Spring 2009 Newsletter

University of Michigan
Center for Organogenesis
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Room 2031A BSRB

Director's Corner

Happy Summer to All (FINALLY!) As many of you already know, I will soon step down as Center Director, though I will continue to be actively involved in Center activities (especially the training grant, bioartography and our graduate course, Organogenesis of Complex Tissues). We are seeking a Director who has the strong clinical and basic science credentials and the energy needed to help the CFO realize its long held goal to promote and enhance the translational science of organogenesis. See below for details. To all who have helped over the years to make the Center the successful organization that it is today (and there are dozens of you!), THANK YOU! We could not have managed without your continuous and generous support.

Sincerely, Deb G.

Dean's Five-Year Review of the Center for Organogenesis

The Dean's review of the Center has been completed. Members of the Review Committee met with: Vice President of Research, Dr. Steve Forrest; Provost, Dr. Teresa Sullivan; Former CFO Director, Dr. Doug Engel; current CFO Director, Dr. Deb Gumucio, as well as 33 CFO faculty members and current and former pre-and postdoctoral fellows. With very positive reports of the reviewers, Deans Woolliscroft and Kunkel pledged support for continued Center activity. Specific recommendations of the reviewers for the future included:

Revise the mission statement to reflect more closely a vision for the future.
  1. Develop a 3-5 year strategic plan to achieve the vision, with performance indicators to gauge success.
  2. Develop more highly focused research objectives.
  3. Align the basic research efforts with the Destination Programs.
  4. Enhance interactions among researchers and foster development of program projects or grants and other large-scale funding initiatives.
  5. Review the funding and functions of core labs with aim to increase efficiency and utility.
  6. Support formal training to bridge gap between bench and bedside.

Many thanks to all of our members who provided vital information for this review process and who took the time to meet with the members of the Review Committee. We look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead.

CFO Director Search

In line with a future realignment of the CFO with the Destination Programs and in light of the desire to enhance the potential translational aspects of the Center's mission, the Dean's office is seeking a leader with both basic science and clinical experience to succeed Dr. Gumucio as Director. A complete job description with candidate requirements and other details are available. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Suzanne Weintraub, 5-2990.

Fellowship Competition

The Center is currently accepting applications for fellowship positions to begin on September 1, 2009. Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2009 for 2 NIH Predoctoral and 1 Non-Traditional Postdoc Fellowship. Applications and instructions are available on our website. Please contact Becky, rpintar@umich.edu, for additional information at 936-2499.

The NIH predoctoral fellowships (US citizen or permanent resident applicants) will provide two years of support to predoc fellows (candidates only) and the non-traditional postdoctoral fellowship (non-US applicants) will provide funding for one year of support ($25,000). All applicants must choose a research project that fits the goals of the Center. Applications that cross interdisciplinary lines are preferred. Primary faculty mentors must have an active research program with sufficient funds to provide continuous support for a trainee (NIH or NSF grant or equivalent). Potential faculty mentors who are not already listed as training grant mentors may apply for mentorship simultaneously with the NIH fellowship submission. Mentor applications are also available at the URL listed above. A Mentor application is not required for non-traditional applications.


We have begun planning this year's Art Fair project. We are happy to announce that our booth will be located back in it's original spot - on East University in booth # 155. We've been collecting many new and beautiful images that will be available at the Art Fair Booth. You still have time to submit your favorite image - deadline is June 13! We are also planning to bring back many of the best-sellers from the past four years. We are hopeful for another successful Art Fair and hope that many of you will be willing, once again, to help out in this important public outreach project. Please contact Becky if you are interested in working at this year's booth.

Another Bioartography project that is currently being planned will take place at the Duderstadt Center on North Campus. A bioartography display will be available during Sep 28 - Oct 20, 2009. A three-dimensional piece of bioart will be displayed along with our many other beautiful framed images. A reception will be planned and we will let you know soon the exact date and times of all events.

In the past few months, the Bioartography project sponsored several travel grants for individuals to attend scientific meetings:

  • Nicole Evans (Predoc, CDB) - 50th Annual Drosophila Conf, March, 2009
  • Therese Roth (Postdoc, LSI & CDB) - 50th Annual Drosophila Conf, March, 2009
  • Ting Han (Predoc, CDB) - 17th Intl. C. elegans Mtg, June, 2009
  • Ilea Swinehart (Predoc, CMB) - SDB Mtg, July, 2009
  • Stephanie Kadison (Postdoc, BMS) - SDB Mtg, July 2009
  • Almudena Veíga-López (Postdoc, Peds) - 42nd Soc. for the Study of Reproduction Mtg, July, 2009
Congratulations to all!!!

Our next travel grant deadline is September 1, 2009. For more information, visit our bioartography website.

Organogenesis of Complex Tissues (CDB 681) Fall 2009

This course will again be offered this fall with Deb Gumucio serving as the course director. Two modules are being planned:

  1. Stem Cell Biology
  2. Organogenesis of the Pancreas. More information will be available soon. Watch our courses page for updates.

Organogenesis Seminar Series - Fall 09 & Winter 10 Line-Up Now Available

The Organogenesis seminar series will begin again on Sep 17. All lectures will be held in the BSRB seminar rooms and will begin promptly at 4pm. Lecture titles will be announced soon.

New Organogenesis Faculty Members

The following faculty have recently joined the Center for Organogenesis:

  • Hemant Khanna, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
  • Yukiko Yamashita, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of the Life Sciences Institute and Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Director: Deborah L. Gumucio, Ph.D., Professor, Cell & Developmental Biology

Co-Director: James Douglas Engel, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Cell & Developmental Biology

Co-Director: Gregory Dressler, Ph.D., Professor, PathologyCenter

Administrator: Rebecca Pintar