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  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on October 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DOE Funds Pilot Study Focused on Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops", , , Biochemistry, , , , , , Research into threats from pathogens and pests would speed short-term response and spark long-term mitigation strategies.,   

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory: “DOE Funds Pilot Study Focused on Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops” 

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

    10.6.22

    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Research into threats from pathogens and pests would speed short-term response and spark long-term mitigation strategies.

    1
    Pilot study on an important disease in sorghum (above) will develop understanding of threats to bioenergy crops, potentially speeding the development of short-term responses and long-term mitigation strategies. (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Genomic Science program)

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory to lead a new research effort focused on potential threats to crops grown for bioenergy production. Understanding how such bioenergy crops could be harmed by known or new pests or pathogens could help speed the development of rapid responses to mitigate damage and longer-term strategies for preventing such harm. The pilot project could evolve into a broader basic science capability to help ensure the development of resilient and sustainable bioenergy crops as part of a transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

    The idea is modeled on the way DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) pooled basic science capabilities to address the COVID-19 pandemic. With $5 Million in initial funding, allocated over the next two years, Brookhaven Lab and its partners will develop a coordinated approach for addressing biosecurity challenges. This pilot study will lead to a roadmap for building out a DOE-wide capability known as the National Virtual Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops Center (NVBBCC).

    “A robust biosecurity capability optimized to respond rapidly to biological threats to bioenergy crops requires an integrated and versatile platform,” said Martin Schoonen, Brookhaven Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Environment, Biology, Nuclear Science & Nonproliferation, who will serve as principal investigator for the pilot project. “With this initial funding, we’ll develop a bio-preparedness platform for sampling and detecting threats, predicting how they might propagate, and understanding how pests or pathogens interact with bioenergy crops at the molecular level—all of which are essential for developing short-term control measures and long-term solutions.”

    The team will invest in new research tools—including experimental equipment and an integrating computing environment for data sharing, data analysis, and predictive modeling. Experiments on an important disease of energy sorghum, a leading target for bioengineering as an oil-producing crop, will serve as a model to help the team establish optimized protocols for studying plant-pathogen interactions.

    In addition, a series of workshops will bring together experts from a range of perspectives and institutions to identify partnerships within and outside DOE, as well as any future investments needed, to establish the full capabilities of an end-to-end biosecurity platform.

    “NVBBCC is envisioned to be a distributed, virtual center with multiple DOE-labs at its core to maximize the use of unique facilities and expertise across the DOE complex,” Schoonen said. “The center will support plant pathology research driven by the interests of the bioenergy crop community, as well as broader plant biology research that could impact crop health.”

    Building the platform

    2
    The pilot study experiments and workshops will be organized around four main themes: detection and sampling, biomolecular characterization, assessment, and mitigation.

    In this initial phase, the research will focus on energy sorghum. This crop’s potential oil yield per acre far exceeds than that of soybeans, currently the world’s primary source of biodiesel.

    “Sorghum is susceptible to a devastating fungal disease, caused by Colletotrichum sublineola, which can result in yield losses of up to 67 percent,” said John Shanklin, chair of Brookhaven Lab’s Biology Department and co-lead of the assessment theme. “Finding ways to thwart this pathogen is a high priority for the bioenergy crop community.”

    The NVBBCC team will use a range of tools—including advanced remote-sensing technologies, COVID-19-like rapid test strips, and in-field sampling—to detect C. sublineola. Additional experiments will assess airborne propagation of fungal spores, drawing on Brookhaven Lab’s expertise in modeling the dispersal of aerosol particles.

    The team will also use state-of-the-art biomolecular characterization tools—including cryo-electron microscopes in Brookhaven’s Laboratory for BioMolecular Structure (LBMS) and x-ray crystallography beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source-II (NSLS-II)—to explore details of how pathogen proteins and plant proteins interact. In addition, they’ll add a new tool—a cryogenic-focused ion beam—to produce samples for high-resolution three-dimensional cellular imaging and other advanced imaging modalities.

    Together, these experiments will reveal mechanistic details that provide insight into how plants respond to infections, including how some strains of sorghum develop resistance to C. sublineola. The team will also draw on extensive information about the genetic makeup of sorghum and C. sublineola to identify factors that control expression of the various plant and pathogen proteins.

    The program will be supported by an integrating computing infrastructure with access to sophisticated computational tools across the DOE complex and at partner institutions, enabling integrated data analysis and collaboration using community data standards and tools. The infrastructure will also provide capabilities to develop, train, and verify new analytical and predictive computer models, including novel artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

    “NVBBCC will build on the Johns Hopkins University-developed SciServer environment, which has been used successfully in large data-sharing and analysis projects in cosmology and soil ecology,” said Kerstin Kleese van Dam, head of Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative. “NVBBCC’s computational infrastructure will allow members to easily coordinate research across different domains and sites, accelerating discovery and response times through integrated knowledge sharing.”

    See the full article here .


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    Brookhaven Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the The DOE Office of Science, The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

    Research at BNL specializes in nuclear and high energy physics, energy science and technology, environmental and bioscience, nanoscience and national security. The 5300 acre campus contains several large research facilities, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider [below] and National Synchrotron Light Source II [below]. Seven Nobel prizes have been awarded for work conducted at Brookhaven lab.

    BNL is staffed by approximately 2,750 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, and hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year. The laboratory has its own police station, fire department, and ZIP code (11973). In total, the lab spans a 5,265-acre (21 km^2) area that is mostly coterminous with the hamlet of Upton, New York. BNL is served by a rail spur operated as-needed by the New York and Atlantic Railway. Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York, forecast office of the National Weather Service.

    Major programs

    Although originally conceived as a nuclear research facility, Brookhaven Lab’s mission has greatly expanded. Its foci are now:

    Nuclear and high-energy physics
    Physics and chemistry of materials
    Environmental and climate research
    Nanomaterials
    Energy research
    Nonproliferation
    Structural biology
    Accelerator physics

    Operation

    Brookhaven National Lab was originally owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and is now owned by that agency’s successor, the United States Department of Energy (DOE). DOE subcontracts the research and operation to universities and research organizations. It is currently operated by Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, which is an equal partnership of Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute. From 1947 to 1998, it was operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), but AUI lost its contract in the wake of two incidents: a 1994 fire at the facility’s high-beam flux reactor that exposed several workers to radiation and reports in 1997 of a tritium leak into the groundwater of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens on which the facility sits.

    Foundations

    Following World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission was created to support government-sponsored peacetime research on atomic energy. The effort to build a nuclear reactor in the American northeast was fostered largely by physicists Isidor Isaac Rabi and Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., who during the war witnessed many of their colleagues at Columbia University leave for new remote research sites following the departure of the Manhattan Project from its campus. Their effort to house this reactor near New York City was rivalled by a similar effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to have a facility near Boston, Massachusetts. Involvement was quickly solicited from representatives of northeastern universities to the south and west of New York City such that this city would be at their geographic center. In March 1946 a nonprofit corporation was established that consisted of representatives from nine major research universities — Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Yale University.

    Out of 17 considered sites in the Boston-Washington corridor, Camp Upton on Long Island was eventually chosen as the most suitable in consideration of space, transportation, and availability. The camp had been a training center from the US Army during both World War I and World War II. After the latter war, Camp Upton was deemed no longer necessary and became available for reuse. A plan was conceived to convert the military camp into a research facility.

    On March 21, 1947, the Camp Upton site was officially transferred from the U.S. War Department to the new U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    Research and facilities

    Reactor history

    In 1947 construction began on the first nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor. This reactor, which opened in 1950, was the first reactor to be constructed in the United States after World War II. The High Flux Beam Reactor operated from 1965 to 1999. In 1959 Brookhaven built the first US reactor specifically tailored to medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, which operated until 2000.

    Accelerator history

    In 1952 Brookhaven began using its first particle accelerator, the Cosmotron. At the time the Cosmotron was the world’s highest energy accelerator, being the first to impart more than 1 GeV of energy to a particle.

    BNL Cosmotron 1952-1966.

    The Cosmotron was retired in 1966, after it was superseded in 1960 by the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    BNL Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    The AGS was used in research that resulted in 3 Nobel prizes, including the discovery of the muon neutrino, the charm quark, and CP violation.

    In 1970 in BNL started the ISABELLE project to develop and build two proton intersecting storage rings.

    The groundbreaking for the project was in October 1978. In 1981, with the tunnel for the accelerator already excavated, problems with the superconducting magnets needed for the ISABELLE accelerator brought the project to a halt, and the project was eventually cancelled in 1983.

    The National Synchrotron Light Source operated from 1982 to 2014 and was involved with two Nobel Prize-winning discoveries. It has since been replaced by the National Synchrotron Light Source II. [below].

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source.

    After ISABELLE’S cancellation, physicist at BNL proposed that the excavated tunnel and parts of the magnet assembly be used in another accelerator. In 1984 the first proposal for the accelerator now known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)[below] was put forward. The construction got funded in 1991 and RHIC has been operational since 2000. One of the world’s only two operating heavy-ion colliders, RHIC is as of 2010 the second-highest-energy collider after the Large Hadron Collider (CH). RHIC is housed in a tunnel 2.4 miles (3.9 km) long and is visible from space.

    On January 9, 2020, it was announced by Paul Dabbar, undersecretary of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, that the BNL eRHIC design has been selected over the conceptual design put forward by DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility [Jlab] as the future Electron–ion collider (EIC) in the United States.

    In addition to the site selection, it was announced that the BNL EIC had acquired CD-0 from the Department of Energy. BNL’s eRHIC design proposes upgrading the existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which collides beams light to heavy ions including polarized protons, with a polarized electron facility, to be housed in the same tunnel.

    Other discoveries

    In 1958, Brookhaven scientists created one of the world’s first video games, Tennis for Two. In 1968 Brookhaven scientists patented Maglev, a transportation technology that utilizes magnetic levitation.

    Major facilities

    Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which was designed to research quark–gluon plasma and the sources of proton spin. Until 2009 it was the world’s most powerful heavy ion collider. It is the only collider of spin-polarized protons.

    Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), used for the study of nanoscale materials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II, Brookhaven’s newest user facility, opened in 2015 to replace the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), which had operated for 30 years. NSLS was involved in the work that won the 2003 and 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, a particle accelerator that was used in three of the lab’s Nobel prizes.
    Accelerator Test Facility, generates, accelerates and monitors particle beams.
    Tandem Van de Graaff, once the world’s largest electrostatic accelerator.

    Computational Science resources, including access to a massively parallel Blue Gene series supercomputer that is among the fastest in the world for scientific research, run jointly by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University-SUNY.

    Interdisciplinary Science Building, with unique laboratories for studying high-temperature superconductors and other materials important for addressing energy challenges.
    NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, where scientists use beams of ions to simulate cosmic rays and assess the risks of space radiation to human space travelers and equipment.

    Off-site contributions

    It is a contributing partner to the ATLAS experiment, one of the four detectors located at the The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] Large Hadron Collider(LHC).

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] map.

    Iconic view of the European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear] [Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] ATLAS detector.

    It is currently operating at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] near Geneva, Switzerland.

    Brookhaven was also responsible for the design of the Spallation Neutron Source at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee.

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Spallation Neutron Source annotated.

    Brookhaven plays a role in a range of neutrino research projects around the world, including the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China.

    Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China .


    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II.

    BNL NSLS II.

    BNL Relative Heavy Ion Collider Campus.

    BNL/RHIC Phenix detector.


     
  • richardmitnick 6:26 am on July 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Becoming a Quantum Mechanic", An interdisciplinary program will train the next generation of quantum scientists., , , Biochemistry, , Biomolecular Science, , , , , , ,   

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara: “Becoming a Quantum Mechanic” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara

    July 26, 2022
    Harrison Tasoff
    (805) 893-7220
    harrisontasoff@ucsb.edu

    An interdisciplinary program will train the next generation of quantum scientists.

    1
    An undergraduate and two graduate students work on a laser stabilization setup for trapped ion experiments. Photo Credit:
    Andrew Jayich.

    Although it may study the universe at its smallest scales, quantum science has become a big field. “And as a scientific field gets more mature, you bump into problems that take you in new directions,” said University of California-Santa Barbara physicist David Weld. Progress requires a collaborative approach and familiarity with a variety of techniques.

    That’s why Weld is leading the development of a new endeavor to train doctoral students in a multidisciplinary approach to quantum science. The Integrative Training in Quantum Assembly & Technology (InTriQATE) initiative is supported by a nearly $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Weld and his eight co-principal investigators anticipate training 75 Ph.D. students — including 30 funded “trainees” — from the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Biochemistry, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Biomolecular Science and Engineering.

    “The field of quantum science has evolved to the point where people who are going to make contributions to it need to know things from many disciplines,” Weld said. “They need a combination of insights and techniques from multiple fields.”

    This NSF Research Traineeship will exemplify the collaborative spirit that is ubiquitous at University of California- Santa Barbara. The program will introduce young scientists to different fields so they learn where to look for solutions to their research problems in the increasingly interdisciplinary topic of quantum science. Hopefully, this will help the doctoral students avoid tunnel vision even as they begin specializing in a specific area.

    The multifaceted program encompasses new course offerings, professional support and research opportunities. A quantum lab class will serve as its centerpiece. “It’s going to be less of an introduction to the and two-by-two matrices of quantum science and more of the nuts and bolts of how you actually build a quantum technology or do a quantum science experiment in the lab,” Weld said.

    The grant provides funding for the 30 trainees to pursue research at University of California-Santa Barbara and at other institutions and companies through an exchange program. What’s more, students from across the sciences and engineering will have access to the NRT’s courses, job fairs, workshops and even faculty mentorships. The faculty plan to develop a seminar series, informal lunches and inter-departmental team projects as well.

    “The program has many different facets, and we want to adapt it as best we can to the particular students and provide them with a lot of exposure to different fields,” said Associate Professor Andrew Jayich, one of the NRT’s eight co-principal investigators. “We’re going to evaluate the program and adapt as it moves forward.”

    The program’s leadership is excited about opportunities for productive synergies between the NRT and other enterprises on campus, such as the education component of the University of California-Santa Barbara NSF Quantum Foundry. “The NRT lab course is sort of the experimental version of the Quantum Foundry’s introduction to quantum science course,” Weld said. “We hope that a lot of students will take both of these, and they should feed off of each other in a productive way.”

    The NRT kicks off in spring 2023 with five years of funding. Jayich noted that, If it goes well, it could serve as a model for similar initiatives at other campuses.

    “We’re really excited about this as a new approach to training and educating quantum scientists,” Weld said. “We’re excited about the focus on experiment. We’re excited about people learning from different disciplines. And we think this will be, hopefully, a pretty fun and high-impact program for the campus at large.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal

    The University of California-Santa Barbara is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, The University of California-Santa Barbara joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

    The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled The University of California-Santa Barbara a “Public Ivy”.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current University of California-Santa Barbara faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering; and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The University of California-Santa Barbara was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
    The University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.

    History

    The University of California-Santa Barbara traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

    In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

    From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

    Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, The University of California-Santa Barbara is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after The University of California-Berzerkeley and The University of California-Los Angeles (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the University of California system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

    Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California-Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

    In 1959 The University of California-Santa Barbara professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

    In the late ’60s and early ’70s The University of California-Santa Barbara became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

    In 1995 The University of California-Santa Barbara was elected to The Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

    On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at The University of California-Santa Barbara. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation, The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

    From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, and Princeton University) according to Thomson Reuters.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara hosts 12 National Research Centers, including The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by The National Science Foundation. UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

    Research impact rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked The University of California-Santa Barbara 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked https://www.nsf.gov/ 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

    In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 University of California-Santa Barbara departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

    The Global Research Report: United States published by Thomson Reuters in November 2010 rated The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘s research fourth nationally in citation impact.

    Among U.S. university economics programs, in 2010 The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked sixth for experimental economics; third for environmental economics; and 12th for cognitive and behavioral economics by RePEc.

    Washington Monthly named The University of California-Santa Barbara as the 20th best national university in 2020 based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:17 pm on May 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Learning from Nature- Biosynthesis of cyanobacterin opens up new class of natural compounds for applications in medicine and agriculture", , , Biocatalysis, Biochemistry, , Biosynthesis, , ,   

    From The Dresden University of Technology [Technische Universität Dresden] (DE): “Learning from Nature- Biosynthesis of cyanobacterin opens up new class of natural compounds for applications in medicine and agriculture” 

    From The Dresden University of Technology [Technische Universität Dresden] (DE)

    May 27, 2022

    Media inquiries:
    Prof. Tobias A. M. Gulder
    Chair of Technical Biochemistry
    TU Dresden
    Tel.: +49 351 463-34494
    tobias.gulder@​tu-dresden.de

    Prof. Tanja Gulder
    Institute of Organic Chemistry/ Biomimetic Catalysis
    Leipzig University
    Tel.: +49 341 97-36540
    tanja.gulder@uni-leipzig.de

    1
    Fermentation of cyanobacteria in a photobioreactor at TU Dresden.

    Researchers in the groups of Prof. Tobias Gulder from TU Dresden and Prof. Tanja Gulder from Leipzig University have succeeded in understanding the biosynthetic mechanisms for the production of the natural product cyanobacterin, which in Nature is produced in small quantities by the cyanobacteria Scytonema hofmanni. In the process, they also discovered a new class of enzymes for building carbon-carbon bonds. The (bio)chemists are thus significantly expanding the biocatalytic repertoire currently known from Nature and are opening up new, sustainable biotechnological applications in medicine and agriculture. The results of the collaboration have now been published in the renowned journal Nature Chemical Biology.

    The fact that Nature is an excellent chemist is demonstrated by the abundance of molecules, so-called natural products, which it produces biosynthetically. These natural products are also of central importance to us humans. They are used in many ways in our everyday lives, especially as active agents in medicine and agriculture. Prominent examples are antibiotics such as penicillin isolated from molds, the anti-cancer drug Taxol from the Pacific yew tree, and pyrethrins found in chrysanthemums, which are used to combat pest infestations. The knowledge and understanding of the biosynthetic assembly of such compounds by Nature is essential for the development and production of drugs based on such compounds.

    In this context, researchers from the groups of Prof. Tobias Gulder (TU Dresden) and Prof. Tanja Gulder (Leipzig University) jointly investigated the biosynthesis of cyanobacterin, which is highly toxic to photosynthetic organisms and is produced in small quantities in Nature by the cyanobacterium Scytonema hofmanni. In their work, the (bio)chemists were not only able to elucidate the biosynthesis of the natural product for the first time, but also discovered a novel enzymatic transformation for the formation of carbon-carbon bonds.

    This work was made possible by combining modern tools from bioinformatics, synthetic biology, enzymology and (bio)chemical analytics. The focus was on how the central part of the cyanobacterin carbon skeleton is produced. The putative genes for this were first cloned by the method of “Direct Pathway Cloning” (DiPaC) and then activated in the model organism E. coli as a cell factory. DiPaC is a new synthetic biology method previously developed in the laboratory of Tobias Gulder, Professor of Technical Biochemistry at TU Dresden. “DiPaC allows us to transfer entire natural products biosynthetic pathways into recombinant host systems very quickly and efficiently,” Tobias Gulder explains. In the next step, the research team analyzed the essential individual steps of cyanobacterin biosynthesis by additionally producing all key enzymes in the host organism E.coli, isolating them and then investigating the function of each enzyme. In the process, they came across a previously unknown class of enzymes called furanolide synthases. These are capable of catalyzing the formation of carbon-carbon bonds following an unusual mechanism. In further studies of these furanolide synthases, these enzymes proved to be efficient in vitro biocatalysts, making them highly attractive for biotechnological applications.

    “With the furanolide synthases, we have obtained an enzymatic tool that will allow us to develop more environmentally friendly methods for the production of bioactive compounds in the future and thus make significant contributions to a more sustainable chemistry,” explains Prof. Tanja Gulder from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Leipzig University. Next, the two research teams want to specifically search for these novel biocatalysts in other organisms as well, and thus find new bioactive members of this natural products class, as well as develop methods for the biotechnological production and structural diversification of cyanobacterin. “Our work paves the way for the comprehensive development of an exciting class of natural products for applications in medicine and agriculture,” the two scientists agree.

    See the full article here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Dresden University of Technology [Technische Universität Dresden] (DE) is a public research university, the largest institute of higher education in the city of Dresden, the largest university in Saxony and one of the 10 largest universities in Germany with 32,389 students as of 2018.

    The name Technische Universität Dresden has only been used since 1961; the history of the university, however, goes back nearly 200 years to 1828. This makes it one of the oldest colleges of technology in Germany, and one of the country’s oldest universities, which in German today refers to institutes of higher education that cover the entire curriculum. The university is a member of TU9, a consortium of the nine leading German Institutes of Technology. The university is one of eleven German universities which succeeded in the Excellence Initiative in 2012, thus getting the title of a “University of Excellence”. The TU Dresden succeeded in all three rounds of the German Universities Excellence Initiative (Future Concept, Graduate Schools, Clusters of Excellence).

    History

    In 1828, with emerging industrialization, the “Saxon Technical School” was founded to educate skilled workers in technological subjects such as mechanics; mechanical engineering and ship construction. In 1871 the year the German Empire was founded, the institute was renamed the Royal Saxon Polytechnic Institute (Königlich-Sächsisches Polytechnikum). At that time, subjects not connected with technology such as history and languages were introduced. By the end of the 19th century the institute had developed into a university covering all disciplines. In 1961 it was given its present name, Dresden University of Technology [Technische Universität Dresden].

    Upon German reunification in 1990 the university had already integrated the College of Forestry (Forstliche Hochschule) formerly the Royal Saxony Academy of Forestry, in the nearby small town of Tharandt. This was followed by the integration of the Dresden College of Engineering (Ingenieurshochschule Dresden); the Friedrich List College of Transport (Hochschule für Verkehrswesen) the faculty of transport science; and the “Carl-Gustav Carus” Medical Academy (Medizinische Akademi), the medical faculty. Some faculties were newly founded: the faculties of Information Technology (1991); Law (1991); Education (1993); and Economics (1993).

    In 2009 TU Dresden, all Dresden institutes of the Fraunhofer Society; the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community and the Max Planck Society and Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf soon incorporated into the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (DE), published a joint letter of intent with the name DRESDEN-Konzept – Dresden Research and Education Synergies for the Development of Excellence and Novelty, which points out worldwide elite aspirations, which was recognized as the first time that all four big post-gradual elite institutions declared campus co-operation with a university.

    Sciences

    With 4,390 students the Faculty of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences is the second-largest faculty at the university. It is composed of 5 departments: Biology; Chemistry; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. The departments are all located on the main campus. In 2006, a new research building for the biology department opened. In October 2006 the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft decided to fund a new graduate school, the Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering and a so-called cluster of excellence From Cells to Tissues to Therapies.

    Engineering

    The Faculty of Architecture comprises 6 departments. Currently, there are 1,410 students enrolled.
    The Faculty of Civil Engineering is structured into 11 departments. It is the oldest and smallest of the faculties. There are currently 800 students enrolled.
    The Faculty of Computer Science comprises six departments: Applied Computer Science; Artificial Intelligence; Software- and Multimedia-Technology; Systems Architecture; Computer Engineering; and Theoretical Computer Science. The faculty has 2,703 students.
    The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology is organized into 13 departments. There are 2,288 students enrolled. The faculty is the heart of the so-called Silicon Saxony in Dresden.
    The Faculty of Environmental Sciences has 2,914 students. The faculty is located on the main campus, except for the Forestry department which is located in Tharandt. The Forestry department is the oldest of its kind in Germany. Its history goes back to the foundation of the Royal Saxon Academy of Forestry (Königlich-Sächsische Forstakademie) in 1816.
    The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering comprises 19 departments and has 5,731 students. It is the largest faculty at TUD.
    The Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences “Friedrich List” is the only of its kind in Germany covering transport and traffic from economy and system theory science to electrical, civil and mechanical engineering. There are 1,536 students enrolled.

    Humanities and Social Sciences

    The Faculty of Business and Economics comprises five departments: Business Education Studies (Wirtschaftspädagogik); Business Management; Economics; Business Information Systems; and Statistics. There are 2,842 students enrolled.
    The Faculty of Education, located East of the main campus, has 2,075 students.
    The Faculty of Languages, Literature and Culture is structured into five departments: American Studies; English Studies; German Studies; Philology; Romance Languages; and Slavic Studies. There are 3,215 students at this faculty.
    The Faculty of Law is going to close in the next few years. Currently there are still 933 students enrolled. The TU Dresden has partially compensated the closure by establishing a private law school
    The Faculty of Philosophy comprises seven departments: Art History; Communications; History; Musicology; Political Sciences; Sociology; and Theology. There are 3,485 students enrolled.
    The School of International Studies is a so-called central institution of the university coordinating the law, economics and political sciences departments for courses of interdisciplinary international relations.

    Medicine
    The Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine has its own campus East of the city center near the Elbe river. Currently, there are 2,195 students enrolled. The faculty has a partnership with Partners Harvard Medical International.

    Research Centers
    Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed) – Cluster of Excellence
    Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) – Cluster of Excellence
    Dendro-Institute Tharandt at the TU Dresden
    The European Institute for Postgraduate Education at TU Dresden (EIPOS Europäisches Institut für postgraduale Bildung an der Technischen Universität Dresden e. V.)
    The European Institute of Transport (EVI Europäisches Verkehrsinstitut an der Technischen Universität Dresden e. V.)
    The Hannah Arendt Center for Research on Totalitarianism (HAIT Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung an der Technischen Universität Dresden e. V.)
    Center for Media Culture (MKZ Medienkulturzentrum Dresden e. V. an der TU Dresden)
    Center for Research on Mechanics of Structures and Materials (SWM Struktur- und Werkstoffmechanikforschung Dresden GmbH an der Technischen Universität Dresden)
    TUD Vietnam ERC, the TU Dresden Vietnam Education and Research Center. The center offers a Master’s course in Mechatronics in Hanoi (Vietnam) since 2004.
    Center for Continuing Education in Historic Preservation (WBD Weiterbildungszentrum für Denkmalpflege und Altbauinstandsetzung e. V.)
    School of International Studies (Zentrum für Internationale Studien, ZIS in German)

     
  • richardmitnick 8:08 am on May 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers investigate self-regulation of an enzyme with critical cellular functions", Biochemistry, , Developmental Biology, , , Regulation of CK1 enzymes is exceptionally important as dysfunction of these enzymes contributes to several conditions that include cancer; neurodegenerative diseases and sleep disorders., Regulation of the CK1 enzyme family, , There are seven CK1 enzymes in mammals that perform different functions.,   

    From Vanderbilt University : “Researchers investigate self-regulation of an enzyme with critical cellular functions” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University

    5.7.22
    Emily Overway

    1
    Sierra Cullati, Kathy Gould, and Jun-Song Chen. Photo by Stephen Doster.

    The lab of Kathy Gould, Louise B. McGavock Professor and professor of cell and developmental biology, used a multi-disciplinary approach that included structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to investigate the regulation of the CK1 enzyme family. The research, led by Sierra Cullati, a postdoc in the Gould lab, and carried out in conjunction with Jun-Song Chen, research assistant professor of cell and developmental biology, and scientists from Goethe University Frankfurt [Goethe-Universität](DE) and the Structural Genomics Consortium – Frankfurt (DE), and from Harvard University, was published in Molecular Cell.

    CK1 enzymes are a family of multifunctional kinases—enzymes that can phosphorylate, or add phosphate groups to, other proteins—that are critical for several cellular functions including DNA repair, endocytosis, and mitotic checkpoint signaling. Regulation of CK1 enzymes is exceptionally important as dysfunction of these enzymes contributes to several conditions that include cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and sleep disorders.

    There are seven CK1 enzymes in mammals that perform different functions, but they are highly conserved in their catalytic domain, the region responsible for phosphorylation. Gould and colleagues found that one mechanism of CK1 activity, and thus one mechanism of regulation, is the self-phosphorylation of a conserved amino acid residue in its catalytic domain.

    The researchers further investigated how this self-phosphorylation regulates activity and discovered that phosphorylation at this site altered the substrate specificity of CK1 enzymes. Substrate specificity refers to the determination of which other proteins the CK1 kinases will phosphorylate, which in turn determines which pathways within a cell get activated. In general, the phosphorylation state of CK1 enzymes controls their function—or dysfunction—within a cell. Determining which pathways are controlled by the phosphorylated versus non-phosphorylated states of the enzymes is a step toward the development of better treatments with fewer side effects for the diseases caused by enzyme dysfunction.

    The Gould lab and collaborators hope to build upon this work by determining other sites of CK1 self-phosphorylation and investigating the pathways they regulate; there are several potential self-phosphorylation sites clustered together on one end of the protein, for example, that intrigue the researchers. Additionally, they plan to investigate how the discovered phosphorylation sites work together to provide additional control under different cellular conditions, such as cellular stress.

    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 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:08 pm on March 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New astrobiology research predicts life 'as we don't know it'", Biochemistry, Integrated Microbial Genomes and Microbiomes database, , Universally shared biochemistry   

    From The Arizona State University (US): “New astrobiology research predicts life ‘as we don’t know it'” 

    From The Arizona State University (US)

    February 28, 2022

    Karin Valentine
    Media Relations & Marketing manager,
    School of Earth and Space Exploration
    480-965-9345
    Karin.Valentine@asu.edu

    In new research published in the PNAS, a team of scientists has tackled this restriction by identifying universal patterns in the chemistry of life that do not appear to depend on specific molecules. These findings provide a new opportunity for predicting features of alien life with different biochemistry to Earth life.

    1
    Artist’s conception of a planetary lineup showing habitable-zone exoplanets [unidentified] with similarities to Earth, featured on the far right. Credit: The NASA Ames Research Center/JPL-Caltech.

    “We want to have new tools for identifying and even predicting features of life as we don’t know it,” says co-author Sara Imari Walker of Arizona State University. “To do so, we are aiming to identify the universal laws that should apply to any biochemical system. This includes developing quantitative theory for the origins of life, and using theory and statistics to guide our search for life on other planets.”

    On Earth, life emerges from the interplay of hundreds of chemical compounds and reactions. Some of these compounds and reactions are found across all organisms, creating a universally shared biochemistry for all life on Earth. This notion of universality, though, is specific to known biochemistry and does not allow for predictions about examples not yet observed.

    “We are not just the molecules that are part of our bodies; we, as living things, are an emergent property of the interactions of the many molecules we are made of,” says Walker, who is an associate professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Complex Adaptive Systems and the deputy director of ASU’s Beyond Center. “What our work is doing is aiming to develop ways of turning that philosophical insight into testable scientific hypotheses.”

    Lead author Dylan Gagler, who graduated from ASU in 2020 with his master’s degree and is now a bioinformatics analyst at New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, said he became interested in universal biology out of a desire to better understand the phenomenon of life. “It’s a surprisingly difficult concept to pin down,” he says. “As far as I can tell, life is ultimately a biochemical process, so I wanted to explore what life is doing at that level.”

    Gagler and Walker ultimately decided that enzymes, as the functional drivers of biochemistry, were a good way to approach this concept. Using the Integrated Microbial Genomes and Microbiomes database, they, together with their collaborators, were able to investigate the enzymatic makeup of bacteria, archaea and eukarya, and thereby capture the majority of Earth’s biochemistry.

    Through this approach, the team was able to discover a new kind of biochemical universality by identifying statistical patterns in the biochemical function of enzymes shared across the tree of life. In so doing, they verified that statistical patterns originated from functional principles that cannot be explained by the common set of enzyme functions used by all known life, and identified scaling relationships associated with general types of functions.

    “We identified this new kind of biochemical universality from the large-scale statistical patterns of biochemistry and found they are more generalizable to unknown forms of life compared to the traditional one decribed by the specific molecules and reactions that are common to all life on Earth,” explains co-author Hyunju Kim, an assistant research professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and ASU’s Beyond Center. “This discovery enables us to develop a new theory for the general rules of life, which can guide us in the search for novel examples of life.”

    “We might expect these results to hold anywhere in the universe, and that’s an exciting possibility that motivates a lot of interesting work ahead,” says co-author Chris Kempes of the Santa Fe Institute.

    Additional authors on this study are Bradley Karas, John Malloy and Veronica Mierzejewski of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration; and Aaron Goldman of Oberlin College and the Blue Marble Space Institute for Science.

    This is the first major research resulting from the ASU-led team participating in the inaugural Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research program, funded through NASA’s Astrobiology Program. The breadth and depth of the research of the teams selected for ICAR fundings spans the spectrum of astrobiology research, from cosmic origins and planetary system formation to the origins and evolution of life and the search for life beyond Earth.

    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 Arizona State University (US) is a public research university in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, Arizona State University is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S.

    One of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona State University is a member of the Universities Research Association (US) and classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity.” Arizona State University has nearly 150,000 students attending classes, with more than 38,000 students attending online, and 90,000 undergraduates and more nearly 20,000 postgraduates across its five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. Arizona State University offers 350 degree options from its 17 colleges and more than 170 cross-discipline centers and institutes for undergraduates students, as well as more than 400 graduate degree and certificate programs. The Arizona State Sun Devils compete in 26 varsity-level sports in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and is home to over 1,100 registered student organizations.

    Arizona State University’s charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the New American University model created by Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow upon his appointment as the institution’s 16th president in 2002. It defines Arizona State University as “a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” The model is widely credited with boosting Arizona State University’s acceptance rate and increasing class size.

    The university’s faculty of more than 4,700 scholars has included 5 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners, 4 MacArthur Fellows, and 19 National Academy of Sciences members. Additionally, among the faculty are 180 Fulbright Program American Scholars, 72 National Endowment for the Humanities fellows, 38 American Council of Learned Societies fellows, 36 members of the Guggenheim Fellowship, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 3 members of National Academy of Inventors, 9 National Academy of Engineering members and 3 National Academy of Medicine members. The National Academies has bestowed “highly prestigious” recognition on 227 ASU faculty members.

    History

    Arizona State University was established as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature passed an act to create a normal school to train teachers for the Arizona Territory. The campus consisted of a single, four-room schoolhouse on a 20-acre plot largely donated by Tempe residents George and Martha Wilson. Classes began with 33 students on February 8, 1886. The curriculum evolved over the years and the name was changed several times; the institution was also known as Tempe Normal School of Arizona (1889–1903), Tempe Normal School (1903–1925), Tempe State Teachers College (1925–1929), Arizona State Teachers College (1929–1945), Arizona State College (1945–1958) and, by a 2–1 margin of the state’s voters, Arizona State University in 1958.

    In 1923, the school stopped offering high school courses and added a high school diploma to the admissions requirements. In 1925, the school became the Tempe State Teachers College and offered four-year Bachelor of Education degrees as well as two-year teaching certificates. In 1929, the 9th Arizona State Legislature authorized Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees as well, and the school was renamed the Arizona State Teachers College. Under the 30-year tenure of president Arthur John Matthews (1900–1930), the school was given all-college student status. The first dormitories built in the state were constructed under his supervision in 1902. Of the 18 buildings constructed while Matthews was president, six are still in use. Matthews envisioned an “evergreen campus,” with many shrubs brought to the campus, and implemented the planting of 110 Mexican Fan Palms on what is now known as Palm Walk, a century-old landmark of the Tempe campus.

    During the Great Depression, Ralph Waldo Swetman was hired to succeed President Matthews, coming to Arizona State Teachers College in 1930 from Humboldt State Teachers College where he had served as president. He served a three-year term, during which he focused on improving teacher-training programs. During his tenure, enrollment at the college doubled, topping the 1,000 mark for the first time. Matthews also conceived of a self-supported summer session at the school at Arizona State Teachers College, a first for the school.

    1930–1989

    In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe, beginning a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years, second only to Swetman’s 30 years at the college’s helm. Like President Arthur John Matthews before him, Gammage oversaw the construction of several buildings on the Tempe campus. He also guided the development of the university’s graduate programs; the first Master of Arts in Education was awarded in 1938, the first Doctor of Education degree in 1954 and 10 non-teaching master’s degrees were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1956. During his presidency, the school’s name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names were considered: Tempe University and State University at Tempe. Among Gammage’s greatest achievements in Tempe was the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed construction of what is Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium/ASU Gammage. One of the university’s hallmark buildings, Arizona State University Gammage was completed in 1964, five years after the president’s (and Wright’s) death.

    Gammage was succeeded by Harold D. Richardson, who had served the school earlier in a variety of roles beginning in 1939, including director of graduate studies, college registrar, dean of instruction, dean of the College of Education and academic vice president. Although filling the role of acting president of the university for just nine months (Dec. 1959 to Sept. 1960), Richardson laid the groundwork for the future recruitment and appointment of well-credentialed research science faculty.

    By the 1960s, under G. Homer Durham, the university’s 11th president, Arizona State University began to expand its curriculum by establishing several new colleges and, in 1961, the Arizona Board of Regents authorized doctoral degree programs in six fields, including Doctor of Philosophy. By the end of his nine-year tenure, Arizona State University had more than doubled enrollment, reporting 23,000 in 1969.

    The next three presidents—Harry K. Newburn (1969–71), John W. Schwada (1971–81) and J. Russell Nelson (1981–89), including and Interim President Richard Peck (1989), led the university to increased academic stature, the establishment of the Arizona State University West campus in 1984 and its subsequent construction in 1986, a focus on computer-assisted learning and research, and rising enrollment.

    1990–present

    Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, Arizona State University grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of ASU. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.

    In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university’s 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming Arizona State University into a “New American University”—one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities (US) criteria and to become a member. Crow initiated the idea of transforming Arizona State University into “One university in many places”—a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including the Arizona State University Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several Arizona State University degree and certificate programs.

    During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, Arizona State University began a years-long research facility capital building effort that led to the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of five Nobel Laureates. Since 2002, the university’s research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university’s research facilities.

    The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to Arizona State University’s budget. In response to these cuts, Arizona State University capped enrollment, closed some four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators; however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses, and establish a low-cost, teaching-focused extension campus in Lake Havasu City.

    As of 2011, an article in Slate reported that, “the bottom line looks good,” noting that:

    “Since Crow’s arrival, Arizona State University’s research funding has almost tripled to nearly $350 million. Degree production has increased by 45 percent. And thanks to an ambitious aid program, enrollment of students from Arizona families below poverty is up 647 percent.”

    In 2015, the Thunderbird School of Global Management became the fifth Arizona State University campus, as the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. Partnerships for education and research with Mayo Clinic established collaborative degree programs in health care and law, and shared administrator positions, laboratories and classes at the Mayo Clinic Arizona campus.

    The Beus Center for Law and Society, the new home of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, opened in fall 2016 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, relocating faculty and students from the Tempe campus to the state capital.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:22 am on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Study Sheds Light on Origins of Life on Earth", , , Biochemistry, , Evolution of protein structures entails understanding how new folds arose from previously existing ones., , , , The ability to shuffle electrons was paramount to life., The best elements for electron transfer are metals., The metal-binding cores of existing proteins are indeed similar even though the proteins themselves may not be., The researchers explored how primitive life may have originated on our planet from simple non-living materials., The researchers studied proteins that bind metals., They compared all existing protein structures that bind metals to establish any common features.   

    From Rutgers University (US): “New Study Sheds Light on Origins of Life on Earth” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University (US)

    January 14, 2022
    John Cramer

    1
    A Rutgers-led team has discovered the structures of proteins that may be responsible for the origins of life in the primordial soup of ancient Earth.Credit: Shutterstock.

    Addressing one of the most profoundly unanswered questions in biology, a Rutgers-led team has discovered the structures of proteins that may be responsible for the origins of life in the primordial soup of ancient Earth.

    The study appears in the journal Science Advances.

    The researchers explored how primitive life may have originated on our planet from simple non-living materials. They asked what properties define life as we know it and concluded that anything alive would have needed to collect and use energy, from sources such as the Sun or hydrothermal vents.

    In molecular terms, this would mean that the ability to shuffle electrons was paramount to life. Since the best elements for electron transfer are metals (think standard electrical wires) and most biological activities are carried out by proteins, the researchers decided to explore the combination of the two — that is, proteins that bind metals.

    They compared all existing protein structures that bind metals to establish any common features, based on the premise that these shared features were present in ancestral proteins and were diversified and passed down to create the range of proteins we see today.

    Evolution of protein structures entails understanding how new folds arose from previously existing ones, so the researchers designed a computational method that found the vast majority of currently existing metal-binding proteins are somewhat similar regardless of the type of metal they bind to, the organism they come from or the functionality assigned to the protein as a whole.

    “We saw that the metal-binding cores of existing proteins are indeed similar even though the proteins themselves may not be,” said the study’s lead author Yana Bromberg, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We also saw that these metal-binding cores are often made up of repeated substructures, kind of like LEGO blocks. Curiously, these blocks were also found in other regions of the proteins, not just metal-binding cores, and in many other proteins that were not considered in our study. Our observation suggests that rearrangements of these little building blocks may have had a single or a small number of common ancestors and given rise to the whole range of proteins and their functions that are currently available — that is, to life as we know it.”

    “We have very little information about how life arose on this planet, and our work contributes a previously unavailable explanation,” said Bromberg, whose research focuses on deciphering the DNA blueprints of life’s molecular machinery. “This explanation could also potentially contribute to our search for life on other planets and planetary bodies. Our finding of the specific structural building blocks is also possibly relevant for synthetic biology efforts, where scientists aim to construct specifically active proteins anew.”

    The study, funded by The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US), also included researchers from The University of Buenos Aires [Universidad de Buenos Aires] (AR).

    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 (US), 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 (US) 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 (US)), 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 (US) and the Universities Research Association (US). 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 (US). 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 (US). 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 (US) 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 5:44 pm on January 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chemists use DNA to build the world’s tiniest antenna", , Biochemistry, , , , DNA-based fluorescent nanoantenna, , ,   

    From The University of Montréal [Université de Montréal] (CA) : “Chemists use DNA to build the world’s tiniest antenna” 

    From The University of Montréal [Université de Montréal] (CA)

    01/10/2022
    Salle De Presse

    1
    Developed at Université de Montréal, the easy-to-use device promises to help scientists better understand natural and human-designed nanotechnologies – and identify new drugs.

    Researchers at Université de Montréal have created a nanoantenna to monitor the motions of proteins.

    Reported this week in Nature Methods, the device is a new method to monitor the structural change of proteins over time – and may go a long way to helping scientists better understand natural and human-designed nanotechnologies.

    “The results are so exciting that we are currently working on setting up a start-up company to commercialize and make this nanoantenna available to most researchers and the pharmaceutical industry,” said UdeM chemistry professor Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, the study’s senior author.

    Works like a two-way radio

    Over 40 years ago, researchers invented the first DNA synthesizer to create molecules that encode genetic information. “In recent years, chemists have realized that DNA can also be employed to build a variety of nanostructures and nanomachines,” said Vallée-Belisle, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Bioengineering and Bionanotechnology.

    “Inspired by the ‘Lego-like’ properties of DNA, with building blocks that are typically 20,000 times smaller than a human hair, we have created a DNA-based fluorescent nanoantenna, that can help characterize the function of proteins,” he said.

    “Like a two-way radio that can both receive and transmit radio waves, the fluorescent nanoantenna receives light in one colour, or wavelength, and depending on the protein movement it senses, then transmits light back in another colour, which we can detect.”

    One of the main innovations of these nanoantennae is that the receiver part of the antenna is also employed to sense the molecular surface of the protein studied via molecular interaction.

    One of the main advantages of using DNA to engineer these nanoantennas is that DNA chemistry is relatively simple and programmable,” said Scott Harroun, an UdeM doctoral student in chemistry and the study’s first author.

    “The DNA-based nanoantennas can be synthesized with different lengths and flexibilities to optimize their function,””he said. “One can easily attach a fluorescent molecule to the DNA, and then attach this fluorescent nanoantenna to a biological nanomachine, such as an enzyme.

    “By carefully tuning the nanoantenna design, we have created five nanometer-long antenna that produces a distinct signal when the protein is performing its biological function.”

    Fluorescent nanoantennas open many exciting avenues in biochemistry and nanotechnology, the scientists believe.

    “For example, we were able to detect, in real time and for the first time, the function of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase with a variety of biological molecules and drugs,” said Harroun. “This enzyme has been implicated in many diseases, including various cancers and intestinal inflammation.”

    Added Dominic Lauzon, a co-author of the study doing his PhD in chemistry at UdeM: “In addition to helping us understand how natural nanomachines function or malfunction, consequently leading to disease, this new method can also help chemists identify promising new drugs as well as guide nanoengineers to develop improved nanomachines.”

    One main advance enabled by these nanoantennas is also their ease-of-use, the scientists said.

    “Perhaps what we are most excited by is the realization that many labs around the world, equipped with a conventional spectrofluorometer, could readily employ these nanoantennas to study their favourite protein, such as to identify new drugs or to develop new nanotechnologies,” said Vallée-Bélisle.

    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 Université de Montréal is a French-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university’s main campus is located on the northern slope of Mount Royal in the neighbourhoods of Outremont and Côte-des-Neiges. The institution comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the Polytechnique Montréal (School of Engineering; formerly the École Polytechnique de Montréal) and HEC Montréal (School of Business). It offers more than 650 undergraduate programmes and graduate programmes, including 71 doctoral programmes.

    The university was founded as a satellite campus of the Université Laval in 1878. It became an independent institution after it was issued a papal charter in 1919 and a provincial charter in 1920. Université de Montréal moved from Montreal’s Quartier Latin to its present location at Mount Royal in 1942. It was made a secular institution with the passing of another provincial charter in 1967.

    The school is co-educational, and has 34,335 undergraduate and 11,925 post-graduate students (excluding affiliated schools). Alumni and former students reside across Canada and around the world, with notable alumni serving as government officials, academics, and business leaders.

    Research

    Université de Montréal is a member of the U15, a group that represents 15 Canadian research universities. The university includes 465 research units and departments. In 2018, Research Infosource ranked the university third in their list of top 50 research universities; with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $536.238 million in 2017. In the same year, the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $271,000, while its graduates averaged a sponsored research income of $33,900.

    Université de Montréal research performance has been noted in several bibliometric university rankings, which uses citation analysis to evaluate the impact a university has on academic publications. In 2019, The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities ranked the university 104th in the world, and fifth in Canada. The University Ranking by Academic Performance 2018–19 rankings placed the university 99th in the world, and fifth in Canada.

    Since 2017, Université de Montréal has partnered with the McGill University (CA) on Mila (research institute), a community of professors, students, industrial partners and startups working in AI, with over 500 researchers making the institute the world’s largest academic research center in deep learning. The institute was originally founded in 1993 by Professor Yoshua Bengio.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:34 pm on January 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Materials theorist Yuan Ping wins NSF CAREER Award", , Biochemistry, , Critical properties of spin qubits include quantum coherence which determines how long the spin state will last., , Ping’s first-principles approach will eliminate the need for prior input parameters., Ping’s group has developed computational tools for predicting spin dynamics in solid-state materials which they will use to study the properties of spin qubits., , , The funding for this project also includes support for a range of education and outreach activities., , Understanding kinetics of excited states and spin qubit relaxation and decoherence is the core issue of spin-based quantum information science., Yuan Ping   

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) : “Materials theorist Yuan Ping wins NSF CAREER Award” 

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US)

    January 05, 2022
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    1
    Yuan Ping

    Yuan Ping, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from The National Science Foundation (US) to support her work developing computational platforms to investigate the physics of new materials for quantum computers and other applications of quantum information science.

    In quantum computers, information is encoded in quantum bits, or qubits, which can be made from any quantum system that has two states. One promising approach is based on the spin states of electrons. Ping’s group has developed a theoretical framework and computational tools for predicting spin dynamics in solid-state materials which they will use to study the properties of spin qubits.

    Critical properties of spin qubits include quantum coherence which determines how long the spin state will last (or how long the encoded information will be intact); readout efficiency, which determines the fidelity with which information can be extracted from a qubit; and quantum transduction, which determines if quantum information can be transferred and communicated among qubits over a long range.

    “Understanding kinetics of excited states and spin qubit relaxation and decoherence is the core issue of spin-based quantum information science,” Ping said. “In this project, we will develop a computational platform to tackle these issues for spin qubits.”

    All of these properties are materials-specific, and previous efforts have relied mostly on simplified models which require inputs from prior experiments. Ping’s first-principles approach will eliminate the need for prior input parameters and will open the path for designing novel quantum materials with the potential to enable unprecedented performance for applications in quantum information science.

    “Stable, scalable, and reliable quantum information science has the potential to transform and advance knowledge across a large number of critical fields through next-generation technologies for sensing, computing, modeling, and communicating,” Ping said.

    The funding for this project also includes support for a range of education and outreach activities. These include strengthening undergraduate education in physical chemistry through a summer bootcamp; developing computational materials research through new courses and undergraduate research programs; and supporting women and underrepresented groups through UCSC’s Women in Science and Engineering program.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Cruz (US) Lick Observatory Since 1888 Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA.

    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft).
    UC Santa Cruz (US) campus.

    The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) , opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    UCO Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building.

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow


    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego (US) who led the development of the new instrument while at the U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA).

    Shelley Wright of UC San Diego with (US) NIROSETI, developed at U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) at the 1-meter Nickel Telescope at Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by University of California-Berkeley (US) researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    Frank Drake with his Drake Equation. Credit Frank Drake.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:20 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mirror-image peptides form ‘rippled sheet’ structure predicted in 1953", , Biochemistry, , , Pleated beta sheet, , Proteins consist of long chains of amino acids folded into complex three-dimensional shapes that enable them to carry out a huge variety of functions in all living things., The amino acids that make up proteins can have either a “left-handed” (L) or “right-handed” (D) orientation in the arrangement of their atoms-mirror images., ,   

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) : “Mirror-image peptides form ‘rippled sheet’ structure predicted in 1953” 

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US)

    December 17, 2021
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    A UCSC team obtained an x-ray ‘snapshot’ of a novel protein structure with potential applications in biomedicine and materials science.

    1
    This illustration shows the “left-handed” and “right-handed” triphenylalanine peptides which bond together to form a rippled beta sheet. Illustration by Jevgenij Raskatov.

    2
    The dimeric rippled sheets assembled into a layered crystal structure with a herringbone pattern. Image credit: Kuhn et al., Chemical Science 2021.

    By mixing a small peptide with equal amounts of its mirror image, a team of scientists at UC Santa Cruz has created an unusual protein structure known as a “rippled beta sheet” and obtained images of it using x-ray crystallography. They reported their findings in a paper published December 8 in Chemical Science.

    The rippled sheet is a distinctive variation on the pleated beta sheet, which is a well-known structural motif found in thousands of proteins, including important disease-related proteins. Linus Pauling and Robert Corey described the rippled beta sheet in 1953, two years after introducing the concept of the pleated beta sheet.

    While the pleated beta sheet (often called simply the beta sheet) quickly became a textbook example of a common protein structure, the rippled sheet has languished in obscurity as a rarely studied and largely theoretical structure. Previous studies have found experimental evidence of rippled sheet formation, but none using x-ray crystallography, which is the gold standard for determining protein structures.

    “Now, for the first time, we have the crystal structure of a rippled sheet, which is like a snapshot of it, and the structure closely matches the predictions of Pauling and Corey,” said Jevgenij Raskatov, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz and corresponding author of the paper.

    “The rippled sheet paradigm may have significance for both materials research and biomedical applications, and having the crystal structure is important for the rational design of rippled sheet materials,” Raskatov noted.

    Proteins consist of long chains of amino acids folded into complex three-dimensional shapes that enable them to carry out a huge variety of functions in all living things. A pleated beta sheet is composed of linear strands (called beta strands) bonded together side by side to form a 2-dimensional sheet-like structure. A rippled beta sheet is similar except that alternate strands are mirror images of each other.

    The amino acids that make up proteins can have either a “left-handed” (L) or “right-handed” (D) orientation in the arrangement of their atoms—the same in all respects but mirror images, like left and right hands. All natural proteins are made with left-handed amino acids, but synthetic proteins can be made with either L or D amino acids.

    In the new study, the researchers used mirror-image forms of triphenylalanine, a short peptide consisting of three phenylalanine amino acids. When mixed in equal amounts, the mirror-image peptides joined in pairs, which then packed together into herringbone layer structures.

    “They pack together to form a crystal, so we could use x-ray crystallography to see that rippled sheet structure,” said coauthor Timothy Johnstone, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “It’s a highly enabling discovery that opens up new avenues for exploration, because it gives us a new building block, or a new way to put building blocks together, for creating novel polypeptide structures with desirable properties.”

    Having determined the crystal structure, the researchers then searched the Protein Data Bank, an online archive of structural data, for other proteins involving mirror-image peptides. They found three additional crystal structures containing rippled sheets that had not been recognized when the structures were originally analyzed.

    The co-first authors of the paper are Ariel Kuhn, a Ph.D. student in Raskatov’s lab, and Beatriz Ehlke, a Ph.D. student in the lab of coauthor Scott Oliver, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

    “It was a great collaborative effort between the three labs, as well as demonstrating the incredible capabilities of our new single crystal XRD instrument for x-ray crystallography,” Kuhn said.

    This work was supported by The National Institutes of Health (US) and The National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Cruz (US) Lick Observatory Since 1888 Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA.

    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft).
    UC Santa Cruz (US) campus.

    The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) , opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    UCO Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building.

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow


    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego (US) who led the development of the new instrument while at the U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA).

    Shelley Wright of UC San Diego with (US) NIROSETI, developed at U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) at the 1-meter Nickel Telescope at Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by University of California-Berkeley (US) researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    Frank Drake with his Drake Equation. Credit Frank Drake.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:20 pm on December 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Biochemistry, Describing the genetic; phylogenetic; and functional diversity of "Acidobacteria"., , , , Sampling for soil microbes in the Malla Nature Reserve located at Kilpisjärvi in northwestern Lapland Finland., The ‘tri-polar’ region was chosen as high latitude and altitude soils are disproportionately impacted by climate change.   

    From Rutgers University (US) : “Distinguished Professor Max Häggblom Leads $1.5 Million NSF Study on Microbiomes of Polar and Alpine Soils” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University (US)

    December 9, 2021

    1
    Max Häggblom, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers, sampling for soil microbes in the Malla Nature Reserve located at Kilpisjärvi in northwestern Lapland Finland, one of the project study sites.

    Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Max Häggblom, is principal investigator of a collaborative, multinational project, Dimensions US-China-South Africa: Establishing genetic, phylogenetic and functional mechanisms that shape the diversity of polar and alpine soil microbiomes funded by The National Science Foundation (US). Rutgers co-principal investigators are Lee Kerkhof, professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and Malin Pinsky, professor of in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources.

    The international research team—Rutgers University, The University of Delaware (US), The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN) Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, The University of Pretoria (SA)—will focus on the microbial ecology of soil ecosystems in the Arctic, Antarctic and Tibetan Plateau.

    By studying polar and alpine soils, researchers are seeking to identify the mechanisms that lead to diverse soil microbial communities, hallmarks of stable and sustainable soils.

    “The ‘tri-polar’ region was chosen as high latitude and altitude soils are disproportionately impacted by climate change and predicted to show increased microbial activity and enhanced turnover of soil organic matter in the future. Significant warming of these soils is expected to drive increased microbial activity and enhanced greenhouse gas release,” said Häggblom.

    2
    Collaborator Minna Männistö, Natural Resources Institute Finland, sampling for soil microbes under two meters of snow in winter.

    Microorganisms are the foundations of ecosystems and drive the biology and chemistry in soils, including the conversion of soil organic matter into the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, as well as nitrogen and phosphorous compounds that can be used by plants.

    “Understanding the ecology of these microorganisms is a compelling scientific challenge, particularly for soil microbiomes that govern nutrient cycling and decomposition,” he explained.

    The combinations and interactions of forces that govern the assembly, dynamics and activity of soil microbiomes are poorly understood—particularly for polar and alpine soils that are on the frontline of climate change.

    “Having a clear understanding of how soil ecosystems respond in these polar regions is critical for evaluating the controls of biogeochemical cycling and clarifying microbial feedbacks in a changing world,” he added.

    Researchers will link laboratory- and field-based approaches to describe the genetic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of Acidobacteria, one of the most ubiquitous but elusive bacterial phyla found in terrestrial ecosystems around the globe. The research will be coupled to educational activities by integrating samples and data into hands-on classroom training at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels.

    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 (US), 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 (US) 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 (US)), 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 (US) and the Universities Research Association (US). 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 (US). 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 (US). 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 (US) IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

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

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

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

     
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