New Lab Will Encourage Students
to "Tinker"

Barry A. Romich (CIT '67); Barbara R. Snyder, Case Western Reserve president; Norman Tien, Case School of Engineering dean and Nord Professor of Engineering; and Larry M. Sears (CIT '69) university trustee. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Case Western Reserve has received a $1 million gift from Barry A. Romich (CIT '67) to name the Prentke/Romich Laboratory at the Case School of Engineering.

"I want today's undergraduates to have a place to go to build things," says Romich, who got his own start in hands-on engineering by "tinkering" in the student shop of Bingham Hall in the '60s. The result was the start of what is now a leading international manufacturer of assistive technology to address the communication needs of people with severe speech disabilities.

In 1966, while a student at Case, Romich co-founded the Prentke Romich Company with Edwin Prentke (CIT '26), whom he memorializes through this gift. The two had become acquainted when they collaborated with James Reswick, Ph.D., and Charles Long, M.D., at the Engineering Design Center at Case Institute of Technology on federally-funded research to investigate the control of upper-extremity-powered orthoses. Among the new firm's early projects were a device to limit the acceleration of powered wheelchairs and the first communication device for stroke victims. Read more.

Campus News

The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities has several grants and fellowships available for full-time faculty, staff and graduate students. The application deadline is Monday, April 12. Complete details are available online.

Habitat for Humanity's Awareness Week will take place April 5-9. Monday is Starbucks Night at the Village at 115 Starbucks. Proceeds from items sold between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. will benefit the organization. A general body meeting will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Thwing Center Spartan Room. Wednesday is Awareness Day on the Kelvin Smith Library Oval at 12:30 p.m. Events for the remainder of the week include an obstacle course, a guest speaker and a movie.

The Relay For Life 2010 committee is seeking canopies to use for the big event on April 16 and 17. They need 10x10 pop-up canopies for several purposes. Send an e-mail to This 18-hour event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

For Faculty and Staff

Procurement and Distribution Services is introducing a new software tool, Smart Cart, that consolidates the ordering of supplies. The program is similar to Multiple vendors will list their products in one location, allowing for the automation of transactions and invoicing. The software provides automatic distribution of payment to vendors. Department administrators are also able to purchase directly in PeopleSoft and move payment off of PCards. Learn more.

For Students

The deadline has been extended for application to the summer study abroad programs offered by the Department of Bioethics. These three-credit courses are open to all students. Destinations include Spain, England, The Netherlands and India. Course descriptions are available online. Contact Michelle L. Champoir, director of International Education Programs for the Department of Bioethics, for more information.

The Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors office (SOURCE) will host a seminar as part of the Intersections event on "How to Present Your Oral Presentation" at 4:15 p.m., Thursday, April 8, in Nord Hall 400. Learn more.


A talk on the topic of "The U.S. Economy and Global Imbalances" will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Friday, April 9, at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations Room 108. American University's Robert Blecker will be the keynote speaker. Blecker studies international trade from the perspective of both the U.S. and developing economies. The talk is being sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies. Learn more.

Ken Anderson

The Department of Anthropology's Spotlight Lecture Series, Applying Anthropology to Real World Problems, will feature Ken Anderson of Intel Corporation on the topic of “Numbers Have Qualities Too: Experiences with Ethno-mining.” The talk will begin at 4:15 p.m., Thursday, April 8, in Mather Memorial Room 201. Learn more.

The English department's Journalism and Media Lecture Series continues at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, in the Garden Room at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Paul Steiger, former managing editor of The Wall St. Journal and founding editor of ProPublica, the path-breaking, non-profit Web site for investigative journalism, will be the guest speaker. There is no admission charge and free parking will be available. Call 368-2340 with questions.

The Harland G. Wood Memorial Lecture will take place at 3 p.m., Monday, April 5, in the Wolstein Auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Robert A. Weinberg, renowned scientist and discoverer of the first human oncogene and tumor suppressor gene. The topic will be "Malignant Progression and Cancer Stem Cells." Contact Elizabeth Rodkey for information. Sponsored by Department of Biochemistry graduate students and post docs.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program will present Walter Schubert continuing the"Emerging Technologies in Biomedical Sciences Symposium Series. Schubert will present two seminars on Tuesday, April 6, in the Wolstein Auditorium . "He will discuss "Toponome Imaging Technology (MELC/TIS)" at 11 a.m., and "MELC/TIS in Cell Biology and Translational Medicine" at 4 p.m., with a reception to follow. Additional information is available online.

The 28th National Pesticide Forum, "Greening the Community: Green Economy, Organic Environments and Healthy People," will take place April 9 and 10 in Schmitt Lecture Hall. David Hackenberg, the beekeeper who first discovered the mysterious disappearance of honeybees known as Colony Collapse Disorder, is scheduled to be a presenter. Completed details are available online.

The Players Theater Group will be perform "The Laramie Project" April 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. in the Eldred Theater Black Box. Tickets are $5 pre-sale and at the door. The Laramie Project chronicles the town of Laramie, Wyo., after the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay university student. The play contains mature themes and language.

Et al.

Profs. Pierluigi Gambetti and Wen-Quan Zou were presented with the Annals of Neurology prize for a distinguished contribution to the clinical neurosciences for their manuscript, "A novel human prion disease with abnormal prion protein sensitive to protease," at the American Neurological Association meeting. Gambetti is director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center.

April 2, 2010

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In the News

CWRU researchers offer tips for picking the right baby bottle

The Plain Dealer, April 1, 2010
Many moms who start off breastfeeding eventually return to work or need to spend several hours away from the baby and begin researching the best bottles to buy. Breastfeeding expert Donna Dowling, associate professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, could sympathize with the new moms overwhelmed by the variety of bottle choices.

Case Western Reserve University, NASA seek the right fabric to cover homes for protection from wildfires

Medical News Today, April 2, 2010
Case Western Reserve University and NASA researchers are looking for the right material, the right design, the right thickness and the right weight for a new fire-resistant blanket. To protect houses. Fumiaki Takahashi, research professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and James T'ien, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, comment.

The job satisfaction paradox for the self-employed

BusinessWeek, April 1, 2010
Although the share of the population working for themselves has declined in recent years, self-employment remains an important way that many people make a living. For these people, there's a paradox in the data. On average, the self-employed make less money, work more hours, and experience more work-related stress than the wage employed. Self-employed people have higher job satisfaction, however, than those who work for others, a point confirmed by a recent Pew Research Center report, writes Scott Shane, A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

"Smart Grid" designed to prevent major blackouts

North Country Public Radio, March 25, 2010
Right now, electric power in the U.S. is generated by a relatively small number of very big power plants. That power is transmitted all over the place. But this set up is increasingly running into problems. The demand for power is skyrocketing: from big American houses and TVs, air conditioners and computers. The grid is struggling to keep up. And it's not always succeeding. Ken Loparo works on these kinds of issues at Case Western Reserve University. He says a smart grid will get consumers more involved in planning their energy use.

Cleveland Play House/Case Western Reserve University's 2012 graduate acting ensemble makes impressive debut

The Plain Dealer, April 1, 2010
Near the end of the local theater season, let's toss the old and christen the new. As the class of 2010 in the Cleveland Play House/Case Western Reserve University Graduate Acting Ensemble departs, the class of 2012 debuts.

Paralyzed limbs revived by hacking into nerves

New Scientist, April 1, 2010
Matthew Schiefer, a neural engineer at Case Western Reserve University, describes an experiment in which pulses of electricity are used to control the muscles of an unconscious patient.

Higher Ed News

Constitutional rights clash in battle of law school and Christian group

Chronicle of Higher Education, March 28, 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court has been barraged with more than three dozen legal briefs, including several from higher-education associations, in a case that could have a far-reaching impact on colleges that have struggled to reconcile their nondiscrimination policies.