Always Leading. Forever Valiant.

Feast of Ideas

An intellectual sampler of U-M’s academic excellence, with faculty from diverse disciplines presenting 20-minute talks at Ann Arbor shops, restaurants and galleries. All talks are free and open to the public. This event will take place the evening of Thursday, April 6th.

The Role of Tissue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine in Facial Reconstruction

Stephen E. Feinberg, Professor and Associate Chair of Research, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry

The Bo Store
333 S. Main St.
6:30 p.m.

Regenerative medicine is a broad field that includes tissue engineering, but also incorporates research on self-healing – where the body uses its own systems, sometimes with help of foreign biological material to recreate cells and rebuild tissues and organs. The terms “tissue engineering” and “regenerative medicine” have become largely interchangeable. Professor Feinberg will discuss the applications of these technologies to reconstruction of the cranio-maxillo-facial complex.


School is a Game… But is it a GOOD game?

Barry Fishman, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Information and Education

115 E. Liberty St.
6:30 p.m.

We want students to be deeply engaged with subject matter. We want them to work hard and take on intellectual challenges. We want them to take risks and try new things. And perhaps most importantly, we want students to be resilient in the face of failure. So why is it that the design of our educational system encourages exactly the opposite behaviors? Professor Fishman proposes that our grading and assessment systems are the heart of the problem.

In this talk, Professor Fishman describes an approach called gameful learning – based on observations of one of the most durable and natural environments for learning – learning from play. This is not about learning by playing games. Rather, this talk explains how learning in school is already a kind of game, but a poorly designed one. The goal is to design a better game, and a better system.


Enhancing Oral Health for Children

Margherita Fontana, Professor, School of Dentistry

Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea
123 W. Washington St.
7 p.m.

Tooth decay early in life is a common and debilitating disease, extremely expensive to treat once cavities develop, yet it is completely preventable. Professor Fontana will discuss exiting projects at the School of Dentistry focused on integrating oral health screening and prevention into pediatric medical settings, developing better screening tools to identify young children at high risk for future cavities before they develop so that preventive efforts can be better targeted, and assessing the impact of inexpensive new strategies to manage cavities in young children, which otherwise are usually treated with fillings or extractions, in dental or hospital settings.


A Hospital of Our Own: The Origins and Early History of the University of Michigan Hospital

Joel Howell, Victor Vaughan Professor of the History of Medicine, Medical School

Roeda Studio
319 S. Main St.
7 p.m.

In 1869, the University of Michigan opened the first hospital in the United States to be owned and operated by a university. Professor Howell will discuss the debates over whether the University of Michigan should run a hospital, who should run it, what should be in it, why the university decided to keep the hospital in Ann Arbor, and what difference these decisions have made to medical research, education, and patient care in Ann Arbor and elsewhere.


Using Your Purchasing Power to Support Green Companies and Products

Thomas Lyon, Dow Chair of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

The Himalayan Bazaar
218 S. Main St.
7 p.m.

Want to keep Earth healthy for the future? Use your buying power to reward companies and products that are doing the right thing and punish those that aren’t! But with all the “fake news” on the internet, how can you figure out which is which? This talk by Professor Lyon will share cutting edge research results on how to use information to make a difference for the planet.


The Politics of Judging

Andrew D. Martin, Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Professor of Political Science and Statistics

Knight’s Downtown
600 E. Liberty St.
8:30 p.m.

Judges play a crucial role in American governance because nearly all political issues end up in the courts. During this session by Dean Andrew Martin, you’ll take a look at how politics affect the actions of Supreme Court justices and gain an understanding of how they decide cases.


Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring

Josh Mergos, Clinical Assistant Professor, IONM Program Director, School of Kinesiology

The Victor’s Collection by The M Den
307 S. State St.
7 p.m.

Intraoperative Neuromonitoring (IONM) is a specialized health care field that entails the protection of neural structures during various surgical procedures. Post-operative deficits ranging from hearing loss to quadriplegia are minimized by employing this intraoperative applied science. The University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology is home to the first accredited program in IONM where students gain didactic and clinical education in this exciting and evolving health care field. This presentation by Professor Mergos will discuss the basic science, challenges, and future directions of IONM.


Emotion and Consumer Financial Decision-Making

Scott Rick, Associate Professor of Marketing, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

The Blue Nile
221 E. Washington St.
6 p.m.

We often make decisions based on feelings rather than deep thinking. This can be a great time-saver. But when consumers make financial decisions, relying on feelings can lead to important departures from economically optimal behavior. Professor Rick will discuss some of those influential feelings and their implications for our financial well-being, overall happiness, and romantic relationships.


Poverty and the Foster Care System: The Data, Challenges, and A Call to Action

Vivek Sankaran, Director, Child Advocacy Law Clinic, Law School

Ten Thousand Villages
303 S. Main St.
6 p.m.

In the presentation, Professor Sankaran will discuss how poverty plays a role in children entering and remaining in the foster care system. He will present some data describing the system, confront some of the challenges that the system faces, and conclude by talking about legislative steps that need to be taken to address these problems.


Building the Bicentennial Bot

Justin Schell, Director, Shapiro Design Lab

Moe Sport Shops
711 N. University Ave.
6 p.m.

In this presentation, Justin will share the design process and implementation of the “Bicentennial Bot,” a Twitter account that automatically tweets out images from the University of Michigan’s 200-year history. Images are drawn from the University Library Special Collections and the Bentley Historical Library. Favorite images from the bicentennial year will be included in the presentation.


What Does “Sustainable Technology Design” Even Mean?

Steven J. Skerlos, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

Flipside Art Studio
255 E. Liberty St.
6:30 p.m.

Sustainable design of breakthrough technology systems is fantastically challenging. Think up a technology that protects the environment and perhaps a business model cannot be developed for it. Think up a business model that resonates with the market and consumers use so much of the technology that Earth would have been better without it. In the meantime, the landscape is constantly shifting due to transient regulations. In this short presentation, Professor Skerlos will discuss necessary conditions for sustainable design, including some examples.


Geek Heresy: Why Technology is Terrific and Terrible at the Same Time

Kentaro Toyama, W. K. Kellogg Associate Professor, School of Information

Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
318 S. Main St.
8 p.m.

How is it that ISIS can recruit vulnerable young people on American soil using the same Internet that connects us to the tragic news of terrorism? Is Facebook a net benefit to society, given that it channels both fake news and important news about loved ones? Why has forty years of Silicon Valley innovation had no effect on rates of poverty, skyrocketing inequality, or political polarization in America? Despite the ubiquity of digital technology, few of us have a consistent framework for thinking about its impact. Drawing on research experiences in which he sought technological solutions to social challenges in India, Professor Toyama proposes a “Law of Amplification” that concisely captures what we can expect of technology.


Creating the Exhibition: Chinese Dance: National Movements in a Revolutionary Age, 1945-1965

Emily Wilcox, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies

Liangyu Fu, Chinese Studies Librarian, University Library

Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, First Floor Gallery
913 S. University Ave.
7 p.m.

On display in the Hatcher Library Gallery, the exhibit introduces modern Chinese dance history through issues of ethnicity, nation, gender, and class. It tells the stories of individual dancers and choreographers, and it explores relationships among dance, popular media, and global exchange. The talk, led by curators Emily Wilcox and Liangyu Fu, will introduce the collaborative process behind the creation of an exhibit. The exhibit features materials from the University of Michigan Library’s Asia Library, the largest resource of materials for Chinese dance research in North America.


Using Modern Genetics to Understand Bipolar Disorder

Sebastian Zöllner, John G. Searle Associate Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health

Seva Restaurant
2541 Jackson Ave.
7 p.m.


Bipolar disorder is one of the world’s 10 most disabling conditions, taking away healthy years from affected individuals.  But the causes of the disease are unknown; the only known risk factor for the disease is having family members with the disease.  This clustering of cases in families is a hallmark of diseases that are caused by genetic variation inherited from parents to offspring.  Identifying the underlying genetic variation can provide a window into the biology of bipolar disorder and thus improve treatment of the disease.  Professor Zoellner will lay out several projects at the University of Michigan searching for these genetic variants and explain how new technologies have created new opportunities and challenges for gene mapping.    





Feast of Ideas is supported by