Feb. 7, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 9

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    In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column In the News offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks. Chicago faculty members are some of the most frequently quoted experts, so space allows publishing references to only selected examples. To read many of the full newspaper articles mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Research on the structure of the anthrax toxin edema factor that was conducted by Wei-Jen Tang, Associate Professor in the Ben May Cancer Research Center, and graduate student Chester Drum, was published in articles that appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 24 Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Newsday, and the Canadian Press, and again in a Tuesday, Jan. 29 New York Times Science section article. The two researchers developed a molecular map of the structure of edema factor, one of three lethal proteins that make the anthrax bacterium deadly. The study, which also involved Andrew Bohm of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, was published in the Jan. 24 issue of the journal Nature. “All anthrax strains make the same toxin, to our knowledge,” said Tang in the Tribune article. “Therefore it’s less likely that terrorists could re-engineer or modify the toxin.”

    Stories about the research of Martha McClintock, the David Lee Shillinglaw Professor in Psychology; Carole Ober, Professor in Human Genetics; and Suma Jacob, postdoctoral fellow and lead investigator of the study (A.B., ’91; Ph.D., ’98; M.D., ’01), were published by The New York Times, the New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press Newswires. The study found that women prefer the odor of men who are genetically similaróthough not completely similaróand whose genes match their own paternal genes. “It may be that this odor preference really functions in terms of recognizing family members on the father’s side or in selecting friends. We have no evidence that this has anything to do with sex. We can speculate that the preference could be a way to avoid mating with an individual with whom you have nothing [genetically] in common,” said McClintock in The Los Angeles Times article.

    James Madara, the newly appointed Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University Hospitals, was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business Monday, Jan. 28. The story also mentions collaborative research being led by Daphne Preuss, Professor in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, and quotes Bennett Leventhal, Professor in Psychiatry and Pediatrics and chair of the search committee that selected Madara. Madara begins his post Monday, July 1.

    The University’s Graduate School of Business was featured in the Monday, Jan. 21 issue of Financial Times. The story, which was accompanied by photos of the campus and Edward Snyder, Dean of the GSB, also quotes William Kooser, Associate Dean of the Executive MBA Program in the GSB; Robert McCulloch, the Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Econometrics and Statistics in the GSB; Ann McGill, Deputy Dean of Full-time MBA Programs and the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science in the GSB; and MBA student Stanley Keller.

    Alumni Mark Hollmann (A.B., ’85) and Greg Kotis (A.B., ’88), writers of the Broadway hit show Urinetown: The Musical, were the subject of a Sunday, Jan. 27 Chicago Tribune story. The play, which the Tribune said is “looming as the musical to beat at this year’s Tony Awards,” has been gaining in popularity among theatergoers and critics, alike. Kotis came up with the main idea for the play while in Paris, surviving on little money and sleeping in train stations. He conserved his money by infrequently using the pay toilets. “Walking down the street, I was struck with the idea of a musical in which the bathroom facilities are controlled by one corporation. If fleshed out, it could be a wonderful metaphor.”

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance in the GSB, was quoted in the Monday, Jan. 28 Wall Street Journal in a story that reported on how much attention is being given to the history of the American economy, especially times of economic distress, with regard to present-day investing decisions.

    Kenneth Dam, the Max Pam Professor in the Law School and U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary, was interviewed for a Wednesday, Jan. 23 Chicago Tribune story reporting on monetary assets that are suspected to be connected to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and the Taliban and which have been frozen by the Treasury Department. “By investigating the financiers of terrorists, we can uncover the terrorists themselves,” said Dam.

    Pacific Tremors, the latest novel by Richard Stern, the Helen A. Regenstein Professor in English Language & Literature and the College, was reviewed in the Tuesday, Jan. 29 Washington Post. Senior editor of Book World Chris Lehmann described Pacific Tremors as “a novel of considerable depth, wit and spiritual maturity.”

    Raymond Ball, the Eli B. & Harriet B. Williams Professor of Accounting in the GSB, was quoted in a Tuesday, Jan. 29 Wall Street Journal article. The story reported on Delta Air Lines’ intentions of severing its ties with Arthur Andersen LLP to search for a new independent auditor, after Andersen’s accounting practices were tied to the collapse of Enron Corp. “It’s a brave CEO who’s willing to get on board with Andersen at the moment,” said Ball. “It would be very difficult to get that through the board and stockholders because of the reputation effect.”

    Mark Siegler, the Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine and Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University, commented in a Monday, Jan. 28 Time magazine story on the recent death of live liver donor Mike Hurewitz, 57. Hurewitz experienced complications following a transplant operation to save his brother Adam’s life. While the patient, Adam, lived, his healthy brother, Mike, did not. “Sometimes the sicker the patient, the greater the pressure and the more willing the donor will be to accept risks,” said Siegler. He and two of his colleagues David Cronin, Assistant Professor of Transplantation in Surgery, and Michael Millis, Associate Professor in Surgery, have previously published a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine on the risks to living organ donors.