Senator Amy Klobuchar Visits UMD
Four of the Swenson Science Building's 16 research labs were on display on January 22 when Senator Amy Klobuchar toured the facility as part of her Innovation Tour. The Senator was looking for examples of potential economic innovations and job creation--in order to help the U.S. gain back it's competitive edge.
UMD faculty demonstrated real world applications of their work. Biology Professor Matthew Andrews woke up a ground squirrel from hibernation as he explained his research. Andrews and his students are studying how "golden gophers" can survive during hibernation with extremely low oxygen levels and blood flow —a condition that resembles major blood loss. Julie R Etterson, associate professor, Department of Biology and two associate professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Anne Hinderliter and Ahmed Heikal, also demonstrated their research projects.
Klobuchar is an advocate for increasing high school and higher education study in the STEM areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. "When you look at how we're going to compete in this global economy, the first things we're going to look at is science, math, and engineering," she said. "I was incredibly impressed with the work going on here, the future that a lot of these students have, the fact that they're directed towards math and science and engineering, and all the things that we really need in this country."
Klobuchar said she plans to bring UMD's examples of innovative programs back to Washington. She said the U.S. needs to "continue to get the research grants and that we continue to build institutions like UMD because it's just such a big part of the solution."
Klobuchar said that supporting research grants for universities will help jump-start job growth, "That's why we want to get as many students as possible into programs like this one so that they're actually getting into areas where there are jobs for the future, where they're going to be inventing the next Pacemaker or the next Post-It Note."
In each of the labs she visited, Klobuchar spoke with students about their research. Undergraduate researchers as well as graduate students were able to present the practical applications of their projects. Klobuchar spoke about the "golden gopher" study, which has implications for wounded soldiers. "If they're out in the field and they're injured . . . you can stop that bleeding and . . . save lives that way."
Klobuchar's visit was part of a 16-community tour throughout Minnesota which highlighted the potential of innovation for economic strength and job creation. “When we look at how we're going to compete in this global economy, the first thing you've got to think is science and math and engineering . . . This isn't just at the MITs of the world and Johns Hopkins, this is also about places like UMD,” she said.
Written by Cheryl Reitan.