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Campus Highlights - October 2018

Dear University community,

Our four universities have been making great progress toward improving the lives of our students and Missourians, and the month of October provided additional opportunities to further our efforts and celebrate our successes.

From Oct. 15-20, the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) held Affordable and Open Educational Resources (A&OER) Thank You Week. In order to thank participating professors and highlight the importance of open resources, students organized a letter writing campaign and shared testimonials. Additionally, the UM System hosted a statewide Boot Camp to discuss sustainable implementation of programs for affordable resources, increase awareness of these efforts and recognize faculty who are providing these options to students. Since starting this systemwide initiative in Spring 2017, 770 faculty have adopted A&OER materials and saved students more than $1.3 million.

We’ve also made progress with the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) and the Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC), a top-priority research investment for the UM System. Last month, I announced a $50 million investment to bring cutting-edge research to our universities, encourage strategic industry partnerships and make important contributions to healthcare in Missouri. I’m continuing to work with leaders from our universities to communicate the value of our efforts in precision medicine to educators, donors, industry and business leaders and elected officials throughout the state. To learn more about the importance and potential of this statewide effort, tune into Vice Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships and Dean Elizabeth Loboa's interview featured on this month’s “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” podcast. I am excited for the future of this project and the innovative ways it will allow us to fulfill our Missouri Compact for Research.

Our universities have also been delivering on our Compact for Engagement and Outreach, with UMSL strengthening the St. Louis nonprofit community through the formation of the Community Innovation and Action Center and Ameren Accelerator’s Demo Day providing support for six startups in the form of $100,000 awards and the opportunity to work with 10 UMSL interns.

MU’s Homecoming weekend also engaged the community with a dedication ceremony to honor African-American leaders who shaped Mizzou’s history and next month, Missouri S&T will host a seminar that will provide veterans an opportunity to learn more about starting or growing a business. I am so proud of the work our universities do to enrich our community.

Finally, I couldn’t finish this letter without mentioning what might have been the happiest moment of October: we have our first Nobel Laureate from our University family. The news that Dr. George Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was cause for celebration at MU and throughout the UM System.

We laud the past and present scientific advances that have stemmed from our universities, and I believe the future of our research achievements is only going to get brighter. Next month, we will host a collaborative research summit titled, “Rebuilding the Civic Compact: Funded Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in the Behavioral and Social Sciences.” This event will be held prior to the Board of Curators meeting at UMSL.

From the new construction beginning on the $6.5 million Advanced Materials and Construction Lab at Missouri S&T and the topping-off ceremony to celebrate MU’s $28.2 million state-of-the-art plant research facility to the many other stories about the advances in scientific research at each of our campuses noted below, we’re moving in an exciting direction. If you have an update or story to share, about innovative research or another topic, please send it to


Mun Y. Choi, president
UM System


UMKC School of Pharmacy Researcher Awarded $3.53 Million in NIH Grants
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy Professor Kun Cheng recently earned two National Institutes of Health grant awards totaling more than $3.5 million to fight prostate cancer and liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. The first grant from the National Cancer Institute for $1.772 million is meant to help Cheng develop successful immunotherapies against advanced prostate cancer. The other $1.758 million grant, from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, will support research to reverse alcoholic liver fibrosis by using nanotechnology to deliver a gene-silencing large molecule called siRNA that was discovered in Cheng’s laboratory.


Missouri S&T professor develops method to strengthen concrete with nanoparticles
Dr. Hongyan Ma, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T, is working on a safer, simpler and potentially more affordable approach to strengthening concrete with nanoparticles, thanks to a National Science Foundation grant.


UMSL professor directing evidence-based opioid treatment efforts and seeing results
Rachel Winograd, a research professor at UMSL’s Missouri Institute of Mental Health, has been leading efforts to stem overdose deaths in Missouri through the Missouri Opioid State Targeted Response grant. A significant reduction in the rate at which opioid deaths are growing has offered hope that Missouri is beginning to stem the epidemic.


MU College of Education awarded $22.4 million to help rural schools in Missouri and Kansas
MU College of Education eMINTS National Center has received two U.S. Department of Education grants, including the largest one in the history of the college. The grants total more than $18.6 million in federal funds and $3.8 million in private sector matching funds. The money will be used to expand a successful educational technology professional development program into rural schools in Missouri and Kansas.

Reviewed 2019-04-18