In the news

Does COVID-19 infection during pregnancy affect the fetus? Early research offers no clear answers.

What, if anything, does a COVID infection during pregnancy do to the developing fetus? It appears the virus rarely infects the fetus. Instead, researchers are concerned about the mother’s immune response to viral infection — a cascade of disease-fighting cells that can cross the placenta and could affect the developing brain. “The maternal immune system is changed because of pregnancy. It’s stronger,” said Dr. Gil Mor, scientific director of C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at Wayne State University. That strength can have a downside, he said, when the immune system goes to war against something entirely new but doesn’t know when to declare victory and shut down. The result can be a chronic inflammatory response. “We need to do everything possible to prevent the chronic inflammation,” said Mor, who studies the effects of pathogens on the immune system in pregnancy. “How do you do that? Simple. Vaccination.” 

Across metro Detroit, old hospital sites are coming back to life

The property in Northville Township is among former hospital sites in Metro Detroit undergoing redevelopment, either through demolition or reuse. The former Riverside Osteopathic Hospital site along the Detroit River in Trenton could become newly built multi-family housing. At the former Herman Kiefer Hospital in Detroit, there are plans for an outdoor container theater. In Westland, the owners of the former Eloise Psychiatric Hospital plan to develop a café on the site to complement their haunted and historic attractions. The sites are in various states of disrepair, but within a few years are all expected to be put back into productive use. “It’s interesting when you have a large parcel or a large property, or in the Trenton example, a really well-situated property,” said Carolyn Loh, associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University. “There’s just a really major opportunity to take something that is a negative in that neighborhood, because it’s abandoned and not being used and probably decaying, and then really turn it into something that can be an anchor or a positive.” 
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Empty shelves: Why tampons, Srirachi and peanut butter are in short supply

First it was toilet paper. Then lumber, chicken wings and cream cheese. And now, tampons, Sriracha hot sauce and peanut butter are hard to find. Shortages are ongoing more than two years into the pandemic as manufacturers continue to deal with battered supply chains, uneven consumer demand and unpredictable weather conditions. “When you get all these changes in demand and delays because of COVID, it makes it hard to rebuild your supply chain,” said John Taylor, professor of global supply chain management at Wayne State University. 
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Law student awarded Women Lawyers Association of Michigan scholarship

Wayne State University Law School student Samantha Mackereth recently received the General Motors Scholarship from the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) Foundation. The scholarships are awarded to law students who demonstrate leadership capabilities in advancing the position of women in society, business, and the community.  “Working the past few years with juveniles in residential placement, who were almost always the victim of either physical or sexual abuse, I realized that the law leaves children incredibly vulnerable,” Mackereth said. “I hope to spend my career fighting for victims of sexual assault and child abuse and advocate for reform in this area of the law.”   After graduating from Bemidji State University in her home state of Minnesota, Mackereth spent two years working for a juvenile treatment and correctional facility. Later she moved to Michigan to attend Wayne Law.
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HFC prepared student for grad school at Wayne State, where she graduated magna cum laude

Erica Davenport is the first person in her family to earn a master’s degree. Davenport recently graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University in Detroit, earning her master’s degree in educational leadership. “My grandparents were very influential in my upbringing, especially my grandmother Mary,” said Davenport, of Detroit. “She was an advocate of higher education and encouraged me to continue my education after high school. She passed away in 2015 from cancer, a year before I graduated from Western Michigan University. My master’s degree is in honor of her.” The eldest of three, Davenport graduated from the Detroit School of Arts in 2011 and from WMU in 2016. At WMU, she earned her bachelor’s degree in child and family development with a minor in social work.
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University of Michigan hikes tuition, housing costs to nearly $30,000 annually

University of Michigan regents approved increases in tuition and room and board Thursday that pushed the annual cost for a full-time, in-state undergraduate student living on the Ann Arbor campus to nearly $30,000. The 3.4% tuition hike that brings annual costs to $16,736, up from $16,178 in 2021-22, drew criticism from one regent who noted the university's 38th consecutive annual tuition increase and said the school's business model is not sustainable. Michigan State University and Wayne State University set their tuition next Friday. 

Wayne State changes transfer credit policy to increase access

A university in Michigan is seeking to make it easier for folks to obtain a bachelor's degree after attending community college, by removing barriers to access such as artificial limits on transfer credits.  Wayne State University in Detroit is putting all transfer students at equal footing by accepting all credits earned in applied, technical or vocational studies - including from community colleges. Mark Kornbluh is provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wayne State. He noted that the average family income at Wayne is lower than at most other Michigan colleges and universities. "This is sort of ingrained in our DNA," said Kornbluh, "that we're supporting students who have drive and interest but are coming with fewer resources to start. So partnering with community colleges is really important there, because it cuts the costs for college degrees significantly." Kornbluh said previously, students could only transfer 12 credits from vocational training, such as training to be an EMT, for instance. But some of those programs require 60 or more credits.
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Analysis: Too much stuff in stores is supply chain bullwhip snapping back

Walk into a Target store and you're likely to find more toaster ovens and skateboards and wireless speakers than ever before. The nation's seventh-largest retailer is literally overflowing with inventory. Products on its shelves and in warehouses climbed 43 percent during the first quarter of 2022 over the same period last year, the company said in its earnings call earlier this month. As a result, Target vowed to lower prices and accept lower margins to clear its stores. "What's happened is just as predictable as the setting sun," said John Taylor, associate professor of supply chain management at Wayne State University. "It's the backside of the bullwhip. Demand keeps changing dramatically. We don't normally experience this many large changes and it's very hard to keep track of the demand signals." 

Using inquiry to channel the natural curiosity of all students

Kids wonder about everything. If you’re an elementary school teacher, you undoubtedly fielded questions today such as “What’s for lunch?” and “How are caterpillars insects if they have so many legs?” Our students are naturally inquisitive and built for inquiry. Using the inquiry method is engaging and full of opportunities. In addition to being developmentally appropriate, inquiry is at the heart of social studies standards in many states. Although teachers sometimes hesitate before implementing inquiry in their classrooms, inquiry is easy to implement in elementary school social studies classrooms.

State supreme courts: Bottom of the ballot top concern if Roe falls

The right to abortion in some states could come down to a handful of people running for positions most voters pay little attention to state supreme court justices. State courts are likely to be flooded with litigation that could require them to rule on access to abortion — or even contraception and fertility treatments — should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks. In Michigan, much of the focus is, for now, on the state’s Aug. 2 primary election as well as a ballot measure pro-abortion-rights groups are circulating that could codify the right to abortion in the state’s constitution. But Whitmer is also asking the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on whether the state’s 91-year-old abortion ban is constitutional, a decision that could hinge on the outcome of the election. Michigan’s Supreme Court has a 4-3 liberal majority, with one liberal and one conservative justice up for reelection. While Justin Long, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, said it’s “extremely rare” for an incumbent to lose, more than $10 million was spent on the state’s Supreme Court elections in 2020, including more than $6 million spent by outside groups, according to the Brennan Center.
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Sen. Carl Levin honored by Biden, Stabenow, and others during Sunday memorial

Michigan's longest serving U.S. Senator Carl Levin died in July 2021 at the age of 87. He was remembered by many and honored during a memorial celebration on Sunday. "I had the honor of calling Carl Levin my friend for more than 40 years… one of the most honorable and decent people I've ever known in public life. He was brilliant, humble and principle. Carl looked everybody straight in the eye and he listened. He always told you how he saw it with honesty and respect," said President Joe Biden. 

Primetime exposure to violent footage and dramatic evidence – but to what end?

Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy at Wayne State University, said ”The House committee faces the challenge of trying to provide the American public with truthful information about the Jan. 6 attack at a time of deep partisan divide and historically low levels of public trust in government. Confronted with that reality, the committee seems to have decided upon a smart response: Show, don’t tell. Rather than simply telling the American public the facts, the panel’s first public hearing focused on showing what former president Donald Trump’s allies and supporters themselves have said and done. They paired that with the testimony of seemingly nonpartisan figures like Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested. It’s not clear whether these hearings will make a demonstrable difference in the public’s perception of the Jan. 6 attack. Maybe they won’t. Maybe America’s partisan divisions are too deep."
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Life, legacy of late Carl Levin, Michigan's longest-serving U.S. senator, celebrated at memorial

Family, friends and former colleagues of the late Carl Levin, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Michigan history, gathered Sunday to honor the legacy of a man known for his unwavering dedication to public service. The memorial was held at the Levin Center at Wayne State University nearly a year after the Detroit Democrat, who served in the United States for 36 years and was the state's first Jewish senator, died in 2021 at age 87. While speaking about Levin, guests paid tribute to Levin's wife, Barbara, his three daughters, Kate, Laura and Erica and his older brother, Sandy Levin. They also spoke about the late senator as a man well-known for his self-deprecating sense of humor and terrible sense of fashion. "I think his life was truly ... an American story," said Sandy Levin, a former U.S. representative from Royal Oak, who told the story of their grandmother's arrival in the country.
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Wayne State names Ali Abolmaali dean of College of Engineering

Ali Abolmaali, a civil engineer and former chair of the civil engineering department at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), has been selected as the next dean of Wayne State University College of Engineering, effective Aug. 15. Abolmaali also is a Dr. Tseng Huang Endowed Professor in structural engineering and applied mechanics, the founding director of UTA Center for Structural Engineering Research, and the professor-in-charge of the Structural Simulation Laboratory at UTA. “We are extremely pleased to recruit this strong leader to Detroit,” says Mark Kornbluh, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Ali has a proven track record of growing student enrollment, recruiting diverse faculty and growing research. Most important, he’s accomplished this with a leadership philosophy that embraces collaboration and genuine care for others.”
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Jackson County Jail vending machine stocked to save lives

Vending machines usually dispense candy and soda, but not the one at Jackson County Jail. As part of a pilot program the jail’s vending machine dispenses Narcan, a drug used to save the life of someone who’s overdosing. Everyday five people in Michigan will die from an opioid overdose. However, a pilot program is trying to reduce those numbers by giving more people access to Narcan, without guilt, without shame and with discretion. The Jackson County Jail got the vending machine through a grant from Wayne State University. 
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Free Narcan vending machines popping up around Michigan

Vending machines distributing the opioid-overdose-reversing-drug Narcan are being installed in strategic locations in an effort to reduce the number of overdoses in Michigan and throughout the country. Wayne State University’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice has used grant money to place 15 vending machines across the state, in places like county jails, centers that provide services for drug users, and the university’s undergraduate library. “You could administer Narcan, and if you are wrong – and the person is not overdosing – there is no harm to the individual,” said Wayne State University Center for Behavioral Health and Justice program manager Matthew Costello. Costello speaks with Paul W. Smith about the benefits the machines have for the community, and how people can assess and decide to administer Narcan. “We’re very excited about this program…we know it’s a lifesaving program…,” said Costello. Some of the people who are at most of overdosing are those coming out of jail. “Narcan is just one approach that the CBHJ has to address this issue. Part of my responsibility is to set up assistance programming inside our county jails so those people who are opioid-involved coming into the jails can either continue or begin treatment for their opioid addiction while they’re incarcerated…”