Washington University

College of St. Louis community college meramec, umsl and washington university
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

As faculty members at the University of Missouri-St. Louis continue talking about forming a union, part-time teachers at Washington University are working under the first semester of their union contract.

And though some Washington U. adjuncts have questions about how much benefit the union will actually provide, organizers say the contract is working well, though they acknowledge that a period of adjustment is normal when conditions change.

Live fact check asset
Courtesy NPR

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the final presidential debate Wednesday night at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

Reporters interview surrogates following the presidential debate at Washington University.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside a spin room packed to the gills with reporters, campaign surrogates tried to put their best face forward about the debate.

“The first 20 minutes started out a little rocky,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem, Missouri. “But the next hour and 10 minutes was focused on a lot of policy and issues that Americans are really paying a lot of attention to: health care, taxation, the Supreme Court vacancies. So I thought that was pretty good.”

But Smith’s colleague, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, had a much dimmer view of Trump’s performance.

Engineers at Washington University have found a way to make biofuel from e-coli bacteria.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

People in much of the country are familiar with ethanol, a type of biofuel made from corn that is added to gasoline.

But many may not know that it is also possible to make biofuel from bacteria like e-coli. That could change, now that engineers at Washington University have found a more cost-effective way to make fuel from bacteria.

Gayle Bentley, a doctoral student in the Department of Energy, Environment and Chemical Engineering  at Wash U, has discovered how to change an enzyme in some types of bacteria so that it produces compounds that act like the ones in petroleum. Bentley recently published her findings in the journal Metabolic Engineering.

Edem and Pam Dzunu work in the Office of International Students and Scholars at Washington University.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

For Edem and Pam Dzunu, the desire to help others develop intercultural communication skills stems from personal experience.

In 2009, Edem, who is originally from Ghana, came to Missouri to meet his then-fiancé’s family for the first time. The couple was shaken when Pam’s family immediately rejected Edem and refused to even talk to him because of his racial and ethnic background.

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Part-time instructors at Saint Louis University have joined their colleagues at three other local campuses and voted to join the Service Employees International Union.

In results of mail-in balloting announced Monday, the unionization proposal won by a vote of 76 percent, 89-28.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Adjunct instructors at Washington University have approved their first contract with the school, gaining an increase in pay, more control over schedules and improved working conditions.

Michael O’Bryan, an English instructor who has been involved in negotiations since the adjuncts approved joining the Service Employees International Union more than a year ago, said the four-year pact was approved by “a hefty margin” in balloting on Wednesday and Thursday. University acceptance of the contract remains just a formality, a spokeswoman said.

Morgan DeBaun, co-founder and CEO of Blavity.

Morgan DeBaun is co-founder and CEO of Blavity, a media startup that seeks to be the “voice of black millennials.” She says the organization got the name from a phenomenon she witnessed while attending Washington University.

A St. Louis Start

DeBaum, St. Louis native, said that if you head to the Danforth University Center on campus, you’ll find a bunch of tables with a big, round table in the middle.

Sandor Weisz | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1VkvzmF

  By the end of this year, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 49,000 people in the United States will die from colorectal cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

In 2015, Erica Barnell, the CEO of Geneoscopy, helped start a company that seeks to reduce the number of colorectal cancer deaths by expanding preventive screening through noninvasive methods.

Author Gail Pellett of "Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing" spoke with "St. Louis on the Air" host  Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer

Author Gail Pellet recently released a new memoir called “Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing,” which details her experience working for Radio Beijing as a foreign expert.

“I was hired as the first experienced broadcast journalist to work at Radio Beijing,” Pellett told host Don Marsh.  

Pellett discussed her experiences in China as well as her connection to St. Louis — she was a student at Washington University during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Washington University

Updated 6:33 p.m. April 13, with tentative agreement: Washington University and unionized part-time faculty members announced a four-year tentative agreement late Wednesday that covers wages, job security and other issues the instructors had sought.

The move turns a planned protest rally and faculty walkout scheduled for Thursday into what a union spokeswoman called a victory rally.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The term “palliative care” has been bandied about quite a bit as of late. But what does it mean? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, three people joined host Don Marsh to discuss what palliative care means and how it differs from hospice care.

Joining the program to discuss palliative care:

Sunrise, Daylight Saving Time
Matthias Bachmann | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1QM0RMs

Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time starts at 2:00 a.m. on March 13. Across the country, people will lose an hour of sleep in exchange for longer days through the summer. Is it worth it?

On one hand, traffic accidents increase for three days following the time change and people become more irritable and groggy upon losing sleep. Absenteeism and heart attacks also increase directly following the time people switch their clocks forward an hour.

A flu vaccine dose beside several needles.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr

A Washington University professor has a possible business solution to a perennial public health problem: flu vaccine shortages.

Olin Business School professor Fuqiang Zhang and his research partners are proposing a combination of existing contract incentives.

Edward T. (Tad) Foote II helped start New City School, worked on desegregation plan and headed the Washington University School of Law.
Provided by the University of Miami

Edward T. Foote II was a fellow who took on extraordinarily complex problems and proceeded to solve them, sometimes leaving friends and family wondering how he successfully navigated such dangerous waters, and just as often, secretly wondering why he took on the jobs he did.

Mr. Foote, formerly of St. Louis, died Monday in a nursing home in Cutler Bay, Fla., of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Andrew Kates of the Washington University Heart Care Institute at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to join “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss new developments in heart health research and answer questions about the heart.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

February is Heart Health Month. As such, we invited Dr. Andrew Kates of the Washington University Heart Care Institute at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to join “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss new developments in heart health research and answer questions about the heart.

Here are five questions we asked and five things we learned:

1. Heart disease kills more women every year than every other kind of cancer combined. Why?

Washington University

Nine months after contract talks with newly unionized adjunct instructors began at Washington University, negotiators have tentative agreements on a dozen workplace issues.

But the thornier issues of salary and benefits still remain to be settled.

Washington University

Donors to Washington University are giving more than anticipated – and students will be paying more in the fall as well.

The university said Thursday that it is ahead of its timetable for its $2.2 billion fund-raising campaign slated to end on Dec. 31, 2018, so it is raising its goal to $2.5 billion. As of the end of last month, the university said, alumni, parents and others had contributed $2.12 billion to the campaign, which is titled “Leading Together.”

In the early 1970s, Washington University had more African American students enrolled than ever before. They created a guide to help future black students navigate the university and St. Louis.
Courtesy Washington University Library

When Ralph Hargrow arrived at Washington University from his home in the East Coast in 1969, he was part of a growing group of black students on a campus going through the same kind of drastic change that was hitting the nation as a whole.

The previous December, a group of black students had confronted Chancellor Thomas Eliot in his office in stately Brookings Hall and presented demands that later came to be known as a “Black Manifesto.”

Levy's image of the Michael Brown memorial in Canfield Green the night of August 10, 2014
Joel Levy |Courtesy of Documenting Ferguson

The Documenting Ferguson project launched in the midst of escalating protests that called for justice after the death of Michael Brown. As protests quickly grew into the Black Lives Matter movement -- with similar protests in cities like Baltimore and Cincinnati -- documentary efforts also spread from the St. Louis area to other cities.

As a counselor helping students find the right college, first in Clayton and then at Metro High School in St. Louis, Chat Leonard has an unusual perspective on the bumps that can litter the road to higher education.

Both schools, she said, have bright, energetic, motivated students who have been preparing to go to college “since they were in utero.” But at Metro, a magnet school where almost 40 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, aiming to get into the best school possible may have a fuzzier focus than at a place like Clayton, where many more of the families are affluent.

e-MagineArt.com | Flickr

It’s commonly understood that prescription painkillers are a gateway drug to heroin—both drugs are in the opiate family and provide similar highs. But new research from Washington University School of Medicine is redefining what that means.

Rather than switching from prescription painkillers to heroin, the Washington University researchers have found that many people who try heroin also continue to abuse prescription opiates.

St. Louis International Film Festival

For years, Dr. Susan Mackinnon, a professor and plastic surgeon with Washington University, has been working to restore movement in paralyzed limbs through a specialized peripheral-nerve-transfer surgery. Now, her work is coming to light through a documentary screening at the St. Louis International Film Festival next week: “A Spark of Nerve.”

St. Louis Community College at Meramec
STLCC website

Updated at 7:43 p.m., Nov. 1, with results of vote: ​Part-time instructors at St. Louis Community College have voted overwhelmingly to join a union.

Jonathan Huskey, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, reported Sunday night that two days of balloting over the weekend resulted in approval of the union proposition by a vote of 188-15. He said 574 adjunct instructors were eligible to vote in the election.

Dr. Michael Bavlsik works as medical director at Barnes Jewish Extended Care in Clayton. He received a nerve-transfer surgery after a spinal cord injury, and has since been able to improve function in his arms, wrists and hands.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Dr. Michael Bavlsik uses a motorized wheelchair to visit his patients at an extended care facility in Clayton. It’s been more than three years since his spine was crushed in a severe highway collision, when he was driving a van of Boy Scouts home from a camp in Minnesota.   

“The 11 boys who were in the van got out and were all unharmed, but the roof of the van was deformed and crushed me,” Bavlsik said.

Panelist Dr. Karen Edison, who helps create health policy surveys at the University of Missouri, said she was once threatened with a loss of funding for including survey questions about sexual orientation. AJ Bockleman of PROMO sits to her right.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Sometimes, state and federal law are in conflict.

Rules for the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is one example. Even though the federal government prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity on many counts, Missouri state law does not include those protections. 

Resolving those conflicts was the focus of a summit Wednesday between members of the LGBT community, their advocates and representatives from five federal agencies. 

Alex Heuer

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and statistics from the recently released ‘World Alzheimer Report 2015’ show that by 2050, an estimated 131.5 million people across the globe will have dementia. Currently, that number sits at about 46.8 million people worldwide. A shift in the proportional growth of older populations is the root cause of that increase, but still, the numbers are startling.

Washington University

Updated 6:59 p.m., Sept. 21, with McCaskill comment: New research about sexual assault on college campuses shows Washington University in somewhat better shape than its peer institutions, but officials at the school admit they still have a lot more work to do to prevent problems for students.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial activities, and cars contributes to asthma and other health problems in the St. Louis area.
Syracuse University News Services

In December, government representatives from all over the world will meet in Paris for another conference on climate change aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curbing rising global temperatures.

In advance of that meeting, some scientists and environmental leaders are gathering at Washington University to discuss one particular consequence of climate change: widespread species extinctions.

Prof. Sarah Gehlert (left) and Dr. Will Ross (right) discussed precision medicine in studio on "St. Louis on the Air."
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, is a model of health care in which care, treatment, and medicines are customized to the individual—tailored, extraordinarily, to a person’s genetic code.

Precision medicine is lauded by some medical professionals and hopeful patients for its potential to elevate individual health, but some critics ask if precision medicine is being cast, to the cost and detriment of some groups, as a miracle cure.