By Dan Reed

Dan Reed
Welcome to the latest update on research and economic development activities at the University of Iowa! These stories are just a small sampling of the diverse ways scholarship and research–both the intellectual pursuit and the mechanics–shape our campus and our society.  In that spirit, let me highlight just one exemplar of why scholarship and research, in all their diverse forms, make us who and what we are.

Organized by our Faculty Fellows, we recently hosted the first in a series of "Ideas and Intersections” dinners. Each is designed to bring together scholars, researchers, artists, and thought leaders for an evening of discourse and discovery on important topics that lie at the interstices of our disciplines.  The first of these, titled Epidemics: Countering (and Encountering) Exposure, explored the historical, cultural, technical, scientific and biomedical ideas surrounding the spread and tracking of disease and our evolving societal responses.  (The next dinner will consider Privacy in the Digital Age, a topic near and dear to my own heart.)

The evening began with a thoughtful and illuminating set of research vignettes from our faculty, spanning historical lessons on culture, power and disease; communication and influence; and how technology is reshaping our tracking of disease.  This was followed by a fascinating and lively discussion on the cultural, biomedical and scientific milieu of epidemics, spanning recent responses to the Ebola virus outbreak and declining childhood vaccination rates.  After the formal program ended, clusters of faculty continued the discussion over dessert.

Ideas & Intersections dinner
As I noted at the dinner’s end, these discussions exemplify the intellectual cauldron, the essential role, and the importance of a great public research university–the University of Iowa. They’re also a wonderful example of the power of cross-campus collaboration, when faculty on both sides of the river come together and apply their complementary skills and insights. If you are interested in participating in a future Ideas & Intersections dinner, please contact leslie-weatherhead@uiowa.edu.

We are not only a fount of new knowledge, we eagerly share that knowledge, and we are active and engaged participants in addressing societal issues. That is why we matter, now more than ever–to this region, to our state and our country, and to the world at large.

Melissa Marshall TED
One final item. Our office is committed to helping our research faculty members succeed, including in communicating to others what we do, why we do it, and why it matters. That’s why we’re pleased to once again bring noted TED speaker Melissa Marshall to campus April 10 for two workshops, Present Your Science: Transforming Technical Talks from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and Talk Nerdy to Me: Presenting Your Science to the Public from 1-4 p.m. While Ms. Marshall specializes in science communication, the lessons she imparts are applicable across the disciplines.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to register for one of the free sessions, as seats are filling up fast.

Excelsior!

Dan