Ensuring a Healthier and More Sustainable World

Changing the world by changing lives

What makes the University of Iowa a great institution? The accomplishments of its alumni, the prominence of its academic programs, the prowess of the Hawkeyes—these factors all are part of the equation. But a simple truth is more profound: Because the University of Iowa is changing the world in countless ways.

A recent case in point: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) have difficulty interacting with others, but often are drawn to computers—and human-computer interaction happens to be a specialty of Juan Pablo Hourcade, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Inspired by colleagues and patients, Hourcade developed free, open-source software that encourages cooperation among ASD children. “The applications we designed are for use by kids together, either using the display at the same time or taking turns,” he explains. Making the applications free and open source, Hourcade says, ensures wider access, encourages enhancements, and will keep the software sustainable over time.

This approach to helping ASD children connect with others—practical, compassionate, and cost-effective—characterizes the efforts of the University of Iowa today to ensure a healthier world for all.

Whether developing a cure for inherited eye disease, or planting trees that remove contaminants from ground water, the UI is working hard to improve the health and well being of Iowans and citizens across the globe.

Continued breakthroughs in medicine and allied health fields, in environmental engineering, and in other areas of science and technology where the UI excels hinge on a single catalyst: the financial investments that will spur further growth.

Private support is particularly important to the UI’s young investigators, whose most innovative ideas are often radically new and too unproven to attract federal grants. Additional funding for faculty research, as well as for opportunities to involve students in the joy of discovery, will help keep the UI at the forefront of great things to come.

Campaign objectives such as these will help the University of Iowa build a healthier world for all:

  • Advanced biomedical research into the causes, treatments, and cures for disease
  • Environmental health and sustainability initiatives
  • A state-of-the-art University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital
  • Endowed faculty chairs and professorships
  • Scholarships for students in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health
  • Science initiatives that will turn discoveries into solutions—in medicine, biotechnology, and beyond
  • Public health outreach programs

For Our World

For Popeye, spinach was the key to extra muscle. For the mice in a new University of Iowa study, it was apples, or more precisely a waxy substance called ursolic acid that’s found in apple peel.

The UI study, led by Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine endocrinologist Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., showed that ursolic acid reduced muscle atrophy and promoted muscle growth in mice. It also reduced fat, blood- sugar levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the animals, suggesting that the compound may be useful for treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes—good news for the UI’s Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, which helped fund the study.

Among the members of the study’s interdisciplinary research team was Michael Welsh, M.D., founding director of the Pappajohn Institute in the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, which will house the Eagles Diabetes Center and numerous other UI initiatives aimed at unraveling the fundamental biological mysteries of some of the world’s most devastating diseases.

By providing a home for scientists from multiple disciplines, the Pappajohn Institute will foster communication, collaboration, and the creative energy essential for success in the UI’s efforts to create a healthier future.

Educating our students

Tomorrow's leaders are in UI classrooms today

Ensuring a healthier and more sustainable world

Changing the world by changing lives

Enriching commerce, culture, and communities

A comprehensive approach to enhancing quality of life