Cancer prevention expert to speak at NDSU

A researcher whose laboratory discovered a crucial link in establishing secondhand smoke as a lung carcinogen in nonsmokers is scheduled to speak at NDSU.

Stephen S. Hecht, Wallin Professor of Cancer Prevention at the University of Minnesota, is scheduled to present “Tobacco Smoke Carcinogen and Their Biomarkers – Recent Studies” on Friday, March 27, at 3 p.m. in Van Es 101.

The presentation will give an overview of tobacco smoke carcinogens with a focus on the tobacco-specific lung carcinogen nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone. The biomarker known as NNAL, a carcinogenic metabolite of nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone, has been important in studies of secondhand smoke exposure, which have helped to drive current clean air legislation.

Hecht’s lab developed the NNAL biomarker of tobacco carcinogen exposure.

His seminar, which is sponsored by the NDSU Department of Biological Sciences, also will discuss e-cigarette use and its relation to carcinogen and toxicant exposure.

Hecht is an internationally recognized expert on carcinogens in tobacco products and their mechanisms of action. He is the co-discoverer of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, important causative agents for tobacco-induced cancer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Duke University and a doctorate in organic chemistry from MIT.

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New name for NDSU college reflects diverse health-care offerings, interprofessional focus

North Dakota State University’s College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences has changed its name to the College of Health Professions to recognize the full scope of its academic mission. The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved the change at its meeting today.

Areas within the college also have updated names to better reflect their offerings. The areas will be the School of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing, the Department of Allied Sciences and the Department of Public Health.

“The NDSU College of Health Professions is an excellent example of North Dakota State University’s commitment to serving our citizens,” NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said. “The College’s new name recognizes the increasing status of its programs as it meets the health profession needs of our state and region.”

College of Health Professions Dean Charles D. Peterson said the name changes resulted from strategic planning that included discussions with health professionals and advisory boards, as well as feedback from accrediting agencies.

“That process created a vision for the future for our College that recognizes the growth and diversity of our programs, and the new naming structure better reflects who we are today,” he said.

Peterson also noted that health-care employers seek graduates who are adept at team-based care that involves multiple professions, and accrediting bodies are urging program leaders to emphasize interprofessional collaboration.

“This is something we’ve been doing for a long time,” he said. “The clarification of disciplines will further solidify our reputation for delivering high-quality education, valuable research and scholarship, and preparing students to have an immediate impact in their careers.”

The NDSU College of Health Professions has been advancing health care for the benefit of society for more than 100 years. Its mission is to educate students and advance research and professional service in the pharmacy, nursing, allied sciences and public health fields. The most recent name change came in 2006 when allied sciences was moved to the college. Public health was added to the college in 2012. The College of Health Professions now has the largest enrollment of students in health-related disciplines of any college in state.

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NDSU to host poverty simulation event

Members of the NDSU community will get a glimpse into how a family in poverty navigates the complexities of life. Approximately 65 students, faculty and staff will take part in a poverty simulation experience scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union.

During the simulation, participants will role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents caring for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain self-sufficiency on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities while interacting with various community resources.

Hailey Goplen, NDSU assistant director for service-learning and civic engagement, said the goal is to enable participants to view poverty from different angles and become motivated to be part of the solution to ending poverty in the United States.

“The simulation is a way to put people in others’ shoes,” Goplen said. “The family roles participants take on are based off of actual families that have sought help through community action agencies. Participants will experience real scenarios that real people living in poverty face everyday.”

Participants will be taking on the role of people just below, on or just above the poverty line.

“When you’re just above the poverty line, it’s difficult to get social services but not enough to support a family as you would like to,” Goplen said. “That’s a hard population for many to understand because they are straddling this line.”

Representatives from Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency will help facilitate the event. The Dakota Medical Foundation provided a grant to support the program. A team of 20 volunteers from NDSU, FirstLink, the United Way of Cass-Clay, Alerus Financial and Youthworks will run the community resource stations.

For more information, contact Goplen at or 701-231-8566.

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Therapy dog expert to speak at NDSU

Holly Bushard, a certified Therapy Dog International evaluator is scheduled to discuss ethics, training and certification of therapy canines on Thursday, March 26, at 12:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Prairie Rose Room at NDSU.

The event is part of the 2015 Spring Animal-Assisted Therapy Seminar Series presented by the NDSU Counseling Center, Equine Science Program and Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can ask questions and learn about the process of becoming members of a registered therapy team.

Bushard’s life has been defined by her dogs for more than 25 years. She has partnered with three different breeds of therapy dogs and has experienced first-hand the diverse talents and gifts that therapy dogs bring to the public. After volunteering and evaluating therapy dog teams for six years, Bushard believes that the strengths of both the dog and the handler are critical to forming the teamwork that builds a successful volunteer team.

Bushard has worked as a narcotics dog handler, run an animal shelter and taught countless dog training classes. She currently shares her home with three dogs and competes in obedience, rally and agility.

For more information, contact Amber Bach-Gorman at 701-231-7671 or

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NDSU symposium to examine design education

The NDSU Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture will present “The Future of Design Education,” a symposium scheduled for March 26-27 at the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre, located at 333 4th St. S. in Fargo.

The symposium offers panel discussions and open forums with leading national, regional and local design professionals. They will address aspirations, challenges and anticipated goals for design education.

“This symposium is important because it addresses both the role good design plays in modern life, such as beautiful buildings, landscapes, and products and the practical application of great design in solving complex real-world problems,” said David Bertolini, professor and chair of architecture and landscape architecture. “This leads to an important question: how should design be taught in a dynamic and changing world that is comprised of diverse local and global interests? We have brought together leading experts from around the country, region and the world to present and discuss their views.”

Scheduled speakers include:

Greg Lynn, UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design

Mahesh Daas, chair of the Department of Architecture and ACSA Distinguished Professor, Ball State University, College of Architecture and Planning

Tom Fisher, professor and dean of the College of Design, University of Minnesota

Kristine Jensen, landscape architect, Arkitekt Kristine Jensen, Denmark

Garth Rockcastle, University of Maryland School of Architecture and MSR Architecture

Alice Twemlow, chair and co-founder of New York’s School of Visual Arts Master of Fine Arts design criticism program

The events are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit

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Architecture students participate in “For the Birds” competition

birdhouses_01Second-year NDSU architecture students are using their design skills for some high-flying clients during a design/construction competition called “For the Birds.”

Forty-six students designed a dwelling specifically for a particular type of bird through interpretation of an award-winning architect’s design philosophy.

The birdhouse projects will be featured at the Plains Art Museum in downtown Fargo through April 7. The general public can vote for “People’s Choice for Best Overall Design.”

The students were randomly assigned their architect and one of eight birds native to North Dakota and Minnesota. They were then given three weeks to complete the project for their winged clients.

“In school, students are always designing projects that never get built,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, assistant professor of architecture. “This project is built to scale. The students get to realize their designs through the materials they are working with.”

Students were challenged to integrate the design philosophy of an architect or architecture team who has won the international Pritzker design award. Javan Arroyo of New Rockford, North Dakota, studied the work of Italian architect and designer Aldo Rossi.

“I wanted to find out why he did the things he did,” Arroyo said. “I wanted to discover the essence of his philosophy behind design.”

Arroyo discovered Rossi’s underlying theme was that architecture should be seamless with its background. He kept that in mind while designing a house for a white-breasted nuthatch.

The students then considered the bird’s favored environment, immediate nesting habitat, size, number of family members and patterns of use—all issues similar to designing a dwelling for human use.

The birdhouses were required to be fully usable by the bird, made of nontoxic materials and able to withstand local weather conditions.

Using Rossi’s philosophy, Arroyo designed a pine birdhouse that will fit in the crook of a tree branch. He sized it to the bird’s specifications and to discourage predators. He included storage space for seeds and textured the interior and exterior to make the house functional and appear natural.

Ultimately, the house looks like part of the tree.

“This project gets students thinking about the larger environment,” Vorderbruggen said. “What we do as architects impacts not just people, but wildlife and the environment as a whole.”

For more information on the Plains Art Museum, visit

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Student-run cafe goes Greek for weekly luncheon

The dietetics students of NDSU’s 800 Café have scheduled a Mediterranean-themed meal for Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27.

The meal will be served in the third-floor Food Production Laboratory Complex in the breezeway between the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Family Life Center and E. Morrow Lebedeff Hall. The two seatings are set for 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Dietetics students Kelly Kading and Tarenna Johnson will manage the meal while classmates produce it. The Mediterranean meal will begin with warmed pita bread triangles served with roasted red pepper hummus. The main course is a portabello and kale grilled sandwich, accompanied by a Greek vegetable salad. Dessert will be Greek Honey Puffs, known as Loukoumades.

Meals in the 800 Café are 800 calories or less. The café is operated by students in a class taught by Sherri N. Stastny, associate professor for health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

The luncheon is $10 per meal and includes a choice of beverage. Four-meal punch cards also are available for $35 at the door. Payments can be made in cash or check.

Parking is available in the NDSU visitor’s lot on campus. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are encouraged because seating is limited.

Make reservations by contacting or 701-231-7487. Indicate your preferred serving time, number and names of attendees, food allergies, and email and phone number of the person in charge of the reservation.

800 Café meals are served each Thursday and Friday through May 8.

For more information, visit

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Endowed chair established to continue potato pathology research



The odds are good Neil Gudmestad had a hand in getting your helping of potatoes to the dinner table. The longtime NDSU potato pathologist is one of the foremost disease researchers for the world’s fourth-most-consumed food crop.

But with retirement in view – Gudmestad announced his plans to step down by 2019 – he wanted to make sure his research program remained in place. The potato growers and companies he’s worked with for more than 30 years felt the same way—so much so they quickly raised funds to establish what will be NDSU’s first fully endowed chair, which means Gudmestad’s position and research program is funded permanently through an endowment.

Gudmestad, MS ’78, Ph.D., ’82, plant pathology, has made potato disease research his life’s work. It began as an NDSU graduate student when a faculty member asked him to move from studying barley to managing a potato field research program. Gudmestad joined the NDSU faculty after a short stint certifying seed potatoes for the state seed department while earning a doctoral degree.

His program is primarily focused on the biology of potato pathogens and the management of diseases they cause. The program has nine staff members and five graduate students in the lab and field.

However, similar programs and positions at universities across the U.S. have been eliminated or gone unfilled as domestic potato acreage has fallen to less than 1 million acres per year. Despite the loss in acres, potato remains the leading vegetable crop in the U.S.

With his pending retirement in mind, Gudmestad began writing a proposal that would establish the endowed chair. His proposal gained momentum with the North Dakota legislature’s approval of the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund, which lists the creation of endowed chair positions as a way to enhance academic programs.

Gudmestad originally intended the position to be named the U.S. Potato Industry Endowed Chair, but supporters behind the scenes changed it to the Neil C. Gudmestad Endowed Chair.

“The role of this endowment is to have a successor who has a lot of experience in potato disease research and not only be able to carry on my project but carry it to greater heights,” Gudmestad said.

A funding drive raised $4.2 million from 40 donors in 13 states. The Challenge Fund increased the endowment to $6.3 million, and additional industry fundraising continues.

“Dr. Gudmestad is one of our finest faculty members,” said NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani. “His research contributions have been felt around the globe, and the respect he has earned among potato producers is truly remarkable. That respect is evident in the heartfelt and generous support of NDSU’s effort to establish the Neil C. Gudmestad Endowed Chair.”

A nine-member consultation committee will be formed this year to guide disease research and to assist NDSU to identify and attract a successor. Gudmestad anticipates the endowment will be used to purchase equipment and attract top graduate students to conduct research on new diseases.

Gudmestad and his team often are called upon to conduct new potato disease research. For example, he and Gary Secor, NDSU professor of plant pathology, began studying zebra chip at NDSU in 2005 two years before its discovery in the U.S. Zebra chip is caused by a bacterium that causes an aesthetically unpleasing look and bitter taste in cooked potatoes. It is spread by the potato psyllid insect.

Gudmestad served as co-director of the multi-institution Zebra Chip Leadership Team, which received the Partnership Award by Texas A&M AgriLife for its efforts. Their work also garnered honors from the Entomological Society of America and USDA-NIFA, which awarded them the NIFA Partnership Award for Mission Integration of Research, Education and Extension, the highest honor that organization can bestow.

Support for the endowment has come from across the country. Gregg Halverson, BS ’71, animal science, is president of Grand Forks, North Dakota-based Black Gold Farms Inc. He helped rally industry support for the fund.

“Dr. Gudmestad is recognized as one of the leading potato pathologists in the world, and it is my hope this endowed chair will provide a vehicle that will allow that sort of world-class excellence to continue,” Halverson said. “I am proud to call Neil a friend and on behalf of Black Gold Farms, as well as our entire industry around the world, I would like to thank him for his help navigating the biological twists and turns that have occurred within our industry. As our industry continues to change, the intellectual capital the Neil C. Gudmestad Endowed Chair represents will help serve the potato production business positively for generations.”

Third-generation potato farmer Ron Offutt also helped galvanize industry support for the fund. Offutt is founder and chairman emeritus of Fargo-based R.D. Offutt Co. It’s the largest potato grower in the U.S.

“It was very easy for me to support the endowment established for Neil Gudmestad as he is highly recognized both nationally and internationally as being one of the best experts in his field of plant pathology,” Offutt said. “Neil has provided extraordinary consulting services to our R.D. Offutt Co. team of agronomists, partners and farm managers since the mid-80s. He is ‘the authority’ on potato diseases and their management and it is with great enthusiasm and respect for Neil, to support the continuation of his research that is so very important to growers and the potato industry as a whole.”

Gudmestad, one of NDSU’s inaugural University Distinguished Professors, was honored in January at Potato Expo, the largest conference and trade show for the potato industry held in North America. Many of the endowment donors were in attendance.

“It’s gratifying,” Gudmestad said. “To think an industry would, in a relatively short period of time, rally and become galvanized across numerous states and stakeholders to provide for my program to survive – it’s humbling.”

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NDSU students join Pay It Forward Tour

About 80 NDSU students loaded buses March 13 to join the annual pilgrimage of service called the “Pay It Forward Tour.” The nine-day spring break volunteer road trip is supported by the Students Today Leaders Forever organization, known as STLF.

The two busloads of NDSU students will volunteer at a botanical garden, a wellness center for individuals with physical disabilities and several outdoor recreational parks. At the end of the week, the group will meet up with six other buses in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., to participate in a large group service project before they head home.

An estimated 2,000 students from more than 30 universities are participating in the effort this year. Each bus stops in five cities along the way to a destination city doing a service project and participating in leadership activities at each location.

STLF’s mission is developing leadership through service, relationships and action, with the vision to energize generations of servant leaders. Students Today Leaders Forever was founded in 2003, and the NDSU chapter was established in 2006.

To date, volunteers for the national program have provided 321,000 hours of service.

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Spring Fever Gardener workshops set

The NDSU Extension Service has scheduled a series of Spring Fever Garden Forums for gardeners across the state. The workshops are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights, March 23, 24, 30 and 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

A team of 12 university experts will present information on timely topics in gardening and landscaping and also answer questions.

The presentations will be made to a live audience in Fargo and delivered to more than 40 Extension sites across the state. Gardeners may attend at these sites or go online and participate in the live presentations on their home computer.

“More than 1,000 gardeners will participate in this mega-event,” said Tom Kalb, Extension horticulturist. “It is a great opportunity to learn of gardening trends and see the latest research from NDSU.”

The workshops are free of charge. For a full list of presentations and to register, go to or contact your local county Extension office.

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