service-Minded Alumni, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce (1 of 20 People You Should Know), and by You Magazine (1 of 20 Women to Know). She’s also a graduate of Leadership Green Bay’s class of 2012. Grateful for her faith, her family and her community, Reitz finds the greatest joy in being able to engage her heart in the service of others—both people and pets.

Brian Mannering will receive the Honorary Alumni Award. Mannering is committed and passionate about the Green Bay community and the important role that UW-Green Bay plays in the continued growth and prosperity of Northeast Wisconsin. Although not an alumnus, the president and CEO of LaForce Inc., has demonstrated incredible support for UW-Green Bay. He is a member of the Phoenix men’s basketball golf

Brian Mannering
Brian Mannering

committee, is an avid fan, and spreads this excitement throughout the company he leads. Mannering and LaForce continue to support various initiatives throughout campus including a recent gift to the Phoenix Innovation Park and the development of the University’s new Mechanical Engineering Program. LaForce Inc., headquartered in Green Bay, Wis. with additional offices across the United States, is a leader in providing door opening solutions for life safety and building security. Mannering has a proven executive management track record with more than 30 years of experience driving sales and growth for LaForce. He began his career in shipping & receiving and has held numerous positions in the company, including vice president of sales and vice president. In 2007, he was named president of the growing company, and in 2016 he acquired the title of CEO. Mannering models efforts of community engagement and encourages LaForce employees to do the same through corporate donations and employee activities. A native of Green Bay, Mannering believes the development of a community has a strong impact on the success of a company. Mannering is a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees and is an active supporter of the NEW Community Shelter. He previously served as a board member for the Green Bay Boys & Girls Club. Brian and his wife Amy have been married for 33 years and have three children: Austin, Alyssa (a UW-Green Bay graduate) and Brock.

–02-20

UW-Green Bay Professor Emeritus Hallet J. ‘Bud’ Harris honored by Wisconsin Academy

The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters announced on Jan. 14, 2020, the seven recipients of the 2020 Academy Fellows Award. Among them was UW-Green Bay Prof. Emeritus Hallet J. ‘Bud’ Harris (NAS), who has dedicated his career and life’s work to scientific solutions to Great Lakes issues.

“His research and advocacy laid the foundation for ecological restoration efforts that are among the most ambitious in the world,” according to his nominators. “His contributions to science and the people of Wisconsin hardly stopped in 1999, however. To this day, he is an effective leader in efforts to improve environmental quality and sustainable resource use in Wisconsin. His contributions range from front-line leadership in water quality issues to meaningful influence on discussions of climate change, environmental economics, and science education. His career as a scientist and leader is approaching 50 years, with no sign of retreat.”

Hallet 'Bud' Harris
Hallet ‘Bud’ Harris

Noteworthy is Harris’s significant publication record, but his major contributions to water science, according to colleagues, are manifest through well-documented influence on public policy. Outcomes of his work, chronicled prominently by reports, research documents, and on-the-ground actions, have led to precedent-setting investments in water quality abatements totaling more than a billion dollars and counting.

At UW-Green Bay, Harris taught undergraduate ecology and graduate courses in wetland ecology and ecosystem management. He and his students carried out research in coastal wetlands of Green Bay as part of the Wisconsin Sea Grant Green Bay Subprogram which he coordinated for eight years. Subsequently he served as “on site coordinator” of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) PCB Mass Balance Study. In that role, Harris laid the foundation for a PCB cleanup effort in the Fox River—said to be the largest fresh water clean-up in the world—resulting in the removal of 2.4 million tons of contaminated sediments. Harris also led consequential efforts to address nonpoint source pollution of sediments and nutrients, a second complex problem in the Fox River/Lower Green Bay ecosystem.

Serving on all three steering committees (Technical, Ad-hoc Science, and Outreach), he was instrumental in precipitating USEPA and Wisconsin DNR actions to develop total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulations for controlling runoff of phosphorous and suspended solids in the Lower Fox River Basin. During this process, he also obtained nearly $1 million in funding to engage high school students and teachers in a successful stream monitoring and education program in the Fox River Watershed. Among many other professional contributions, he currently serves as member and past chair for the Sea Grant Advisory Council, he is a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Initiative for Climate Change Impacts (WICCI), and he is a long-serving leader of the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance Advisory Board.

“The list of Dr. Harris’s leadership roles is truly remarkable, reflecting a passion for applying science to critical ecological and sociological challenges,” say his nominators. “He has contributed significantly to the peer-reviewed scientific literature and he has inspired and mentored hundreds of students. His most important legacy, however, will likely be the public policies and conservation actions that have happened because of his passionate commitment as an applied scientist and community leader.”

After receiving a bachelor of science from Coe College, he graduated with a master’s and Ph.D. from Iowa State University and joined UW–Green Bay in 1969, retiring in 1999. Harris presently serves in a science advisory capacity for four environmental organizations.

Recent UW-Green Bay, Marinette graduate makes strides with her scientific research | Eagle Herald

“Becky Berry, a Marinette native, graduated from UW-Green Bay with her bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Her primary area of study has been with cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. According to Sue Bodilly, the director of content and media relations for UWGB, Berry’s research has been ongoing for the last six semesters, and has been presented nationally, notably at the 2017 International BMAA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.” More via UWGB grad makes strides with her scientific research | Eagle Herald.

Former UW-Green Bay faculty member interviewed as an important woman in STEM and Technology

Former UW-Green Bay faculty member Prof. Angela Bauer (Biology) was recently interviewed as an important woman in STEM and Technology for Authority Magazine. When at UW-Green Bay, Prof. Bauer was awarded the University of Wisconsin System’s Diversity Award for inclusive classroom practices. Now, Bauer is the founding dean of the Wanek School of Natural Sciences at High Point University. Read her interview here.

Top UW-Green Bay news of 2019

Take a look back on the top editorial content from UW-Green Bay in 2019. These pieces generated the most buzz.


Retired UW-Green Bay faculty member endows $1 million strings professorship

Robert Bauer UWGB Series 68 Box 2 Fol 17 circa 1969

Founding UW-Green Bay Band Director, Robert J. Bauer and his wife Joanne, announced their $1 million gift to the University in January 2019. The gift is being used to create an endowed professorship fund designed to support and advance the academic activities of the strings music faculty and students at UW-Green Bay. Read more.


Marinette Campus professor researches possible link between environmental exposure to algae and Alzheimer’s

Renee Richer Photo-08[1] copy

UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus professor, Renee Richer, has conducted research on algae, and its possible link to Alzheimer’s. Richer’s work is part of a larger study being led by Paul Cox, a Harvard ethnobotanist. Read more.


No longer marked with an x, UW-Green Bay Prof. Ryan Martin’s talk is now TED official

TEDxFdL Ryan Martin

UW-Green Bay Professor and Associate Dean Ryan Martin’s (Psychology, CAHSS) TEDx FondduLac Talk, “The Upside of Anger” was promoted to TED Talk status in March, meaning that Martin’s presentation was spread nationally, and globally through the TED.com website. See more.


UW-Green Bay names Noodles & Company Founder, Aaron Kennedy, TitletownTech Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Aaron KennedyThe founder of Noodles & Company and former Chairman/CEO, Aaron Kennedy, was added to the TitltownTech leadership team in April 2019. Kennedy was named Entrepreneur-in-Residence by UW-Green Bay’s former Chancellor, Gary L. Miller. and is working in collaboration with the UW-Green Bay Cofrin School of Business to educate and provide guidance in business development and operational areas, as well as working with the UW System’s Economic Development Office to generate collaborations with all UW System institutions. Read more.


Coach-to-coach and coast-to-coast, Green Bay women’s basketball has generational impact

Pictured, left to right, Sam Terry, Kayla Tetschlag, Amanda (Leonhard) Perry, Sue (Klaubauf) Bodilly, Lavessa (Glover) Verhagen, Erin (Templin) Barkley and Nancy (Cieslewicz) Strong.

Green Bay women’s basketball secured its 42nd-consecutive winning season in 2019, this streak includes 20-straight conference titles and 18 NCAA Tournament appearances. Through it all, the program has only had three head coaches — Carol Hammerle (25 seasons), Matt Bollant (5) and current Head Coach Kevin Borseth (15). But maybe more impressive is the legacy left by the players in the program, who go on to spread the Phoenix philosophy to teams locally and nationwide. A quick look at past rosters and present coaches shows more than 35 former Phoenix who have gone on to leave their mark in the high school and college coaching ranks. See more.


UW-Green Bay names Michael Alexander as next Provost

Michael AlexanderIn May, former Chancellor, Gary L. Miller named Michael Alexander UW-Green Bay’s next provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Alexander began his role officially in July of 2019 and is the 13th provost at UW-Green Bay. Read more.


It’s official: Dornbush named dean of UW-Green Bay’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business

Matt DornbushFormer UW-Green Bay Provost Greg Davis appointed Mathew Dornbush, most recently interim dean, to the permanent dean for UW-Green Bay’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business in May 2019. Dornbush was named interim dean in August 14, 2018, after the retirement of Douglas Hensler. Prior to that role, he served as associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and director of Graduate Studies since 2015. Read more.


Iconic art depicts ‘Phoenix rising’ at UW-Green Bay

Phoenix Sculpture
“Phoenix Rising” by Carl Vanderheyden

Metal artist Carl Vanderheyen created the new “Phoenix Rising” sculpture in 2019. “Our students have shared their desire for an iconic place on campus to gather and also for that signature ‘UW-Green Bay photo,’” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Climate, Eric E. Arneson. The piece was installed in the center of the Cofrin Library circle on the Green Bay Campus in August 2019. See more.


A dissection class was the impetus for alumna Samantha Kuba, now a medical examiner

Samantha Kuba in the medical examiner's lab

UW-Green Bay Chair of Biology and Human Biology Prof. Dan Meinhardt, wrote about a rare opportunity to observe one of his former star students, alumna Samantha Kuba ’13 (Human Biology, Biology) in action, as she continues to develop her UW-Green Bay found-passion in dissection into a career as a medical examiner. UW-Green Bay graduate, Samantha Kuba. Sam, an Appleton native, says she “fell in love” with dissection while earning degrees in Human Biology and Biology (emphases in Health Science and Animal Biology, respectively) at the Green Bay campus. She describes my Comparative Anatomy class as her first real introduction to dissection, and credits two other UW-Green Bay experiences for getting her hired into her current career. Read more.


Sgt. Dave Jones Takes Over as UW-Green Bay’s Chief of Police

Sgt. Dave JonesSgt. Dave Jones, the former emergency manager and investigative supervisor for UW-Green Bay University Police, was appointed UWGB’s Chief of Police and began his new role Aug. 5, 2019. Jones replaced Tom Kujawa who retired in April 2019. Read more.


Top news stories of 2019 compiled by Shelby Smith, social media intern, UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication

Deceptively simple fruit fly may provide life-saving lessons according to UW-Green Bay researchers

The deceptively simple Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) may have life-saving lessons to share with the significantly more complex Homo sapiens, lessons that could lead to future changes in treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Douglas Brusich Fruit Fly Research-4According to a peer-reviewed research paper published recently in the journal Fly[1],  results from studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay suggest three significant findings with potential implications for humans:

  • First, repetitive, moderate blows to the head at short intervals have potential for serious injury. There appears to be a cumulative effect from a series of moderate blows within a short time frame, which can be as harmful as a single significant blow.
  • Second, the time frame for increased harm caused by repeated injuries can operate at shorter timescales than has been previously appreciated. The research suggests that consideration must be paid to repetitive injuries that occur closely together.
  • Finally, TBI caused an initial impairment of motor coordination, temporary recovery, and then a second, delayed impairment before full recovery was achieved. Single severe injuries caused the same impairment as repetitive moderate blows. Thus, if only using coordination measures, there is a risk for improperly determining an individual has recovered from a TBI event, whether severe or moderate, at an early time-point, when in fact they are still in the process of fully recovering.

By now you’re probably asking, “All of this from a fruit fly?”

“That’s a question I get a lot,” smiles Doug Brusich, assistant professor of Human Biology and leader of the research team. “People wonder why we use fruit flies and how results from those studies can have any relevance to humans.”

Brusich recited the reasons with the ease of someone who has answered this question many times before:

“Fruit fly genes mirror human genes very closely,” said Brusich, “so while findings may not be completely analogous, they usually point us to something that might be worthy of further study in mammals, including humans.

“Their genes are also easier to work with than mammal genes,” he continued. “For example, where mammals might have nine genes that govern sodium channels, fruit flies have one. If you make a change in that sodium channel and observe a result, you have a potential indication of a similar importance in mammals.

“Fruit flies also breed quickly, from larvae to adults in 10 days, and have 80-day life cycles,” said Brusich, “so we can develop hundreds of flies for study in a relatively short time. And we can use flies at varying stages of  their lives to see if age has any impact on the results.

“We also have to consider the financial and ethical aspects of our research,” he added. “Fruit flies are very inexpensive to maintain in the lab, especially compared to the cost of other potential subject animals like mice. And the ethical questions that arise when inflicting brain damage on flies are much less complex.

“It’s also important that the ways we produce injuries on flies in the lab is as similar to the ways humans experience TBIs,” Brusich concluded, “The results from fruit fly research come from impact and rotational forces that closely resemble forces humans might experience.”

Douglas Brusich Fruit Fly Research-3

Expanding the research to new levels

Brusich and his team at UW-Green Bay—former undergraduate student Lauren Putnam (2018), and current undergraduates Nathaniel Disher, Brooke Kalata and Ashley Willes—knew the literature contained well documented fruit fly studies of TBI based on single, high-impact strikes. They wondered, though, whether the methods in those studies could be used to study milder injuries, which are more common but less understood.

“There were two reasons we pursued this path,” explained Brusich. “First, mild head trauma is quite common and affects human health. Roughly 70-90% of the greater than 1.5 million annual TBI events resulting in hospital visits in the United States are classified as mild, however, just as many mild injuries are estimated to go unreported. Additionally, we have evidence that mild head injuries which fail to even meet classic criteria for a concussion result in changes in brain health.

“Second,” he continued, “mild injuries have so far been poorly studied or modeled by mammalian or fly models of TBI. This is in part because mild injuries don’t always generate noticeable outcomes. As a result, we have little information about mild TBI.

“Expanding our studies to reduced levels of severity opens the possibility of investigating similarities and/or differences in predisposition and consequences in response to severe versus mild TBI,” he concluded.

Douglas Brusich Fruit Fly Research-2

Is it dead or just sleeping?

Anyone who has swatted a house fly has seen the immediate effect of a (lucky) strike. The fly is temporarily stunned and may sit motionless for a short time before recovering and flying off to annoy you again.

It turns out the temporary disorientation we casually observe is one of the behaviors researchers look for after striking flies in the lab. They also have other behavioral clues to watch for and record.

But those clues are subtle and you can’t have a lab full of researchers swatting willy-nilly at a room full of flies that are smaller than a house fly’s wing. For one thing, the lab is only the size of a galley kitchen. For another, how would you observe and record any of the fruit flies’ behavior in such an environment? How do you set up a study that provides predictable levels of “swat” energy and enables recording of the results?

Brusich and his team arrived at a MacGyver-like solution by adapting a compression spring-powered device developed by researchers at UW-Madison specifically for fruit fly research. The original device produced a strike (a “swat”) by attaching a vial of 20 to 60 flies to the end of the 10-inch-long coil spring, affixing the spring horizontally to a padded surface, pulling the spring upward to a 90-degree deflection from the table, then releasing the spring to return to its horizontal position, stunning the flies in the vial.

This method has become known as the High-Impact Trauma (HIT) method and has been widely adopted in fly research.

For his team’s purpose, Brusich modified the device so it could reliably and accurately produce single or multiple strikes at 60-, 70-, 80- and 90-degree deflections. This enabled the team to examine the results of repetitive HIT events to about 34,000 fruit flies across varying levels of severity, from mild to severe.

The team also combined low-tech and high-tech solutions to study the fruit flies’ ability to walk (geotaxis) after TBI events. They used a plywood frame and elastic bands to hold several vials upright, then dropped the frame three times from a set height, forcing the flies to the bottom of the vial.

They then used a Logitech webcam to watch as the flies reacted: some scrambled to the top, some remained confused and some stayed at the bottom. Using screen shots and statistical modeling software, the flies’ actions were catalogued, timed and plotted.

The results of the study confirmed other researchers’ findings for severe TBI effects (strikes at 90-degree deflections) and produced the three novel results described above (arising from repetitive strikes at varying intervals that produce less severe, but cumulative, TBI effects).

“We were happy that our study produced results so consistent with what others had found,” said Brusich. “And we think the findings that resulted from expanding the methodology to less severe levels of TBI have potential implications for further study in fruit flies and mammals. Future findings could change the way we assess and treat TBI.”

From TBI to epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease

Brusich is already taking information from his TBI research into others areas of exploration.

“I initially got into studying epilepsy from experiments I conducted as part of my graduate thesis,” said Brusich. “I started using TBI in part to model post-traumatic epilepsy, which my lab is now studying. More broadly, TBI findings are relevant to aging and neurodegeneration, such as from dementias like Alzheimer’s, and so the more we learn from this model the better. TBI is also a trending topic in research, so the additional perks are that it is garnering more funding and becoming an attractive and enjoyable area of research for prospective students.

“I have long wanted my role to be a split research-teaching one at a primarily undergraduate school like UW-Green Bay,” he continued, “and the simple, low-cost set up of my lab is appropriate for undergraduate involvement. The supportive environment created by my dean and by the school in general has enabled us to carve out this niche for ourselves versus the research functions at some of the larger schools.”

Aspiring researchers welcome

Brusich hopes other students who share his passion for fundamental research will consider joining him.

“I always mention my research interests in the courses I teach and ask students to chat with me if they think they might be interested in research,” said Brusich.

“I compile a list of these students and others who have heard about the opportunity, then invite students from the list to interviews held once or twice a year. Students are always welcome to contact me (email is best) if they are interested in research.”


[1] Lauren J Putnam, Ashley M Willes, Brooke E Kalata, Nathaniel D Disher & Douglas J Brusich (2019): Expansion of a fly TBI model to four levels of injury severity reveals synergistic effects of repetitive injury for moderate injury conditions, Fly, DOI: 10.1080/19336934.2019.1664363.

Story by freelance writer Jim Streed ’05, photos by Dan Moore, UW-Green Bay photographer and videographer

UW-Green Bay: Top Moments of 2019

As we close out a decade, take a scroll through 15 standout moments and accomplishments of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2019!

Retired UW-Green Bay faculty member Robert J. Bauer endows $1 million strings professorship

49233787617_dfb4217081_c

In January, a generous donation of $1 million from retired faculty member Robert J. Bauer and his wife and UW-Green Bay alumna Joanne ’78 (Master’s Degree in Environmental Arts and Sciences) was announced. This gift was used to create an endowed professorship fund designated to support and advance the academic activities of the strings music faculty and students at the University. Read more.

New bachelor’s and masters degree offerings

b3uI2zJY

In 2019, UW-Green Bay’s academic offerings continued to expand, mirroring the needs of the local and national workforce. New degrees approved and/or implemented in 2019 include: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing and Applied ArtsExecutive Master of Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Science in Water Science, and Master of Science in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology.

Noodles & Company Founder Aaron Kennedy named as TitletownTech entrepreneur-in-residence

Excitement is building for TitletownTech in the shadow of Lambeau Field.

In April 2019, UW-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin System announced that Noodles & Company founder and former Chairman/CEO, Aaron Kennedy would join the TitletownTech leadership team as UW-Green Bay’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Read more.

Cofrin Center for Biodiversity celebrates 20 years

Yarn Bomb

This year marked the beginning of the celebration of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity’s 20th anniversary. Events included Lawton Gallery Exhibit “Museum of Natural Inspiration: Artists Explore the Richter Collection,” a gallery of artwork inspired by the collection of the Richter Museum of Natural History; Prarie Week, which included a “Yarn Bomb” in the Cofrin Arboretum and more! See more.

Marinette Campus ‘Mamma Mia’ is a sellout

DSC_0093

UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus Theatre on the Bay kicked off its 53rd season this year with sellout performances of Mamma Mia. And rollling with the punches, the cast and crew embodied the adage the “show must go on,” performing through a power outage opening night, finishing the show a-cappella by the light of cell phones.

Phoenix sculpture installed

phoenix-sculpture-1000x667

A new photo opportunity and iconic piece of art, “Phoenix Rising” was added to the Green Bay Campus in late summer. The 13-foot steel and stainless steel Phoenix, now located in the library circle, was created by regional metal Artist Carl Vanderheyden and dedicated in September. See more.

Green Bay Athletics celebrates 50 years

1377 MBB 12-14-19 copy

The 2019-2020 season marks 50 years for Green Bay athletics. The fall of 1969 marked the first official competition and team with men’s soccer followed by men’s basketball, wrestling and tennis. Green Bay Athletics kicked off the yearlong celebration on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at a men’s and women’s soccer double header at Aldo Santaga Stadium. In addition to other special events all season long, Athletics has been naming the Top 50 Most Influential Leaders.

University names first female chancellor

49219080091_e9e6779dd7_c

After Chancellor Gary L. Miller announced his departure, UW System President Ray Cross named Sheryl L. Van Gruensven as the interim Chancellor of UW-Green Bay. Van Gruensven was UW-Green Bay’s vice chancellor for business and finance and will return to that role after her time as interim chancellor.

UW-Green Bay reports largest-ever enrollment

40798693793_d7c61af968_c

This year was a record year for enrollment. As of fall 2019, more than 8,800 students are a part of the Phoenix family and the Green Bay campus saw 9.7% growth in one year. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Alexander says the news is reflective of the growing support by the region for its public university and is also great news for the region. Read more.

Weidner Philharmonic is impressive (as expected) in debut

weidner-center-orchestral-performance-624x416

Buoyed by the strong community response to the orchestral concert that opened its 25th anniversary season in 2018, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay music faculty and UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts debuted a Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019. The first performance was Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 and the orchestra was comprised of music faculty from multiple UW-Green Bay campuses and other local musicians. See more.

Brown County STEM Innovation Center opens its doors

STEM-Center-Aerial-1-624x385

The newly-minted Brown County STEM Innovation Center opened its doors on Thursday, October 10, 2019. The 63,730-square-foot facility, located on the UW-Green Bay campus is home to many facets of UW-Green Bay’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology, including the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering; Extension Brown County; Brown County’s Land and Water Conservation Department and The Einstein Project!

Manitowoc Campus CEO named Manitowoc Future 15 Winner

Rachel Bakic
Rachel Bakic

Rachele Bakic, campus executive officer for UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus, was recently named a Manitowoc County Future 15 winner. “The ‘Future 15′ are young professionals, ages 21-40, ‘who have given back to the community, showed leadership, and helped in many ways to make the area a great place to live and work.'” Read more.

Sheboygan Campus Assoc. Professor James Kabrhel receives Underkofler Award for Teaching

James Kabrhel teaching a class.

The Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award is an endowed award from Alliant Energy and is awarded to three teachers each year within the University of Wisconsin System from the Madison, Platteville, Baraboo, Fond du Lac, Richland, Rock or Sheboygan campuses who personify dedication. The award committee looks for teachers who not only communicate their subject matter effectively, but also inspire in their students an enthusiasm for learning. This year, one of the recipients was Associate Prof. James Kabrhel, a teacher of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry classes at UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus. Kabrhel is known for using current events and items in the news to make classroom content more interesting and appealing to students. See more.

Common CAHSS honors the 71st anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 12.47.00 PM

In recognition of world Human Rights Day on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences hosted the inaugural Common CAHSS 2019: Human Rights event at the Weidner Center. This year marked the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Throughout the day, there was a total of 30 scheduled activities, capped off with keynote speaker Rais Bhuiyan, founder of the non-profit “World Without Hate.” See more.

 UW-Green Bay celebrates 100th Commencement

79763401_10157362933561154_4409008349975150592_n

Dec. 14, 2019 was a monumental day for UW-Green Bay. The University community celebrated its 100th Commencement. More than 400 graduates were eligible to graduate, boosting the total count of alumni to nearly 40,000. Read more.