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Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

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Researcher studies dietary bioactive compounds and their impact on chronic disease

IMG_2176Vitamins and minerals are well known for their essential role in maintaining health and wellness. Still, there are other, often less recognized, food components that can also make important contributions. These other components, known as dietary bioactive compounds, are present in food in small quantities, but may be making a big impact. Christopher Blesso, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, is studying the effects of these previously overlooked substances on low-grade inflammation in certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

In his studies of lipid metabolism, Blesso examines the body’s processing of fats, cholesterol, phospholipids and other molecules. He is interested in the impact the compounds can have on lipid metabolism and the low-grade inflammation that is characteristic of these disease states. The hope is that, one day, these compounds could be used therapeutically to reduce inflammation and improve the quality of life in patients suffering from low-grade inflammatory states. Blesso focuses on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism and cholesterol, as well as dietary phospholipids, which are molecules that provide animal and plant cell membranes with structure. (more…)

Online course catalog created for Extension programs

Extension Course Catalog

There are more than a hundred UConn Extension specialists working throughout Connecticut. These educators are teaching and training in local communities, sharing their wealth of knowledge with residents through a variety of programs. These instructional activities will now be more visible and easier to find with the creation of an online extension course catalog.

The new catalog was proposed by Michael O’Neill, associate dean for outreach and public engagement, in order to raise the profile of extension activities. Prior to the launch of the website, there was no single source that listed and described all of the courses that UConn Extension hosts.

“In this digital age, we need a mechanism for citizens and businesses to access the excellent programs we offer through UConn Extension,” says O’Neill. “I believe that this online catalog is a valuable first step in that direction.” (more…)

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Go-Baby-Go

The College’s Physical Therapy program hosted Go-Baby-Go on Saturday, March 4, on the Storrs Campus. The event provided battery-powered cars for three children with mobility challenges, giving them the opportunity to move around in their environment. Physical therapy students worked with Assistant Professor in Residence Deborah Bubela and physical therapist Rosie Flamming from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to modify battery-powered cars so that children with mobility challenges could operate them. Fun was had by all!

UConn Dairy Science: Home to one of nation’s top dairy herds, maker of legendary ice cream

MCCconeA scoop of Salted Caramel Crunch and a scoop of Toasted Almond Amaretto nestle together in a cup. If you can, let it sit for five minutes so the ice cream just begins to melt, creating a little pool in the bottom of the cup. (In July, this step is not required.) Now, spoon a small amount from each sphere, saucing it with some of the liquid from the bottom of the cup.
Oh. My. Goodness.

This mini-miracle must be the result of some sort of wizardry: Milk from the cows on Horsebarn Hill goes into the shiny steel vats of the UConn Creamery. A spell is cast, and poof! The best ice cream in the world appears. But there’s no magic here; what makes this sublime treat is passion, hard work and scrupulous attention to detail—along with the best ingredients you can get.

UConn’s ice cream begins with the milking cows in the Kellogg Dairy Center (KDC) on Horsebarn Hill, just about 700 yards from the Dairy Bar. (The cows you see grazing on the hill are their not-yet-bred daughters, called heifers.) The UConn Department of Animal Science’s dairy herd is a mix of Holsteins and Jerseys, and a remarkable group of dams it is. The herd has just been ranked by the venerable Hoard’s Dairyman as one of the top twenty of approximately 47,000 dairy herds in the country, receiving a gold ”Best of the Best” National Dairy Quality Award. This accomplishment, extraordinary in itself, is made all the more so by the fact that many of those who tend to the cows are students studying dairy management and milk production in an experiential learning environment. Only one other university herd, from the University of Wisconsin, made the Hoard’s list. The list recognizes milk quality, the primary measure of which is the milk’s somatic cell count (SCC). The lower the number of somatic cells in the milk, the better the animals’ health and the longer the shelf life and finer the quality of the dairy products made from it. This starts to explain why the ice cream’s so good.

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