Research Takes Center Stage at UM April 11-15

April 07, 2014

MISSOULA – From vaccines to book burning and poetry to economics, the University of Montana will delve into many areas of research and creative scholarship during “II2014 – Innovation and Imagination 2014.” During the course of four days, UM’s research and creative scholarship will take center stage.  

“I’m very pleased with this year’s lineup of high-caliber speakers and presenters,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship. “The events we have planned will really showcase the high level of entrepreneurship, research and creative scholarship being accomplished by our students and faculty.”

During a luncheon update slated for 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday, April 14, Larry Simkins, CEO and president of The Washington Companies and Washington Business Services Inc., will deliver an update on the Main Street Montana Project. Commissioned by Gov. Steve Bullock and co-chaired by Simkins and Bill Johnstone, the plan outlines a bottom-up, self-sustaining blueprint to support the creation, recruitment and retention of Montana jobs. UM alumna and Lt. Gov. Angela McLean will provide an introduction at the luncheon.

“The research and entrepreneurship being conducted at UM strongly supports the goals of the governor’s Main Street Montana Project,” Whittenburg said, “and our educational priorities are supportive of the governor’s educational agenda as outlined by Lt. Gov. McLean.  I am proud that they have agreed to speak at this year’s event.”

Monday’s events will conclude with a keynote address. Following the University’s Charter Day announcement of a major new initiative surrounding research on the human brain – an effort that spans many campus disciplines – the keynote address will be delivered by brain expert Randy Blakely. Blakely directs the Vanderbilt/NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center for Basic Neuroscience Research and is the Allan D. Pass Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

All events are free and open to the public. A full schedule follows:

Friday, April 11

  • UM Conference on Undergraduate Research: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., third floor of the University Center. For more information visit  

Saturday, April 12   

  • UM Graduate Student and Faculty Research Conference: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., third floor of the University Center and in the UC Commons on the second floor of the UC. For more information visit

Monday, April 14

  • Regional Partner Session: “Vaccines Adjuvants and Research at GSK,” Jay Evans, Preclinical Innovation GSK.10:30-11:15 a.m., Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Theta Rho Room.
  • Luncheon: “Main Street Montana Update,” address by Larry R. Simkins, CEO and president of The Washington Companies and Washington Business Services, Inc. Introduction by Lt. Gov. Angela McLean. 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Adams Center Sky Club. 
  • Session 1: “Economic Impact of UM Research and Creative Scholarship,” Patrick Barkey, director, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research. 1-1:45 p.m., Adams Center Sky Club.
  • Session 2: “UM Research Session: A Collaborative Conversation to Improve Rural Health Outcomes.” Panel Discussion: Erin Bills, coordinator at Area Health Education Center and Montana Office of Rural Health; Craig Ravesloot, director of rural health policy research at the Rural Institute; Curtis Noonan, UM associate professor of epidemiology, UM Center for Environmental Health Sciences; and Charlene “Charlie” Winters, Montana State University College of Nursing. The session will be moderated by Martin Blair, executive director of the Rural Institute. 2-3 p.m., Mansfield Library Theta Rho Room.
  • Session 3: “UM Creative Scholarship Session: Biblioclasm: The Beginnings of Book Burning,” Nathaniel Levtow, associate professor, UM Liberal Studies Program. 3:15-4:15 p.m., Mansfield Library Theta Rho Room.
  • Reception: Provided by UM Dining, 4:15-5 p.m., Skaggs Building Lobby.
  • Keynote Presentation: Randy Blakely, Vanderbilt University Allan D. Bass Pharmacology Professor, Psychiatry Professor, director of Vanderbilt/NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center for Basic Neuroscience Research and Neurochemistry faculty coordinator of Basic Neuroscience Services Core. 5:15-6:30 p.m., Skaggs Building Room 169.

Tuesday, April 15

  • Poetry-for-Lunch: Poetry reading will celebrate April as Poetry Month and undergraduate creative writing and fine arts. The reading will launch publication of the 2014 Oval Literary Magazine. Noon-1 p.m. Mansfield Library Lobby. 

For more information on “II2014 – Innovation and Imagination 2014” events, call Whittenburg at 406-243-6670 or email







Contact: Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, 406-243-6670,