Two IUPUI Researchers Receive 2018 Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award

IUPUI faculty from the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and the School of Liberal Arts have been named recipients of the 2018 Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award.

Established in 2010, the award recognizes outstanding IUPUI researchers who show promise in becoming nationally and internationally known for their research and creative activity. It is given to associate professors within the first three years of being appointed or promoted to that title.

This year’s Research Frontiers Trailblazer Award recipients are Brian E. Dixon, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, and Andrea R. Jain, associate professor, Department of Religious Studies, School of Liberal Arts.

Dixon and Jain spoke about their research in videos produced by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI.

Brian E. Dixon

Brian E. Dixon

“The tools and platforms Brian Dixon designs, builds and evaluates are routinely deployed and used by health systems and public health agencies in Indiana. The systems therefore impact real-world practice and support future research as new data are collected by the operational systems,” said Gerardo Maupomé, associate dean of research and professor of social and behavior sciences, in a letter of recommendation. “These systems have the capacity to be replicated across the U.S. and internationally through other research programs at IUPUI.”

Watch this video about Brian E. Dixon’s research!

Andrea R. Jain

A Stronger Body for a Healthier Mind: German Lebensreform, Midwestern Vegetarians, and the Politics of Resistance

Vegetarianism, nudism, alternative medicine, ecology, and organic farming: In the late 19th– and early 20th-century, diverse groups promoting “back-to-nature” lifestyles captured the popular imagination throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Emphasizing a holistic approach to both physical and mental health, this so-called Lebensreform (“life reform”) movement sought to liberate body and mind from the ardor and exigencies of modern life. The roundtable discussion will focus on the intersection of everyday practice and political potential by addressing the origins of the Lebensreform movement during the socially restrictive German Kaiserreich, their appropriation in the United States (from the Chicago Vegetarian Society to utopian settlements), and their later role in the context of Nazi Germany.

Speakers include Thorsten Carstensen (Associate Professor of German, IUPUI), Mark Roseman (Distinguished Professor, Pat M Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, IU Bloomington), and Marcel Schmid (Assistant Professor of German, Universityof Virginia).

Parking vouchers will be provided. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a light reception. For all questions, please contact Thorsten Carstensen at

Monday, November 5, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 305

Registration is encouraged!

Carving for Community, Herron Students Honor Halloween

David King, a senior sculpture student, crafts a “weird, scary” face into a pumpkin between classes at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Being from Salem, Herron School of Art and Design senior David King has Halloween flowing through his veins.

Oh — that’s Salem, Indiana. Not Salem, Massachusetts.

“Yeah, we have a lot more cows than witches,” the sculpture major quipped.

Still, King joined about a dozen of his fellow students for a quick lunch-hour break between intermediate and advanced sculpture classes to carve pumpkins outside of the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, which houses much of Herron’s sculpture and ceramics programs. King utilized tools usually saved for clay busts to transform his gourd into a ghoulish visage.

Inspired by the imagery of Villafane Studios and other monstrous mugs, King has been trying his hand at striking, creepy pumpkin carving. The techniques used are similar to other reductive sculpting techniques, which are challenging in any medium.

Carving for community, Herron students honor Halloween. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

And of course, every pumpkin is different. During this carving, King found the walls of his pumpkin were about two inches thick near the stem, but they thinned out down the gourd.

“I had to bail on the nose early on,” explained King, noting the skull-like indented schnoz on his creation. “It was just so soft.”

All of the pumpkin guts were saved to feed student Shelby Lahne’s goats, Peanut and Crackerjack. The seeds were saved for later roasting.

Sculpting unity

Greg Hull, Valerie Eickmeier Professor in Sculpture and fine arts department chair at Herron, said he encourages his students to participate in activities outside of class. Some helped out during the current IUPUI 50th Anniversary Habitat for Humanity build. Most days it’s a pizza lunch together and the occasional movie night.

The sculpture students also share an affinity for Halloween, so pumpkin sculpting — er, carving — was a natural activity.

“It’s as much about community as anything else,” Hull said. “A big part of being in art school is what happens outside of the class structure anyway. Part of it is working together; part of it is sharing these tools. There are really different sets of skills here in terms of people spending a lot of their time carving and people who really don’t use carving as a primary part of their artmaking, but everyone’s carving today.”

Stress relief

Zack Hurst, a Herron School of Art and Design sculpture senior, displays his carved pumpkin, which he created in less than two hours between classes on Oct. 23. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The students sat at picnic tables, which were protected by plastic sheeting. Pumpkin chunks flew into the air as the students got to work using a variety of kitchen knives, X-Acto knives and sharp loop tools for peeling away the pumpkin rind. First-year art education major Hayley Davidson had a demented Pumpkin King design in mind before she started hacking away.

“What if he got real messed up? Like something happened to him, like madness?” queried Davidson, large knife in hand, before admitting she is “slightly” allergic to pumpkins. “I don’t do this often, but I live for Halloween.

“I’m just going to walk into my 3D design class and be like ‘Guys, this is my pumpkin.’ I’m proud.”

Seniors Lindsey Nevins and Samantha Wright volunteered for pumpkin duty to help relieve stress from intense studio classes.

“I didn’t need a concept,” said Nevins, holding her new cat-o-lantern. “I didn’t have to worry about it being good; I just kind of did it.”

Wright has been a hardcore Halloween fan since childhood. She said there was no way she was going to miss the opportunity to carve up a pumpkin. The Greenwood integrative studio practice major has taken multiple sculpture classes, but she said the years of art training are less important than having a clear mind when approaching a blank pumpkin.

“You just go for it. If you think too much about it, you’re probably not going to have something you enjoy,” said Wright, also a horror-movie buff. “It’s all about letting loose and having fun. This is my favorite holiday.”

King was one of the last students to finish. Always the harshest critic on himself, he hoped for a result that featured a more rounded, 3D look. But the ghoul on the pumpkin still impressed his classmates. Luckily, Halloween is still days away, and there are plenty more pumpkins to serve as canvas for the young artist.

“It’s a process that I really enjoy,” King said, “just trying to carve into it and create these weird, scary faces.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News‘ Tim Brouk

How Do Media and Technology Affect Your Health? Dr. Brian Primack Offers Insight at IUPUI Talk

Brian Primack

INDIANAPOLIS — Internationally recognized physician-researcher Dr. Brian Primack will break down media influences on youth and adult health outcomes during a presentation Oct. 12 at IUPUI.

His address is part of the Somerset CPAs and Advisors Executive Leadership Speaker Series in the Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.


Annual 10-day Festival Connects Central Indiana to the Theme of INTERSECTION

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2018 Spirit & Place Festival celebrates, explores, challenges and reflects on the meaning behind “intersection” in its 23rd year. The Spirit & Place Festival is Indianapolis’s largest collaborative festival that uses the arts, religion and humanities as a tool for shaping individual and community life through 10 days of events designed with community partners, individuals and communities.

During the selection process this year, event submissions that exemplified key traits of the Spirit & Place Festival were nominated for an “Award of Awesomeness.” The winning event will receive a $1,000 award at the end of the festival. A preview of these events, as well as information about this year’s signature events, is outlined below. A full listing of events is available at

Come and check out some of these amazing events!

Opening Night Intersections!
Friday November 2, 6-9pm
Harrison Center
1505 N. Delaware St.

Kick off this year’s Spirit & Place Festival during an INTERSECTION themed night at the Harrison Center. The Harrison Center serves as a home for artists of all races, ages, social groups, neighborhoods, faiths and more to intersect with one another – and you! Bring the family out for a fun night of discovery to meet with artists. Explore how styles, mediums, colors and shapes collide and blend to create Indy’s vibrant arts community.

23rd Annual Public Conversation
Sunday, November 11, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Indiana State Museum
650 W. Washington St.

Featuring Zeynep Tufekci, this year’s Public Conversation will discuss the intersections of social media, politics and our everyday lives. Zeynep Tufekci is a techno- sociologist who focuses on social movements and civics, privacy, and surveillance and social interactions. Tufekci’s latest book, Twitter and Teargas, thoughtfully examines both the positive and the negative ways digital platforms support the work of social change.

You can also go and check out some of the Spirit and Place Festival’s 2018 Award of Awesomeness Nominees!

Explore Art-omotive!
Saturday, November 3, 10 a.m. – 1 pm Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum 4790 W. 16th St.

Explore Art-omotive! will delve into the relationship between art, design and the history of automobiles. Participants will watch a virtual engine build competition, participate in a “car parade,” design their car of the future and explore the history of automotive design in this family friendly event.

Hummus & Happiness
Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Indiana Interchurch Center
1100 W. 42nd St.

Hummus & Happiness invites people of varying cultures, religions
and nationalities to join in their shared humanity and explore how Israelis, Arabs and Palestinians who may be Jewish, Muslim or Christian connect to this delicious food. After viewing Hummus! The Movie, guests are invited to sample hummus recipes from around the world while local hummus-makers share their stories.

The Score Awakens
Monday, November 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Hilbert Circle Theatre
45 Monument Circle
$5 – RSVP by November 2

The Score Awakens showcases the intersection between music and story by exploring the role John William’s score has in creating the iconic Star Wars universe. Indy Lightsaber Academy will demo how the music inspires epic battles, and everyone will get to learn some sci-fi swordplay.

Afrofuturism in Action: A Conversation with Tobias Buckell
Friday, November 9, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Kheprw Institute/Renaissance Center
3549 Boulevard Place

Black Panther. Parliament-Funkadelic. Octavia E. Butler. Janelle Monae. Afrofuturism is the reimagining of a future filled with arts, science and technology seen through a black lens. It’s a literary and creative genre that allows us to discuss matters of race, gender and social justice as well as model possibilities for the future. Hear from Tobias Buckell, author of Crystal Rain, Arctic Rising, and Halo: The Cole Protocol, and join in a community conversation where we use art, science and faith to imagine a future together.

Convergence: Connecting our Shared Experience through Performance and Prose
Saturday, November 10, 3 – 6 p.m.
The Church Within
1125 Spruce St. FREE

The Indianapolis artistic community is a diverse group of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Featuring many local artists, attendees will reflect on the convergence of artistry, culture and tradition through poetic prose, rhythmic dance and visual storytelling. Spoken word, visual art, dance and music will intersect during this event to showcase stories of historically silenced communities and the power of unity. It will also include a hands-on learning portion and time to interact with the performers.

Celebrating the theme of INTERSECTION in 2018, Spirit & Place honors the role the arts, humanities and religion play in shaping individual and community life. Through its November festival, people-centered community engagement, and year- round activities, Spirit & Place links people, places, ideas and organizations to stimulate collaboration, experimentation and conversation. A national model for building civically engaged communities, Spirit & Place is an initiative of The Polis Center, part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Major partners include Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; Central Indiana Community Foundation; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; The Polis Center at IUPUI; and more than 200 other community partners and donors. For more information, call The Polis Center at (317) 274- 2455 or visit

Visit the Spirit and Place website for more information!


Lab Culture: University Writing Center is Here to help

Marilee Brooks-Gillies, left, director of the University Writing Center and assistant professor of English, visits with one of her staff members, Ashley Taber, an English senior. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

The Lab Culture series explores the research, traditions and quirks in labs and centers across the IUPUI campus.

Whether you consider yourself a Shakespeare or a Fakespeare, the University Writing Center has been dedicated to helping writers of every skill level produce pristine prose on campus for almost 40 years.

Located on the fourth floor of Cavanaugh Hall along with a second location in University Library, the writing center is open to students, staff and faculty. From poems to syllabi, the graduate and undergraduate writing consultants are eager to dissect documents and bounce around ideas to help improve the piece.

“The Writing Center is a site for writers to be supported by other writers,” said Marilee Brooks-Gillies, director of the writing center and an assistant professor of English. “We see this as a space to learn about and practice writing.”

Users must schedule sessions online. Writers can bring their own laptops to work, or they can use one of the several desktop computers available in the centers.

The center is open to students, staff and faculty at IUPUI. Every skill level is welcome. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

While entering a room full of writers could be intimidating, the center has become a festive space. With the area currently decked out in Halloween decorations, Brooks-Gillies wants clients to feel comfortable while cultivating creativity.

Word of the week

A new word is selected each week. It could be academic; it could be tricky. It could be most groovy: “Reggae” was the term for Oct. 8-12.

“We’re trying to convey that there are a lot of different ways to think about the world, and language is a way to do that,” Brooks-Gillies explained.

Tea time

The writing center is always equipped with an array of hot tea selections. The beverage is meant to soothe, warm and sometimes caffeinate. It’s all meant to unclog writer’s block.


The roster of undergraduate and graduate students often works on projects when not helping their fellow Jaguars with papers, resumes or short stories. The consultants build workshops to bring to classrooms across campus, and they have the opportunity to publish work. The papers are presented at regional and international conferences.

Dozens of books and binders contain data of the center’s usage — who uses the facility for what, and when? How many students come in a month, semester or year?

Various committees exist within the centers. Creative writing senior Savannah Cox works with the digital resources and online consulting committee. She helps develop handouts and other outreach materials to educate users before they sit down for their first session.

Cox said the main point users should keep in mind is to keep an open mind: “Be open to the suggestions. Another person might be able to see some things that might strengthen your work and help improve your overall work.”

Art of writing

Dozens of paintings produced every semester by the student staff are hung on the center’s walls.

“We want this to a welcoming community space,” Brooks-Gillies said.

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk


Special Collections and Archives Caption Contest for October

A student in a cat costume, undated

We happily give you a chance to attach your silly captions to some of our favorite silly IUPUI photos from our huge collection. The funniest caption (as judged by the expert judges in Special Collections and Archives) for each month will win a FABULOUS PRIZE! Help the judges out by voting for good captions.

So login and post away!

(Naughty and thoroughly distasteful captions will be removed. Remember: this is a family website!)

‘October Man’: Ray Bradbury Imagery Creeps Out Campus Center

Jon Eller, left, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, and Abi Lindstedt, a museum studies graduate intern and exhibition curator at the Bradbury center, designed an exhibit that showcases the spooky art that went with some of Ray Bradbury’s weirdest tales. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

A deadly robotic hound, a sinister carnival pulling into town and a mysterious man covered from head to toe in tattoos. And what’s up with that witch walking a giant lizard like it’s a labradoodle?

Just in time for the Halloween season, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is presenting gems from its collection focused on the celebrated late fantasy/science fiction/mystery/horror writer’s menagerie of weird imagery and beings through Nov. 2 at the Cultural Arts Gallery in the Campus Center.

Abi Lindstedt, a museum studies graduate intern and exhibition curator at the Bradbury center, and Jon Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, focused on the plethora of visual artifacts from Bradbury’s visceral tales “The Halloween Tree,” “The October Country,” “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Fahrenheit 451.”

“There are thousands of illustrations on books, title art in books, illustrations throughout books, and in hundreds and hundreds of magazines,” said Eller, who maintains numerous early and original author’s off-prints of such artwork in the center. “So many illustrators from Europe and America would always vie to do Bradbury illustrations.”

Most of the artifacts range in date from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. Lindstedt sought a “trans-media” approach. Of course, Bradbury’s career largely predates the digital age, but his works were read and seen in almost every avenue available: books, newspapers, magazines, plays, musicals, movies and television. Examples of Bradbury’s work and imagery inspired by his words in all of these media are displayed in the show, many one-of-a-kind.

Each title gets a montage of paperback and hardback dustcover covers scanned from editions found in the Bradbury center. The mosaic approach displays the incredible number of artists that Bradbury worked with. A bit of a drawer himself, Bradbury would sometimes sketch ideas for his covers and other imagery, which would then be interpreted by the likes of Joseph MugnainiIan MillerGris Grimley and even Ralph Steadman, best known for his work with and inspiration from Hunter S. Thompson. Of course, most covers were the result of artists given a longer leash.

Prints of a background painting, left, and animation storyboards from the 1993 animated version of “The Halloween Tree” are featured in the Cultural Arts Gallery’s current exhibit, which shows through Nov. 2. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

Looking at the numerous takes of the same books, certain editions leap from the wall. Perhaps it was the surrealistic take from the artist, or maybe that was the version you read back in middle school. The assemblage asks, “Which editions did you read? Do you have any of these?”

Copies of sketches and proofs given to Bradbury from an army of artists and publishers are all archived in the center. They were loosely organized in Bradbury’s home offices before arriving at IUPUI. A dramatic rendition of the mechanical hounds from “Fahrenheit 451” by Mugnaini was found underneath one of Bradbury’s desks in a basement before it was rescued and donated to the center.

“There was a shoeprint on it,” Lindstedt said. “There’s actually artwork on the back of the piece as well.”

Originally developed in the 1960s by Bradbury for Legendary animator Chuck Jones, the evolving story-to-animated-film concept is represented by a pair of early 1990s storyboards for the Hanna-Barbera take on “The Halloween Tree,” a project that was decades in the making.

“Ray wasn’t sure they could do it, but then he got the storyboards,” Eller explained. “We have more than 1,000 panels on a number of sheets. We have about 50 pages where Ray writes on his copy to talk to them about narrative issues while they are developing it.”

Lindstedt and Eller hope viewers will sit and thumb through copies of some Bradbury classics scattered on the gallery’s center table. Two easels and stickie notes are available to share their thoughts and memories of the acclaimed American author that gave the world some of the darkest, most unnerving tales in modern literature.

“He is the October man,” Eller said. “Edgar Allan Poe was called the October man 200 years ago, and it’s Bradbury today.”

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk

Faculty, Staff and Students Construct a New Start at Habitat Build

The IUPUI 50th Anniversary Habitat for Humanity build at 725 N. Belleview Place is underway. The structure will become the new home of Colesta and Eddie Peppers in December. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

A home just west of IUPUI’s campus is now bustling with activity as students, staff and faculty have helped build a home from the ground up.

In the last three weeks, walls, a roof, windows and doors have gone up as part of IUPUI’s Habitat for Humanity build in honor of IUPUI’s 50th anniversary.

The build began Sept. 20 and will culminate with a house dedication tentatively set for Dec. 7. Various programs have helped with the build, each taking a day; for example, IUPUI Athletics was on-site Oct. 4, while the School of Education will take a turn Oct. 24.

The Habitat for Humanity build is a part of IUPUI’s 50th-anniversary celebration, reflecting the campus’s commitment to community engagement.

As the new dean of the Herron School of Art and Design, Nan Goggin has to wear many figurative hats: Teaching, fundraising, alumni relations and recruiting are all needed when leading an internationally renowned program.

The new home in Near West is coming along thanks to the efforts of faculty, staff and students. Video by Ashlynn Neumeyer and Tim Brouk

On Oct. 5, Goggin was wearing a literal hard hat as part of a crew of 18 Herron staff, faculty and students to continue the IUPUI 50th Anniversary Habitat for Humanity build in the Near West neighborhood, just a short drive from campus. The house at 725 N. Belleview Place will be the new home of Colesta and Eddie Peppers.

Amid nail guns, nippers, guillotines and other sinister-sounding yet vital building tools, Goggin was satisfied with her program’s turnout and effort on a cloudy morning.

“All of our students can use these tools, which in today’s society is really unique,” said Goggin, who holds degrees in printmaking and had international design teaching credentials before coming to IUPUI. “The Habitat leaders have been impressed with how the students have been doing, and that says a lot about our teachers.”

Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The Herron crew was supervised by the Tiger Team, longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteers who lead builds around Indianapolis.

Goggin and her Herron team arrived at a construction site that was well underway. The walls, roof and interior work had been initiated. The group of sculptors, metalsmiths and painters focused on cutting trim and siding for the exterior before moving to the interior when rain poured down.

“Making is a skill that America is losing,” Goggin said. “And our team is three-fourths women. They’re not afraid.”

Kianna Chase, a junior sculpture major, affirmed Goggin’s “makers” mantra. The young artist has already been exposed to the several power tools, safety requirements and techniques her program provides. She easily worked with a nipper, sort of high-powered electric scissors, to cut the panels of siding, which were a cement and wood fiber hybrid. A traditional power circular saw would have kicked up an unpleasant amount of concrete dust while ruining its thin saw blade.

“They haven’t made me go on the ladder yet,” Chase said with a laugh. “But it’s all about helping other people, so that makes it great.”

Chase and her fellow students sliced ends of the siding with a guillotine, a powerful blade and press that can precisely cut through with a pull of a lever, much like a heavy-duty paper trimmer.

The original team was to be about a dozen people, but more students wanted to help. All were given hard hats, and they enthusiastically got to work.

Painting associate professor Robert Horvath said his students have worked with saws and other tools in order to build frames to stretch canvas. He’s a proponent for the students to use their hands for more than pushing paintbrushes.

“I think it’s great to volunteer and give back, and we are a skilled crew,” Horvath said. “Our students are creative thinkers and analytical thinkers, but they are also very hands-on. The students are learning about home construction, but they understand. They can translate what they learn in the classroom to so many other fields — from sight measuring to using power tools. Our students totally have these skills.”

Greg Hull, the Valerie Eickmeier Professor in Sculpture, explained that artists must engage and contribute to the community, and volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build is an excellent avenue to do so.

“We’ve been talking about doing a build for years.” Hull said. “This is putting our money where our mouth is.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk

NIH Awards $1.75 million to IUPUI to Further Explore a Promising Brain-Obesity Link

INDIANAPOLIS — IUPUI biologist Nick Berbari has received a $1.75 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the connection between obesity and tiny hairlike projections on brain cells called cilia. Cilia are thought to function like a cell’s antennae and help in communication between cells.

Berbari’s research team is working to determine how altered signaling processes impact appetite regulation.

The knowledge Berbari and his research team acquire could potentially open new therapeutic approaches to obesity, which impacts the health and longevity of over 93 million Americans.

“With hunger, there is an initial urge to eat and to continue eating until feeling full,” Berbari said. “Cilia dysfunction is known to be associated with certain types of obesity, but it is unclear why their dysfunction leads to people overeating and results in obesity.”

“Put simply, we will be looking at how a little cellular antenna in the brain is important for appetite. When we study rare syndromes that are associated with obesity, we might learn important information and gain potentially therapeutically advantageous ideas about how to treat obesity in the general population.”

The goal of Berbari’s research, which will be conducted in mice, is to determine how altered signaling processes impact appetite regulation, feeding behavior and obesity. The research team includes a School of Science at IUPUI postdoctoral fellow, doctoral and masters’ degree students, and several undergraduate research assistants.

Nick Berbari