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  • 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 .

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    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 .

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    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.

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    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:47 pm on June 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "PEERS"-Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills-is a social skills treatment for children and young adults with ASD., "UMaine study offers model for providing social skills supports to college students with autism", A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Maine could lead to improved services for college students with autism., , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, Currently traditional accommodations offered by post-secondary institutions do not adequately address the needs of college students on the spectrum., Few supports are offered for the social communication challenges faced by college students with autism., Making the transition from high school to college, , Previous research on PEERS has focused on its use in either school-based or clinical psychiatric settings., The collaboration between UMaine researchers and the state began in 2019 with the Step Up to College program., The pilot study indicated that participants’ conversational skills did improve as a result of the PEERS seminars.   

    From The University of Maine: “UMaine study offers model for providing social skills supports to college students with autism” 

    From The University of Maine

    June 7, 2022
    Casey Kelly
    casey.kelly@maine.edu

    1

    A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Maine could lead to improved services for college students with autism.

    The study investigated the use of a social skills curriculum for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) making the transition from high school to college. Although results were limited, the project included a partnership with the Maine Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) that may serve as a model for how state vocational rehab agencies and higher education institutions can work together to support college students on the autism spectrum.

    The partnership and pilot study are detailed in a new journal article by University of Maine special education faculty members Sarah Howorth, Deborah Rooks-Ellis and Joshua Taylor, along with Alan Cobo-Lewis, associate professor of psychology and director of UMaine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), and Christine Moody from the Tarjan Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the UCLA PEERS Clinic.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 44 children in the United States have been diagnosed with ASD, a developmental disability that affects behavior, communication, interaction and learning. Approximately 49,000 students with ASD graduate from high school in the U.S. every year, and about 16,000 of them go on to college.

    “Currently, traditional accommodations offered by post-secondary institutions (e.g., extended time on tests and note-takers) do not adequately address the needs of college students on the spectrum,” the researchers note.

    For instance, few supports are offered for the social communication challenges faced by college students with autism.

    PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) is a social skills treatment for children and young adults with ASD developed by Elizabeth Laugeson at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. It includes training and practice sessions on communication and interpersonal skills, such as how to start, maintain and exit conversations. Research has shown it to be an effective intervention for those on the spectrum, or with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression and other social-emotional health conditions.

    Previous research on PEERS has focused on its use in either school-based or clinical psychiatric settings. UMaine’s study is the first time the program has been implemented by a state vocational rehab agency as pre-college or pre-employment transition support.

    The collaboration between UMaine researchers and the state began in 2019 with the Step Up to College program. The five-week summer program led by the DVR is designed to help high school juniors and seniors on the spectrum who are interested in attending college gain skills and experience associated with postsecondary education success. In 2019, Howorth and Rooks-Ellis led an abbreviated and adapted version of PEERS for Step Up participants. The sessions focused on conversational skills, specifically starting conversations, entering group conversations and exiting group conversations.

    “These skills were chosen as they are the foundation for a variety of social interactions and relationships,” the researchers write.

    The pilot study indicated that participants’ conversational skills did improve as a result of the PEERS seminars. But due to the small number of students in the 2019 Step Up program and the abbreviated and adapted nature of the PEERS sessions, a functional relation was not established demonstrating the effect of the treatment. The authors say further study is needed.

    The biggest implication of the pilot study was the partnership between UMaine and the DVR.

    “This study, and its investigation of the PEERS curriculum as an educational transition service, adds new information on how PEERS may be used,” the research team says. “Indeed, previous research has noted that college students with ASD have indicated that they need more specific university support and training in interpersonal skills.”

    In 2020, the Step Up program, including the PEERS classes, moved to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Howorth collaborated with Maine DVR director Libby Stone-Sterling and UMaine CCIDS staff to create an online friendship bootcamp as part of the 2020 and 2021 Step Up programs. Howorth and Stone-Sterling recently presented on a research project looking at delivery of the PEERS curriculum via telehealth at the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Career Development and Transition conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

    “The pilot study helped inform the telehealth PEERS groups that we provided when the Step Up program went virtual due to the pandemic,” says Howorth. “It was viewed as a critical component to college success for individuals on the autism spectrum.”

    “The research also showed everyone involved with preemployment training, college support services and Step Up that there is a critical need to support the social communication needs of these students, as challenges in these areas are a defining feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” she adds.

    The researchers hope to continue their investigation of in-person PEERS classes as part of the 2022 Step Up summer program to be held on the UMaine campus.

    The pilot study was published in the journal Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. It was funded by the Maine DVR through grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, with additional funding from UMaine via U.S. Administration for Community Living grants.

    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 Maine is a public land-grant research university in Orono, Maine. It was established in 1865 as the land-grant college of Maine and is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. The University of Maine is one of only a few land, sea and space grant institutions in the nation. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    With an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students, The University of Maine is the state’s largest college or university. The University of Maine’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Black Bears, are Maine’s only Division I athletics program. Maine’s men’s ice hockey team has won two national championships.

    The University of Maine was founded in 1862 as a function of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1865 as the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the college opened on September 21, 1868 and changed its name to the University of Maine in 1897.

    By 1871, curricula had been organized in Agriculture, Engineering, and electives. The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station was founded as a division of the university in 1887. Gradually the university developed the Colleges of Life Sciences and Agriculture (later to include the School of Forest Resources and the School of Human Development), Engineering and Science, and Arts and Sciences. In 1912 the Maine Cooperative Extension, which offers field educational programs for both adults and youths, was initiated. The School of Education was established in 1930 and received college status in 1958. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1958 and was granted college status in 1965. Women have been admitted into all curricula since 1872. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1881; the first doctor’s degree in 1960. Since 1923 there has been a separate graduate school.

    Near the end of the 19th century, the university expanded its curriculum to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. As a result of this shift, faculty hired during the early 20th century included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department and the nation’s first woman to head a major university department.

    In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”

    On April 16, 1925, 80 women met in Balentine Hall — faculty, alumnae, and undergraduate representatives — to plan a pledging of members to an inaugural honorary organization. This organization was called “The All Maine Women” because only those women closely connected with the University of Maine were elected as members. On April 22, 1925, the new members were inducted into the honor society.

    When the University of Maine System was incorporated, in 1968, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono. This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:54 am on May 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Abnormal development of brain’s visual system may contribute to autism", , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, ,   

    From Washington University in St. Louis: “Abnormal development of brain’s visual system may contribute to autism” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    May 26, 2022
    Jim Dryden
    jdryden@wustl.edu

    MRI scans of babies identify irregularities.

    1
    As a child looks at pictures on a screen, computers track eye movements to see what the child is actually focused on. Children with autism spectrum disorder focus less often on people’s faces than children without the disorder. A new study, led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has identified abnormalities in the development of the brain’s visual system in infants that may predispose them to developing autism. (Photo: School of Medicine)

    A research team, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, has identified abnormalities in the development of the brain’s visual system in infants that may predispose them to developing autism.

    The research, published May 26 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that irregularities in the brain’s visual system may alter the way that some babies experience their surroundings and interact with others, thus further affecting brain development and potentially contributing to autism spectrum disorder.

    The researchers conducted MRI brain scans on the 384 babies at high risk of autism because they have older siblings with autism spectrum disorder. Indeed, almost 25% of the infants in the study went on to be diagnosed with autism. Their brain scans revealed abnormalities in the size, white matter and functional connectivity of the babies’ visual systems, and such irregularities were present long before any symptoms of autism were detectable.

    “These abnormalities in the brain’s visual structures track very nicely with our earlier research into the eye movements of children with autism,” said John N. Constantino, MD, one of the study’s senior authors, the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at Washington University. “In past research, we’ve noted that children with autism often look less at people’s faces than children without the disorder. In this study, we’ve seen that abnormal development of the visual system may be rooted in genetics because the extent of alterations in the visual systems in children as young as 6 months old was associated with the severity of autism traits in their older siblings.”

    The research was conducted as part of the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS), funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and involving researchers at nine universities in the United States and Canada.

    The children in the study were scanned at 6, 12 and 24 months of age, and 89 of those babies went on to develop autism themselves. That’s almost a one-in-four chance, significantly higher than the 1 in 54 children currently affected by autism spectrum disorder in the United States.

    The researchers measured brain volume and surface area in the occipital cortex, a brain region involved in vision. They also examined white matter in a part of the brain previously linked to how infants track visual stimuli in the environment. In addition, the researchers documented the autistic traits in older siblings.

    They found that in 6-month-olds who went on to develop autism by their second birthdays, brain features related to the structure and function of the visual system were different from infants who didn’t develop autism.

    “It is particularly notable that we were able to demonstrate associations between brain findings in these infants and the behavior of their older siblings with autism,” said co-senior author John R. Pruett, Jr., MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University. “The convergence of brain-wide fcMRI results with structural and diffusion MRI findings strengthens our confidence in these discoveries, which now can be tested in a new group of 250 infants being recruited for another study because they have affected siblings and are at very high likelihood.”

    The research was led by Jessica Girault, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine. She previously had found that younger siblings of children with autism were more likely to develop the disorder if their older siblings had more autistic traits, such as repetitive behaviors, delayed language, avoiding eye contact and social impairment.

    “Those past findings suggested that the presence of these autistic traits could tell us something about the strength of the genetic factors for autism within a family,” said Girault, who also is a member of the Carolina Institute of Developmental Disabilities. “But we couldn’t say much beyond that. The current study takes our work a step forward as we begin to parse differences in infant brain development that might be related to those genetic factors.”

    When parents and babies bond, they tend to lock eyes in a developmental process that gives infants a way to learn to interpret subtle visual cues in the environment. The process partly determines how babies learn to relate a caregiver’s behaviors to their own. That visual rhythm through the first years of life is critical to babies’ cognitive, emotional and social development. The new research suggests something goes wrong in the brain’s visual system, affecting this visual interplay in the babies who go on to develop autism.

    Co-senior author Joseph Piven, MD, a professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and psychology at the University of North Carolina, and director of the Carolina Institute of Developmental Disabilities, said he believes aberrant visual circuitry may be a fundamental cog in the cascade of events leading to later autism.

    The researchers say more studies are needed, but they agree this new study points to the possibility of using behavioral interventions aimed at the visual system in an attempt to decrease the likelihood that children will go on to develop some of the more severe traits associated with autism spectrum disorder.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Washington University was conceived by 17 St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Missouri State Senator Wayman Crow and Unitarian minister William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the poet T.S. Eliot, led the effort.

    The university’s first chancellor was Joseph Gibson Hoyt. Crow secured the university charter from the Missouri General Assembly in 1853, and Eliot was named President of the Board of Trustees. Early on, Eliot solicited support from members of the local business community, including John O’Fallon, but Eliot failed to secure a permanent endowment. Washington University is unusual among major American universities in not having had a prior financial endowment. The institution had no backing of a religious organization, single wealthy patron, or earmarked government support.

    During the three years following its inception, the university bore three different names. The board first approved “Eliot Seminary,” but William Eliot was uncomfortable with naming a university after himself and objected to the establishment of a seminary, which would implicitly be charged with teaching a religious faith. He favored a nonsectarian university. In 1854, the Board of Trustees changed the name to “Washington Institute” in honor of George Washington, and because the charter was coincidentally passed on Washington’s birthday, February 22. Naming the university after the nation’s first president, only seven years before the American Civil War and during a time of bitter national division, was no coincidence. During this time of conflict, Americans universally admired George Washington as the father of the United States and a symbol of national unity. The Board of Trustees believed that the university should be a force of unity in a strongly divided Missouri. In 1856, the university amended its name to “Washington University.” The university amended its name once more in 1976, when the Board of Trustees voted to add the suffix “in St. Louis” to distinguish the university from the over two dozen other universities bearing Washington’s name.

    Although chartered as a university, for many years Washington University functioned primarily as a night school located on 17th Street and Washington Avenue in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Owing to limited financial resources, Washington University initially used public buildings. Classes began on October 22, 1854, at the Benton School building. At first the university paid for the evening classes, but as their popularity grew, their funding was transferred to the St. Louis Public Schools. Eventually the board secured funds for the construction of Academic Hall and a half dozen other buildings. Later the university divided into three departments: the Manual Training School, Smith Academy, and the Mary Institute.

    In 1867, the university opened the first private nonsectarian law school west of the Mississippi River. By 1882, Washington University had expanded to numerous departments, which were housed in various buildings across St. Louis. Medical classes were first held at Washington University in 1891 after the St. Louis Medical College decided to affiliate with the university, establishing the School of Medicine. During the 1890s, Robert Sommers Brookings, the president of the Board of Trustees, undertook the tasks of reorganizing the university’s finances, putting them onto a sound foundation, and buying land for a new campus.

    In 1896, Holmes Smith, professor of Drawing and History of Art, designed what would become the basis for the modern-day university seal. The seal is made up of elements from the Washington family coat of arms, and the symbol of Louis IX, whom the city is named after.

    Washington University spent its first half century in downtown St. Louis bounded by Washington Ave., Lucas Place, and Locust Street. By the 1890s, owing to the dramatic expansion of the Medical School and a new benefactor in Robert Brookings, the university began to move west. The university board of directors began a process to find suitable ground and hired the landscape architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Boston. A committee of Robert S. Brookings, Henry Ware Eliot, and William Huse found a site of 103 acres (41.7 ha) just beyond Forest Park, located west of the city limits in St. Louis County. The elevation of the land was thought to resemble the Acropolis and inspired the nickname of “Hilltop” campus, renamed the Danforth campus in 2006 to honor former chancellor William H. Danforth.

    In 1899, the university opened a national design contest for the new campus. The renowned Philadelphia firm Cope & Stewardson (same architects who designed a large part of The University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University) won unanimously with its plan for a row of Collegiate Gothic quadrangles inspired by The University of Oxford (UK) and The University of Cambridge (UK). The cornerstone of the first building, Busch Hall, was laid on October 20, 1900. The construction of Brookings Hall, Ridgley, and Cupples began shortly thereafter. The school delayed occupying these buildings until 1905 to accommodate the 1904 World’s Fair and Olympics. The delay allowed the university to construct ten buildings instead of the seven originally planned. This original cluster of buildings set a precedent for the development of the Danforth Campus; Cope & Stewardson’s original plan and its choice of building materials have, with few exceptions, guided the construction and expansion of the Danforth Campus to the present day.

    By 1915, construction of a new medical complex was completed on Kingshighway in what is now St. Louis’s Central West End. Three years later, Washington University admitted its first women medical students.

    In 1922, a young physics professor, Arthur Holly Compton, conducted a series of experiments in the basement of Eads Hall that demonstrated the “particle” concept of electromagnetic radiation. Compton’s discovery, known as the “Compton Effect,” earned him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927.

    During World War II, as part of the Manhattan Project, a cyclotron at Washington University was used to produce small quantities of the newly discovered element plutonium via neutron bombardment of uranium nitrate hexahydrate. The plutonium produced there in 1942 was shipped to the Metallurgical Laboratory Compton had established at The University of Chicago where Glenn Seaborg’s team used it for extraction, purification, and characterization studies of the exotic substance.

    After working for many years at the University of Chicago, Arthur Holly Compton returned to St. Louis in 1946 to serve as Washington University’s ninth chancellor. Compton reestablished the Washington University football team, making the declaration that athletics were to be henceforth played on a “strictly amateur” basis with no athletic scholarships. Under Compton’s leadership, enrollment at the university grew dramatically, fueled primarily by World War II veterans’ use of their GI Bill benefits.

    In 1947, Gerty Cori, a professor at the School of Medicine, became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    Cray Cori II supercomputer at National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.

    Professors Carl and Gerty Cori became Washington University’s fifth and sixth Nobel laureates for their discovery of how glycogen is broken down and resynthesized in the body.

    The process of desegregation at Washington University began in 1947 with the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. During the mid and late 1940s, the university was the target of critical editorials in the local African American press, letter-writing campaigns by churches and the local Urban League, and legal briefs by the NAACP intended to strip its tax-exempt status. In spring 1949, a Washington University student group, the Student Committee for the Admission of Negroes (SCAN), began campaigning for full racial integration. In May 1952, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution desegregating the school’s undergraduate divisions.

    During the latter half of the 20th century, Washington University transitioned from a strong regional university to a national research institution. In 1957, planning began for the construction of the “South 40,” a complex of modern residential halls which primarily house Freshmen and some Sophomore students. With the additional on-campus housing, Washington University, which had been predominantly a “streetcar college” of commuter students, began to attract a more national pool of applicants. By 1964, over two-thirds of incoming students came from outside the St. Louis area.

    In 1971, the Board of Trustees appointed Chancellor William Henry Danforth, who guided the university through the social and financial crises of the 1970s and strengthened the university’s often strained relationship with the St. Louis community. During his 24-year chancellorship, Danforth significantly improved the School of Medicine, established 70 new faculty chairs, secured a $1.72 billion endowment, and tripled the amount of student scholarships.

    In 1995, Mark S. Wrighton, former Provost at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was elected the university’s 14th chancellor. During Chancellor Wrighton’s tenure undergraduate applications to Washington University more than doubled. Since 1995, the university has added more than 190 endowed professorships, revamped its Arts & Sciences curriculum, and completed more than 30 new buildings.

    The growth of Washington University’s reputation coincided with a series of record-breaking fund-raising efforts during the last three decades. From 1983 to 1987, the Alliance for Washington University campaign raised $630.5 million, which was then the most successful fund-raising effort in national history. From 1998 to 2004, the Campaign for Washington University raised $1.55 billion, which was applied to additional scholarships, professorships, and research initiatives.

    In 2002, Washington University co-founded the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’s Midtown neighborhood. Cortex is the largest innovation hub in the midwest, home to offices of Square, Microsoft, Aon, Boeing, and Centene. The innovation hub has generated more than 3,800 tech jobs in 14 years.

    In 2005, Washington University founded the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, an international network of premier research universities, with an initial endowment gift of $10 million from John F. McDonnell. The academy, which selects scholars from 35 partner universities around the world, was created with the intent to develop a cohort of future leaders, strengthen ties with top foreign universities, and promote global awareness and social responsibility.

    In 2019, Washington University unveiled a $360 million campus transformation project known as the East End Transformation. The transformation project, built on the original 1895 campus plan by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, encompassed 18 acres of the Danforth Campus, adding five new buildings, expanding the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, relocating hundreds of surface parking spaces underground, and creating an expansive new park.

    In June 2019, Andrew D. Martin, former dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at The University of Michigan, was elected the university’s 15th chancellor. On the day of his inauguration, Chancellor Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program allowing full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less to attend the university cost-free.

    Washington University’s undergraduate program is ranked 14th in the nation in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking, and 11th by The Wall Street Journal in their 2018 rankings. The university is ranked 22nd in the world for 2019 by The Academic Ranking of World Universities. Undergraduate admission to Washington University is characterized by The Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News & World Report as “most selective”. The Princeton Review, in its 2020 edition, gave the university an admissions selectivity rating of 99 out of 99. The acceptance rate for the class of 2024 (those entering in the fall of 2020) was 12.8%, with students selected from more than 27,900 applications. Of students admitted, 92 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.

    The Princeton Review ranked Washington University 1st for Best College Dorms and 3rd for Best College Food, Best-Run Colleges, and Best Financial Aid in its 2020 edition. Niche listed the university as the best college for architecture and the second-best college campus and college dorms in the United States in 2020. The Washington University School of Medicine was ranked 6th for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 and has been listed among the top ten medical schools since the rankings were first published in 1987. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university’s genetics and physical therapy as tied for first place. QS World University Rankings ranked Washington University 6th in the world for anatomy and physiology in 2020. In January 2020, Olin Business School was named The Poets & Quants MBA Program of 2019. Washington University has also been recognized as the 12th best university employer in the country by Forbes.

    Washington University was named one of the “25 New Ivies” by Newsweek in 2006 and has also been called a “Hidden Ivy”.

    A 2014 study ranked Washington University #1 in the country for income inequality, when measured as the ratio of number of students from the top 1% of the income scale to number of students from the bottom 60% of the income scale. About 22% of Washington University’s students came from the top 1%, while only about 6% came from the bottom 60%. In 2015, university administration announced plans to increase the number of Pell-eligible recipients on campus from 6% to 13% by 2020, and in 2019 15% of the university’s student body was eligible for Pell Grants. In October 2019, then newly inaugurated Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program that provides a free undergraduate education to all full-time Missouri and Southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. The university’s refusal to divest from the fossil fuel industry has drawn controversy in recent years.

    Research

    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation, Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home, a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University. The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

    ORNL OLCF IBM AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer, was No.1 on the TOP500..

     
  • richardmitnick 4:02 pm on April 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Innovative Method Developed by Rutgers Researcher to Treat Autism Expands Through Partnership with Social-Emotional Learning Platform", , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, ,   

    From Rutgers University: “Innovative Method Developed by Rutgers Researcher to Treat Autism Expands Through Partnership with Social-Emotional Learning Platform” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    April 27, 2022

    Trevor Rutledge-Leverenz
    (848) 445-0816
    trevor.rl@rutgers.edu

    Data on children’s internal states will help health professionals, teachers and parents provide the best treatment, education, and support.

    Rutgers professor Elizabeth Torres hopes to take her innovative, computer-based approach towards autism and child development to a new level through a partnership with social-emotional learning (SEL) platform provider SiLAS Solutions.

    1
    Professor Elizabeth Torres.

    Torres, a professor of psychology at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences who is also part of the Center for Cognitive Science as well as executive and scientific director of the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence, developed a method to analyze sensory-motor performance, focusing on the continuous assessment of natural voluntary and spontaneous behaviors in children who suffer from autism and other developmental disabilities. Her innovation allows the field to move from simple descriptions of observed discrete behaviors to measurable data of children’s internal states, thus providing parents and teachers better means to engage and support their kids. A collaboration with SiLAS (Socially Interactive Learning Avatar Software) will offer Torres and her team the opportunity to reach more children through the company’s relationships with schools and school districts across the United States.

    SiLAS offers schools a simple-to-use SEL Curriculum and Animated Movie Making Platform designed to help children develop social skills through one-on-one and small group interventions, as well as class-, school- or district-wide curriculum. The SiLAS program works by allowing students to gain practice in social situations through their avatar. For Torres, the partnership could provide access to more deidentified data of children’s behavior by way of cameras and microphones that would track subtle motor features of the children while they participate in the SiLAS program.

    “The research that gave rise to the partnership with SiLAS stems from the need to go beyond the observation of the child,” said Torres. “Together, we hope to design an easy-to-use method like an app that would provide teachers and parents with information such as when children are anxious or what their attention spans are, which could be incredibly helpful to better understand and support the children.”

    “The SiLAS team is extremely excited to be working with Dr. Torres and Rutgers University,” said Chris Dudick, founder and CEO of SiLAS. “Dr. Torres is a leader in the computational neuroscience space. Together we aim to help assess and teach children with neurological disorders as they naturally play, using objective physiological biometrics that can overcome the limits of the naked eye, while retaining and improving their clinical value.”

    “Dr. Torres is an incredibly accomplished researcher and an expert in the field of child development and autism,” said Innovation Ventures Associate Vice President Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak. “This partnership could have tremendous value for all children, as well as parents, teachers, and caretakers in New Jersey, the United States, and potentially the world.”

    Innovation Ventures, the technology transfer office at Rutgers, negotiated the deal between Torres and SiLAS.

    “Working with Innovation Ventures was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Rutgers. They spoke my language, asked the right questions, and explained the entire commercialization process,” said Torres. “Innovation is change, and I wanted to do something different, which is not easy sometimes. However, they supported me every step of the way.”

    Torres began her career working in electrophysiology, building mathematical models and computational simulations of how an anthropomorphic robot would move, with the goal of understanding more about how people learn.

    “I was interested in how people become autonomously intelligent without somebody telling them how to do things,” said Torres. “I wanted to allow the robot to spontaneously self-discover, to learn without an algorithm or programming that tells the robot how to do everything.”

    Torres then decided to modify her research to focus on humans and found that very little of what she had been doing existed in this domain.

    “Human behavior was mostly descriptive,” she said. “There was no quantifiable continuous data that was being gathered. I decided to take analog data, like a video, and digitize it into spikes – much like the spikes that you get from the cortical areas. The digitization is what was eventually patented. The fluctuations highlight the difference between normal, average behavior and the spurts of activity that show the subject is doing something relevant, important, or different.”

    But it was not until a chance encounter that Torres realized her patented innovation could impact the study and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While conducting a study into whether being an expert in one sport would interfere or enhance with learning a new sport, Torres brought in Rutgers student-athletes to be taught kick-boxing routines. A women’s lacrosse player brought her brother along with her; he happened to be autistic.

    “He was sitting there playing video games the whole time, and never once looked up to watch anyone doing the routine,” said Torres. “After his sister finished, she asked him if he wanted to try. Whereas it took four sessions for most of the student-athletes to get the entire routine, he did it at once, perfectly. We asked him to do it again, and again he did it perfectly, exactly the same way as before – no variations.”

    She continued, “Most people don’t move exactly the same way every time. The variations are a source of feedback to your brain. They tell your brain how to learn and how to do things better. He was not learning; I think that he had a photographic memory of what he saw, so he reproduced it, but it had no variations. And statistically speaking, it had a signature that explained why. The question then became, would other kids on the spectrum, despite their heterogeneity in a number of areas, have that same signature? And the answer was yes.”

    Torres then conducted a cross-sectional study with autistic individuals from 3-30 years old, some of whom were verbal and some who weren’t, from different ages and genders and races, and found that they all had that same statistical signature. What Torres is working on now is: 1) determining the best methods to reach and engage children on the spectrum to help them develop and learn; and 2) understanding the different subtypes of autism to better gauge what treatments and approaches would work best for each group.

    “My ultimate goal is to help children on the spectrum communicate,” said Torres. “These children have so much potential, and we want to help them learn using this gamified style from SiLAS, while we also learn how to best support them. Right now, many of them are in pain, in discomfort. We are assuming too much, putting a lot of pressure on them without giving them a chance. This technology from SiLAS will help us give them the proper accommodations and support so that they feel regulated. I believe that if we can eliminate the discomfort, take away the pressure, and emotionally support them, they will flourish.”

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:32 am on April 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study suggests early self-awareness of autism leads to better quality of life", , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, ,   

    From The University of Portsmouth (UK): “Study suggests early self-awareness of autism leads to better quality of life” 

    From The University of Portsmouth (UK)

    26 April 2022

    People who learn they are autistic when they are younger may have a heightened quality of life and sense of well-being in adulthood.

    People who learn they are autistic when they are younger may have a heightened quality of life and sense of well-being in adulthood.

    That’s the finding of a new study [Autism], which also found that those who learned of their autism as adults reported more positive emotions (especially relief) about autism when first learning they were autistic.

    Findings suggest that telling a child that they are autistic at a younger age empowers them by providing access to support and a foundation for self-understanding that helps them thrive later in life.

    For the first time, researchers directly investigated whether learning if one is autistic at a younger age is associated with better adult outcomes. Many autistic people – particularly females, ethnic/racial minorities and people with limited resources – are diagnosed years after the characteristics are first noticed. In many cases, autistic people do not receive their diagnosis until adulthood.

    The study was carried out by a team of autistic and non-autistic students and academic researchers. Seventy-eight autistic university students were surveyed, sharing how they found out they were autistic and how they felt about their diagnosis. Respondents also revealed how they felt about their lives and being autistic now.

    One of the co-authors, Dr Steven Kapp, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, was diagnosed with and informed of his autism aged 13. He said: “Students who learned they were autistic when they were younger felt happier about their lives than people who were diagnosed at an older age. Our study shows that it is probably best to tell people they are autistic as soon as possible in a balanced, personal, and developmentally appropriate way. Learning one is autistic can be empowering because it helps people understand themselves and also helps them connect with other people like them.”

    However, being given a diagnosis as an adult can often also be empowering.

    Dr Kapp said: “Learning about autism at an older age is associated with more positive emotions about a diagnosis – especially relief. This finding makes sense, although emotional reactions are often very complex and unique to each person – there has been a lot of emerging research showing that relief is a common response to an autism diagnosis in adulthood.”

    The study suggests that parents should not wait for children to become adults to tell them they are autistic. No participants recommended doing so, although most highlighted factors to consider when informing a child of their autism, including developmental level, support needs, curiosity, and personality. Findings also suggest that parents should tell their children they are autistic in ways that help them understand and feel good about who they are. One participant said: “I would tell my child that autism is a different way of thinking, that it can be challenging and beautiful and powerful and exhausting and impactful, that autistic people deserve to be themselves, to be proud of their identity, and have supports that help them meet their needs.”

    Bella Kofner, co-lead author (24), who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and informed of her autism at the age of 10, said: “This is the first study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that learning at a young age that one is autistic may have positive impacts on emotional health among autistic university students. Hopefully, this finding may begin to address concerns parents have about when to talk to their child about autism. ‘When’ the conversation begins is particularly important. Our findings suggest that learning at a younger age that one is autistic can help autistic people develop self-understanding and access support, providing the foundations for well-being in adulthood.”

    The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Autism, suggest that many aspects of identity, besides age, may contribute to how people respond to learning they are autistic. For example, more exploratory findings suggested that women and non-binary people responded more positively to first learning they were autistic than men did. The authors hope that future research will examine autistic identity development in autistic people who have often been overlooked, such as non-speaking autistic people and autistic people who are multiply marginalized.

    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 Portsmouth (UK) is a public university in the city of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. The history of the university dates back to 1908, when the Park building opened as a Municipal college and public library. It was previously known as Portsmouth Polytechnic until 1992, when it was granted university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. It is ranked among the Top 100 universities under 50 in the world.

    We’re a New Breed of University
    We’re proud to be a breath of fresh air in the academic world – a place where everyone gets the support they need to achieve their best.
    We’re always discovering. Through the work we do, we engage with our community and world beyond our hometown. We don’t fit the mould, we break it.
    We educate and transform the lives of our students and the people around us. We recruit students for their promise and potential and for where they want to go.
    We stand out, not just in the UK but in the world, in innovation and research, with excellence in areas from cosmology and forensics to cyber security, epigenetics and brain tumour research.
    Just as the world keeps moving, so do we. We’re closely involved with our local community and we take our ideas out into the global marketplace. We partner with business, industry and government to help improve, navigate and set the course for a better future.
    Since the first day we opened our doors, our story has been about looking forward. We’re interested in the future, and here to help you shape it.

    The university offers a range of disciplines, from Pharmacy, International relations and politics, to Mechanical Engineering, Paleontology, Criminology, Criminal Justice, among others. The Guardian University Guide 2018 ranked its Sports Science number one in England, while Criminology, English, Social Work, Graphic Design and Fashion and Textiles courses are all in the top 10 across all universities in the UK. Furthermore, 89% of its research conducted in Physics, and 90% of its research in Allied Health Professions (e.g. Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy) have been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).

    The University is a member of the University Alliance and The Channel Islands Universities Consortium. Alumni include Tim Peake, Grayson Perry, Simon Armitage and Ben Fogle.

    Portsmouth was named the UK’s most affordable city for students in the Natwest Student Living Index 2016. On Friday 4 May 2018, the University of Portsmouth was revealed as the main shirt sponsor of Portsmouth F.C. for the 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:56 am on April 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rhythms of grace-Alum promotes church that works for autistic people", ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder, Yale Divinity School,   

    From Yale University: “Rhythms of grace-Alum promotes church that works for autistic people” 

    “Rhythms of grace-Alum promotes church that works for autistic people”

    From Yale University

    April 11, 2022 [Just now in social media]

    Media CONTACT
    Communications Office
    (203) 436-8379
    tom.krattenmaker@yale.edu

    Contact:
    Lindsay Lunnum
    Rhythms of Grace
    rhythms.of.grace.info@gmail.com

    Written by By Leah Silvieus

    Lindsay Lunnum ’08 M.Div. graduated from Yale Divinity School just a few months after giving birth to her son, Seamus. Her experience as a pregnant, then postpartum, student at YDS gave her a glimpse into the challenges people face in trying to advocate for accommodations in spaces where their needs aren’t fully understood.

    “I think a lot of professors didn’t have experience with postpartum students or pregnant students,” Lunnum says.

    1
    Lindsay Lunnum

    Her insights deepened a few years later when she was serving as Assistant Rector at The Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington, New York. Seamus, who had been diagnosed with autism, was becoming an older toddler. As Lunnum became more aware that Sunday School wasn’t an environment that worked for his needs, friends and family began sending her articles about a ministry called Rhythms of Grace that supported children on the autism spectrum.

    “Learning about Rhythms of Grace as a parent was really, really exciting,” Lunnum says. “Here was a way my son and my daughter, who’s neurotypical, could be reached, could learn about how God loves them, and be formed in a Christian community in a way that that would work for them.”

    Lunnum prayed that if God wanted her to start a Rhythms of Grace ministry at the parish, she would meet people who would want to partner with her. Within two weeks, she received a phone call from a family that was curious about ways the church could include their daughter in parish life. Shortly thereafter, both families traveled to Connecticut to attend a Rhythms of Grace service offered by its founders.

    “It was great,” Lunnum says. “My son just walked the perimeter of the room the entire time, but he was listening; that’s what he does when he is in a new space, how he gets his bearings. It was an environment where that was OK. Seamus made himself comfortable. It was like no other church space I’ve ever been in.”

    In 2013, When Lunnum became rector of Zion Episcopal Church in Douglaston, Queens, she brought Rhythms of Grace with her—to her new congregation’s eager embrace. Lunnum has also played roles in Rhythms of Grace’s leadership over the last few years, having served on the board for five years and as spokesperson for the last two years.

    As spokesperson, Lunnum serves as the point of contact for people who are interested in learning more about the ministry. She is also available for training and works to raise visibility of the ministry, the program, and “the joy of knowing and loving people on the spectrum.”

    How it started

    Rhythms of Grace was founded in 2003 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington, Conn., by the church’s then-Director of Children and Youth Ministries Linda Snyder and Audrey Scanlan ’03 M.Div., now the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, who was then serving as assistant rector.

    A parishioner approached the rector, concerned that he couldn’t come to church anymore because he felt his autistic son was being too disruptive in the nursery. Scanlan, who had a graduate certificate to teach elementary school and had previously worked in an after-school program that served children with differing social needs and intellectual disabilities, and Snyder, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education and had taught at two parochial schools, decided to collaborate on creating a meaningful worship experience for both the father and the son. The father promised that if they started such a ministry, he would bring all his friends.

    “We said, well, you know what? We like doing ministry together. So let’s just try,” Snyder says. “For me, Rhythms of Grace was a calling. Once I realized how much this was needed, I just felt that we had to continue it and it gave to me as much as we gave to the [participants].”

    1
    A parachute exercise at a Rhythms of Grace service.

    Rhythms of Grace services, which Lunnum’s parishes hold on the first Saturday of each month, follow the same outline from the Book of Common prayer as their principal 10:30 a.m. service. They begin by greeting each other and then gather for story time. The facilitators try to keep the story as concrete as possible and include activities that reinforce its themes.

    For example, Lunnum will tell the story about how Jesus calms the storm by saying, “Peace, be still.” The group will then do an activity that might include making a storm in a bin of water with floating boats or creating a cut-out Jesus on a stick that says “peace, be still” on the back that everyone can keep as a reminder that Jesus can give them peace in their storms. Then they gather for Eucharist at a table close to the floor that includes a simple prayer and conclude by singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

    “It always makes me choke up,” she says. “Because if they’re going to get one thing from this worship service, it’s yes, Jesus loves me.”

    Entire congregation transformed

    The ministry reaches far beyond the immediate participants, according to Lunnum. She’s been overwhelmed by the number of lay people interested in learning how to welcome autistic people.

    “It’s been surprising to me to see the benefits that aren’t just for the person or family with special needs, but how [the ministry] transforms the entire congregation,” Lunnum says. “In both parishes, I have had teenagers who’ve come to Rhythms of Grace and learned that they’re comfortable and welcome in the sanctuary. And then they’re able to come on Sunday morning because they know it’s theirs.”

    In addition to starting a ministry like Rhythms of Grace, churches have many options in adapting their principal worship services to be more welcoming, according to both Lunnum and Scanlan.

    3
    Audrey Scanlan

    “When you imagine a principal worship service with the organ, the creaky pews, and people speaking, it’s very loud,” Lunnum says. “It’s a difficult space even for people who are neurotypical to handle at times. I try to invite people to think about what sensory inputs we receive when we’re worshipping in our principal services and then think about ways we can help people participate fully.”

    Lunnum’s suggestions include having noise-cancelling headphones in the back of the church that can help muffle loud noises, or fidget toys and coloring pages that might help people self-regulate.

    Another component is educating the congregation about autism. As her parish gets to know and love people on the autism spectrum, she observes, they start to understand certain behaviors like echolalia or repetitive physical movements like hand-flapping as self-regulation techniques rather than “distractions.”

    Another component is educating the congregation about autism. As her parish gets to know and love people on the autism spectrum, she observes, they start to understand certain behaviors like echolalia or repetitive physical movements like hand-flapping as self-regulation techniques rather than “distractions.”

    Congregations can also think creatively about adapting the liturgy to be more inclusive, Scanlan adds: “Not every sermon has to be preached from a pulpit. Not every lesson needs to be read from the pages of holy scripture.”

    Creative storytelling methods include using objects, singing songs, or holding up placards with refrains rather than reading scripture from the lectern.

    There are also myriad ways to respond to God’s word, Scanlan suggests. For example, instead of having a sermon every week, a church might set up stations around the sanctuary with different visual and tactile props that encourage participants to respond in a way that is interesting to them.

    “We are not complete as a church if we are not accessible, if we are not celebrating being fully alive and embodied, if we don’t have all of our members fully able to bring their gifts to our community to the body of Christ,” Lunnum says.

    Theological implications

    Incorporating practices that honor different needs has also profoundly influenced Lunnum’s theology.

    “The more I know and love people with neurological differences, the more I am coming to understand that Jesus is not neurotypical,” Lunnum says. “I mean, how could he be? He’s fully divine, he’s fully human. That’s not neurotypical. I can’t say how, but it does give me a window into how Jesus loves people who don’t think or walk through this world in a typical fashion. I’ve also really come to see God as a parent and what it must have been like for God to see his son struggle and suffer, [to] not fit in.”

    Crucial to fostering growth in the church is learning to make it more accessible and inclusive, according to Scanlan.

    “We are at this amazing pivot point, which for many people is really painful and scary,” Scanlan says. “For those of us who can put that fear aside and look to the abundance that God offers us, it’s also an opportunity to begin to redesign and reimagine church in a really different way where we meet God’s people.”

    3
    Yale Divinity School

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Research

    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:39 pm on April 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Q&A- Vanderbilt expert discusses inclusive workplaces for people on the autism spectrum", , ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder,   

    From Vanderbilt University: “Q&A- Vanderbilt expert discusses inclusive workplaces for people on the autism spectrum” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University

    Apr. 6, 2022

    April marks Autism Awareness Month. In 2022, neurodiversity in the workplace is an issue capturing attention, as conversations on how to create more inclusive spaces for all continue among business leaders.

    Tim Vogus, deputy director of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation and the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr., Professor of Management at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, focuses on research related to improving the workplace for people on the autism spectrum.

    Vogus’ inspiration comes in part from the perspective of a parent. His son, Aidan, was diagnosed with autism at age 3; Aidan turns 20 on April 6. Vogus spoke to MyVU about the importance of neurodiversity in the workplace, what businesses can do to become more inclusive, and what’s next for him on the research front.

    How has awareness of autism changed in the workforce?

    Awareness of autism in the workplace has changed as approaches to inclusive education have changed and children grow up with classmates and friends who are neurodivergent. Also, awareness in the workplace follows from better access to diagnosis. In some cases, people already in the workforce have sought out a diagnosis in adulthood or have, based on evolving norms in companies, formally identified as autistic.

    How have opportunities for people who identify as neurodivergent changed as a result? What barriers remain?

    So many more members of the workforce are openly autistic (and in the broader category of neurodivergent) and many more members of the workforce have a personal or familial connection to autistic people. This has led to growth of entrepreneurial organizations that have majority autistic workforces (e.g., Ultranauts, auticon, Aspiritech) and a proliferation of autism at work and other targeted employment programs in large corporations (e.g., SAP, JPMorgan Chase, EY, Microsoft). Despite this, scaling these efforts has proved a challenge, and a disproportionate percentage of autistic job seekers are under- or unemployed.

    What tips do you have for companies who want to improve their neurodiversity practices?

    There are several things organizations of any size can do:

    First, they can increase organizational understanding of autism. TRIAD, the Frist Center and the College Autism Network have collaborated to develop a short course that can help called Autism Career Empowerment (ACE).
    Second, many companies want the innovation that comes from a neurodiverse workforce, but they also want employees that “fit” and think and act like their current employees. Companies need to shift from fit that can be exclusionary and even discriminatory to contributions that prioritize new ways of thinking and lived experience.
    Third, and related, companies can make many simple, yet powerful, changes to how they conduct interviews—providing interview questions in advance in writing to aid preparation (and reduce anxiety), asking interview questions that pertain to specific skills and experiences that are relevant to the job and avoiding ambiguous and open-ended questions (e.g., “tell me about yourself”), or even having the job candidate do job tasks and allow the job candidate to demonstrate their skills.
    Fourth, changing expectations for what indicates interest in the position. For example, if an autistic job candidate is not making eye contact, it is not a signal of disinterest. It may be a means of focusing on listening to the question and providing a high-quality response.
    Fifth, managers or supervisors can provide clear expectations about what constitutes successful job performance and providing consistent and direct feedback.
    Last, small environmental modifications at work (e.g., allowing use of noise-canceling headphones) can be helpful.

    How can people on the autism spectrum better position themselves for career success?

    The emphasis primarily needs to be on organizations to change their practices, their cultures and the corresponding mindsets. However, recognizing that change is likely to come slower than any of us would like, there are things that can help to navigate the current reality.

    For young adults seeking postsecondary education, I would start by identifying colleges and universities that are truly inclusive of neurodiversity and provide a robust set of supports. This is especially important because autism is a spectrum, meaning as members of the community often say, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.” The College Autism Network has an excellent resource for seeing what a wide array of schools offer. Another tool for young adults would be gaining internship experience or working on employment readiness, both of which we offer at the Frist Center.
    For graduates or adults with work experience, targeted hiring programs can be a viable point of entry. However, even from these employers, interviews are consistently a disproportionate barrier to entry for autistic job candidates. Practicing interviewing and related workplace interactions can be helpful. At the Frist Center we have developed an AI-based tool for doing this called CIRVR, and there are also organizations in Nashville like The Precisionists that provide a bridge to employment and aid job readiness.

    How can the Frist Center contribute to the conversation about improving workplace opportunities for people with autism?

    What makes the Frist Center such an exciting place is that it sits at the intersection of pathbreaking engineering research and technology development, research into how to transform the workplace to be fundamentally and sustainably inclusive of neurodiversity, and serving as a hub, through partnerships with a range of employers as well as our projects, for autistic young adults to get placed in internships and staff (and even lead) research projects and technology development. Those placements have led to jobs with great employers like EY.

    What research do you have coming out that examines issues related to the workplace for this population?

    I’m excited about research currently under review where we examine the importance of the manager and employee relationship to sustained employment success. Due to what’s known as the “double empathy problem,” autistic and neurotypical individuals often have difficulty taking each other’s perspective. Also, autistic employees and neurotypical managers have different understandings regarding what makes an “ideal employee,” with managers typically adding unstated relational requirements. These disconnects can lead to poor evaluations of performance and even losing a job. However, through detailed case studies and interviews with nine employees, nine managers and nine job coaches, we find how efforts to reconcile expectations regarding job performance initiated by the job coach (or sometimes the employee) lead to improved evaluations and sustained employment. In addition, these interventions by job coaches led multiple managers to change their approach to set out clearer expectations, provide more specific feedback and be more open to different ideas and perspectives.

    What drives you personally on this subject?

    I’m deeply motivated by all the things that my son Aidan has taught me and the incredible experiences we’ve shared over the past 20 years full of Marvel, music, races, roller coasters and trains. I’ve also seen the things that get in the way of his pursuing what he desires and living the life he wants to live. I hope our work at the Frist Center can help make for more inclusive communities and workplaces.

    I’m also driven by current and past center leaders like Dave Caudel and Claire Barnett, and by the numerous autistic people from all manner of fields who have become friends and upended my understanding of how to make organizations effective and of how essential it is to see the world and the workplace through a neurodiversity lens. Once we center neurodiversity rather than neurotypicality, we have a chance for acceptance, belonging and real change.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities. In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
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