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  • richardmitnick 8:47 am on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , HIV is a retrovirus, Retroviruses, The Darwinian interpretation of evolution remains preeminent, What the Planet of the Apes Franchise Teaches Us About Evolution   

    From Center For Humans & Nature: “What the Planet of the Apes Franchise Teaches Us About Evolution” 


    Center For Humans & Nature

    William B. Miller, Jr. M.D.

    The Planet of the Apes series is one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood history. Since 1968, and over the course of six attention-grabbing movies, nearly 2 billion dollars has flowed from audiences to Hollywood.

    War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Let Me In; Cloverfield) from a screenplay co-written with Mark Bomback (Total Recall; The Night Caller).

    In the most recent films of that series, the narrative begins with ALZ-12, a drug designed to cure Alzheimer’s. In the movie, that drug was based on a specific type of virus, known as a retrovirus. Retroviruses easily infect cells but can also make a special copy of their own DNA that can be inserted into a genome, which is our basic central system of heredity. In the case of the apes that were exposed to the drug, the retrovirus used in the drug successfully inserts into their DNA and they are permanently and dramatically changed.

    Sounds like a great science fiction plot, right? Not entirely. This type of retroviral infection has happened throughout evolutionary history. It’s even happening right now. For example, HIV is a retrovirus. Another example, is Koala retrovirus, which is very similar to HIV. An important difference, especially if you are a Koala, is that this particular retrovirus has successfully inserted itself into the Koala genome and is now a part of their heredity DNA. This is a particular surprise since it has only been a very few years that we have been aware that this type of infectious insertion could happen and an instance of it has already been documented in real-time.

    Over the course of evolution, we, as humans, have not been spared. There is substantial evidence of overwhelming viral contributions to our human genome. It has been estimated that as much as 50% our genome can be considered viral in origin with at least 9% of it known to be specifically retroviral in origin.

    In the most recent movie in the franchise, War for the Planet of the Apes, a worldwide retroviral infection proves a boon to the apes. Non-human primates, and particularly the apes, became smarter and stronger. They gain the ability to speak. Their reflexes and endurance are improved. Even their eye color is changed. The outcome for the humans? Not so good. That same virus caused a mass human extinction. The few remaining humans that survive are immune but, arguably, not as clever as the apes.

    Of course, nothing like this has actually happened right before our eyes. But the mechanism by which these evolutionary processes are portrayed is not scientifically unreasonable if you are willing to accept the growing scientific evidence that the standard Darwinian narrative of evolution needs some contemporary adjustment.

    Certainly, the Darwinian interpretation of evolution remains preeminent. Darwinists insist that evolution proceeds by tiny changes through random genetic variations. Once those genetic accidents occur, the direction of evolution is shaped by natural selection. If the changes promote an organism that is more ‘fit’, meaning that it can reproduce more successfully than another, then this random mutation and the change it allows can continue. Crucially though, for Darwinists, evolutionary changes are necessarily small in scale.

    Yet, there are a growing number of scientists that think otherwise. They believe that evolution can move in jumps from time to time. And pertinent to War for the Planet of the Apes, those scientists think that these bigger evolutionary gaps happen through the insertion of an infectious agent, like a retrovirus. The theory is that every once in a while, a virus can insert in a genome and trigger a significant rearrangement of our underlying genetic code. This switch of code can reveal faculties that have been present within the code but have remained hidden or add new stretches of code that can be used by for our benefit.

    So, why is this not far-fetched? CRISPR teaches us why. CRISPR is a new and highly effective scientific technique for altering a genome with a deliberate accuracy. CRISPR is an acronym that stands for the particular specialized regions of DNA separated by spaces in a genome which are the targets of that technique. Scientists have devised a means of inserting carefully tailored clusters of DNA into these areas by taking advantage of those repeating segments and the spaces in between them. Importantly though, those spaces are areas of previously inserted viral code as a result of prior infectious attacks by viruses or retroviruses. Over the course of evolution, new virus attacks have yielded new spacers. Scientists are able to use small segments of genetic code to precisely insert or delete genetic code based on those spaces and the types of code in between. The important point is that the mechanics of CRISPR is very similar to how infectious code has always interacted with our native DNA.

    So what does this mean for evolution? Quite directly, if Man can do it, then Nature has always done so. Man is not yet capable of devising a method of adjusting any genetic code that Nature has not already provided. When scientists inserts bits of genetic code to correct a problem, they are mimicking a natural process and making adjustments to it fit our ends.

    Certainly, any of the CRISPR alternations may yield substantial benefits. But, the process is still very new with wide-ranging consequences. If genetic syndromes that affect how we look, act, or metabolize can be adjusted by Man by a focused switch of code, then Nature has done it, too. Not often, surely, but just enough to yield the complex organisms that we can observe.

    A salient question arises. What parameters and controls ought to be placed on this technique that so powerfully mimics the actual mechanisms of evolution? Do we, as yet, understand the entirety of its implications or are we inadvertently exposing ourselves to substantial unintended consequences?

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  • richardmitnick 1:10 pm on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , Physicists Just Cracked The Problem of Stabilising a Totally New Kind of Particle, , , VCU   

    From Science Alert: “Physicists Just Cracked The Problem of Stabilising a Totally New Kind of Particle” 


    Science Alert

    19 SEP 2017

    Virginia Commonwealth University

    Scientists have discovered the existence of a type of particle that’s never previously been observed, which demonstrates unprecedented chemical stability for its kind.

    It’s big news for chemists and physicists – but the achievement isn’t just exciting for theoretical scientists, because, if researchers can figure out how to make it in the lab, it could also enable new kinds of consumer products, such as aluminium-ion batteries.

    The new discovery is the modelling of what’s called a tri-anion particle, so-called because they contain three more electrons than protons.

    While these have been found before, they’ve always been atomically unstable in the gas phase due to their surplus of electrons – that is, until now.

    Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University used computer modelling to show that stable tri-anions are in fact possible – at least hypothetically – as long as you’ve got the right molecular ratios of the elements boron and beryllium paired with the chemical compound cyanogen.

    Tri-anion particles are usually unstable in the gas phase because their extra electrons means they dispel additional electrons due to strong electrostatic repulsion, which interrupts chemical reactions.

    But a team led by physicist Puru Jena used quantum mechanical calculations to show that a molecule called BeB11(CN)12 is actually chemically stable – so robust in fact, that they described it in their paper as exhibiting “colossal stability”.

    “This is very important in this field, nobody has ever found such a tri-anion,” says Jena.

    “Not only can it keep three electrons but the third electron is extremely stable.”

    The researchers also had success substituting cyanogen for the chemical compounds thiocyanate (SCN) and borate (BO) .

    “The implication of the extraordinary stability of the above tri-anions is that one can regard this class of clusters as super-pnictogens,” the researchers write, “analogous to super-halogens discovered more than 30 years ago.”

    Pnictogens are a class of chemicals including nitrogen and phosphorus that have three unpaired electrons in their outermost electron shell, and which are known for their stability.

    These belong in group 15 of the Periodic Table, and the researchers say the newly discovered BeB11(CN)12 – and its thiocyanate and borate variants – mimic the chemistry and stability of the group.

    What that means in terms of industrial applications is that they could be used to develop new kinds of aluminium-ion batteries, with the tri-anion helping to make the battery conductive by moving from one of its electrodes to the other.

    Much like with di-anions – particles that have two additional electrons – tri-anions could be used for much more than just batteries, however.

    “Such particles are very important for many reasons. Number one, they make salts. Secondly, they are used in all kinds of chemical compounds, such as those in floor cleaners as oxidising agents that kill bacteria,” Jena says.

    “They are also used to purify air, which is a billion-dollar industry, and in mood enhancers, similar to what Prozac does. The potential uses are endless.”

    To be clear, the results are only based on computer modelling for now, so someone still needs to physically create the particle in the lab.

    But perhaps the most exciting part of the discovery is that now that we know these colossally stable kinds of particles are possible, it will encourage scientists to look for what other kinds of never-before-seen molecular arrangements are out there.

    “The guiding principles we have used in this paper will help with the design of other tri-anions,” Jena says.

    “The question is: What do we do with this knowledge?”

    It sounds like it won’t be long before we find out.

    The findings are reported in Angewandte Chemie.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:27 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A major application could be in mobile and wearable electronics, Applied Research & Technology, , flexible device could provide efficient cooling for mobile electronics – or people, The system’s flexibility also means it could eventually be used in wearable electronics robotic systems and new types of personalized cooling systems, The tendency to overheat remains a major challenge for engineers, Thin,   

    From UCLA newsroom: “Thin, flexible device could provide efficient cooling for mobile electronics – or people” 

    UCLA Newsrooom

    September 18, 2017
    Matthew Chin

    Because the system is built on a flexible polymer film, it could be adapted for devices with complex curvature or with moving surfaces. UCLA Engineering

    Engineers and scientists from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International, a nonprofit research and development organization based in Menlo Park, California, have created a thin flexible device that could keep smartphones and laptop computers cool and prevent overheating.

    The system’s flexibility also means it could eventually be used in wearable electronics, robotic systems and new types of personalized cooling systems. It is the first demonstration of a solid state cooling device based on the electrocaloric effect — a phenomenon in which a material’s temperature changes when an electric field is applied to it. The research was published Sept. 15 in Science.

    The method devised by UCLA and SRI researchers is very energy-efficient. It uses a thin polymer film that transfers heat from the heat source (a battery or processor, typically) to a “heat sink,” and alternates contact between the two by switching on and off the electric voltage. Because the polymer film is flexible, the system could be adapted for devices with complex curvature or with moving surfaces.

    “We were motivated by the idea of devising a personalized cooling system,” said Qibing Pei, UCLA a professor of materials science and engineering and the study’s principal investigator. “For example, an active cooling pad could keep a person comfortable in a hot office and thus lower the electricity consumption for building air conditioning. Or it could be placed in a shoe insole or in a hat to keep a runner comfortable in the hot Southern California sun. It’s like a personal air conditioner.”

    A major application could be in mobile and wearable electronics. As most smartphone and tablet users know, devices tend to heat up when they are used, particularly with power-intensive applications like video streaming. So although the devices are made with interior metal radiators designed to pull heat away from the battery and computer processors, they can still overheat, which can even cause them to shut down. And excessive heat can damage the devices’ components over time.

    That tendency to overheat remains a major challenge for engineers, and with the anticipated introduction of more flexible electronic devices, it’s an issue that researchers and device manufacturers are working hard to address. The cooling systems in larger devices like air conditioners and refrigerators, which use a process called vapor compression, are simply too large for mobile electronics. (They’re also impractical for smartphones and wearable technology because they use a chemical coolant that is an environmental hazard.)

    “The development of practical efficient cooling systems that do not use chemical coolants that are potent greenhouse gases is becoming even more important as developing nations increase their use of air conditioning,” said Roy Kornbluh, an SRI research engineer.

    The UCLA–SRI system also has certain advantages over another advanced type of cooling system, called thermoelectric coolers, which require expensive ceramic materials and whose cooling capabilities don’t yet measure up to vapor compression systems.

    Pei said the invention’s other potential applications could include being used in a flexible pad for treating injuries, or reducing thermal “noise” in thermographic cameras, which are used by scientists and firefighters, and in night-vision devices, among other uses.

    The study’s lead authors are UCLA postdoctoral scholar Rujun Ma and doctoral student Ziyang Zhang, both members of Pei’s research group. Other authors are Kwing Tong, a UCLA graduate student; David Huber, a research engineer at SRI; and Yongho Sungtaek Ju, a UCLA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

    The research was supported by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The researchers have submitted a U.S. patent application for the device.

    See the full article here .

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    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

  • richardmitnick 7:48 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , cGAS, How oxygen-deprived tumors survive body’s immune response, Hypoxia, MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system,   

    From Salk: “MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system” 

    Salk Institute bloc

    Salk Institute for Biological Studies

    September 18, 2017

    Salk researchers discover how oxygen-deprived tumors survive body’s immune response.

    The immune system automatically destroys dysfunctional cells such as cancer cells, but cancerous tumors often survive nonetheless. A new study by Salk scientists shows one method by which fast-growing tumors evade anti-tumor immunity.

    The Salk team uncovered two gene-regulating molecules that alter cell signaling within tumor cells to survive and subvert the body’s normal immune response, according to a September 18, 2017, paper in Nature Cell Biology. The discovery could one day point to a new target for cancer treatment in various types of cancer.

    Visible regions of hypoxia in tumor samples correlate with cell signaling linked to suppressing the immune system. Credit: Salk Institute

    “The immunological pressure occurring during tumor progression might be harmful for the tumor to prosper,” says Salk Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, senior author of the work and holder of the Roger Guillemin Chair. “However, the cancer cells find a way to evade such a condition by restraining the anti-tumor immune response.”

    Cancerous tumors often grow so fast that they use up their available blood supply, creating a low-oxygen environment called hypoxia. Cells normally start to self-destruct under hypoxia, but in some tumors, the microenvironment surrounding hypoxic tumor tissue has been found to help shield the tumor.

    “Our findings actually indicate how cancer cells respond to a changing microenvironment and suppress anti-tumor immunity through intrinsic signaling,” says Izpisua Belmonte. The answer was through microRNAs.

    MicroRNAs—small, noncoding RNA molecules that regulate genes by silencing RNA—have increasingly been implicated in tumor survival and progression. To better understand the connection between microRNAs and tumor survival, the researchers screened different tumor types for altered levels of microRNAs. They identified two microRNAs—miR25 and miR93—whose levels increased in hypoxic tumors.

    The team then measured levels of those two microRNAs in the tumors of 148 cancer patients and found that tumors with high levels of miR25 and miR93 led to a worse prognosis in patients compared to tumors with lower levels. The reverse was true for another molecule called cGAS: the lower the level of cGAS in a tumor, the worse the prognosis for the patient.

    Previous research has shown that cGAS acts as an alarm for the immune system by detecting mitochondrial DNA floating around the cell—a sign of tissue damage—and activating the body’s immune response.

    “Given these results, we wondered if these two microRNA molecules, miR25 and miR93, could be lowering cGAS levels to create a protective immunity shield for the tumor,” says Min-Zu (Michael) Wu, first author of the paper and formerly a research associate in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory, now at Amgen.

    That is exactly what the team confirmed with further experiments. Using mouse models and tissue samples, the researchers found that a low-oxygen (hypoxia) state triggered miR25 and miR93 to set off a chain of cell signaling that ultimately lowered cGAS levels. If the researchers inhibited miR25 and miR93 in tumor cells, then cGAS levels remained high in low-oxygen (hypoxic) tumors.

    Researchers could slow tumor growth in mice if they inhibited miR25 and miR93. Yet, in immune-deficient mice, the effect of inhibiting miR25 and miR93 was diminished, further indicating that miR25 and miR93 help promote tumor growth by influencing the immune system.

    Identifying miR25 and miR93 may help researchers pinpoint a good target to try to boost cGAS levels and block tumor evasion of the immune response. However, the team says directly targeting microRNA in treatment can be tricky. Targeting the intermediate players in the signaling between the two microRNAs and cGAS may be easier.

    “To follow up this study, we’re now investigating the different immune cells that can contribute to cancer anti-tumor immunity,” adds Wu.

    Other authors on the paper include Carolyn O’Connor, Wen-Wei Tsai, and Lorena Martin of Salk; Wei-Chung Cheng, Su-Feng Chen and Kou-Juey Wu of the China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; Shin Nieh, Chia-Lin Liu, and Yaoh-Shiang Lin of the National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan; and Cheng-Jang Wu and Li-Fan Lu of the University of California, San Diego.

    Funding was provided by the Razavi Newman Integrative Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute, the Chapman Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, The Moxie Foundation and UCAM.

    See the full article here .

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    Salk Institute Campus

    Every cure has a starting point. Like Dr. Jonas Salk when he conquered polio, Salk scientists are dedicated to innovative biological research. Exploring the molecular basis of diseases makes curing them more likely. In an outstanding and unique environment we gather the foremost scientific minds in the world and give them the freedom to work collaboratively and think creatively. For over 50 years this wide-ranging scientific inquiry has yielded life-changing discoveries impacting human health. We are home to Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences who train and mentor the next generation of international scientists. We lead biological research. We prize discovery. Salk is where cures begin.

  • richardmitnick 12:49 pm on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , ,   

    From U Aberdeen: “Scientists locate potential magma source in Italian supervolcano” 

    U Aberdeen bloc

    University of Aberdeen

    18 September 2017
    Robert Turbyne

    Scientists have now pinpointed the location of the hot zone where hot materials rose to feed the caldera during its last period of activity in the 1980s.

    Scientists have found the first direct evidence of a so-called ‘hot zone’ feeding a supervolcano in southern Italy that experts say is nearing eruption conditions.

    Campi Flegrei is a volcanic caldera to the west of Naples that last erupted centuries ago.

    The area has been relatively quiet since the 1980s when the injection of either magma or fluids in the shallower structure of the volcano caused a series of small earthquakes.

    Using seismological techniques, scientists have now pinpointed the location of the hot zone where hot materials rose to feed the caldera during this period.

    The study was led by Dr Luca De Siena at the University of Aberdeen in conjunction with the INGV Osservatorio Vesuviano, the RISSC lab of the University of Naples, and the University of Texas at Austin. The research provides a benchmark that may help predict how and where future eruptions could strike.

    “One question that has puzzled scientists is where magma is located beneath the caldera, and our study provides the first evidence of a hot zone under the city of Pozzuoli that extends into the sea at a depth of 4 km,” Dr De Siena said.

    “While this is the most probable location of a small batch of magma, it could also be the heated fluid-filled top of a wider magma chamber, located even deeper.”

    Dr De Siena’s study suggests that magma was prevented from rising to the surface in the 1980s by the presence of a 1-2 km-deep rock formation that blocked its path, forcing it to release stress along a lateral route.

    While the implications of this are still not fully understood, the relatively low amount of seismic activity in the area since the 1980s suggests that pressure is building within the caldera, making it more dangerous.

    “During the last 30 years the behaviour of the volcano has changed, with everything becoming hotter due to fluids permeating the entire caldera,” Dr De Siena explained.

    “Whatever produced the activity under Pozzuoli in the 1980s has migrated somewhere else, so the danger doesn’t just lie in the same spot, it could now be much nearer to Naples which is more densely populated.

    “This means that the risk from the caldera is no longer just in the centre, but has migrated. Indeed, you can now characterise Campi Flegrei as being like a boiling pot of soup beneath the surface.

    “What this means in terms of the scale of any future eruption we cannot say, but there is no doubt that the volcano is becoming more dangerous.

    “The big question we have to answer now is if it is a big layer of magma that is rising to the surface, or something less worrying which could find its way to the surface out at sea.”

    Dr De Siena’s study – Source and dynamics of volcanic caldera unrest: Campi Flegrei. 1983-84 – is available to view here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08192-7

    See the full article here .

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    U Aberdeen Campus

    Founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, the University of Aberdeen is Scotland’s third oldest and the UK’s fifth oldest university.

    William Elphinstone established King’s College to train doctors, teachers and clergy for the communities of northern Scotland, and lawyers and administrators to serve the Scottish Crown. Much of the King’s College still remains today, as do the traditions which the Bishop began.

    King’s College opened with 36 staff and students, and embraced all the known branches of learning: arts, theology, canon and civil law. In 1497 it was first in the English-speaking world to create a chair of medicine. Elphinstone’s college looked outward to Europe and beyond, taking the great European universities of Paris and Bologna as its model.
    Uniting the Rivals

    In 1593, a second, Post-Reformation University, was founded in the heart of the New Town of Aberdeen by George Keith, fourth Earl Marischal. King’s College and Marischal College were united to form the modern University of Aberdeen in 1860. At first, arts and divinity were taught at King’s and law and medicine at Marischal. A separate science faculty – also at Marischal – was established in 1892. All faculties were opened to women in 1892, and in 1894 the first 20 matriculated female students began their studies. Four women graduated in arts in 1898, and by the following year, women made up a quarter of the faculty.

    Into our Sixth Century

    Throughout the 20th century Aberdeen has consistently increased student recruitment, which now stands at 14,000. In recent years picturesque and historic Old Aberdeen, home of Bishop Elphinstone’s original foundation, has again become the main campus site.

    The University has also invested heavily in medical research, where time and again University staff have demonstrated their skills as world leaders in their field. The Institute of Medical Sciences, completed in 2002, was designed to provide state-of-the-art facilities for medical researchers and their students. This was followed in 2007 by the Health Sciences Building. The Foresterhill campus is now one of Europe’s major biomedical research centres. The Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare, a £20m healthcare training facility, opened in 2009.

  • richardmitnick 10:26 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , ,   

    From ETH Zürich: Women in STEM- “At home in the world of cold atoms” Physicist Laura Corman 

    ETH Zurich bloc

    ETH Zürich

    Isabelle Herold

    Laura Corman plunges into the world of cold atoms (Image: Annick Ramp/ETH Zürich)

    Physicist Laura Corman is fascinated by the behaviour of electrons in solids. But this up and coming researcher’s other interests give her plenty of opportunities to get out of the lab.

    For most people, the world of cold atoms is likely to be somewhat of an enigma. In contrast, Laura Corman (a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Quantum Electronics) can’t hide her enthusiasm when she explains how atoms suddenly become visible and gather into clouds. For her, this is a unique visual experience – almost magical. The cooling of atoms to near absolute zero allows scientists to draw conclusions about the behaviour of electrons in solids.

    Laura Corman enjoys popularising science and succeeded in taking her complex subject through to the finals of the competition “Ma thèse en 180 secondes” (My thesis in 180 seconds). Here, she compared atoms to the spectators in the hall: If they have time, they occupy an even spread of seats. If you stop them abruptly, however, there are gaps here and collisions there. “After that, even my grandmother understood what my work is about,” the 29-year-old says.

    Corman discovered her passion for science as a ten-year-old when she visited an amateur observatory during the summer holidays in Provence. She is enormously grateful to her parents – her father is an engineer in the automobile industry, her mother a teacher – for giving her and her younger brother the opportunity to discover different worlds from an early age.

    When she went to university, she moved from the northernmost tip of France to Paris. There, whole new horizons once again opened up before her: “As I experimented with my own projects, I increasingly understood how things were connected.” In her spare time, she became involved in an association helping socially disadvantaged children to learn mathematics and physics.

    In the minority

    When it came to studying for her Master’s in physics, she toyed with the idea of an exchange in the USA. Then some colleagues brought ETH to her attention, and she applied immediately. The interest was mutual: ETH offered Corman an Excellence Scholarship, and her move to Switzerland was settled. To round off her year, she received the Willi Studer Prize for her outstanding mark in her final Master’s examination.

    As a woman, she has always been in a minority within her subject. As far as she is concerned, though, this has hardly made any difference – or rather, just once. This was when Corman felt that she was getting less interesting work to do than her male colleagues during an industrial internship. Being a direct person, she refused to accept that. In hindsight, she wondered to what extent the problem really had to do with the fact she is a woman, or whether perhaps prejudices were distorting her perception. “Men probably never ask themselves questions like that,” Corman acknowledges thoughtfully.

    Laura Corman, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Quantum Electronics

    When Professor of Quantum Optics Tilman Esslinger invited her to return to his laboratory at ETH after her doctorate in Paris, she did not hesitate for a moment. The team is fantastic, the infrastructure and support superb, says Corman. She is now receiving support from the ETH fellowship programme for promising postdoctoral researchers, although she still finds it a huge challenge to give lectures in German. In order to improve their language skills and make some contacts, she and her partner play handball at the ASVZ. “Whether it’s handball or German, we are total beginners in both,” she laughs.

    Corman is adamant that she would continue to pursue her career, even if she were to become a mother someday. In France that’s the norm, she explains, although the conditions there are somewhat different: a single income is not usually enough to get by, but then day care places are affordable and in sufficient supply. Corman gets annoyed that it is often only women who are confronted with the issue of reconciling work and family life. Nowadays that’s just as much a matter for men, and it’s mainly a question of organisation.

    Where her career path will one day lead her still remains to be seen: “It would be fantastic to establish my own group at a university. But exciting possibilities might be lying in wait in other places too – everything is left to play for.”

    See the full article here .

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    ETH Zurich campus
    ETH Zurich is one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. It is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

    Founded in 1855, ETH Zurich today has more than 18,500 students from over 110 countries, including 4,000 doctoral students. To researchers, it offers an inspiring working environment, to students, a comprehensive education.

    Twenty-one Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, underlining the excellent reputation of the university.

  • richardmitnick 2:40 pm on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alfvén eigenmodes, Applied Research & Technology, DIII-D National Fusion Facility, , NOVA and ORBIT simulation codes, ,   

    From PPPL: “Physicists propose new way to stabilize next-generation fusion plasmas” 


    September 11, 2017
    Raphael Rosen

    PPPL physicist Gerrit Kramer.(Photo by Elle Starkman)

    A key issue for next-generation fusion reactors is the possible impact of many unstable Alfvén eigenmodes, wave-like disturbances produced by the fusion reactions that ripple through the plasma in doughnut-shaped fusion facilities called “tokamaks.” Deuterium and tritium fuel react when heated to temperatures near 100 million degrees Celsius, producing high-energy helium ions called alpha particles that heat the plasma and sustain the fusion reactions.

    These alpha particles are even hotter than the fuel and have so much energy that they can drive Alfvén eigenmodes that allow the particles to escape from the reaction chamber before they can heat the plasma. Understanding these waves and how they help alpha particles escape is a key research topic in fusion science.

    If only one or two of these waves are excited in the reaction chamber, the effect on the alpha particles and their ability to heat the fuel is limited. However, theorists have predicted for some time that if many of these waves are excited, they can collectively throw out a lot of alpha particles, endangering the reactor chamber walls and the efficient heating of the fuel.

    Recent experiments conducted on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, which General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in San Diego, have revealed evidence that confirms these theoretical predictions.

    DIII-D National Fusion Facility


    Losses of up to 40 percent of high-energy particles are observed in experiments when many Alfvén waves are excited by deuterium beam ions used to simulate alpha particles and higher-energy beam ions in a fusion reactor such as ITER, which is now under construction in the south of France.

    In the wake of this research, physicists at the DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) produced a quantitatively accurate model of the impact of these Alfvén waves on high-energy deuterium beams in the DIII-D tokamak. They used simulation codes called NOVA and ORBIT to predict which Alfvén waves would be excited and their effect on the confinement of the high-energy particles.

    The researchers confirmed the NOVA modeling prediction that over 10 unstable Alfvén waves can be excited by the deuterium beams in the DIII-D experiment. Furthermore, in quantitative agreement with the experimental results, the modeling predicted that up to 40 percent of the energetic particles would be lost. The modeling demonstrated for the first time, in this type of high-performance plasma, that quantitatively accurate predictions can be made for the effect of multiple Alfvén waves on the confinement of energetic particles in the DIII-D tokamak.

    “Our team confirmed that we can quantitatively predict the conditions where the fusion alpha particles can be lost from the plasma based on the results obtained from the modeling of the DIII-D experiments” said Gerrit Kramer, a PPPL research physicist and lead author of a paper that describes the modeling results in the May issue of the journal Nuclear Fusion.

    The joint findings marked a potentially large advance in comprehension of the process. “These results show that we now have a strong understanding of the individual waves excited by the energetic particles and how these waves work together to expel energetic particles from the plasma,” said physicist Raffi Nazikian, head of the ITER and Tokamaks Department at PPPL and leader of the laboratory’s collaboration with DIII-D.

    The NOVA+ORBIT model further indicated that certain plasma conditions could dramatically reduce the number of Alfvén waves and hence lower the energetic-particle losses. Such waves and the losses they produce could be minimized if the electric current profile in the center of the plasma could be broadened, according to the analysis presented in the scientific article.

    Experiments to test these ideas for reducing energetic particle losses will be conducted in a following research campaign on DIII-D. “New upgrades to the DIII-D facility will allow for the exploration of improved plasma conditions,” Nazikian said. “New experiments are proposed to access conditions predicted by the theory to reduce energetic particle losses, with important implications for the optimal design of future reactors.”

    The DOE Office of Science supported this research. Members of the research team contributing to the published article included scientists from PPPL, General Atomics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

    See the full article here .

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    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

  • richardmitnick 1:51 pm on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Applied Research & Technology, , , , ,   

    From EPFL: “Unexpected facets of Antarctica emerge from the labs” 

    EPFL bloc

    École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL

    Sarah Perrin

    the Akademik Treshnikov Russian icebreaker

    Six months after the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition ended, the teams that ran the 22 scientific projects are hard at work sorting through the many samples they collected. Some preliminary findings were announced during a conference in Crans Montana organized by the Swiss Polar Institute, who just appointed Konrad Steffen as new scientific director (see the interview below).

    Nearly 30,000 samples were taken during the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE). And now, barely six months after the voyage ended, the research teams tasked with analyzing the samples have already produced some initial figures and findings. These were presented in Crans Montana during a conference put together earlier this week by the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI), the EPFL-based entity that ran the expedition. The event, called “High altitudes meet high latitudes,” brought together world-renowned experts in polar and alpine research in an exercise aimed at highlighting the many similarities between these two fields of study.

    Over the course of three months – from December 2016 to March 2017 – 160 researchers from 23 different countries sailed around the Great White Continent on board a Russian icebreaker. They ran 22 research projects in an effort to learn more about the impact of climate change on these fragile and little-known regions. The valuable samples, taken from the Southern Ocean, the atmosphere and a handful of remote islands, are now back at the labs of the 73 scientific institutions involved in the expedition.

    The route of the ACE expedition.

    Most of the teams that ran the 22 projects are still carrying out the preliminary task of sorting through and identifying the samples, which means the initial results are necessarily incomplete and provisional. It is only later that the samples will be analyzed. Some important observations can nevertheless be made at this stage.

    A solid database

    The sum total of the samples collected represents an impressive and valuable database. The SPI must now come up with ways to organize, group and present the data so that researchers can readily access and make use of it. What’s more, “the large number of potential collaborations and exchanges between projects is becoming clear,” says David Walton, the chief scientist on the expedition. “Some research projects have been found to have links with as much as nine others.” And some startling figures have already been released – here is a look at just a few of them.

    For the SubIce project, around 100 meters of ice cores were taken on five subantarctic islands and the Mertz Glacier, which sits on the edge of the Antarctic continent. The chemical composition of the cores will be analyzed in an attempt to trace climate change over recent decades. In some places, like Balleny, Peter 1st or Bouvet Islands, it was the first time an ice sample had ever been taken. “Of all the islands where we were able to take samples, that last one was the farthest from the continent,” says Liz Thomas, from British Antarctic Survey. “It’s also the island where the ice in the samples is the most granular. Our findings confirm significant seasonal variations at this location.”

    The air on the continent is so pure that even the hottest cup of tea does not produce any steam. “No particles, no clouds,” explains Julia Schmale, a researcher with the Paul-Scherrer-Institute who measured for aerosols – tiny chemical particles like grains of sand, dust, pollen, soot, sulfuric acid, and so on – throughout the expedition. These particles attach to water molecules and aggregate to form clouds. On Mertz Glacier, her measurements revealed aerosol levels below 100 particles per cm3, which is less than the level found in a cleanroom.

    Christel Hassler and her team, from the University of Geneva, studied bacteria and virus populations in the Southern Ocean. The team took some 170 samples from all around the continent. For the time being, their work consists in isolating and culturing the numerous cells found in the samples. “We will then analyze their DNA in order to identify them,” says Marion Fourquez, a marine biologist. “That will show us whether we have come across any new bacterial strains that have yet never been observed in this region.”

    Bacteria collected on the sedimental floor beneath Mertz glacier, on the Antarctic continent, as part of Christel Hassler’s project (University of Geneva). ©M.Fourquez.

    One of the subsequent lines of research will be to determine their geographical distribution. The researchers will be able to tell if there’s a link between the presence of a given bacterium and that of other microorganisms by comparing their data with data from other projects, like Nicolas Cassar’s. Cassar, from Duke University in the United States, measured concentrations of phytoplankton, which sit at the very bottom of the region’s food chain. “This approach worked out well, and we have nearly continuous samples from along the entire route,” says Walton.

    More than 3,000 whales

    Brian Miller, from the Australian Antarctic Division, was interested in somewhat larger animals. For his project, he used a piece of sophisticated acoustic equipment to listen for and count the number of whales in the Southern Ocean. Walton notes: “In around 500 hours of recordings, the researchers counted for example over 3,000 individual blue whales, although we actually saw only three or so at the surface.” These cetaceans appear to be particularly plentiful in the depths of the Ross Sea.

    Peter Ryan, from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, observed and counted bird populations. He discovered that one of the largest colonies of king penguins, on Pig Island in the Crozet archipelago, had declined drastically – he estimates the numerical loss to be around 75%. “That’s around half a million animals,” says Walton. “We don’t know if they’ve died or migrated to other colonies, like the one in St. Andrews Bay, in South Georgia, which is actually in a growth phase.”

    More complete and detailed results will be published in the coming months.

    Detailed information on SPI and ACE can be found on http://spi-ace-expedition.ch


    “We urgently need to coordinate our efforts.”

    Konrad Steffen, a glaciologist and the new scientific director of the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI), has been involved in polar research for the past 40 years. His work has focused primarily on the Arctic, particularly the changes taking place within Greenland’s ice sheet. He is also a professor at ETH Zurich and director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

    Professor Steffen, why is the Swiss Polar Institute so necessary today?

    Research in this field tended to be conducted by small groups that organized their own expeditions and ran their own projects. In Switzerland, there had never been any kind of initiative aimed at coordinating all this work. The effects of climate change on polar and alpine regions are now so evident that we urgently need to coordinate our efforts and conduct cross-disciplinary research. This is what we did with the ACE project, where researchers from fields like oceanography, glaciology and biology came together in an attempt to improve our understanding of the climate-change process in a region.

    What for you is the top priority when it comes to the polar regions?

    At the SPI, one of our aims is to devise a strategic plan within the scientific community. More personally, I think that we urgently need to assess the mass balance of ice sheets across the globe. That’s what will have the greatest and swiftest impact in terms of rising sea levels and changes to our coastlines. Instead of studying individual glaciers in the Alps, we need to look at the bigger picture and observe in detail how the atmosphere interacts with large ice sheets, such as those in Greenland and the Antarctic. We need to connect the dots to see how the system as a whole is affected.

    What made the ACE such an innovative expedition?

    There have been many scientific expeditions to the Antarctic, but they usually only cover part of the continent. This was the first time that an expedition went all the way around the continent in one three-month period, studying all the oceans during the same season. That provides a fuller picture of the issues, such as microplastics – during the trip, we really saw that they were everywhere! The expedition also served up attractive career opportunities for budding young scientists and enabled several research groups to establish long-term partnerships.

    Are any other expeditions in the pipeline?

    Yes, the next one is planned for 2019. The aim is to sail around Greenland. We are in the process of looking for a vessel and determining what sort of research will be undertaken during the trip.


    See the full article here .

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    EPFL campus

    EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university with students, professors and staff from over 120 nations. A dynamic environment, open to Switzerland and the world, EPFL is centered on its three missions: teaching, research and technology transfer. EPFL works together with an extensive network of partners including other universities and institutes of technology, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and colleges, industry and economy, political circles and the general public, to bring about real impact for society.

  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, cryo-EM at Yale, , , Yale Medicine   

    From Yale: “New imaging facility is a ‘revolution'” 

    Yale University bloc

    Yale University

    Cryo-electron microscope at West Campus brings unprecedented capabilities to Yale, spurring science and faculty recruitment.

    School of Medicine faculty who welcomed the new device at its June dedication include (l-r) Jorge Galán, Thomas Pollard, Charles Sindelar, Scott Strobel, Yong Xiong, and Frederick Sigworth. (Photo by Harold Shapiro)

    cryo-EM at Yale

    Microscopy at Yale has just received a major upgrade. Structural biologists at the School of Medicine and scientists from across the university have begun obtaining three-dimensional images at near-atomic resolutions from what Jorge E. Galán, Ph.D., D.V.M., chair and Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and professor of cell biology, calls “the mother of all microscopes.” The Titan Krios cryoelectron microscope arrived at West Campus in January and was dedicated in June. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is high-resolution electron microscopy of cryogenically cooled specimens. The specimens are unstained, and rapidly frozen so they are embedded in vitreous ice.

    As multimillion-dollar investments in infrastructure go, bringing cryo-EM to Yale was a rapid process, according to Scott A. Strobel, Ph.D., Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of chemistry, deputy provost for teaching and learning, and vice president for West Campus planning and program development. “The West Campus had a space that was ideally suited for this instrument in terms of height, and in terms of being on bedrock,” Strobel says. While preparing that space for such a delicate installation was still a huge task, its physical configuration allowed the work to move more quickly than would have been possible elsewhere. Says Strobel, “From the time we decided to do it to the time it was in place was less than a year.”

    The new device allows investigators to see structures in ways they previously could not. Its resolution rivals that of X-ray crystallography, but where crystallography requires looking at specimens in isolation, severed from biological systems of which they are a part, cryo-EM permits examination of samples in ways that better illustrate their function. Previously, researchers could only estimate the structure and function of many systems they study. Now, for the first time, they actually are seeing them.

    School of Medicine faculty who welcomed the new device at its June dedication include (l-r) Jorge Galán, Thomas Pollard, Charles Sindelar, Scott Strobel, Yong Xiong, and Frederick Sigworth. (Photo by Harold Shapiro)
    New imaging facility is a “revolution”

    Cryo-electron microscope at West Campus brings unprecedented capabilities to Yale, spurring science and faculty recruitment

    Microscopy at Yale has just received a major upgrade. Structural biologists at the School of Medicine and scientists from across the university have begun obtaining three-dimensional images at near-atomic resolutions from what Jorge E. Galán, Ph.D., D.V.M., chair and Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and professor of cell biology, calls “the mother of all microscopes.” The Titan Krios cryoelectron microscope arrived at West Campus in January and was dedicated in June. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is high-resolution electron microscopy of cryogenically cooled specimens. The specimens are unstained, and rapidly frozen so they are embedded in vitreous ice.

    As multimillion-dollar investments in infrastructure go, bringing cryo-EM to Yale was a rapid process, according to Scott A. Strobel, Ph.D., Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of chemistry, deputy provost for teaching and learning, and vice president for West Campus planning and program development. “The West Campus had a space that was ideally suited for this instrument in terms of height, and in terms of being on bedrock,” Strobel says. While preparing that space for such a delicate installation was still a huge task, its physical configuration allowed the work to move more quickly than would have been possible elsewhere. Says Strobel, “From the time we decided to do it to the time it was in place was less than a year.”

    The new device allows investigators to see structures in ways they previously could not. Its resolution rivals that of X-ray crystallography, but where crystallography requires looking at specimens in isolation, severed from biological systems of which they are a part, cryo-EM permits examination of samples in ways that better illustrate their function. Previously, researchers could only estimate the structure and function of many systems they study. Now, for the first time, they actually are seeing them.

    Images with 3-angstrom (3Å) resolution are now readily available to investigators such as Frederick J. Sigworth, Ph.D., professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. “The difference between 5Å or 8Å [the best resolutions attainable with Yale’s prior generation of equipment] and 3Å is huge,” says Sigworth, who hopes his work on ion channel function within cells can form the basis for therapies for muscular diseases. “It’s the difference between being able to pretty well place where the atoms are in a protein versus just saying, ‘Well, roughly we’ve got this kind of shape and this kind of structure.’ If you can place all the atoms, then you can begin to think, ‘OK, how is a drug going to bind to this, or how does a hormone interact with this binding pocket to activate this receptor?’ ”

    Yong Xiong, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, says what investigators in Yale laboratories can see is “a revolution for us” and “will change how we do things.” Xiong’s primary work is deciphering the intricate dance between antiviral proteins in the immune system and viruses such as HIV. “We want to see how the virus infects the host, how the host tries to suppress the infection, and how the virus then develops another mechanism to escape the host’s suppression.”

    He now will take advantage of the new microscope’s ability to perform cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), a method still in its relative infancy whose capabilities include creating high-resolution 3-D images from an unprecedented array of angles. Xiong predicts that seeing clear images of specimens in their native environment, within cells, will be a major advance. He says the standard method prior to cryo-ET has been, “We take [the specimen] out, apply an input, look at the output, and guess what it is doing. If we can use cryo-electron tomography to directly see it, that power is unprecedented.” Xiong says cryo-ET may be the sort of advance that comes along only once in a few decades.

    In the lab of Charles V. Sindelar, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, one object of particular interest is the flagellum—a propeller-like molecular machine that transports pathogens through human tissue, causing diseases that include syphilis and Lyme disease. If flagella can be disabled, Sindelar explains, pathogens cannot move, so they cannot penetrate the body. “Flagella images in the past were uninterpretable,” Sindelar says. “We couldn’t translate them into a 3-D shape because they lie down in a certain way inside the microscope.” Those days, he says, are over, thanks to cryo-ET. “What we have been doing is basically tilting the stage [of the new instrument] back and forth and getting beautiful images like nothing we’ve ever seen. We could never have taken that to atomic resolution with anything except the device we have here.”

    Galán proclaims that cryo-ET “is truly, truly the future.” His own work focuses on molecular machines that directly inject bacterial proteins into mammalian cells. He hopes to find ways by which cells can thwart that interaction—an approach that could be superior to attacking the bacteria, which increasingly resist antibiotics. Galán says tomography may be the key to success.

    It also is key to bringing even more of the world’s top scientists to Yale. In September, Jun Liu, Ph.D., a renowned expert in tomography, will come to the School of Medicine faculty from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, joining Galán’s Department of Microbial Pathogenesis. Says Galán of Liu, who has collaborated with Yale scientists in the past, “We’re bringing in someone who will be able to take us into the big leagues in cryo-electron tomography.”

    Recruitment efforts by other departments are also well underway, spurred by the arrival of the cryo-EM. Strobel says, “We are going to be able to bring new faculty to Yale as a result of this instrument.”

    As it draws top talent to Yale, the new device may also help democratize structural biology research. So intricate is the process of preparing purified samples for crystallography that, Sigworth recalls, “before the mid-1990s anyone who solved a membrane protein structure by X-ray crystallography got a Nobel Prize. It was that hard.” Preparing samples for comparable analysis by cryo-EM is far simpler. “With an automated instrument like this, solving an atomic structure is becoming so easy it can be part of a grad student’s thesis,” Sigworth says. “In fact, it could be a side project.”

    “What technology is allowing us to do now is completely breathtaking,” adds Galán. “We can see microbes in action. We can see them in excruciating detail as allowed by instruments like the Titan Krios. And I think that is in essence a fantastic strength of Yale as a university, and for the medical school as well.”

    See the full article here .

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    Yale University Campus

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

  • richardmitnick 12:03 pm on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , ,   

    From Cornell Tech: “Cornell Tech Campus Opens on Roosevelt Island, Marking Transformational Milestone for Tech in NYC” 

    Cornell Tech

    Cornell Tech today celebrated the official opening of its campus on Roosevelt Island with a dedication event attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Cornell University President Martha Pollack, Technion President Peretz Lavie and Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher. Cornell Tech is the first campus ever built for the digital age, bringing together academia and industry to create pioneering leaders and transformational new research, products, companies and social ventures. Today marks the opening of the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus, which features some of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings in the world.

    In 2011, Cornell Tech was named the winner of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Administration’s visionary Applied Sciences Competition, designed with the goal of diversifying the economy and creating a national hub for tech. The project, managed by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, has been carried forward by the de Blasio administration, with the campus breaking ground in 2015. The City estimated in 2011 that the new campus would generate up to 8,000 permanent jobs, hundreds of spin-off companies and more than $23 billion in economic activity over a period of 35 years. The campus is built on 12 acres of City land.

    “With the opening of Cornell Tech, Cornell University, in partnership with the Technion, is defining a new model for graduate education — a model that melds cutting-edge research and education with entrepreneurship and real world application,” said Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack. “We are so grateful to the City of New York for offering us a chance to launch this venture, to the many other partners who have helped bring us to this day, and to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their continued commitment and support. Today marks the beginning of a new era of opportunity not only for Cornell and the tech campus, but also for New York City, the state and the world.”

    “Today’s Cornell Tech campus opening marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s ongoing work to foster innovation in New York and beyond,” said Professor Peretz Lavie, President of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “In partnership with Cornell, we’ve developed a model of graduate-level technology education that is unlike any other – one that’s tailor-made not only for New York City but for the challenges of the digital revolution.”

    “Thanks to our investments to foster key industries, create good-paying jobs, and attract top talent, New York is the center of the world for finance, advertising, media, the arts and international commerce, but we are still building our reputation as an internationally-recognized hub of cutting-edge science and technology. By harnessing the engineering expertise of Cornell and the entrepreneurial spirit of Technion, Cornell Tech’s new campus will strengthen New York’s future competitiveness and produce innovations that will change the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    “As we work to keep New York City a leader in the 21st Century economy, we celebrate the opening of the Cornell Tech campus and the opportunities it opens up for our city and our people. I am proud to welcome our newest leading educational institution, which will become a tremendous catalyst for our tech sector. We won’t stop here. Through Computer Science for All, the Tech Talent Pipeline and the new Union Square Tech Hub, we are building on the progress Mayor Bloomberg set in motion, and helping more New Yorkers become a part of this extraordinary success story,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    “Cornell Tech is an investment in the future of New York City — a future that belongs to the generations to come, and the students here will help build it. Technological innovation played a central role in New York City becoming a global economic capital – and it must continue to play a central role for New York to remain a global economic capital. The companies and innovations spawned by Cornell Tech graduates will generate jobs for people across the economic spectrum and help our city compete with tech centers around the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul,” said Mike Bloomberg.

    “I’m thrilled that the Cornell Tech campus is finally opening on Roosevelt Island,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.“With its proximity to Manhattan and to industrial space in Western Queens, Roosevelt Island is the perfect setting for an educational institution, which is which is why I worked hard to ensure that it was selected when the City was considering locations for the new applied science campus. Cornell Tech will help us diversify our economic base and bring jobs through new startups. A New York school generates New York businesses and employs New Yorkers. As students are welcomed to the new campus, we know this is just the beginning – and that the future for this institution will be bright.”

    “Cornell Tech will create the leaders of tomorrow, bringing the brightest minds in the field of technology to Roosevelt Island. The digital age has not only improved the efficiency and productivity at the workplace, but created competitive high-paying salaries and stable jobs that keep overall unemployment rates lower. Cornell Tech is ahead of the curve by providing academic programs and training that will make this a world-renowned institution,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright.

    “The new Cornell Tech campus is a wonderful addition to Roosevelt Island and will continue to propel New York City as a leader in technology and innovation. Not only will this state of the art campus generate thousands of permanent jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity over the next 30 years, but is also environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Many thanks to Cornell Tech and all of my colleagues in government and on Roosevelt Island that helped to complete this special project,” said New York State Senator José M. Serrano.

    “This milestone is a game-changer – and this campus is a New York City gem. As it prepares students for jobs of the future today, Cornell Tech will keep our city competitive in emerging industries tomorrow. This transformative project truly cements New York City as a global tech hub, and it illustrates what happens when government, academia, and industry all work together. Every stakeholder in this project should be exceptionally proud,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

    “As our world becomes more tech-centered, the Cornell Tech campus will allow New York City to be at the heart of the innovation, leadership — and most importantly, jobs — in this space. This campus will bring academics, research and business together and educate the bright minds of our future. I look forward to seeing all that Cornell Tech has to offer our City, and to working with Cornell Tech to ensure that New Yorkers from every corner of our City benefit from this world-class institution,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

    “Cornell Tech is a tremendous boost to New York’s growing tech community and a welcome addition to our city’s pantheon of world-class academic institutions,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s been thrilling to watch the campus’ buildings rise on Roosevelt Island and to see the community partnerships this institution has already made possible.”

    “The dedication of the Cornell Tech campus is an incredible achievement for New York City that has been almost seven years in the making,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Not only does the addition of this institution enhance an already impressive slate of educational offerings, but its presence brings New York City’s drive for innovation to the cutting edge. I look forward to the thousands of students and faculty who will bring their research and insights to the five boroughs, and I am proud of the partnership between Cornell, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the New York City Council that saw about $300,000 allocated toward making this dream a reality.”

    “The opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island is a victory for Western Queens and New York City that will create jobs and reassert the region as a global leader in tech and innovation,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Just one stop on the F train to Western Queens, the proximity of the new campus and tech incubator to Western Queens will be beneficial for the people of my district and for the students of Cornell Tech looking to start new businesses. With unmatched resources for small businesses, including a diverse and talented workforce, Long Island City will be a natural place for new tech businesses to call home, develop breakthroughs, and create jobs. I thank all involved in this historic project for their good work and look forward to working closely with our new neighbor, Cornell Tech.”

    “Tech now has a new home in New York City on Roosevelt Island at Cornell Tech. We are growing jobs and educating the next leaders of the tech economy right here on Roosevelt Island so the next big thing in tech will be ‘Made in New York,” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, a tech entrepreneur. “Welcome to Cornell Tech, Dean Dan Huttenlocher and thank you to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the vision, Mayor de Blasio and RIOC President Susan Rosenthal for making it happen, and the Roosevelt Island community for being a part of this every step of the way. I look forward to working with Cornell Tech on bringing millions in investment to growing companies on Roosevelt Island and in New York City.”

    See the full article here .

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    Academic Program & Research

    Cornell Tech started up in a temporary space generously provided by Google and has already graduated more than 300 masters and doctoral students, with most entering the New York City tech sector after graduation by joining local companies or starting their own. Masters students across all programs — computer science, law, business, electrical engineering, operations research, connective media and health tech — spend time learning and working collaboratively together in a Studio curriculum with extensive engagement with the tech industry. The projects students pursue in the Studio encourage them to practice entrepreneurship, product design, tech and public policy, management and other skills, helping them graduate with tangible, marketable experience and a portfolio of completed work that will help launch their career.

    Cornell Tech’s 30-member faculty has launched cutting-edge research groups in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing, Security and Privacy, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Modeling, and Business, Law and Policy. All of the faculty have a focus on applied research and having a real world impact.

    “We are entering a new era for tech in New York, and the Cornell Tech campus is at the heart of it. Cornell Tech was given the rare opportunity to create a campus and academic program from scratch. The opening of our new campus brings together academic disciplines critical to the digital transformation of society and the economy, together with companies, early stage investors, and government to spark innovation and help improve the lives of people throughout the City, country and world,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.

    “Cornell Tech is a natural 21st-century expression of Cornell University’s founding principles,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. “The new campus is both completely transformative – and completely consistent with our values and our mission to pursue knowledge with a public purpose. While Ithaca remains the heart of the university, we serve New Yorkers through outreach and engagement in all 62 counties of New York state and have been deeply integrated in New York City for more than a century. The innovative programs at Cornell Tech affirm our institution’s vision, enhance our land-grant mission, and reflect the spirit of all Cornellians.”

    The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech is a unique academic partnership of two leading global universities, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell. The Institute houses the Health Tech and Connective Media programs, where students receive dual degrees from Cornell and the Technion, and the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program for recent tech PhDs.The Runway program has been responsible for about half of the more than 30 companies that have spun out of the Cornell Tech campus with more than $20 million in funds raised and employing more than 100 people.

    “The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a cornerstone of Cornell Tech, combining Cornell’s commitment to discovery with Technion’s global leadership in applied research and entrepreneurship. From our dual masters degree programs, to our groundbreaking faculty research, to the innovative companies spinning out of the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program, our partnership and impact will grow on our new campus. Through the Jacobs Institute, Cornell Tech and New York City as a whole will always be on the leading edge, experimenting with novel ways to educate, discover, and innovate,” said Ron Brachman, Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

    “By steering students through Cornell Tech, and its soon-to-come Verizon Executive Education Center, we can build students and business people into lifelong learners and inspire them to be more innovative and impactful leaders. Our investment in Cornell Tech, is a testament of our belief that technology can be a transforming force in our society. This unique institution will be a model for the future and a shining example of how to solve big challenges and make people’s lives better,” said Lowell McAdam, Chairman and CEO of Verizon.

    “Even without a permanent campus, Cornell Tech has already established a proven track record of developing innovative companies and top tier talent here in New York City. Now in its beautiful new home on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech immediately establishes itself as one of New York’s premier tech institutions—helping us attract and retain the technical talent and companies our industry needs to grow and thrive,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC.

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