TUE AM News: Marquette researcher gets $950,000 NSF grant; August home sales down 6.3 percent over the year, report shows

— An associate professor of biological sciences at Marquette University has received a $950,000 grant for her research into certain aging disorders. 

Disorders including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease are linked to proteins that are incorrectly formed, or misfolded, and aggregated in areas of the body including the brain. Dr. Anita Manogaran received the grant funding from the National Science Foundation to study how cells respond to these proteins. 

In a release from the university, she notes that “you never see” these diseases in young people. 

“This means that young cells know how to take care of these damaging protein aggregates, and old cells are just not that good at it,” she said. “However, if we can understand what goes on in young cells, we should be able to unlock what is going wrong in old cells.”

Manogaran and fellow scientists will study how cells respond to these protein aggregates by using a structure called the cytoskeleton to organize and shift them into different parts of the cell. The research effort will focus on how factors such as age and environmental stress play a role in these response mechanisms. 

Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University, says the project could have a “tremendous influence in research on neurodegenerative diseases by expanding the knowledge of their causes at the cellular level.” 

The NSF funding will support the research effort, as well as integration of certain related experiments into an undergraduate course at Marquette University in Milwaukee and Madison-based Lakeland University. 

See more on the work done at Manogaran’s lab: https://www.marquette.edu/biology/directory/manogaran.php 

— Monthly home sales for August decreased by 6.3 percent over the year, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. 

The report shows 8,958 homes were sold in the state this August, compared to 9,562 in August 2020. Sales fell in every region in the state for the second straight month, the report shows. 

Over the same period, the number of statewide home listings fell by 10.2 percent, from 28,200 in August of last year to 25,314 in August 2021. WRA notes that “homes continue to move quickly,” as the average number of days on the market was 65 days in August, compared to 88 days in the previous August. 

Meanwhile, the median home price in Wisconsin rose by 6.4 percent, from $235,000 to $250,000 over the same period. 

“Strong demand and weak supply create ideal conditions for strong price appreciation, and that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing over the past year,” said Michael Theo, president and CEO of WRA. 

See the report: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/August-2021-Statistics-and-Data-Charts-combined.pdf 

— The state Public Service Commission is awarding 15 grant recipients with a total of $915,265 for feasibility studies focused on Critical Infrastructure Microgrids and Community Resilience Centers in the state. 

The CIMCRC pilot grant program was created in June through the state Office of Energy Innovation. It’s aimed at exploring pre-disaster mitigation through “resilient building strategies” including microgrids for critical infrastructure. 

“I am hopeful that these feasibility studies will stimulate local leaders across the state to learn from other communities and further develop Wisconsin’s knowledge and planning,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq.

Funded projects will study the potential benefits of implementing renewable energy, energy storage and other measures to “bolster preparedness and resiliency” in facilities including an airport, a hospital complex, a water treatment facility, tribal buildings and municipal operations centers. Awardees will contribute $611,438 in matching funds, a PSC release shows. 

See the list of awardees in a PSC memo: https://apps.psc.wi.gov/ERF/ERFview/viewdoc.aspx?docid=420888 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/psc-awards-15-grants-to-study-critical-infrastructure-microgrids-and-community-resilience-centers/ 

— The latest USDA crop report shows farmers in Wisconsin are focused on corn silage, cutting hay and planting winter wheat. 

The report, from the agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, covers the week ending Sept. 19. It shows sections of northern and southern Wisconsin saw “noticeable precipitation” last week, while the central regions had little to no rain. Dryer areas of the state are reporting soil moisture “still short of adequate.” 

Meanwhile, crop growth is proceeding ahead of the five-year average for corn and soybeans. 

See the report: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/2021/WI-Crop-Progress-09-20-21.pdf 

— Foxconn hired 50 workers at a job fair held at its Mount Pleasant campus earlier this month, a report from BizTimes Milwaukee shows. 

An earlier report from the Milwaukee Business Journal shows Foxconn has been advertising to fill more than 100 jobs at the campus related to making computer equipment. The company plans to host a second job fair, BizTimes reported. 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the state is spiking upward, reaching 2,741 cases per day at latest count. 

The Department of Health Services dashboard shows that’s the highest the average has been since Jan. 11, when the number of new cases was falling rapidly. The number of new confirmed cases on Friday was 3,636, which has only been exceeded on one other day in 2021, Jan. 6. 

Based on the latest totals for COVID-19 deaths in the state, the seven-day average for new deaths from the virus was 11 per day. Wisconsin’s death toll from the virus is 7,837, the DHS site shows. 

Meanwhile, the number of patients hospitalized in Wisconsin with COVID-19 also continues to rise. The Wisconsin Hospital Association site shows 1,071 people in the state are currently hospitalized due to the virus, including 333 patients in the ICU. 

The DHS dashboard shows 90.6 percent of hospital beds in the state and 93.3 percent of ICU beds were in use as of Sept. 14, the latest day for which numbers are available.

As of Monday, 56.2 percent of the state’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 53 percent had completed the vaccine series. The Centers for Disease Control site shows 63.9 percent of the U.S. population have gotten at least one dose, and 54.7 percent are fully vaccinated. 

See the latest case numbers here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/cases.htm 

— The Department of Health Services has finalized the transition to the DHS Connect program, an electronic health records system at seven state facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders. 

The agency had begun implementing the system at these facilities in November 2018, and completed the process with the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston. The system is meant to make it easier for care providers to log new data and access information like patient records. 

“We now have a modern recordkeeping system that will better support our staff and our partners in delivering high-quality services and supports well into the future,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake in a statement. 

Planning initially began for the system in 2013, and the DHS Office of Electronic Health Records Systems Management was created to oversee the effort in 2016. Missouri-based information technology company Cerner was selected to supply technical components for the system, which was then built by DHS staff. 

See more on the system in a release: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/092021.htm 

— The Wisconsin Technology Council is accepting applications from startup companies for the Early Stage Symposium, which gives young companies several opportunities to pitch to investors. 

This year’s event is planned for Nov. 3-4 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, and features two pitch opportunities: the Tech Council Investor Networks track, which features five-minute presentations; and the Elevator Pitch Olympics, in which selected entrepreneurs will give a 90-second pitch for attendees and a panel of investors. 

All registered businesses are eligible for the Investor Intros opportunity, which provides selected companies the chance to meet one-on-one with angel and venture investors. 

The deadline to apply online is 5 p.m. on Friday. 

See more event details in the release: https://wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/calling-all-companies-sign-up-for-early-stage-symposium-learn-a-lot-meet-with-investors/ 

— A virtual luncheon event today will highlight how bills to boost infrastructure will affect Wisconsin’s green economy. 

The event, hosted by WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com, features David Kieve, director of Public Engagement for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He will give an overview of where the bills currently stand. 

Two state lawmakers will discuss how the federal money could boost state efforts: Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee and vice-chair of the Senate Transportation and Local Government Committee; and Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, a member of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. today. 

See details and register here: https://www.wispolitics.com/2021/september-21-wispolitics-com-wisbusiness-com-virtual-luncheon-on-the-green-economy-2/ 


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– Governor proclaims Sept. 19-25 as Farm Safety Week


– Nominations for Outstanding Young Farmer due next week



– PDPW announces speakers for weekly Dairy Signal



– Summerfest vendors have mixed feelings about turnout, sales


– Lake Superior has seen half a dozen blue-green algae blooms this year



– Buffalo Boss chooses near west side location; West Allis restaurant plans expansion 



– Foxconn hires 50 employees, plans to host second job fair


– Seniors sought for UW-La Crosse research study of face masks, exercise



– Mueller Communications will move to Milwaukee Fortress building


– Walk to End Alzheimer’s projected to raise more than $67,000



– 252 apartments pitched for Nature’s Nook property in Franklin



– Dane Co. Farmers’ Market shifting to Breese Stevens Field to make room for Art Fair on the Square


– MKE Boxing Club moving to new home on near west side



<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Wisconsin crop progress and condition

Marquette University: Biological science professor receives $950,000 NSF grant

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Client assistance program moves to Disability Rights of Wisconsin