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  • richardmitnick 10:36 pm on January 4, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Recent UCLA grad helped Wikipedia set the record straight on ‘Rain Man’ and autism", ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, ,   

    From The University of California-Los Angeles: “Recent UCLA grad helped Wikipedia set the record straight on ‘Rain Man’ and autism” 

    From The University of California-Los Angeles

    12.21.22 [Just today in social media.]
    Lucy Berbeo

    1
    Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise as Raymond Babbitt and Charlie Babbitt in “Rain Man.” Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    The 1988 film Rain Man won four Academy Awards, earned millions at the box office and moved audiences with its depiction of a central character with autism, played by Dustin Hoffman.

    But at least some of that depiction obscured or misrepresented aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder. And because the movie has reached such a wide audience, those discrepancies have informed how generations of viewers perceive the condition. Until recently, many of the same issues also lived on in the Wikipedia entry about Rain Man.

    That’s where Madeline Utter comes in.

    2
    Madeline Utter. Courtesy of Madeline Utter

    Before she graduated from The University of California-Los Angeles in June, Utter took a course called Performance and Disability Studies, taught by visiting professor Elizabeth Guffey. As part of the course, Utter watched the film for the first time, and she was struck by elements that seemed to misrepresent Autism Spectrum Disorder and Savant Syndrome. The latter is a condition in which a person with a developmental disorder shows remarkable brilliance in a specific area, such as music or math — the film’s protagonist, Raymond Babbitt, for example, is able to quickly perform complex mathematical calculations.

    For a course project, Guffey tasked her students with researching and rewriting Wikipedia entries about representations of disability in performance to ensure they reflected the latest disability studies research. Utter chose Rain Man — and saw an opportunity to right a few things that the film, as well as the Wikipedia entry, had gotten wrong.

    Wikipedia allows any user to edit articles directly with the proviso that revisions and additions must be attributable to reliable sources* or they may be removed by other users. Utter revised the Rain Man article, adding context about how the film’s portrayal of neurodivergent conditions led to public misunderstanding.

    Wikipedia bills itself as the world’s largest reference website, and the Rain Man entry typically receives about 2,500 visitors a day. Since Utter updated the page in May, it has been viewed more than 465,000 times. Utter has two brothers with autism, so the opportunity to improve the public’s understanding of the condition has been especially meaningful for her.

    “From watching the film through a critical lens, to getting feedback from my peers on the article, to finally seeing the published article, I learned so much,” said Utter, who graduated in June with a major in communication and a minor in film studies. “The biggest impact that this project had on me was to start to be able to recognize the places in film where disability representation can be improved.”

    UCLA’s disability studies program comprises courses in a range of academic subjects, from media arts to anthropology to nursing. Students play an active role in advancing creative approaches to service and advocacy, from improving health care for people with disabilities to creatively reimagining assistive technology using 3D modeling.

    “Our students in UCLA Disability Studies are future leaders in their fields, and they are already helping to create a more inclusive society,” said Adriana Galván, dean of undergraduate education in the UCLA College. “By participating in projects such as this one, they are making a real-world impact.”

    A program operated by Wiki Education invites college students to write Wikipedia entries through their coursework. The nonprofit profiled Utter’s project on its website.

    *Not entirely true. I wrote the Wikipedia original article on the Sourland Mountain Preserve, a Park in Hillsborough, NJ. I used material provided by the Somerset County Park Commission, but I did so with no permission. I simply copied text from the Park Commission web site and from pamphlets I had. The article has been extensively expanded as the Preserve has grown. I had no problem with my work being accepted. Later, I wanted to add a map of the preserve. I was not allowed to add the map because even though it was provided by the Park Commission I did not have copyright to the map. So even though I used “reliable sources”, namely the Park Commission official map, my entry was disallowed. I eventually got the map added by the Park Commission. Editing at Wikipedia has been significantly tightened up since I did my entry and I think this is a good thing. Originally anyone could edit any article with good or bad intentions and a lot of editing was with bad intentions. Today I could not write my original article and have it accepted because I do not have copyright permission on the material I originally used.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, The University of California-Los Angeles 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.

    The University of California-Los Angeles is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. The University of California-Los Angeles traces its early origins back to 1882 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San Jose State University). It became the Southern Branch of The University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest (after University of California-Berkeley ) of the 10-campus University of California system.

    The University of California-Los Angeles offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines, enrolling about 31,500 undergraduate and 12,800 graduate students. The University of California-Los Angeles had 168,000 applicants for Fall 2021, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

    The university is organized into six undergraduate colleges; seven professional schools; and four professional health science schools. The undergraduate colleges are the College of Letters and Science; Samueli School of Engineering; School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; School of Theater, Film and Television; and School of Nursing.

    The University of California-Los Angeles is called a “Public Ivy”, and is ranked among the best public universities in the United States by major college and university rankings. This includes one ranking that has The University of California-Los Angeles as the top public university in the United States in 2021. As of October 2020, 25 Nobel laureates; three Fields Medalists; five Turing Award winners; and two Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The University of California-Los Angeles as faculty, researchers or alumni. Among the current faculty members, 55 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; 28 to the National Academy of Engineering ; 39 to the Institute of Medicine; and 124 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

    The university was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1974.

    The University of California-Los Angeles student-athletes compete as the Bruins in the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins have won 129 national championships, including 118 NCAA team championships- more than any other university except Stanford University, whose athletes have won 126. The University of California-Los Angeles students, coaches, and staff have won 251 Olympic medals: 126 gold; 65 silver; and 60 bronze. The University of California-Los Angeles student-athletes have competed in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception (1924) and have won a gold medal in every Olympics the U.S. participated in since 1932.

    In 1914, the school moved to a new campus on Vermont Avenue (now the site of Los Angeles City College) in East Hollywood. In 1917, UC Regent Edward Augustus Dickson, the only regent representing the Southland at the time and Ernest Carroll Moore- Director of the Normal School, began to lobby the State Legislature to enable the school to become the second University of California campus, after University of California-Berkeley. They met resistance from University of California-Berkeley alumni, Northern California members of the state legislature, and Benjamin Ide Wheeler- President of the University of California from 1899 to 1919 who were all vigorously opposed to the idea of a southern campus. However, David Prescott Barrows the new President of the University of California did not share Wheeler’s objections.

    On May 23, 1919, the Southern Californians’ efforts were rewarded when Governor William D. Stephens signed Assembly Bill 626 into law which acquired the land and buildings and transformed the Los Angeles Normal School into the Southern Branch of the University of California. The same legislation added its general undergraduate program- the Junior College. The Southern Branch campus opened on September 15 of that year offering two-year undergraduate programs to 250 Junior College students and 1,250 students in the Teachers College under Moore’s continued direction. Southern Californians were furious that their so-called “branch” provided only an inferior junior college program (mocked at the time by The University of Southern California students as “the twig”) and continued to fight Northern Californians (specifically, Berkeley) for the right to three and then four years of instruction culminating in bachelor’s degrees. On December 11, 1923 the Board of Regents authorized a fourth year of instruction and transformed the Junior College into the College of Letters and Science which awarded its first bachelor’s degrees on June 12, 1925.

    Under University of California President William Wallace Campbell, enrollment at the Southern Branch expanded so rapidly that by the mid-1920s the institution was outgrowing the 25-acre Vermont Avenue location. The Regents searched for a new location and announced their selection of the so-called “Beverly Site”—just west of Beverly Hills—on March 21, 1925 edging out the panoramic hills of the still-empty Palos Verdes Peninsula. After the athletic teams entered the Pacific Coast conference in 1926 the Southern Branch student council adopted the nickname “Bruins”, a name offered by the student council at The University of California-Berkeley. In 1927, the Regents renamed the Southern Branch the University of California at Los Angeles (the word “at” was officially replaced by a comma in 1958 in line with other UC campuses). In the same year the state broke ground in Westwood on land sold for $1 million- less than one-third its value- by real estate developers Edwin and Harold Janss for whom the Janss Steps are named. The campus in Westwood opened to students in 1929.

    The original four buildings were the College Library (now Powell Library); Royce Hall; the Physics-Biology Building (which became the Humanities Building and is now the Renee and David Kaplan Hall); and the Chemistry Building (now Haines Hall) arrayed around a quadrangular courtyard on the 400-acre (1.6 km^2) campus. The first undergraduate classes on the new campus were held in 1929 with 5,500 students. After lobbying by alumni; faculty; administration and community leaders University of California-Los Angeles was permitted to award the master’s degree in 1933 and the doctorate in 1936 against continued resistance from The University of California-Berkeley.

    Maturity as a university

    During its first 32 years University of California-Los Angeles was treated as an off-site department of The University of California. As such its presiding officer was called a “provost” and reported to the main campus in Berkeley. In 1951 University of California-Los Angeles was formally elevated to co-equal status with The University of California-Berkeley, and its presiding officer Raymond B. Allen was the first chief executive to be granted the title of chancellor. The appointment of Franklin David Murphy to the position of Chancellor in 1960 helped spark an era of tremendous growth of facilities and faculty honors. By the end of the decade The University of California-Los Angeles had achieved distinction in a wide range of subjects. This era also secured University of California-Los Angeles’s position as a proper university and not simply a branch of the University of California system. This change is exemplified by an incident involving Chancellor Murphy, which was described by him:

    “I picked up the telephone and called in from somewhere and the phone operator said, “University of California.” And I said, “Is this Berkeley?” She said, “No.” I said, “Well who have I gotten to?” ” University of California-Los Angeles.” I said, “Why didn’t you say University of California-Los Angeles?” “Oh”, she said, “we’re instructed to say University of California.” So, the next morning I went to the office and wrote a memo; I said, “Will you please instruct the operators, as of noon today, when they answer the phone to say, ‘ University of California-Los Angeles.'” And they said, “You know they won’t like it at Berkeley.” And I said, “Well, let’s just see. There are a few things maybe we can do around here without getting their permission.”

    Recent history

    On June 1, 2016 two men were killed in a murder-suicide at an engineering building in the university. School officials put the campus on lockdown as Los Angeles Police Department officers including SWAT cleared the campus.

    In 2018, a student-led community coalition known as “Westwood Forward” successfully led an effort to break The University of California-Los Angeles and Westwood Village away from the existing Westwood Neighborhood Council and form a new North Westwood Neighborhood Council with over 2,000 out of 3,521 stakeholders voting in favor of the split. Westwood Forward’s campaign focused on making housing more affordable and encouraging nightlife in Westwood by opposing many of the restrictions on housing developments and restaurants the Westwood Neighborhood Council had promoted.

    Academics

    Divisions

    Undergraduate

    College of Letters and Science
    Social Sciences Division
    Humanities Division
    Physical Sciences Division
    Life Sciences Division
    School of the Arts and Architecture
    Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS)
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    School of Theater, Film and Television
    School of Nursing
    Luskin School of Public Affairs

    Graduate

    Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSEIS)
    School of Law
    Anderson School of Management
    Luskin School of Public Affairs
    David Geffen School of Medicine
    School of Dentistry
    Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health
    Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
    School of Nursing

    Research

    The University of California-Los Angeles is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” and had $1.32 billion in research expenditures in FY 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:23 pm on November 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Autism-linked gene shapes nerve connections", A gene called Gabrb3, A gene linked to autism spectrum disorders plays a critical role in early brain development and may shape the formation of both normal and atypical nerve connections in the brain., ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , , Weill Cornell Medicine   

    From “The Cornell Chronicle”: “Autism-linked gene shapes nerve connections” 

    From “The Cornell Chronicle”

    11.30.22
    Alan Dove Weill | Weill Cornell Medicine

    1
    Brain connectivity is changed upon removal of an autism-associated gene. Neuron is on one side of the brain (labeled in red) and nerve endings are coming from the other side of the brain (labeled in green). Image courtesy of Camilo Ferrer.

    A gene linked to autism spectrum disorders plays a critical role in early brain development and may shape the formation of both normal and atypical nerve connections in the brain, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

    Graphical abstract
    1

    The study, published Nov. 28 in Neuron [below], employed a combination of sophisticated genetic experiments in mice and analysis of human brain imaging data to better understand why mutations in a gene called Gabrb3 are linked to a high risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a related condition called Angelman Syndrome. Both conditions involve abnormal behaviors and unusual responses to sensory stimuli, which appear to stem, at least in part, from the formation of atypical connections between neurons in the brain.

    “Neuronal connections in the brain, and developmental synchronization of neuronal networks, are perturbed in individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and there are specific genes that are implicated in the pathogenesis of ASD,” said co-first author Dr. Rachel Babij, a former student in the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program in the laboratory of Natalia De Marco García, an associate professor in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine. 

    The gene Gabrb3 encodes part of a critical receptor protein found in inhibitory connections in the brain, which tamp down neuronal activity to maintain order in the nervous system, like police officers directing traffic. During development, Gabrb3 also appears to help determine how brain connections form.

    To figure out how Gabrb3 works, Babij and her colleagues tracked cellular signaling inside the brains of both normal animals and those lacking the gene in the early stages of their development. The preclinical experiments, which Babij performed alongside co-first author Camilo Ferrer, a postdoctoral associate in the De Marco García lab, and others, revealed that mice lacking Gabrb3 fail to form the normal network of connections between neurons in a specific brain region involved in sensory processing.

    “It’s not a pervasive problem in which every single neuron will fail to contact, or inappropriately contact, their targets; but it’s actually a subset of cells that are more susceptible to this,” said De Marco García, who is the senior author on the paper.

    In collaboration with Dr. Theodore Schwartz’s lab at Weill Cornell, the authors showed that the net result of Gabrb3 deletion is an increase in functional connections between the two hemispheres of the brain in the genetically modified mice, compared to those with a functional Gabrb3 gene. The genetically modified mice are also hypersensitive to touch. “Basically, what we see is that these neurons are more responsive to sensory stimuli after deletion of this gene,” De Marco García said.

    The team then collaborated with the laboratory of Dr. Conor Liston at Weill Cornell to examine the role of the gene using neuroimaging data from human subjects. The investigators found a correlation between the spatial distribution of the human GABRB3 gene and atypical nerve connectivity in those with ASD. “The lower the expression of GABRB3 in specific brain regions, the more atypical nerve connections these regions were likely to contain,” said De Marco García said.

    While cautioning that it is impossible to draw direct parallels between the preclinical and human data, De Marco García suggests that both analyses point to a model of neurologic disorders in which alterations in genes such as GABRB3 could drive specific changes in neuronal connection patterns, which in turn lead to abnormal behaviors. Interactions between different genes, each with slightly different effects, could yield substantially different outcomes.

    Babij concurs. “What makes one person develop schizophrenia while another person develops ASD, when both have some element of inhibitory neuron dysfunction? I think something about the specific subtypes of neurons affected and the mutations impacting them could play into how people develop these different diseases,” she said.

    Many Weill Cornell Medicine physicians and scientists maintain relationships and collaborate with external organizations to foster scientific innovation and provide expert guidance. The institution makes these disclosures public to ensure transparency. For this information, see profiles for Dr. Liston and Dr. Schwartz.

    Science paper:
    Neuron

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the SUNY – The State University of New York system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.

    History

    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation, accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s JPL-Caltech and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico].

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As a National Science Foundation center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:21 pm on November 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gene Mutation Leading to Autism Found to Overstimulate Brain Cells", A mutation – R451C in the gene Neurologin-3 known to cause autism in humans, ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , Researchers employed CRISPR technology to alter the human stem cells’ genetic material to create a line of cells containing the mutation they wanted to study., , Rutgers-led study highlights potential of new techniques to study mental disorders., The findings suggest that the NLGN3 R451C mutation dramatically impacts excitatory synaptic transmission in human neurons triggering changes in network properties related to disorders.   

    From Rutgers University: “Gene Mutation Leading to Autism Found to Overstimulate Brain Cells” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    11.21.22
    By Kitta MacPherson

    Media Contact
    Patti Zielinski
    patti.zielinski@rutgers.edu

    1
    2018 Billion Photos/Shutterstock. No use without permission. [Used under “Fair Use” for academic teaching purposes.]

    Rutgers-led study highlights potential of new techniques to study mental disorders.

    Scientists looking to understand the fundamental brain mechanisms of autism spectrum disorder have found that a gene mutation known to be associated with the disorder causes an overstimulation of brain cells far greater than that seen in neuronal cells without the mutation.

    The Rutgers-led study, spanning seven years, employed some of the most advanced approaches available in the scientific toolbox, including growing human brain cells from stem cells and transplanting them into mouse brains.

    The work illustrates the potential of a new approach to studying brain disorders, scientists said.

    Describing the study in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry [below], researchers reported a mutation – R451C in the gene Neurologin-3, known to cause autism in humans – was found to provoke a higher level of communication among a network of transplanted human brain cells in mouse brains. This overexcitation, quantified in experiments by the scientists, manifests itself as a burst of electrical activity more than double the level seen in brain cells without the mutation.

    “We were surprised to find an enhancement, not a deficit,” said Zhiping Pang, an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology in the Child Health Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the senior author on the study. “This gain-of-function in those specific cells, revealed by our study, causes an imbalance among the brain’s neuronal network, disrupting the normal information flow.”

    The interconnected mesh of cells that constitutes the human brain contains specialized “excitatory” cells that stimulate electrical activity, balanced by “inhibitory” brain cells that curtail electrical pulses, Pang said. The scientists found the oversized burst of electrical activity caused by the mutation threw the mouse brains out of kilter.

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. About 1 in 44 children have been identified with the disorder, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Studies suggest autism could be a result of disruptions in normal brain growth very early in development, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. These disruptions may be the result of mutations in genes that control brain development and regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, according to the NIH.

    “So much of the underlying mechanisms in autism are unknown, which hinders the development of effective therapeutics,” Pang said. “Using human neurons generated from human stem cells as a model system, we wanted to understand how and why a specific mutation causes autism in humans.”

    Researchers employed CRISPR technology to alter the human stem cells’ genetic material to create a line of cells containing the mutation they wanted to study, and then derived human neuron cells carrying this mutation. CRISPR, an acronym for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, is a unique gene-editing technology.

    In the study, the human neuron cells that were generated, half with the mutation, half without, were then implanted in the brains of mice. From there, researchers measured and compared the electrical activity of specific neurons employing electrophysiology, a branch of physiology that studies the electrical properties of biological cells. Voltage changes or electrical current can be quantified on a variety of scales, depending on the dimensions of the object of study.

    “Our findings suggest that the NLGN3 R451C mutation dramatically impacts excitatory synaptic transmission in human neurons, thereby triggering changes in overall network properties that may be related to mental disorders,” Pang said. “We view this as very important information for the field.”

    Pang said he expects many of the techniques developed to conduct this experiment to be used in future scientific investigations into the basis of other brain disorders, such as schizophrenia.

    “This study highlights the potential of using human neurons as a model system to study mental disorders and develop novel therapeutics,” he said.

    Other Rutgers scientists involved in the study include Le Wang, a postdoctoral associate in Pang’s lab, and Vincent Mirabella, who is earning doctoral and medical degrees as part of the MD-PhD student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Davide Comoletti, an assistant professor, Matteo Bernabucci, a postdoctoral fellow, Xiao Su, a doctoral student, and Ishnoor Singh, a graduate student, all of the Rutgers Child Health Institute of New Jersey; Ronald Hart, a professor, Peng Jiang and Kelvin Kwan, assistant professors, and Ranjie Xu and Azadeh Jadali, postdoctoral fellows, all of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

    Thomas C. Südhof, a 2013 Nobel laureate and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University, contributed to the study, as did scientists at Central South University in Changsha, China; SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y.; University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.; Shaanxi Normal University in Shaanxi, China; and Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

    Science paper:
    Molecular Psychiatry

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers University is a public land-grant research university based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College, and today it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States, the second-oldest in New Jersey (after Princeton University), and one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that were chartered before the American War of Independence. In 1825, Queen’s College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose substantial gift to the school had stabilized its finances during a period of uncertainty. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it has evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated The State University of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature via laws enacted in 1945 and 1956.

    Rutgers today has three distinct campuses, located in New Brunswick (including grounds in adjacent Piscataway), Newark, and Camden. The university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state, including oceanographic research facilities at the New Jersey shore. Rutgers is also a land-grant university, a sea-grant university, and the largest university in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students. The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities and the Universities Research Association. Over the years, Rutgers has been considered a Public Ivy.

    Research

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, also known as RUCCS. This research center hosts researchers in psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, electrical engineering, and anthropology.

    It was at Rutgers that Selman Waksman (1888–1973) discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others. Waksman, along with graduate student Albert Schatz (1920–2005), discovered streptomycin—a versatile antibiotic that was to be the first applied to cure tuberculosis. For this discovery, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952.

    Rutgers developed water-soluble sustained release polymers, tetraploids, robotic hands, artificial bovine insemination, and the ceramic tiles for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. In health related field, Rutgers has the Environmental & Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).

    Rutgers is also home to the RCSB Protein Data bank, “…an information portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures’ cohosted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center. This database is the authoritative research tool for bioinformaticists using protein primary, secondary and tertiary structures worldwide….”

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension office, which is run by the Agricultural and Experiment Station with the support of local government. The institution provides research & education to the local farming and agro industrial community in 19 of the 21 counties of the state and educational outreach programs offered through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Office of Continuing Professional Education.

    Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is the largest university based repository in the world and has received awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health. One will fund genetic studies of mental disorders and the other will support investigations into the causes of digestive, liver and kidney diseases, and diabetes. RUCDR activities will enable gene discovery leading to diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR assists researchers throughout the world by providing the highest quality biomaterials, technical consultation, and logistical support.

    Rutgers–Camden is home to the nation’s PhD granting Department of Childhood Studies. This department, in conjunction with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies, also on the Camden campus, conducts interdisciplinary research which combines methodologies and research practices of sociology, psychology, literature, anthropology and other disciplines into the study of childhoods internationally.

    Rutgers is home to several National Science Foundation IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

    Rutgers also maintains the Office of Research Alliances that focuses on working with companies to increase engagement with the university’s faculty members, staff and extensive resources on the four campuses.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:56 pm on November 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dartmouth Study Offers New Insights into Genetic Mutations in Autism Disorders and Points to Possible Treatments", "PTEN": Gene which normally functions to control cell growth and regulate the ability of neurons to alter the strength of their connections., , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , , , In order to have the best chance of the drug having a therapeutic effect the genetic changes associated with ASD really have to be targeted prior to the onset of symptoms., , , The drug Rapamycin rescues all of the changes in neuronal overgrowth., , When mutated PTEN is a cause of not only ASD but also macrocephaly (enlarged head) and epilepsy.   

    From Dartmouth College and The University of Vermont : “Dartmouth Study Offers New Insights into Genetic Mutations in Autism Disorders and Points to Possible Treatments” 

    From Dartmouth College

    And

    The University of Vermont

    11.1.22
    Timothy Dean

    Findings from a new study published in Cell Reports [below], involving a collaborative effort between researchers at the Luikart Laboratory at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the Weston Laboratory at the University of Vermont, are providing further insight into the neurobiological basis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and pointing to possible treatments.

    In recent years, researchers have established a strong association between certain mutated genes and ASD. One of the most common is called PTEN, which normally functions to control cell growth and regulate the ability of neurons to alter the strength of their connections. When mutated PTEN is a cause of not only ASD but also macrocephaly (enlarged head) and epilepsy.

    1
    (A) Schematic of experimental setup. Retroviruses encoding a fluorophore only (GFP) or a fluorophore and Cre recombinase (mCherry-T2A-Cre) were co-injected into dentate gyrus of Ptenflx/flx animals at postnatal day 7 (P7). Rapamycin (10 mg/kg of body weight) or vehicle was administered intraperitoneally from P10 to P31 daily. At P31, animals were perfused, and immunohistochemistry of hippocampal slices was performed for subsequent imaging and analysis.
    (B) Top panel shows representative images of vehicle-treated immunolabeled granule neurons from Ptenflx/flx animals, while bottom panel shows representative images of rapamycin-treated immunolabeled granule neurons from Ptenflx/flx animals (scale bar represents 20 μm).
    (C) Pten KO-mediated somal hypertrophy was completely rescued with rapamycin treatment, when compared with vehicle-treated Pten KO granule neurons.
    (D) Rapamycin treatment of Pten KO granule neurons completely rescued the farther migration of vehicle-treated Pten KO granule neurons in the granule cell layer (GCL).
    (E) Representative images for spine density analysis (scale bar represents 5 μm).
    (F) The increased spine density of vehicle-treated Pten KO granule neurons was rescued by rapamycin treatment. The mixed-effects model in STATA was performed to determine p value (∗p < 0.05, ∗∗p < 0.01, ∗∗∗p < 0.001, ∗∗∗∗p < 0.0001). See Tables S1A–S1C for detailed statistics and quantitative results.

    “In previous studies, our lab and many others have shown the PTEN mutations result in an increase in the number of excitatory synaptic connections between neurons in mice—which we believe could be the fundamental basis for the symptoms that are exhibited by ASD patients,” explains Bryan Luikart, PhD, an associate professor of molecular and systems biology at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine.

    To mimic the genetic defects found in human autism patients, Luikart and his colleagues have engineered viruses to “knock out” the normal mouse PTEN gene and replace it with the mutated human PTEN gene. They then used sophisticated imaging and electrophysiological techniques to study how neuronal function was altered in mice.

    “Essentially, what we’ve found is that it makes the neuron grow at twice the size of a normal neuron and in doing so forms about four times the number of synaptic connections with other neurons as a normal neuron,” says Luikart. He notes that the work served as a foundation for the new study, in which the research team sought to learn more about the role of other genes and signaling pathways in normal PTEN loss.

    “We were able to determine that if you take out the gene known as Raptor, an essential gene in the mTORC1 signaling pathway, it rescues all of the neuronal overgrowth and synapses that occur with normal PTEN loss,” he says. “We also found that by using the drug Rapamycin to inhibit the mTORC1 pathway—which is necessary for neuronal growth and synapse formation—it rescues all of the changes in neuronal overgrowth.”

    In a clinical trial earlier this year, when Rapamycin was administered to children it showed some benefit to the symptoms of autism. “One caveat is that our work is indicating that in order to have the best chance of having a therapeutic effect, these genetic changes associated with ASD really have to be targeted prior to the onset of symptoms.”

    Still, the study’s findings have important implications for better understanding the neurological basis for ASD and developing effective therapies for patients.

    “If we find that treating with a drug like Rapamycin early enough fixes the actual behavior problems of autism in a human patient, then that tells us we’re really on to something—that these changes that we’re seeing and fixing in our model organism are the cellular or physiological basis of autism in humans,” says Luikart.

    Science paper:
    Cell Reports
    See the science paper for detailed material with images.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Vermont, officially The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, is a public land-grant research university in Burlington, Vermont. It was founded in 1791 and is among the oldest universities in the United States as it was the fifth institution of higher education established in the New England region of the U.S. northeast. It is also listed as one of the original eight “Public Ivy” institutions in the United States. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    The university’s Dudley H. Davis Center was the first student center in the United States to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The largest hospital complex in Vermont, the University of Vermont Medical Center, has its primary facility on the UVM campus and is affiliated with the Robert Larner College of Medicine.

    The University of Vermont was founded as a private university in 1791, the same year Vermont became the 14th U.S. state. The university enrolled its first students 10 years later. Its first president, The Rev. Daniel C. Sanders, was hired in 1800, and served as the sole faculty member for seven years. Instruction began in 1801, and the first class graduated in 1804. In 1865, the university merged with Vermont Agricultural College (chartered November 22, 1864, after the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act), emerging as the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College. The university was granted 150,000 acres, which it sold for $122,626. The University of Vermont draws 6.8 percent of its annual budget of about $600 million from the State of Vermont and Vermont residents make up 35 percent of enrollment, while 65 percent of students come from elsewhere.

    Much of the initial funding and planning for the university was undertaken by Ira Allen, who is honored as UVM’s founder. Allen donated a 50-acre (20 ha) parcel of land for establishment of the university. Most of this land has been maintained as the university’s main green, where stands a statue of Allen.

    The citizens of Burlington helped fund the university’s first edifice, and, when it was destroyed by fire in 1824, also paid for its replacement. This building came to be known as “Old Mill” for its resemblance to New England mills of the time. The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who became a commander in the American Revolution, toured all 24 U.S. states in 1824-1825 and while in Vermont laid the cornerstone of Old Mill, which stands on University Row, along with Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Library, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theatre and Morrill Hall. A statue of Lafayette stands at the north end of the main green.

    The University of Vermont was the first American college or university with a charter declaring that the “rules, regulations, and by-laws shall not tend to give preference to any religious sect or denomination whatsoever.”

    In 1871, UVM defied custom and admitted two women as students. Four years later, it was the first American university to admit women to full membership into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the country’s oldest collegiate academic honor society. Likewise, in 1877, it initiated the first African American into the society.

    Justin Smith Morrill, a U.S. Representative (1855-1867) and Senator (1867-1898) from Vermont, author of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act that created federal funding for establishing the U.S. Land-Grant colleges and universities, served as a trustee of the university from 1865 to 1898.

    In 1924, the first radio broadcast in Vermont occurred from the college station, WCAX, run by students then, now the call sign of a commercial television station.

    For 73 years, until 1969, UVM held an annual “Kake Walk” where students wore blackface.

    The University of Vermont comprises seven undergraduate schools, an honors college, a graduate college, and a college of medicine. The Honors College does not offer its own degrees; students in the Honors College concurrently enroll in one of the university’s seven undergraduate colleges or schools.

    Bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs are offered through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Social Services, the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Graduate College, the Grossman School of Business, and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. The University of Vermont is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

    UVM is ranked tied for 118th in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 national university rankings, and is ranked tied for 54th among public universities.

    In 2019, Forbes America’s Top Colleges list ranks UVM 168th overall out of 650 private and public colleges and universities in America, and also ranks it 48th in the “Public Colleges” category and 91st among “Research Universities.”

    The University of Vermont is ranked 40th on a list published by BusinessWeek.com of the top 50 U.S. colleges and universities whose bachelor’s degree graduates earn the highest salaries.

    In 2014, an analysis of federal data found The University of Vermont to be among the top ten schools in the United States with the highest total rape reports. There were 27 total rape reports on their main campus.

    Dartmouth College campus

    Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire. Established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, Dartmouth is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution and among the most prestigious in the United States. Although founded to educate Native Americans in Christian theology and the English way of life, the university primarily trained Congregationalist ministers during its early history before it gradually secularized, emerging at the turn of the 20th century from relative obscurity into national prominence.

    Following a liberal arts curriculum, Dartmouth provides undergraduate instruction in 40 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs, including 60 majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, and enables students to design specialized concentrations or engage in dual degree programs. In addition to the undergraduate faculty of arts and sciences, Dartmouth has four professional and graduate schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business, and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The university also has affiliations with the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center. Dartmouth is home to the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Hood Museum of Art, the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, and the Hopkins Center for the Arts. With a student enrollment of about 6,700, Dartmouth is the smallest university in the Ivy League. Undergraduate admissions are highly selective with an acceptance rate of 6.24% for the class of 2026, including a 4.7% rate for regular decision applicants.

    Situated on a terrace above the Connecticut River, Dartmouth’s 269-acre (109 ha) main campus is in the rural Upper Valley region of New England. The university functions on a quarter system, operating year-round on four ten-week academic terms. Dartmouth is known for its strong undergraduate focus, Greek culture, and wide array of enduring campus traditions. Its 34 varsity sports teams compete intercollegiately in the Ivy League conference of the NCAA Division I.

    Dartmouth is consistently cited as a leading university for undergraduate teaching by U.S. News & World Report. In 2021, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education listed Dartmouth as the only majority-undergraduate, arts-and-sciences focused, doctoral university in the country that has “some graduate coexistence” and “very high research activity”.

    The university has many prominent alumni, including 170 members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, 24 U.S. governors, 23 billionaires, 8 U.S. Cabinet secretaries, 3 Nobel Prize laureates, 2 U.S. Supreme Court justices, and a U.S. vice president. Other notable alumni include 79 Rhodes Scholars, 26 Marshall Scholarship recipients, and 14 Pulitzer Prize winners. Dartmouth alumni also include many CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 corporations, high-ranking U.S. diplomats, academic scholars, literary and media figures, professional athletes, and Olympic medalists.

    Comprising an undergraduate population of 4,307 and a total student enrollment of 6,350 (as of 2016), Dartmouth is the smallest university in the Ivy League. Its undergraduate program, which reported an acceptance rate around 10 percent for the class of 2020, is characterized by the Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News & World Report as “most selective”. Dartmouth offers a broad range of academic departments, an extensive research enterprise, numerous community outreach and public service programs, and the highest rate of study abroad participation in the Ivy League.

    Dartmouth, a liberal arts institution, offers a four-year Bachelor of Arts and ABET-accredited Bachelor of Engineering degree to undergraduate students. The college has 39 academic departments offering 56 major programs, while students are free to design special majors or engage in dual majors. For the graduating class of 2017, the most popular majors were economics, government, computer science, engineering sciences, and history. The Government Department, whose prominent professors include Stephen Brooks, Richard Ned Lebow, and William Wohlforth, was ranked the top solely undergraduate political science program in the world by researchers at The London School of Economics (UK) in 2003. The Economics Department, whose prominent professors include David Blanchflower and Andrew Samwick, also holds the distinction as the top-ranked bachelor’s-only economics program in the world.

    In order to graduate, a student must complete 35 total courses, eight to ten of which are typically part of a chosen major program. Other requirements for graduation include the completion of ten “distributive requirements” in a variety of academic fields, proficiency in a foreign language, and completion of a writing class and first-year seminar in writing. Many departments offer honors programs requiring students seeking that distinction to engage in “independent, sustained work”, culminating in the production of a thesis. In addition to the courses offered in Hanover, Dartmouth offers 57 different off-campus programs, including Foreign Study Programs, Language Study Abroad programs, and Exchange Programs.

    Through the Graduate Studies program, Dartmouth grants doctorate and master’s degrees in 19 Arts & Sciences graduate programs. Although the first graduate degree, a PhD in classics, was awarded in 1885, many of the current PhD programs have only existed since the 1960s. Furthermore, Dartmouth is home to three professional schools: the Geisel School of Medicine (established 1797), Thayer School of Engineering (1867)—which also serves as the undergraduate department of engineering sciences—and Tuck School of Business (1900). With these professional schools and graduate programs, conventional American usage would accord Dartmouth the label of “Dartmouth University”; however, because of historical and nostalgic reasons (such as Dartmouth College v. Woodward), the school uses the name “Dartmouth College” to refer to the entire institution.

    Dartmouth employs a total of 607 tenured or tenure-track faculty members, including the highest proportion of female tenured professors among the Ivy League universities, and the first black woman tenure-track faculty member in computer science at an Ivy League university. Faculty members have been at the forefront of such major academic developments as the Dartmouth Workshop, the Dartmouth Time Sharing System, Dartmouth BASIC, and Dartmouth ALGOL 30. In 2005, sponsored project awards to Dartmouth faculty research amounted to $169 million.

    Dartmouth serves as the host institution of the University Press of New England, a university press founded in 1970 that is supported by a consortium of schools that also includes Brandeis University, The University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Tufts University and The University of Vermont.

    Rankings

    Dartmouth was ranked tied for 13th among undergraduate programs at national universities by U.S. News & World Report in its 2021 rankings. U.S. News also ranked the school 2nd best for veterans, tied for 5th best in undergraduate teaching, and 9th for “best value” at national universities in 2020. Dartmouth’s undergraduate teaching was previously ranked 1st by U.S. News for five years in a row (2009–2013). Dartmouth College is accredited by The New England Commission of Higher Education.

    In Forbes’ 2019 rankings of 650 universities, liberal arts colleges and service academies, Dartmouth ranked 10th overall and 10th in research universities. In the Forbes 2018 “grateful graduate” rankings, Dartmouth came in first for the second year in a row.

    The 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked Dartmouth among the 90–110th best universities in the nation. However, this specific ranking has drawn criticism from scholars for not adequately adjusting for the size of an institution, which leads to larger institutions ranking above smaller ones like Dartmouth. Dartmouth’s small size and its undergraduate focus also disadvantage its ranking in other international rankings because ranking formulas favor institutions with a large number of graduate students.

    The 2006 Carnegie Foundation classification listed Dartmouth as the only “majority-undergraduate”, “arts-and-sciences focus[ed]”, “research university” in the country that also had “some graduate coexistence” and “very high research activity”.

    The Dartmouth Plan

    Dartmouth functions on a quarter system, operating year-round on four ten-week academic terms. The Dartmouth Plan (or simply “D-Plan”) is an academic scheduling system that permits the customization of each student’s academic year. All undergraduates are required to be in residence for the fall, winter, and spring terms of their freshman and senior years, as well as the summer term of their sophomore year. However, students may petition to alter this plan so that they may be off during their freshman, senior, or sophomore summer terms. During all terms, students are permitted to choose between studying on-campus, studying at an off-campus program, or taking a term off for vacation, outside internships, or research projects. The typical course load is three classes per term, and students will generally enroll in classes for 12 total terms over the course of their academic career.

    The D-Plan was instituted in the early 1970s at the same time that Dartmouth began accepting female undergraduates. It was initially devised as a plan to increase the enrollment without enlarging campus accommodations, and has been described as “a way to put 4,000 students into 3,000 beds”. Although new dormitories have been built since, the number of students has also increased and the D-Plan remains in effect. It was modified in the 1980s in an attempt to reduce the problems of lack of social and academic continuity.

    3

     
  • richardmitnick 10:34 am on November 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UCLA-led study finds brain changes in autism are far more sweeping than previously known", A comprehensive effort to characterize ASD at the molecular level, , ASD and other psychiatric disorders have had a lack of defining pathology., ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , Brain changes in autism are comprehensive throughout the cerebral cortex rather than just particular areas thought to affect social behavior and language., For the new study researchers examined gene expression in 11 cortical regions by sequencing RNA from each of the four main cortical lobes., , One of the next steps is to determine whether researchers can use computational approaches to develop therapies based on reversing gene expression changes the researchers found in ASD., Researchers can use organoids to model the changes in order to better understand their mechanisms., Researchers found evidence that the genetic risk for autism is enriched in a specific group of genes expressed in neurons that has lower expression across the brain thus likely the cause of ASD., The largest changes in RNA levels were in the visual cortex and the parietal cortex processing information like touch pain and temperature: the sensory hypersensitivity reported in people with ASD., The study finds brain-wide changes in virtually all of the 11 cortical regions analyzed regardless of whether they are higher critical association regions or primary sensory regions., The study is the most comprehensive effort yet to study how autism affects the brain at the molecular level., , This study provides a key starting point for understanding the disorder’s mechanisms which will inform and accelerate development of disease-altering therapies.”   

    From The University of California-Los Angeles: “UCLA-led study finds brain changes in autism are far more sweeping than previously known” 

    From The University of California-Los Angeles

    11.2.22

    1

    The study is the most comprehensive effort yet to study how autism affects the brain at the molecular level.

    Brain changes in autism are comprehensive throughout the cerebral cortex rather than just particular areas thought to affect social behavior and language, according to a new UCLA-led study that significantly refines scientists’ understanding of how autism spectrum disorder (ASD) progresses at the molecular level.

    The study, published today in Nature [below], represents a comprehensive effort to characterize ASD at the molecular level. While neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease have well-defined pathologies, autism and other psychiatric disorders have had a lack of defining pathology, challenging efforts to develop more effective treatments.

    The new study finds brain-wide changes in virtually all of the 11 cortical regions analyzed, regardless of whether they are higher critical association regions – those involved in functions such as reasoning, language, social cognition and mental flexibility – or primary sensory regions.

    “This work represents the culmination of more than a decade of work of many lab members, which was necessary to perform such a comprehensive analysis of the autism brain,” said study author Dr. Daniel Geschwind, the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA. “We now finally are beginning to get a picture of the state of the brain, at the molecular level, of the brain in individuals who had a diagnosis of autism. This defines a molecular pathology, which similar to other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and stroke, provides a key starting point for understanding the disorder’s mechanisms, which will inform and accelerate development of disease-altering therapies.”

    Just over a decade ago, Geschwind led the first effort to identify autism’s molecular pathology by focusing on two brain regions, the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe. Those regions were chosen because they are higher order association regions involved in higher cognition – especially social cognition, which is disrupted in ASD.

    For the new study, researchers examined gene expression in 11 cortical regions by sequencing RNA from each of the four main cortical lobes. They compared brain tissue samples obtained after death from 49 people with ASD against 54 controls individuals.

    While each profiled cortical region showed changes, the largest changes in RNA levels were in the visual cortex and the parietal cortex, which processes information like touch, pain and temperature. The researchers said this may reflect the sensory hypersensitivity that is frequently reported in people with ASD. Researchers found strong evidence that the genetic risk for autism is enriched in a specific group of genes expressed in neurons that has lower expression across the brain, indicating that these correlated RNA changes in the brain are likely the cause of ASD rather than a result of the disorder.

    One of the next steps is to determine whether researchers can use computational approaches to develop therapies based on reversing gene expression changes the researchers found in ASD, Geschwind said, adding that researchers can use organoids to model the changes in order to better understand their mechanisms.

    Other authors include Michael J. Gandal, Jillian R. Haney, Brie Wamsley, Chloe X. Yap, Sepideh Parhami, Prashant S. Emani, Nathan Chang, George T. Chen, Gil D. Hoftman, Diego de Alba, Gokul Ramaswami, Christopher L. Hartl, Arjun Bhattacharya, Chongyuan Luo, Ting Jin, Daifeng Wang, Riki Kawaguchi, Diana Quintero, Jing Ou, Ye Emily Wu, Neelroop N. Parikshak, Vivek Swarup, T. Grant Belgard, Mark Gerstein, and Bogdan Pasaniuc. The authors declared no competing interests.

    This work was funded by grants to Geschwind (NIMHR01MH110927, U01MH115746, P50-MH106438 and R01MH109912, R01MH094714), Gandal (SFARI Bridge to Independence Award, NIMH R01-MH121521, NIMH R01-MH123922 and NICHD-P50-HD103557), and Haney (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, UCLA Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program).

    Science paper:
    Nature
    See the science paper for detailed material with images.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, The University of California-Los Angeles 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.

    The University of California-Los Angeles is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. The University of California-Los Angeles traces its early origins back to 1882 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San Jose State University). It became the Southern Branch of The University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest (after University of California-Berkeley ) of the 10-campus University of California system.

    The University of California-Los Angeles offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines, enrolling about 31,500 undergraduate and 12,800 graduate students. The University of California-Los Angeles had 168,000 applicants for Fall 2021, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

    The university is organized into six undergraduate colleges; seven professional schools; and four professional health science schools. The undergraduate colleges are the College of Letters and Science; Samueli School of Engineering; School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; School of Theater, Film and Television; and School of Nursing.

    The University of California-Los Angeles is called a “Public Ivy”, and is ranked among the best public universities in the United States by major college and university rankings. This includes one ranking that has The University of California-Los Angeles as the top public university in the United States in 2021. As of October 2020, 25 Nobel laureates; three Fields Medalists; five Turing Award winners; and two Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The University of California-Los Angeles as faculty, researchers or alumni. Among the current faculty members, 55 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; 28 to the National Academy of Engineering ; 39 to the Institute of Medicine; and 124 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

    The university was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1974.

    The University of California-Los Angeles student-athletes compete as the Bruins in the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins have won 129 national championships, including 118 NCAA team championships- more than any other university except Stanford University, whose athletes have won 126. The University of California-Los Angeles students, coaches, and staff have won 251 Olympic medals: 126 gold; 65 silver; and 60 bronze. The University of California-Los Angeles student-athletes have competed in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception (1924) and have won a gold medal in every Olympics the U.S. participated in since 1932.

    In 1914, the school moved to a new campus on Vermont Avenue (now the site of Los Angeles City College) in East Hollywood. In 1917, UC Regent Edward Augustus Dickson, the only regent representing the Southland at the time and Ernest Carroll Moore- Director of the Normal School, began to lobby the State Legislature to enable the school to become the second University of California campus, after University of California-Berkeley. They met resistance from University of California-Berkeley alumni, Northern California members of the state legislature, and Benjamin Ide Wheeler- President of the University of California from 1899 to 1919 who were all vigorously opposed to the idea of a southern campus. However, David Prescott Barrows the new President of the University of California did not share Wheeler’s objections.

    On May 23, 1919, the Southern Californians’ efforts were rewarded when Governor William D. Stephens signed Assembly Bill 626 into law which acquired the land and buildings and transformed the Los Angeles Normal School into the Southern Branch of the University of California. The same legislation added its general undergraduate program- the Junior College. The Southern Branch campus opened on September 15 of that year offering two-year undergraduate programs to 250 Junior College students and 1,250 students in the Teachers College under Moore’s continued direction. Southern Californians were furious that their so-called “branch” provided only an inferior junior college program (mocked at the time by The University of Southern California students as “the twig”) and continued to fight Northern Californians (specifically, Berkeley) for the right to three and then four years of instruction culminating in bachelor’s degrees. On December 11, 1923 the Board of Regents authorized a fourth year of instruction and transformed the Junior College into the College of Letters and Science which awarded its first bachelor’s degrees on June 12, 1925.

    Under University of California President William Wallace Campbell, enrollment at the Southern Branch expanded so rapidly that by the mid-1920s the institution was outgrowing the 25-acre Vermont Avenue location. The Regents searched for a new location and announced their selection of the so-called “Beverly Site”—just west of Beverly Hills—on March 21, 1925 edging out the panoramic hills of the still-empty Palos Verdes Peninsula. After the athletic teams entered the Pacific Coast conference in 1926 the Southern Branch student council adopted the nickname “Bruins”, a name offered by the student council at The University of California-Berkeley. In 1927, the Regents renamed the Southern Branch the University of California at Los Angeles (the word “at” was officially replaced by a comma in 1958 in line with other UC campuses). In the same year the state broke ground in Westwood on land sold for $1 million- less than one-third its value- by real estate developers Edwin and Harold Janss for whom the Janss Steps are named. The campus in Westwood opened to students in 1929.

    The original four buildings were the College Library (now Powell Library); Royce Hall; the Physics-Biology Building (which became the Humanities Building and is now the Renee and David Kaplan Hall); and the Chemistry Building (now Haines Hall) arrayed around a quadrangular courtyard on the 400-acre (1.6 km^2) campus. The first undergraduate classes on the new campus were held in 1929 with 5,500 students. After lobbying by alumni; faculty; administration and community leaders University of California-Los Angeles was permitted to award the master’s degree in 1933 and the doctorate in 1936 against continued resistance from The University of California-Berkeley.

    Maturity as a university

    During its first 32 years University of California-Los Angeles was treated as an off-site department of The University of California. As such its presiding officer was called a “provost” and reported to the main campus in Berkeley. In 1951 University of California-Los Angeles was formally elevated to co-equal status with The University of California-Berkeley, and its presiding officer Raymond B. Allen was the first chief executive to be granted the title of chancellor. The appointment of Franklin David Murphy to the position of Chancellor in 1960 helped spark an era of tremendous growth of facilities and faculty honors. By the end of the decade The University of California-Los Angeles had achieved distinction in a wide range of subjects. This era also secured University of California-Los Angeles’s position as a proper university and not simply a branch of the University of California system. This change is exemplified by an incident involving Chancellor Murphy, which was described by him:

    “I picked up the telephone and called in from somewhere and the phone operator said, “University of California.” And I said, “Is this Berkeley?” She said, “No.” I said, “Well who have I gotten to?” ” University of California-Los Angeles.” I said, “Why didn’t you say University of California-Los Angeles?” “Oh”, she said, “we’re instructed to say University of California.” So, the next morning I went to the office and wrote a memo; I said, “Will you please instruct the operators, as of noon today, when they answer the phone to say, ‘ University of California-Los Angeles.'” And they said, “You know they won’t like it at Berkeley.” And I said, “Well, let’s just see. There are a few things maybe we can do around here without getting their permission.”

    Recent history

    On June 1, 2016 two men were killed in a murder-suicide at an engineering building in the university. School officials put the campus on lockdown as Los Angeles Police Department officers including SWAT cleared the campus.

    In 2018, a student-led community coalition known as “Westwood Forward” successfully led an effort to break The University of California-Los Angeles and Westwood Village away from the existing Westwood Neighborhood Council and form a new North Westwood Neighborhood Council with over 2,000 out of 3,521 stakeholders voting in favor of the split. Westwood Forward’s campaign focused on making housing more affordable and encouraging nightlife in Westwood by opposing many of the restrictions on housing developments and restaurants the Westwood Neighborhood Council had promoted.

    Academics

    Divisions

    Undergraduate

    College of Letters and Science
    Social Sciences Division
    Humanities Division
    Physical Sciences Division
    Life Sciences Division
    School of the Arts and Architecture
    Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS)
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    School of Theater, Film and Television
    School of Nursing
    Luskin School of Public Affairs

    Graduate

    Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSEIS)
    School of Law
    Anderson School of Management
    Luskin School of Public Affairs
    David Geffen School of Medicine
    School of Dentistry
    Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health
    Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
    School of Nursing

    Research

    The University of California-Los Angeles is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” and had $1.32 billion in research expenditures in FY 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:28 pm on July 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The brains of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder may not always ‘see’ body language", , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , ,   

    From The University of Rochester: “The brains of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder may not always ‘see’ body language” 

    From The University of Rochester

    Jul. 18, 2022

    Kelsie Smith Hayduk
    (585) 273-1374
    Kelsie_Smith-hayduk@URMC.Rochester.edu

    1
    Credit: University of Rochester NewsCenter

    Noticing and understanding what it means when a person leans into a conversation or takes a step back and crosses their arms is a vital part of human communication. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester have found that children with autism spectrum disorder may not always process body movements effectively, especially if they are distracted by something else.

    “Being able to read and respond to someone’s body language is important in our daily interactions with others,” said Emily Knight, M.D., Ph.D., clinical and postdoctoral fellow in Pediatrics and Neuroscience, is the first author of the study recently published in Molecular Autism [below]. “Our findings suggest that when children with autism are distracted by something else, their brains process the movements of another person differently than their peers.”

    Key differences in brain processes

    Using electroencephalogram (EEG), researchers recorded the brain waves of children with and without autism as they watched videos of moving dots that were arranged to look like a person. In these videos the dots moved to represent actions such as running, kicking, or jumping, and at times were turned in different directions or jumbled to no longer move like a person. The six to 16 years olds were asked to either focus on the color of the dots or to focus on whether the dots moved like a person. Researchers found the brainwaves of children with autism did not process when the dots moved like a person if they were focused on the dot color.

    “If their brain is processing body movements less they might have a harder time understanding other people, and need to pay extra attention to body language in order to see it,” said Knight. “Knowing this can help guide new ways to support people with autism.”

    “This is more evidence of how the brain of someone with autism is processing the world around them,” said John Foxe, Ph.D., led author of the study. “This research is a vital step in creating a more inclusive space for people with autism by giving a glimpse of how their brain processes an unspoken part of communication.”

    Additional authors include Ed Freedman, Ph.D., from the University of Rochester Medical Center, John Butler, Ph.D., Aaron Krakowski, and Sophie Molholm, Ph.D., of Einstein College of Medicine. This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Rochester Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center (UR-IDDRC) and the Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (RFK-IDDRC).

    Science paper:
    Molecular Autism

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Rochester campus

    The University of Rochester is a private research university in Rochester, New York. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees.

    The University of Rochester enrolls approximately 6,800 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. Its 158 buildings house over 200 academic majors. According to the National Science Foundation , Rochester spent $370 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 68th in the nation. The university is the 7th largest employer in the Finger lakes region of New York.

    The College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is home to departments and divisions of note. The Institute of Optics was founded in 1929 through a grant from Eastman Kodak and Bausch and Lomb as the first educational program in the US devoted exclusively to optics and awards approximately half of all optics degrees nationwide and is widely regarded as the premier optics program in the nation and among the best in the world.

    The Departments of Political Science and Economics have made a significant and consistent impact on positivist social science since the 1960s and historically rank in the top 5 in their fields. The Department of Chemistry is noted for its contributions to synthetic organic chemistry, including the first lab-based synthesis of morphine. The Rossell Hope Robbins Library serves as the university’s resource for Old and Middle English texts and expertise. The university is also home to Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy supported national laboratory.

    University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

    The University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music ranks first among undergraduate music schools in the U.S. The Sibley Music Library at Eastman is the largest academic music library in North America and holds the third largest collection in the United States.

    In its history university alumni and faculty have earned 13 Nobel Prizes; 13 Pulitzer Prizes; 45 Grammy Awards; 20 Guggenheim Awards; 5 National Academy of Sciences; 4 National Academy of Engineering; 3 Rhodes Scholarships; 3 National Academy of Inventors; and 1 National Academy of Inventors Hall of Fame.

    History

    Early history

    The University of Rochester traces its origins to The First Baptist Church of Hamilton (New York) which was founded in 1796. The church established the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York later renamed the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution in 1817. This institution gave birth to both Colgate University and the University of Rochester. Its function was to train clergy in the Baptist tradition. When it aspired to grant higher degrees it created a collegiate division separate from the theological division.

    The collegiate division was granted a charter by the State of New York in 1846 after which its name was changed to Madison University. John Wilder and the Baptist Education Society urged that the new university be moved to Rochester, New York. However, legal action prevented the move. In response, dissenting faculty, students, and trustees defected and departed for Rochester, where they sought a new charter for a new university.

    Madison University was eventually renamed as Colgate University.

    Founding

    Asahel C. Kendrick- professor of Greek- was among the faculty that departed Madison University for Rochester. Kendrick served as acting president while a national search was conducted. He reprised this role until 1853 when Martin Brewer Anderson of the Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts was selected to fill the inaugural posting.

    The University of Rochester’s new charter was awarded by the Regents of the State of New York on January 31, 1850. The charter stipulated that the university have $100,000 in endowment within five years upon which the charter would be reaffirmed. An initial gift of $10,000 was pledged by John Wilder which helped catalyze significant gifts from individuals and institutions.

    Classes began that November with approximately 60 students enrolled including 28 transfers from Madison. From 1850 to 1862 the university was housed in the old United States Hotel in downtown Rochester on Buffalo Street near Elizabeth Street- today West Main Street near the I-490 overpass. On a February 1851 visit Ralph Waldo Emerson said of the university:

    “They had bought a hotel, once a railroad terminus depot, for $8,500, turned the dining room into a chapel by putting up a pulpit on one side, made the barroom into a Pythologian Society’s Hall, & the chambers into Recitation rooms, Libraries, & professors’ apartments, all for $700 a year. They had brought an omnibus load of professors down from Madison bag and baggage… called in a painter and sent him up the ladder to paint the title “University of Rochester” on the wall, and they had runners on the road to catch students. And they are confident of graduating a class of ten by the time green peas are ripe.”

    For the next 10 years the college expanded its scope and secured its future through an expanding endowment; student body; and faculty. In parallel a gift of 8 acres of farmland from local businessman and Congressman Azariah Boody secured the first campus of the university upon which Anderson Hall was constructed and dedicated in 1862. Over the next sixty years this Prince Street Campus grew by a further 17 acres and was developed to include fraternitie’s houses; dormitories; and academic buildings including Anderson Hall; Sibley Library; Eastman and Carnegie Laboratories the Memorial Art Gallery and Cutler Union.

    Twentieth century

    Coeducation

    The first female students were admitted in 1900- the result of an effort led by Susan B. Anthony and Helen Barrett Montgomery. During the 1890s a number of women took classes and labs at the university as “visitors” but were not officially enrolled nor were their records included in the college register. President David Jayne Hill allowed the first woman- Helen E. Wilkinson- to enroll as a normal student although she was not allowed to matriculate or to pursue a degree. Thirty-three women enrolled among the first class in 1900 and Ella S. Wilcoxen was the first to receive a degree in 1901. The first female member of the faculty was Elizabeth Denio who retired as Professor Emeritus in 1917. Male students moved to River Campus upon its completion in 1930 while the female students remained on the Prince Street campus until 1955.

    Expansion

    Major growth occurred under the leadership of Benjamin Rush Rhees over his 1900-1935 tenure. During this period George Eastman became a major donor giving more than $50 million to the university during his life. Under the patronage of Eastman the Eastman School of Music was created in 1921. In 1925 at the behest of the General Education Board and with significant support for John D. Rockefeller George Eastman and Henry A. Strong’s family medical and dental schools were created. The university award its first Ph.D that same year.

    During World War II University of Rochester was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission. In 1942, the university was invited to join the Association of American Universities as an affiliate member and it was made a full member by 1944. Between 1946 and 1947 in infamous uranium experiments researchers at the university injected uranium-234 and uranium-235 into six people to study how much uranium their kidneys could tolerate before becoming damaged.

    In 1955 the separate colleges for men and women were merged into The College on the River Campus. In 1958 three new schools were created in engineering; business administration and education. The Graduate School of Management was named after William E. Simon- former Secretary of the Treasury in 1986. He committed significant funds to the school because of his belief in the school’s free market philosophy and grounding in economic analysis.

    Financial decline and name change controversy

    Following the princely gifts given throughout his life George Eastman left the entirety of his estate to the university after his death by suicide. The total of these gifts surpassed $100 million before inflation and as such Rochester enjoyed a privileged position amongst the most well endowed universities. During the expansion years between 1936 and 1976 the University of Rochester’s financial position ranked third, near Harvard University’s endowment and the University of Texas System’s Permanent University Fund. Due to a decline in the value of large investments and a lack of portfolio diversity the university’s place dropped to the top 25 by the end of the 1980s. At the same time the preeminence of the city of Rochester’s major employers began to decline.

    In response the University commissioned a study to determine if the name of the institution should be changed to “Eastman University” or “Eastman Rochester University”. The study concluded a name change could be beneficial because the use of a place name in the title led respondents to incorrectly believe it was a public university, and because the name “Rochester” connoted a “cold and distant outpost.” Reports of the latter conclusion led to controversy and criticism in the Rochester community. Ultimately, the name “University of Rochester” was retained.

    Renaissance Plan
    In 1995 University of Rochester president Thomas H. Jackson announced the launch of a “Renaissance Plan” for The College that reduced enrollment from 4,500 to 3,600 creating a more selective admissions process. The plan also revised the undergraduate curriculum significantly creating the current system with only one required course and only a few distribution requirements known as clusters. Part of this plan called for the end of graduate doctoral studies in chemical engineering; comparative literature; linguistics; and mathematics the last of which was met by national outcry. The plan was largely scrapped and mathematics exists as a graduate course of study to this day.

    Twenty-first century

    Meliora Challenge

    Shortly after taking office university president Joel Seligman commenced the private phase of the “Meliora Challenge”- a $1.2 billion capital campaign- in 2005. The campaign reached its goal in 2015- a year before the campaign was slated to conclude. In 2016, the university announced the Meliora Challenge had exceeded its goal and surpassed $1.36 billion. These funds were allocated to support over 100 new endowed faculty positions and nearly 400 new scholarships.

    The Mangelsdorf Years

    On December 17, 2018 the University of Rochester announced that Sarah C. Mangelsdorf would succeed Richard Feldman as President of the University. Her term started in July 2019 with a formal inauguration following in October during Meliora Weekend. Mangelsdorf is the first woman to serve as President of the University and the first person with a degree in psychology to be appointed to Rochester’s highest office.

    In 2019 students from China mobilized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) defaced murals in the University’s access tunnels which had expressed support for the 2019 Hong Kong Protests, condemned the oppression of the Uighurs, and advocated for Taiwanese independence. The act was widely seen as a continuation of overseas censorship of Chinese issues. In response a large group of students recreated the original murals. There have also been calls for Chinese government run CSSA to be banned from campus.

    Research

    Rochester is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Rochester had a research expenditure of $370 million in 2018.

    In 2008 Rochester ranked 44th nationally in research spending but this ranking has declined gradually to 68 in 2018.

    Some of the major research centers include the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a laser-based nuclear fusion facility, and the extensive research facilities at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    Recently the university has also engaged in a series of new initiatives to expand its programs in biomedical engineering and optics including the construction of the new $37 million Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics on the River Campus.

    Other new research initiatives include a cancer stem cell program and a Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. UR also has the ninth highest technology revenue among U.S. higher education institutions with $46 million being paid for commercial rights to university technology and research in 2009. Notable patents include Zoloft and Gardasil. WeBWorK, a web-based system for checking homework and providing immediate feedback for students was developed by University of Rochester professors Gage and Pizer. The system is now in use at over 800 universities and colleges as well as several secondary and primary schools. Rochester scientists work in diverse areas. For example, physicists developed a technique for etching metal surfaces such as platinum; titanium; and brass with powerful lasers enabling self-cleaning surfaces that repel water droplets and will not rust if tilted at a 4 degree angle; and medical researchers are exploring how brains rid themselves of toxic waste during sleep.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:28 pm on July 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "When autism spectrum disorder occurs with intellectual disability a convergent mechanism for two top-ranking risk genes may be the cause", A significant proportion — approximately 31% — of people with ASD also exhibit ID., , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , , , Microglia are very sensitive to pathological changes in the central nervous system and are the main form of active immune defense to maintain brain health., Preclinical study reveals that immune cells in the brain could be possible new drug targets for ASD and intellectual disability., The paper focuses on ADNP and POGZ-the two top-ranked risk factor genes for ASD/ID., The researchers are hopeful that future research will determine whether chronic neuroinflammation in which targeting microglia or inflammatory signaling pathways could prove to be a useful treatment., , two top-ranked genetic risk factors for autism spectrum disorder/intellectual disability (ASD/ID) lead to these neurodevelopmental disorders.   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY: “When autism spectrum disorder occurs with intellectual disability a convergent mechanism for two top-ranking risk genes may be the cause” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY

    June 30, 2022
    Ellen Goldbaum

    1
    “When designing clinical trials to evaluate treatment effectiveness, I think our research underscores the importance of considering the genetic factors involved in an individual’s ASD/ID,” said Conrow-Graham. The paper published in Brain is the culmination of her PhD work in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. (Photo: Sandra Kicman)

    Preclinical study reveals that immune cells in the brain could be possible new drug targets for ASD and intellectual disability.

    University at Buffalo scientists have discovered a convergent mechanism that may be responsible for how two top-ranked genetic risk factors for autism spectrum disorder/intellectual disability (ASD/ID) lead to these neurodevelopmental disorders.

    While ASD is distinct from ID, a significant proportion — approximately 31% — of people with ASD also exhibit ID. Neither condition is well-understood at the molecular level.

    “Given the vast number of genes known to be involved in ASD/ID and the many potential mechanisms contributing to the disorders, it is exciting to find a shared process between two different genes at the molecular level that could be underlying the behavioral changes,” said Megan Conrow-Graham, first author and an MD/PhD candidate in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

    Published today in the journal Brain, the paper focuses on ADNP and POGZ, the two top-ranked risk factor genes for ASD/ID. The research demonstrates that mutations in these genes result in abnormal activation and overexpression of immune response genes and genes for a type of immune cell in the brain called microglia.

    “Our finding opens the possibility of targeting microglia and immune genes for treating ASD/ID, but much remains to be studied, given the heterogeneity and complexity of these brain disorders,” said Zhen Yan, PhD, senior author and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School.

    The UB scientists found that mutations in the two genes studied activate microglia and cause immune genes in the brain to be overexpressed. The hypothesized result is the abnormal function of synapses in the brain, a characteristic of ASD/ID.

    The research involved studies on postmortem brain tissue from humans with ASD/ID, as well as studies on mice in which ADNP and POGZ were silenced through viral delivery of small interference RNA. These mice exhibited impaired cognitive task performance, such as spatial memory, object recognition memory and long-term memory.

    Weakening a repressive function

    “Under normal conditions, cells in the central nervous system should not express large quantities of genes that activate the immune system,” said Conrow-Graham. “ADNP and POGZ both work to repress these genes so that inflammatory pathways are not continuously activated, which could damage surrounding cells. When that repression is weakened, these immune and inflammatory genes are then able to be expressed in large quantities.”

    The upregulated genes in the mouse prefrontal cortex caused by the deficiencies in ADNP or POGZ activated the pro-inflammatory response.

    “This is consistent with what we see in upregulated genes in the prefrontal cortex of humans with ASD/ID,” said Conrow-Graham. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for executive function, such as cognition and emotional control.

    The mutated genes also activate the glial cells in the brain called microglia, which serve as support cells for neurons and have an immune function in the brain; they comprise 10-15% of all brain cells.

    Sensitive microglia

    “Microglia are very sensitive to pathological changes in the central nervous system and are the main form of active immune defense to maintain brain health,” explained Yan. “Aberrant activation of microglia, which we demonstrate occurs as a result of deficiency in ADNP or POGZ, could lead to the damage and loss of synapses and neurons.”

    The researchers are hopeful that future research will determine whether chronic neuroinflammation could be directly contributing to at least some cases of ASD/ID, in which targeting microglia or inflammatory signaling pathways could prove to be a useful treatment.

    The researchers pointed out that the clinical presentation of both ASD and ID is incredibly varied. Significant variation also likely is present in the kinds of mechanisms responsible for the symptoms of ASD and/or ID.

    “We found that changes in two risk genes lead to a convergent mechanism, likely involving immune activation,” said Conrow-Graham. “However, this probably isn’t the case for all individuals with ASD/ID. When designing clinical trials to evaluate treatment effectiveness, I think our research underscores the importance of considering the genetic factors involved in an individual’s ASD/ID.”

    The research is the culmination of Conrow-Graham’s PhD work; she has now returned to complete the last two years of the MD degree in the Jacobs School. She described her experience pursuing both an MD and a PhD as extremely complementary.

    The immune system has a role

    “My training at each level was super helpful to supplement the other,” she said. “When I began my PhD, I had completed two years of MD training, so I was familiar with the basics of physiology, anatomy and pathology. Because of this, I was able to bring a broader perspective to my neuroscience research, identifying how the immune system might be playing a role. Prior to this, our lab had not really investigated immunology-related pathways, so having that background insight was really beneficial.”

    She added that she learned so much from all of her colleagues in Yan’s lab, including faculty members, lab technicians and other students. “I learned so many technical skills that I had never used before joining the lab, thanks to the dedication of lab co-workers for my training,” she said.

    Her experience at the lab bench working on the basic science underlying neuropsychiatric disorders will definitely influence her work as a clinician.

    “I plan to pursue a career as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, so I may be able to work directly with this patient population,” she said. “We’re learning now that better care may be able to be provided by taking a personalized medicine approach, taking into account genetics, psychosocial factors and others. Being able to take a very deep dive into the field of psychiatric genetics was a privilege that I hope will help me to provide the best care for patients.”

    The research was funded by the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation and by a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for MD/PhD F30 fellowship for Conrow-Graham.

    In addition to Conrow-Graham and Yan, co-authors are Jamal B. Williams, PhD, former graduate student; Jennifer Martin, PhD, former postdoctoral fellow; Ping Zhong, PhD, senior research scientist; Qing Cao, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; and Benjamin Rein, PhD, former graduate student.

    All are current or former members of Yan’s lab.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SUNY Buffalo Campus

    The University at Buffalo-SUNY is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York, United States. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college and merged with the State University of New York system in 1962. It is one of four university centers in the system, in addition to The University at Albany-SUNY, The University at Binghampton-SUNY, and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY . As of fall 2020, the university enrolls 32,347 students in 13 colleges, making it the largest public university in the state of New York.

    Since its founding by a group which included future United States President Millard Fillmore, the university has evolved from a small medical school to a large research university. Today, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school, and pharmacy school, and is also home to SUNY’s only law school. The University at Binghampton has the largest enrollment, largest endowment, and most research funding among the universities in the SUNY system. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. The University at Buffalo and The University of Virginia are the only colleges founded by United States Presidents.

    The University at Buffalo is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. In 1989, UB was elected to The Association of American Universities, a selective group of major research universities in North America. University at Buffalo’s alumni and faculty have included five Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners, one head of government, two astronauts, three billionaires, one Academy Award winner, one Emmy Award winner, and Fulbright Scholars.

    The University at Buffalo intercollegiate athletic teams are the Bulls. They compete in Division I of the NCAA, and are members of the Mid-American Conference.

    The University at Buffalo is organized into 13 academic schools and colleges.

    The School of Architecture and Planning is the only combined architecture and urban planning school in the State University of New York system, offers the only accredited professional master’s degree in architecture, and is one of two SUNY schools that offer an accredited professional master’s degree in urban planning. In addition, the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning also awards the original undergraduate four year pre-professional degrees in architecture and environmental design in the SUNY system. Other degree programs offered by the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning include a research-oriented Master of Science in architecture with specializations in historic preservation/urban design, inclusive design, and computing and media technologies; a PhD in urban and regional planning; and, an advanced graduate certificate in historic preservation.

    The College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1915 and is the largest and most comprehensive academic unit at University at Buffalo with 29 degree-granting departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes across the humanities, arts, and sciences.

    The School of Dental Medicine was founded in 1892 and offers accredited programs in DDS, oral surgery, and other oral sciences.

    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science. In academic year 2008–2009, the Graduate School of Education awarded 472 master’s degrees and 52 doctoral degrees.

    The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was founded in 1946 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in six departments. It is the largest public school of engineering in the state of New York. University at Buffalo is the only public school in New York State to offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system. The school awarded 265 JD degrees in the 2009–2010 academic year.

    The School of Management was founded in 1923 and offers AACSB-accredited undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral degrees.

    The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the founding faculty of the University at Buffalo and began in 1846. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biomedical and biotechnical sciences as well as an MD program and residencies.

    The School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing practice and patient care.

    The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was founded in 1886, making it the second-oldest faculty at University at Buffalo and one of only two pharmacy schools in the SUNY system.

    The School of Public Health and Health Professions was founded in 2003 from the merger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as professional, master’s and PhD degrees.

    The School of Social Work offers graduate MSW and doctoral degrees in social work.

    The Roswell Park Graduate Division is an affiliated academic unit within the Graduate School of UB, in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, an independent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Roswell Park Graduate Division offers five PhD programs and two MS programs in basic and translational biomedical research related to cancer. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park and was the world’s first cancer research institute.

    The University at Buffalo houses two New York State Centers of Excellence (out of the total 11): Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Emphasis has been placed on developing a community of research scientists centered around an economic initiative to promote Buffalo and create the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences as well as other advanced biomedical and engineering disciplines.

    Total research expenditures for the fiscal year of 2017 were $401 million, ranking 59th nationally.

    SUNY’s administrative offices are in Albany, the state’s capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

    With 25,000 acres of land, SUNY’s largest campus is The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which neighbors the State University of New York Upstate Medical University – the largest employer in the SUNY system with over 10,959 employees. While the SUNY system doesn’t officially recognize a flagship university, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University are sometimes treated as unofficial flagships.

    The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

    Apart from units of the unrelated City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all state-supported institutions of higher education.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:26 am on June 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A new form of therapy for autistic individuals has been evaluated", "ACT": Acceptance Commitment Therapy, , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , The Karolinska Institute [Karolinska Institutet](SE)   

    From The Karolinska Institute [Karolinska Institutet](SE): “A new form of therapy for autistic individuals has been evaluated” 

    From The Karolinska Institute [Karolinska Institutet](SE)

    5.18.22 [Just now in social media.]

    1
    A new doctoral thesis shows that ATC can be helpful for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Photo: Getty Images.

    A doctoral thesis at Karolinska Institutet has investigated whether Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be used for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The results show that the treatment can be carried out in both a school environment and in psychiatric outpatient care and can have an effect on, among other things, perceived stress.

    Autism is found in almost two percent of the population. Difficulties with social interaction, adapting to new situations, and hypersensitivity mean that autistic individuals are at risk of suffering from stress and specific psychiatric symptoms to a greater extent than others.

    A considerable need

    “Because treatments that work and are adapted to autistic individuals are rare, there is a considerable need for new treatment models,” says Johan Pahnke, psychologist who recently received his doctorate at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

    In his doctoral thesis, Johan Pahnke investigated the usefulness and effectiveness of a psychological treatment model called ACT for reducing emotional distress in autistic individuals.

    ACT is a further development of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and has previously shown efficacy, for example, in reducing stress. The thesis evaluated an ACT-based group treatment programme adapted for autistic adolescents and adults called NeuroACT that Johan Pahnke has developed.

    Weekly group sessions

    The treatment programme consists of weekly group sessions that last 150 minutes, with 12-14 sessions. Each session follows a similar set-up with a short mindfulness or acceptance exercise, followed by a review of homework assignments, an introduction to the session’s theme, new homework assignments, and an evaluation of the group meeting.

    The thesis investigated how the ACT-based group treatment worked for autistic students. Twenty-eight students aged 13-21 years received ACT treatment or regular schooling. The treatment programme worked well when implemented in a school environment. Students who had completed the programme experienced, among other things, reduced stress, depression, and anger, compared to the control group. However, the treatment did not affect the students’ anxiety and some other problems.

    Improved well-being

    The thesis also examined the treatment for autistic adults in psychiatric outpatient care. One study included ten people and the other 39. The results showed that most participants underwent the whole treatment and were satisfied. In addition, those who received the treatment experienced improvements in stress and several mental health measures. However, for some problems, no differences were seen.

    “ACT adapted to autism seems to be able to reduce stress and improve well-being in adolescents and adults with autism. The treatment also appears to help the participants overcome some key autistic difficulties. However, more research is needed to evaluate the effect of ACT in autistic individuals,” says Johan Pahnke.

    Publication

    On May 12, Johan Pahnke defended his thesis at Karolinska Institutet. Principal supervisor was Tobias Lundgren, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Karolinska Institute [Karolinska Institutet](SE) sometimes known as the (Royal) Caroline Institute in English is a research-led medical university in Solna within the Stockholm urban area of Sweden. The Karolinska Institute is consistently ranked amongst the world’s best medical schools, ranking 6th worldwide for medicine in 2021. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The assembly consists of fifty professors from various medical disciplines at the university.

    The Karolinska Institute was founded in 1810 on the island of Kungsholmen on the west side of Stockholm; the main campus was relocated decades later to Solna, just outside Stockholm. A second campus was established more recently in Flemingsberg, Huddinge, south of Stockholm.

    The Karolinska Institute is Sweden’s third oldest medical school, after Uppsala University (founded in 1477) and Lund University (founded in 1666). It is one of Sweden’s largest centres for training and research, accounting for 30% of the medical training and more than 40% of all academic medical and life science research conducted in Sweden.

    The Karolinska University Hospital, located in Solna and Huddinge, is associated with the university as a research and teaching hospital. Together they form an academic health science centre. While most of the medical programs are taught in Swedish, the bulk of the PhD projects are conducted in English. The institute’s name is a reference to the Caroleans.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:54 pm on June 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Idiopathic Autism" there is no known genetic cause, "Macrocephaly": an abnormally large head, "NPCs": neural precursor cells, "Stem Cells Either Overproduce or Underproduce Brain Cells in Autistic Patients", About 15 percent to 20 percent of ASD cases are caused by specific genetic mutations., , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, , , Most ASD cases are idiopathic., Neuropsychiatry, Some had genetically defined 16p11.2 deletion., , The study focused on the stem cell activity of five individuals with ASD, The study suggests that poor control of proliferation of brain cells is an important basis for ASD causation.   

    From Rutgers University: “Stem Cells Either Overproduce or Underproduce Brain Cells in Autistic Patients” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    June 2, 2022
    By Kitta MacPherson

    Media Contact
    Patti Verbanas
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

    A Rutgers study finds irregular production of brain cells may lead to autism spectrum disorder.

    Analyzing brain stem cells of patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Rutgers scientists have found evidence of irregularities in very early brain development that may contribute to the neuropsychiatric disorder.

    1
    Credit: Rutgers University

    The findings support a concept scientists have long suspected: ASD arises early in fetal development during the period when brain stem cells divide to form the elements of a functioning brain.

    Writing in the journal Stem Cell Reports, Rutgers scientists examined brain stem cells – known as neural precursor cells (NPCs) – of patients with ASD. They found the NPCs – responsible for producing the three main kinds of brain cells: neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes – either overproduced or underproduced the number of permanent brain cells.

    “The NPCs we studied from all samples showed abnormal proliferation, either ‘too little’ or ‘too much,’ which suggests that poor control of proliferation of brain cells is an important basis for ASD causation,” said Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, a professor of pediatrics, neuroscience and cell biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and author of the paper. “This study demonstrates at the cellular level that altered proliferation is indeed one likely mechanism of the disorder, supporting implications obtained from previous research.”

    The study focused on the stem cell activity of five individuals with ASD, including those with idiopathic autism where there is no known genetic cause, and others with genetically defined 16p11.2 deletion. Those with macrocephaly, a medical term for an abnormally large head, had NPCs that produced too many brain cells. The remaining two patients, who did not have macrocephaly, had NPCs that produced too few brain cells.

    ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interactions and communication and the presence of repetitive and restricted behaviors. Most ASD cases are idiopathic. About 15 percent to 20 percent of ASD cases are caused by specific genetic mutations.

    NPCs are formed prenatally during a period that stretches from the end of the first trimester through the second, about weeks eight to 24 of the 40-week gestation period of a human fetus.

    “We’ve actually measured proliferation of human neural precursors and greatly advanced our understanding,” DiCicco-Bloom said. “In the future, once we have reproduced these studies and extended them, we also may be able to use this knowledge as a biomarker, which could signal when to introduce therapy, or to identify signaling pathways to target with drugs.”

    Other Rutgers researchers involved in the study include James Millonig, senior associate dean of the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies and member of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology (CABM) and Medicine; Robert Connacher, Madeline Williams, Smrithi Prem, Xiaofeng Zhou, Courtney McDermott, and Zhiping Pang of the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Percy Yeung and Che-Wei Lu of the Child Health Institute of New Jersey; Paul Matteson and Monal Mehta of CABM; Anna Markov of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Cynthia Peng of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience; and Judy Flax and Linda Brzustowicz of the Department of Genetics.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers University is a public land-grant research university based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College, and today it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States, the second-oldest in New Jersey (after Princeton University), and one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that were chartered before the American War of Independence. In 1825, Queen’s College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose substantial gift to the school had stabilized its finances during a period of uncertainty. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it has evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated The State University of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature via laws enacted in 1945 and 1956.

    Rutgers today has three distinct campuses, located in New Brunswick (including grounds in adjacent Piscataway), Newark, and Camden. The university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state, including oceanographic research facilities at the New Jersey shore. Rutgers is also a land-grant university, a sea-grant university, and the largest university in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students. The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities and the Universities Research Association. Over the years, Rutgers has been considered a Public Ivy.

    Research

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, also known as RUCCS. This research center hosts researchers in psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, electrical engineering, and anthropology.

    It was at Rutgers that Selman Waksman (1888–1973) discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others. Waksman, along with graduate student Albert Schatz (1920–2005), discovered streptomycin—a versatile antibiotic that was to be the first applied to cure tuberculosis. For this discovery, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952.

    Rutgers developed water-soluble sustained release polymers, tetraploids, robotic hands, artificial bovine insemination, and the ceramic tiles for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. In health related field, Rutgers has the Environmental & Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).

    Rutgers is also home to the RCSB Protein Data bank, “…an information portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures’ cohosted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center. This database is the authoritative research tool for bioinformaticists using protein primary, secondary and tertiary structures worldwide….”

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension office, which is run by the Agricultural and Experiment Station with the support of local government. The institution provides research & education to the local farming and agro industrial community in 19 of the 21 counties of the state and educational outreach programs offered through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Office of Continuing Professional Education.

    Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is the largest university based repository in the world and has received awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health. One will fund genetic studies of mental disorders and the other will support investigations into the causes of digestive, liver and kidney diseases, and diabetes. RUCDR activities will enable gene discovery leading to diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR assists researchers throughout the world by providing the highest quality biomaterials, technical consultation, and logistical support.

    Rutgers–Camden is home to the nation’s PhD granting Department of Childhood Studies. This department, in conjunction with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies, also on the Camden campus, conducts interdisciplinary research which combines methodologies and research practices of sociology, psychology, literature, anthropology and other disciplines into the study of childhoods internationally.

    Rutgers is home to several National Science Foundation IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

    Rutgers also maintains the Office of Research Alliances that focuses on working with companies to increase engagement with the university’s faculty members, staff and extensive resources on the four campuses.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
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