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Category: UW Experts in the News

A year in, legal fight over Gableman election investigation keeps growing

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “The investigation has become a morass of competing lawsuits back and forth between different parties in the state and outside the state,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “And those legal debates have sort of overtaken the substance of the investigation itself.”

Wisconsin’s conservative high court hands GOP another weapon

The Associated Press

Quoted: “Most people on the street would say when a term … expires, there’s an opening. The Supreme Court has said that commonsense understanding is not right,” University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said. The ruling “raises the question of why is there a term at all? Maybe we just say a person serves for life the way a U.S. Supreme Court justice does.”

UW Health Experts offer firework safety advice for families


“Firework fuses tend to be pretty short and they burn pretty quickly but this doesn’t seem to stop some people from lighting one while still holding onto it and unfortunately just about any firework that detonates in the hand is going to pack enough energy to cause some damage” said UW Health Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Greg Rebella.

UW Health Experts offer firework safety advice for families


“Firework fuses tend to be pretty short and they burn pretty quickly but this doesn’t seem to stop some people from lighting one while still holding onto it and unfortunately just about any firework that detonates in the hand is going to pack enough energy to cause some damage” said UW Health Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Greg Rebella.

In a post-Roe world, some medical students rethink plans to practice in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Molly Wecker, a second-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had long planned to be an obstetrics-gynecology doctor in her home state. But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling last week, the Rock County native is rethinking her plan.

Local abuse, rape victim advocates worry about consequences of Roe reversal


Quoted: That is a concern shared among some health professionals, according to UW-Madison expert Jenny Higgins.

“We will see increases in maternal morbidity and mortality due to people being forced to carry to full term. We also know that compared to people who receive desired abortions, people who are denied abortions are more likely to stay in abusive relationships,” Higgins said.

Wisconsin’s youngest are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, but availability is not universal; UW Health will start vaccinating those under 5 starting Tuesday

Wisconsin Public Radio

It’s been more than a week since COVID-19 vaccinations were approved for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old, but some hospitals are still waiting to schedule appointments. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is urging parents to be patient as vaccinators get up to speed on new guidelines.

Century-Old State Laws Could Determine Where Abortion Is Legal

New York Times

Quoted: “I hadn’t heard much about the ban until quite recently,” said Jenny Higgins, a professor of gender and women’s studies and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. “Folks didn’t really believe that overturning Roe was possible, or palatable, until recently.”

Ancient microbial life on Earth could help us recognize life on other planets, scientists say

FOX6 News Milwaukee

Quoted: “Life as we know it is as much an expression of the conditions on our planet as it is of life itself. We resurrected ancient DNA sequences of one molecule, and it allowed us to link to the biology and environment of the past,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison astrobiologist and study lead Betul Kacar.

Jewish families to be key topic at Greenfield Summer Institute

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

The Jewish family can be considered the core of Jewish identity. At a four-day event, attendees can develop a rich understanding about the history and function of family in a Jewish context, according to organizers.  

“In many ways, the Jewish story is a family story,” said Cara Rock-Singer, co-chair of the Greenfield Institute Committee. “There are so many different formations and meanings of family related to issues about how families function and work to produce and reproduce Jewish life.” 

The 22nd annual Greenfield Summer Institute, which is part of the George L. Mosse and Laurence A. Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be held July 11-14, 2022, featuring the theme of “The Jewish Family across Time and Place.” 

Out-of-state abortion providers prepare to help Wisconsin patients after Supreme Court overturns Roe

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Jenny Higgins, a professor and director of the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said their research has also shown an increase in birth rates in Wisconsin in recent years due to abortion clinic closures. Higgins said Wisconsin’s abortion ban will have devastating impacts on people’s health and wellbeing in Wisconsin.

“Either people will travel out of state to get abortion care in Illinois and Minnesota, for example, which will take significant time, money and logistical resources,” said Higgins. “Some people will self-manage their abortions here in Wisconsin … and then, of course, some people will not be able to access abortion care at all.”

What should the candidates be talking about as they compete for your vote in Wisconsin this summer? Tell us.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: When the La Follette School of Public Affairs surveyed Wisconsin residents last fall, researchers found people in the state have far more complicated — and frankly, far more important — issues on their minds, things like climate change, health care, race relations and water quality, precisely the issues that don’t often get covered extensively in political campaigns or can easily be reduced to bumper sticker slogans.

Over the next four months, our “Wisconsin Main Street Agenda” project will report on what we’re learning from residents and explain what we know about the mood of the electorate based on that massive survey of Wisconsin residents by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center.

The project is a partnership of the Ideas Lab, the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Wisconsin doctors scramble to understand abortion care post Roe v. Wade

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Wisconsin’s abortion ban makes the procedure illegal unless deemed medically necessary to save a patient’s life.

Abby Cutler, an OB-GYN on faculty at UW Health said that definition is impossible to pin down.

“Knowing when that line is, when does a patient, when does a mother or a future mother become sick enough or is in enough danger to require life-saving treatment immediately,” Cutler told Wisconsin Public Radio. “I think that’s a really difficult line. There is no line, really.”

Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders 2022, Part 1

Madison 365

Noted: Dr. Soyeon Shim assumed her current position as the Dean of the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. She has led SoHE’s All Ways Forward campaign and exceeded its campaign goal by 150% by raising $72 million, including 13 endowed chairs and professorships, a deanship, and 10 new graduate fellowship endowments. Dr. Shim’s scholarly research focuses on consumer decision-making and has won competitive grants totaling more than $1.5 million from federal agencies and private foundations. Dr. Shim has received numerous teaching, research, development, and leadership awards, both at the university and state/national level.

Baby formula shortage highlights benefits of human milk banking

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: Donated milk is a safe and nutritious formula alternative for families who aren’t able to supply their own milk, according to Dr. Anne Eglash, a clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Eglash has long been a proponent of breastfeeding through her medical practice at UW Health, where she leads the healthcare system’s lactation clinic.

“We know that in the short-term, using donor milk for premature infants is a game-changer,” Eglash said. Donor milk helps stave off a type of gut inflammation that commonly affects infants born prematurely called necrotizing enterocolitis. The condition can lead to tissue death, forcing doctors to remove a large part of the baby’s intestinal tract.

“That has a huge impact on growth and development,” Eglash said, adding that when mother’s milk is unavailable, donor milk can also play a role in preventing other negative outcomes common among premature infants, including eye and lung disease and sepsis.

Black bear sightings increase across southeast Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Journal

UW-Madison Professor of Wildlife Ecology Tim Van Deelen weighed in on what to do if you see a black bear. Likewise, he offered an opinion on whether the sightings were unusual for the region.

“Yes and no,” Van Deelen said. “The majority of the bear population is at the northern half of the state. Just like teenagers, young bears set out on their own.”

Drivers’ Lawsuit Claims Uber and Lyft Violate Antitrust Laws

New York Times

Quoted: Peter Carstensen, an emeritus law professor at the University of Wisconsin, said he was skeptical that the drivers would get traction with their claims that Uber and Lyft were illegally setting the price drivers could charge.

But Mr. Carstensen said a state judge might rule in the plaintiffs’ favor on other so-called vertical restraints, such as the incentives that help tie drivers to one of the platforms by, for example, guaranteeing them at least $1,000 if they complete 70 rides between Monday and Friday. A judge may conclude that these incentives largely exist to reduce competition between Uber and Lyft, he said, because they make drivers less likely to switch platforms and make it harder for a new gig platform to hire away drivers.

“You’re making it extremely difficult for a third party to come in,” Mr. Carstensen said.

Waiting periods for gun purchases may not make a difference, because “If somebody’s decided that they’re gonna take their life, they’re gonna take their life.”


Noted: Evidence about whether 48-hour waiting periods on gun purchases can reduce overall violence is mixed, as laid out in a Feb. 2, 2022 fact-check from PolitiFact Wisconsin examining a state Democratic lawmaker’s claim about a similar issue.

But recent studies have found a correlation between waiting periods and a reduction in suicide deaths specifically, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor John Gross told us.

How will Madison beaches fare this summer? UW researcher predicts that blue-green algae will force closings of at least 2-4 days


The Clean Lakes Alliance has been monitoring the Madison-area lakes for cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in an effort to provide season-ahead algal bloom forecasting. Blue-green algae was responsible for at least eight of the 22 beach closures last summer. Beaches have been closed by the public health department in recent weeks due to high bacteria readings, though all are open now.

Dr. Paul Block, an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison, has been conducting research to gauge the predictability of Lake Mendota’s water quality and hopes to apply his research to other area lakes as well. His research is the basis for the algal bloom forecast in the lakes of Madison.

After a month of no new bird flu cases, Wisconsin lifts order prohibiting poultry shows ahead of county fair season

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Ron Kean is a poultry specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. He said the influenza virus has historically died down in summer months, so bird enthusiasts are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the summer.

“We’re hopeful that we’re through this at least for now,” he said. “Especially a lot of the small producers, exhibition breeders, things like that, I think are quite excited to be able to go back to having shows.”

NASA sounding rocket mission seeks source of X-rays emanating from inner galaxy

To human eyes, the night sky between the stars appears dark, the void of space. But X-ray telescopes capture a profoundly different view. Like a distant fireworks show, our images of the X-ray sky reveal a universe blooming with activity. They hint at yet unknown cosmic eruptions coming from somewhere deeper into our galaxy.

To help find the source of these mysterious X-rays, University of Wisconsin, Madison astronomer Dan McCammon and his team are launching the X-ray Quantum Calorimeter or XQC instrument. XQC will make its seventh trip to space aboard a NASA suborbital rocket. This time, XQC will observe a patch of X-ray light with 50 times better energy resolution than ever before, key to revealing its source. The launch window opens at Equatorial Launch Australia’s Arnhem Space Centre in Northern Territory, Australia, on June 26, 2022.

GOP governor candidate Tim Michels won’t say whether he would certify the next presidential election

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Barry Burden, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center, said short of a natural disaster or technological failures, governors wouldn’t have good reasons to hesitate to certify an election.

“It’s worrisome,” Burden said of the candidates’ reluctance to promise to certify presidential elections. “Short of natural disaster or a calamity it’s hard to imagine any good reason for a governor not to simply go along and they should be proud to go along.”

“It’s a ceremonial role they get to have. It’s unique to that office, and governors all around the country are signing off on these certificates of ascertainment and sending them on to the National Archives for the electoral counts to happen in Congress. So there ought to be pomp and circumstance but no real discretion.”

How To Save Your Garden Plants During Drought and Heatwaves


Quoted: “Extended drought can lead to the total collapse of the photosynthetic machinery and it can take long time for the plants to rebuild their roots and internal mechanisms,” Vijai Pandian, a horticulture educator at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension, told Newsweek.

“This can cause long term impacts … and the drought effect symptoms often continue for [the] next few years,” he said.

Heatwave leaves much of Wisconsin sweltering Monday and Tuesday

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Heat-related deaths are often underreported, said Jonathan Patz, the Vilas Distinguished Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“A lot of times you don’t see the underlying issue being heat, so it’s underreported,” Patz said. “A recent re-analysis of heat deaths in the United States finds that about 12,000 Americans die every year from heat waves.”

“When there’s a lot of humidity in the air, that daytime heating doesn’t dissipate at night as easily,” said Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist with the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at UW-Madison. “It’s like putting a heavier blanket on us at night, and so we can’t cool off. That’s when we get into these somewhat dangerous conditions at times during heat waves.”

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what will it mean for pregnancy loss care in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Miscarriage management or removal of an ectopic pregnancy shouldn’t fall within even the strictest interpretation of the 1849 law, said University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Miriam Seifter. Still, she said that gray area could create a “chilling effect” on patients or doctors involved in care that could be construed as an abortion.

“It’s understandable that a lot of people would feel like they needed to proceed with caution and would be concerned about potential ramifications in a legal landscape that really hasn’t been clarified yet,” she said.

Wisconsin’s abortion laws are a “tangled set of provisions,” Seifter said, with a number of “outstanding legal questions about how to make sense of them.” She expects there will be ongoing debate about the state of legal abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down.

Eyes on Schizophrenia

Wisconsin Public Radio

We see the term schizophrenia often, but what does a schizophrenia sufferer experience, and how can non-sufferers recognize the symptoms? UW-Madison Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Diane C. Gooding will lead us through the complexities of a disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

Examining Wisconsin’s parole system through the political fog

Wisconsin Examiner

Noted: Adam Stevenson, clinical professor, director of the Frank J. Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School, noted that people may confuse parole with what is now often called early release. The truth-in-sentencing law provided a sort of “clarity” to sentences, he explains, separating them into a clearly designated periods of time incarcerated and time under community supervision. For example, someone convicted of a felony might spend 10 years behind bars followed by five years on extended supervision. Parole, on the other hand, acts as a sort of floating date within the imposed sentence.

“A person who is on parole is out in the community in a similar fashion to a person who’s out on supervised release, or extended supervision,” Stevenson says. “There are different processes or different things that may apply if they do something wrong, or if something happens, but it’s a very similar type of situation. That is, they’re just following different rules and under supervision out in the community.”

Not Just for the Birds: Avian Influenza Is Also Felling Wild Mammals

New York Times

Something was wrong with the foxes. That was what callers to the Dane County Humane Society in Wisconsin kept saying in April, as they reported fox kits, or young foxes, behaving in strange ways: shaking, seizing or struggling to stand. The kits, which were often lethargic and wandering by themselves, also seemed unusually easy to approach, showing little fear of humans.

Drones Being Used to Bring Defibrillators to Patients in Emergencies

NBC Washington D.C.

Quoted: “Time is really of the essence here,” said Justin Boutilier, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Survival from cardiac arrest decreases by between 7 to 15% for every minute that you go without treatment.”

Boutilier describes obstacles to emergency response —such as traffic or difficult-to-reach rural locations — as “the perfect storm.” He has been designing a prototype drone that takes off as soon as someone calls 911.

“This is sort of like a perfect storm for a drone-based delivery system,” he said. “They’re able to, you know, remove the issues caused by traffic and things like that. So they’re able to get these devices there much quicker than an ambulance could.”

Fathers feed babies too — so why are they so scarce in media coverage of the formula shortage?


Co-authored by Tova Walsh, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network and Alvin Thomas, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

As GOP turnout surges in state primaries, Wisconsin Democrats stay upbeat ahead of convention

Wisconsin State Journal

UW-Madison political science professor Kathy Cramer said candidates campaigning on codifying Roe — after the U.S. Senate failed in its latest effort to do so — won’t turn out many people who typically don’t vote. “People are pretty firmly on their side of the partisan fence, and the very few people still in the middle are unlikely to be moved by this issue,” she said. “The major factor will be turnout, and I just don’t think this issue is all that mobilizing for people who are not already dead set on voting.”

Drones Being Used to Bring Defibrillators to Patients in Emergencies


“Time is really of the essence here,” said Justin Boutilier, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Survival from cardiac arrest decreases by between 7 to 15% for every minute that you go without treatment.”

Boutilier describes obstacles to emergency response —such as traffic or difficult-to-reach rural locations — as “the perfect storm.” He has been designing a prototype drone that takes off as soon as someone calls 911.

A Hotter, Poorer, and Less Free America

The Atlantic

Or the world could simply leave the United States and its kludgy economy behind. Gregory Nemet, a public-affairs professor at the University of Wisconsin and the author of How Solar Energy Became Cheap, argues that the world is now on track to transition no matter what the United States does. “There’s so much momentum right now in this clean-energy transition. It will still happen, but it will happen more slowly” if no bill passes, he told me.