OF THE MIND
TECH INSTRUMENT CENTER
TO BLACK MOUNTAIN
MAY UNLOCK MAD COW DISEASE
SPEECH WASN'T FREE
When my children were young, we often would begin a jigsaw puzzle during the winter months. We would sort through the jumble of tiny pieces that all looked alike and painstakingly take the time to turn each piece over so that the design faced up. We sorted the pieces by color, and first and foremost searched for all pieces of the border so that we had a bit of structure for “the big picture.” While an elementary analogy, comparisons are easy to make between a jigsaw puzzle and life at a research institution like The University of Montana.
As demonstrated by this issue of Vision, while the topic may vary from molecular supercomputing to fire ecology to pharmacology, researchers often focus on very small pieces of a very big picture. For example, we have numerous studies under way that are researching components of hearing loss, stroke, migraines and heart failure. Whether trying to grow hair cells in the inner ear, develop new heart valves or better understand diseases like Alzheimer’s or Lou Gehrig’s, UM researchers diligently examine each puzzle piece in an effort to better understand the big picture. Obviously, research success in these areas will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of Montanans.
This diligence and dedication stretches across campus as UM scholars focus on their respective areas of expertise. Research and creative activities reach far beyond the confines of a petri dish or scholarly publication; scholarship is shared in the classroom, and student enthusiasm and interest are ignited. In fact, the big picture of research involves new scientific breakthroughs, grants that pay faculty and student salaries and supplement state support, cutting-edge research taught in the classrooms by world-class faculty, technology that is patented and licensed, and companies that are created and spun out of the University to contribute to our state’s economic base.
As we all know, once the border of a jigsaw puzzle is in place, the design is much easier to piece together. For researchers, that border may be best identified as a helpful administrative structure. To that end, I am proud to assist UM researchers so that they are able to concentrate on piecing together the rest of the puzzle.
I hope you find this issue of Vision as engaging and informative as I do.