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January 18, 2022

Campus life


UW-Madison researchers using Tai Chi, video games to improve balance among adolescents with autism

Wisconsin Public Radio

New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows balance training using video games changed the brain structure of adolescents with autism and helped improve balance, posture and the severity of autism symptoms.

Brittany Travers, a UW-Madison occupational therapy professor and Waisman Center lead researcher, said she and her colleagues are interested in finding ways to better interventions that improve the motor skills of individuals with autism. She said prior research has shown balance control appears to plateau earlier in kids with autism than those without. As people age balance becomes more of a challenge for everyone, Travers said.

“But the speculation is that autistic individuals may be more at risk for falls and later in life if these balance challenges are not addressed,” Travers said.

UW-Madison researchers studying more targeted alternative to pesticides

Wisconsin Public Radio

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are digging into a different, more targeted method of controlling crop-attacking pests, a tactic that could prove to be less harmful to the environment than traditional pesticides.

Russell Groves, professor and chair of the university’s entomology department, recently joined Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Larry Meiller Show” to explain the present and future of RNA interference.

The snow season is shortening in Wisconsin, forcing the snowshoe hare north in search of a landscape to blend into

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: According to data from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, Wisconsin’s average winter temperature rose about 2 to 6 degrees between 1950 and 2018, depending on the part of the state. And in the coming years, those temperatures could rise another 6 degrees, greatly impacting the amount of snow the state sees, and the areas where snow is present for the entire winter season.

But what is really impacting the hares isn’t the amount of snow falling in Wisconsin — that has largely stayed the same, said Michael Notaro, the associate director for the Nelson Institute. It’s the amount of snowpack, or snow on the ground, that is impacting animals.

As the Earth’s temperature increases, snow melts quicker, meaning the snow season doesn’t last as long.

“In the future, as it keeps getting warmer, eventually (precipitation) is going to be more in the form of a liquid, but so far that hasn’t necessarily occurred, but (snow) is just not staying on the ground very long,” Notaro said.

UW-Madison expert launches cancer research using sharks


A UW-Madison expert is launching research focused on therapies for diseases such as cancer – using sharks.In 2021, the UW Carbone Cancer Center provided the necessary equipment for the research to UW Carbone faculty member Dr. Aaron LeBeau. LeBeau will leading the shark-based cancer research, which is currently the only research of its kind worldwide.

State news

Poll: Climate change, budget deficit, income distribution are top concerns for Wisconsinites

Wisconsin Public Radio

A new poll of Wisconsin residents shows that climate change, the federal budget deficit, income distribution and race relations are among the top concerns heading into the 2022 midterms, although many of the same respondents felt issues were a larger problem at the national level.

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs sent an eight-page survey to 5,000 residents between July and September 2020. Nearly 1,600 individuals from all over the state except Menomonee County responded, with a response rate of 33 percent.

More than 1,100 Wisconsin nursing home workers test positive for COVID-19, the highest weekly total of the pandemic

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “We’re likely to see more infections, and those breakthrough infections can be quite serious,” said Patrick Remington, a former epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program. “I think any place where outbreaks are likely to happen – and certainly long-term care facilities are places where that can happen – we should be concerned.”

Bice: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson blames LBJ and Great Society for high percentage of out-of-wedlock births

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “Correlation does not mean causation,” said Timothy Smeeding, professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In other words, if two variables run parallel historically, it doesn’t mean the one is causing the other.

A number of factors have contributed to the rise in out-of-wedlock births, he said.

There has been a rise in cohabitation, more permissive sexual mores, a decline in shotgun weddings, easier divorce laws, a drop in manufacturing jobs for males without college degrees and greater financial independence for women.

Higher Education/System



Wisconsin’s Chris McIntosh hires two deputy athletic directors, one of them a UW grad

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

University of Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh is redesigning his administrative team.

UW officials announced Friday that Marcus Sedberry, the senior associate athletic director for student-athlete success at Baylor, and Mitchell Pinta, the National Football League’s director of business development and partnership management, are joining the UW athletic department as deputy athletic directors.

UW Experts in the News

Madison looks to balance preservation, evolution in its 5 historic districts

Wisconsin State Journal

“Having one set of standards will greatly streamline the process for Certificates of Appropriateness for everyone, and is in line with best practices in the field of historic preservation,” said Anna Andrzejewski, a professor of art history at UW-Madison and chair of the Landmarks Commission. “I also hope these standards — especially when design guidelines are developed for each of the specific districts — will make historic preservation more legible to the public, such that as a city we can better balance preservation and new development.”

Questions linger a year after GOP group cast proxy Electoral College votes for Trump

Wisconsin State Journal

“It seems farfetched to think that each of these sets of alternative electors had genuine fact-based grievances, even though the grievances were different in every state,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor and director of the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison. “It looks more like a national orchestration to try to challenge the election’s results.”

Seditious Conspiracy Was the Right Charge for January 6

The Atlantic

Some have raised concerns about the scope of the seditious-conspiracy statute. For example, the University of Wisconsin law professor Joshua Braver has warned that seditious-conspiracy prosecutions could be subject to significant abuse. After all, the literal language of the statute might cover actions such as the Women’s March, which interfered with Capitol operations during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Braver prefers the charge of “rebellion or insurrection,” which he believes is a better fit for the events of January 6.

This Is No Way to Be Human

The Atlantic

In a remarkable study several years ago, Selin Kesebir of the London Business School and the psychologist Pelin Kesebir of the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that references to nature in novels, song lyrics, and film story lines began decreasing in the 1950s, while references to the human-made environment did not.


Gawlik, Marilyn

Wisconsin State Journal

Back in Madison, Marilyn was employed as an administrative assistant for 20 years at the University of Wisconsin Extension Services.

UW-Madison Related

The Many Visions of Lorraine Hansberry

The New Yorker

As she grew up, she drifted away from the politics of her parents, who remained committed Republicans even as most Black voters were shifting their party allegiance; at the University of Wisconsin, she began campaigning for Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party.