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  • richardmitnick 11:32 am on June 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A newly identified stem cell regulator enables lifelong sperm production", , , Medicine, Men can continue to produce sperm throughout their adult lives., Men require a constant renewal of spermatogonial stem cells which give rise to sperm., , The team found that DOT1L appeared to be regulating a gene family known as HoxC., This reinvigoration of stem cells depends on a newly characterized stem cell self-renewal factor called DOT1L., When the enzyme DOT1L is not functional spermatogonial stem cells become exhausted leading to a failure of sperm cell development.   

    From Penn Today: “A newly identified stem cell regulator enables lifelong sperm production” 

    From Penn Today

    at

    U Penn bloc

    University of Pennsylvania

    June 22, 2022
    Katherine Unger Baillie

    1
    When the enzyme DOT1L is not functional spermatogonial stem cells become exhausted leading to a failure of sperm cell development. This crucial role for DOT1L places it in rarefied company as one of just a handful of known stem cell self-renewal factors, a Penn Vet team found. (Image: Courtesy of Jeremy Wang)

    Unlike women, who are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, men can continue to produce sperm throughout their adult lives. To do so, they require a constant renewal of spermatogonial stem cells which give rise to sperm.

    This reinvigoration of stem cells depends on a newly characterized stem cell self-renewal factor called DOT1L, according to research by Jeremy Wang of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and colleagues. When mice lack DOT1L, the team showed, they fail to maintain spermatogonial stem cells, and thus, lack the ability to continuously produce sperm.

    Scientists have discovered only a handful of such stem cell renewal factors, so the find, published in the journal Genes & Development, adds another entity to a rarified group.

    “This novel factor was only able to be identified by finding this unusual genetic phenotype: the fact that mice lacking DOT1L were not able to continue to produce sperm,” says Wang, the Ralph L. Brinster President’s Distinguished Professor at Penn Vet and a corresponding author on the paper. “Identifying this essential factor not only helps us understand the biology of adult germline stem cells, but could also allow scientists to one day reprogram somatic cells, like skin cells, to become germline stem cells. That is the next frontier for fertility treatment.”

    The researchers stumbled upon DOT1L’s role in stem cell self-renewal serendipitously. The gene is expressed widely; mice with a mutant version of DOT1L in all of their cells don’t survive past the embryonic stage of development. But based on the known DOT1L expression patterns, Wang and colleagues believed that it could play a role in meiosis, the cell division process that gives rise to sperm and eggs. So, they decided to see what happened when the gene was only deleted in germ cells.

    “When we did this, the animals lived and appeared healthy,” Wang says. “When we looked closer, however, we found that the mice lacking DOT1L in their germ cells could complete an initial round of sperm production, but then the stem cells became exhausted and the mice lost all germ cells.”

    This drop-off in sperm production could arise due to other problems. But various lines of evidence supported the link between DOT1L and a failure of stem cell self-renewal. In particular, the researchers found that the mice experienced a sequential loss of the various stages of sperm production, first losing spermatogonia and then spermatocytes, followed by round spermatids, and then sperm.

    In a further experiment, the researchers observed what happened when DOT1L was inactivated in germ cells not from birth, but during adulthood. As soon as Wang and colleagues triggered the DOT1L loss, they observed the same sequential loss of sperm development they had seen in the mice born without DOT1L in their germ cells.

    Previously, other scientific groups have studied DOT1L in the context of leukemia. Overexpression of the gene in the progenitors of blood cells can lead to malignancy. From that line of investigation, it was known that DOT1L acts as a histone methyltransferase, an enzyme that adds a methyl group to histones to influence gene expression.

    To see whether the same mechanism was responsible for the results Wang and his team had observed in sperm production, the researchers treated spermatogonial stem cells with a chemical that blocks the methyltransferase activity of DOT1L. When they did so, the stem cells’ ability to grow in culture was significantly reduced. The treatment also impaired the ability of stem cells to tag histones with a methyl group. And when these treated stem cells were transplanted into otherwise healthy mice, the animals’ spermatogonial stem cell activity was cut in half.

    The team found that DOT1L appeared to be regulating a gene family known as HoxC, transcription factors that play significant roles in regulating the expression of a host of other genes.

    “We think that DOT1L promotes the expression of these HoxC genes by methylating them,” says Wang. “These transcription factors probably contribute to the stem cell self-renewal process. Finding out the details of that is a future direction for our work.”

    A longer-term goal is using factors like DOT1L and others involved in germline stem cell self-renewal to help people who have fertility challenges. The concept is to create germ cells from the ground up.

    “That’s the future of this field: in vitro gametogenesis,” Wang says. “Reprogramming somatic cells to become spermatogonial stem cells is one of the steps. And then we’d have to figure out how to make those cells undergo meiosis. We’re in the early stages of envisioning how to accomplish this multi-step process, but identifying this self-renewal factor brings us one step closer.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Penn campus

    Academic life at University of Pennsylvania is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

    The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

    Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Wharton School; and the School of Nursing. Penn’s “One University Policy” allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn’s twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).

    Penn is also home to the first “student union” building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university’s athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.

    As of 2018, distinguished alumni and/or Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 32 U.S. senators; 46 U.S. governors; 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution (four of whom signed both representing two-thirds of the six people who signed both); 24 members of the Continental Congress; 14 foreign heads of state and two presidents of the United States, including Donald Trump. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates; 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 64 billionaires; 29 Rhodes Scholars; 15 Marshall Scholars and 16 Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.

    History

    The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton University and Columbia University. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution”. However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia”. Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard University, William & Mary, Yale Unversity, and The College of New Jersey—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.

    Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753 by the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.

    The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.

    Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

    After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself”. The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

    Research, innovations and discoveries

    Penn is classified as an “R1” doctoral university: “Highest research activity.” Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

    In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn’s research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing; the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School; the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center; the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton; and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the “Penn Integrates Knowledge” title awarded to selected Penn professors “whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge”. These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn’s schools.

    Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia University and Cornell University (Harvard University did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale University) and tenth nationally.

    In most disciplines Penn professors’ productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn’s 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.

    Penn’s research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school; the first university teaching hospital; the first business school; and the first student union Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, “Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education”.

    Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

    ENIAC UPenn

    It was here also where the world’s first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer’s link with genes; cognitive therapy; Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin; the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.

    Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research; Simon Kuznets’s method of measuring Gross National Product; the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the “Wharton Model” developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon’s health reform in the 1970s.

    International partnerships

    Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics(UK), University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES), Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), University of Queensland(AU), University College London(UK), King’s College London(UK), Hebrew University of Jerusalem(IL) and University of Warwick(UK).

     
  • richardmitnick 1:08 pm on June 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Artificial neural networks model face processing in autism", , Compared with controls autistic adults required higher levels of happiness in the faces to report them as happy., Medicine, , The network can be used to select images that might be more efficient in autism diagnoses., The network contained layers of units that roughly resemble biological neurons that process visual information., The scientists trained separate neural networks to match the judgments of neurotypical controls and autistic adults., Training an artificial neural network-a complex mathematical function-inspired by the brain’s architecture to perform the same task.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Artificial neural networks model face processing in autism” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    June 16, 2022
    Matthew Hutson | McGovern Institute for Brain Research

    1
    Autistic people often have a more difficult time recognizing emotions on others’ faces. New research sheds light on the inner workings of the brain to suggest an answer.

    Many of us easily recognize emotions expressed in others’ faces. A smile may mean happiness, while a frown may indicate anger. Autistic people often have a more difficult time with this task. It’s unclear why. But new research, published June 15 in The Journal of Neuroscience, sheds light on the inner workings of the brain to suggest an answer. And it does so using a tool that opens new pathways to modeling the computation in our heads: artificial intelligence.

    Researchers have primarily suggested two brain areas where the differences might lie. A region on the side of the primate (including human) brain called the inferior temporal (IT) cortex contributes to facial recognition. Meanwhile, a deeper region called the amygdala receives input from the IT cortex and other sources and helps process emotions.

    Kohitij Kar, a research scientist in the lab of MIT Professor James DiCarlo, hoped to zero in on the answer. (DiCarlo, the Peter de Florez Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and director of MIT’s Quest for Intelligence.)

    Kar began by looking at data provided by two other researchers: Shuo Wang at Washington University in St. Louis and Ralph Adolphs at Caltech. In one experiment, they showed images of faces to autistic adults and to neurotypical controls. The images had been generated by software to vary on a spectrum from fearful to happy, and the participants judged, quickly, whether the faces depicted happiness. Compared with controls autistic adults required higher levels of happiness in the faces to report them as happy.

    Modeling the brain

    Kar, who is also a member of the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, trained an artificial neural network, a complex mathematical function inspired by the brain’s architecture, to perform the same task. The network contained layers of units that roughly resemble biological neurons that process visual information. These layers process information as it passes from an input image to a final judgment indicating the probability that the face is happy. Kar found that the network’s behavior more closely matched the neurotypical controls than it did the autistic adults.

    The network also served two more interesting functions. First, Kar could dissect it. He stripped off layers and retested its performance, measuring the difference between how well it matched controls and how well it matched autistic adults. This difference was greatest when the output was based on the last network layer. Previous work has shown that this layer in some ways mimics the IT cortex, which sits near the end of the primate brain’s ventral visual processing pipeline. Kar’s results implicate the IT cortex in differentiating neurotypical controls from autistic adults.

    The other function is that the network can be used to select images that might be more efficient in autism diagnoses. If the difference between how closely the network matches neurotypical controls versus autistic adults is greater when judging one set of images versus another set of images, the first set could be used in the clinic to detect autistic behavioral traits. “These are promising results,” Kar says. Better models of the brain will come along, “but oftentimes in the clinic, we don’t need to wait for the absolute best product.”

    Next, Kar evaluated the role of the amygdala. Again, he used data from Wang and colleagues. They had used electrodes to record the activity of neurons in the amygdala of people undergoing surgery for epilepsy as they performed the face task. The team found that they could predict a person’s judgment based on these neurons’ activity. Kar reanalyzed the data, this time controlling for the ability of the IT-cortex-like network layer to predict whether a face truly was happy. Now, the amygdala provided very little information of its own. Kar concludes that the IT cortex is the driving force behind the amygdala’s role in judging facial emotion.

    Noisy networks

    Finally, Kar trained separate neural networks to match the judgments of neurotypical controls and autistic adults. He looked at the strengths or “weights” of the connections between the final layers and the decision nodes. The weights in the network matching autistic adults, both the positive or “excitatory” and negative or “inhibitory” weights, were weaker than in the network matching neurotypical controls. This suggests that sensory neural connections in autistic adults might be noisy or inefficient.

    To further test the noise hypothesis, which is popular in the field, Kar added various levels of fluctuation to the activity of the final layer in the network modeling autistic adults. Within a certain range, added noise greatly increased the similarity between its performance and that of the autistic adults. Adding noise to the control network did much less to improve its similarity to the control participants. This further suggest that sensory perception in autistic people may be the result of a so-called “noisy” brain.

    Computational power

    Looking forward, Kar sees several uses for computational models of visual processing. They can be further prodded, providing hypotheses that researchers might test in animal models. “I think facial emotion recognition is just the tip of the iceberg,” Kar says. They can also be used to select or even generate diagnostic content. Artificial intelligence could be used to generate content like movies and educational materials that optimally engages autistic children and adults. One might even tweak facial and other relevant pixels in what autistic people see in augmented reality goggles, work that Kar plans to pursue in the future.

    Ultimately, Kar says, the work helps to validate the usefulness of computational models, especially image-processing neural networks. They formalize hypotheses and make them testable. Does one model or another better match behavioral data? “Even if these models are very far off from brains, they are falsifiable, rather than people just making up stories,” he says. “To me, that’s a more powerful version of science.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

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

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

    From The Karolinska Institute [Karolinska Institutet](SE)

    5.18.22 [Just now in social media.]

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

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

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

    A considerable need

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

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

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

    Weekly group sessions

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

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

    Improved well-being

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

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

    Publication

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

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    June 2, 2022
    By Kitta MacPherson

    Media Contact
    Patti Verbanas
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

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

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

    1
    Credit: Rutgers University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

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

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

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

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

    Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    From The University of Maine

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

    1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:51 pm on June 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function", , , , CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, , , Genotype-phenotype relationships, Medicine, , , The Human Genome Project,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “New CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    June 9, 2022
    Eva Frederick | Whitehead Institute

    Jonathan Weissman and collaborators used their single-cell sequencing tool Perturb-seq on every expressed gene in the human genome, linking each to its job in the cell.

    1
    Data for a new gene-function map are available for other scientists to use. “It’s a big resource in the way the human genome is a big resource, in that you can go in and do discovery-based research,” says Professor Jonathan Weissman.
    Image: Jen Cook-Chrysos | Whitehead Institute

    The Human Genome Project was an ambitious initiative to sequence every piece of human DNA. The project drew together collaborators from research institutions around the world, including MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and was finally completed in 2003. Now, over two decades later, MIT Professor Jonathan Weissman and colleagues have gone beyond the sequence to present the first comprehensive functional map of genes that are expressed in human cells. The data from this project, published online June 9 in Cell, ties each gene to its job in the cell, and is the culmination of years of collaboration on the single-cell sequencing method Perturb-seq.

    The data are available for other scientists to use. “It’s a big resource in the way the human genome is a big resource, in that you can go in and do discovery-based research,” says Weissman, who is also a member of the Whitehead Institute and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Rather than defining ahead of time what biology you’re going to be looking at, you have this map of the genotype-phenotype relationships and you can go in and screen the database without having to do any experiments.”

    The screen allowed the researchers to delve into diverse biological questions. They used it to explore the cellular effects of genes with unknown functions, to investigate the response of mitochondria to stress, and to screen for genes that cause chromosomes to be lost or gained, a phenotype that has proved difficult to study in the past. “I think this dataset is going to enable all sorts of analyses that we haven’t even thought up yet by people who come from other parts of biology, and suddenly they just have this available to draw on,” says former Weissman Lab postdoc Tom Norman, a co-senior author of the paper.

    Pioneering Perturb-seq

    The project takes advantage of the Perturb-seq approach that makes it possible to follow the impact of turning on or off genes with unprecedented depth. This method was first published in 2016 [National Library of Medicine] by a group of researchers including Weissman and fellow MIT professor Aviv Regev, but could only be used on small sets of genes and at great expense.

    The massive Perturb-seq map was made possible by foundational work from Joseph Replogle, an MD-PhD student in Weissman’s lab and co-first author of the present paper. Replogle, in collaboration with Norman, who now leads a lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Britt Adamson, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University; and a group at 10x Genomics, set out to create a new version of Perturb-seq that could be scaled up. The researchers published a proof-of-concept paper in Nature Biotechnology in 2020.

    The Perturb-seq method uses CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to introduce genetic changes into cells, and then uses single-cell RNA sequencing to capture information about the RNAs that are expressed resulting from a given genetic change. Because RNAs control all aspects of how cells behave, this method can help decode the many cellular effects of genetic changes.

    Since their initial proof-of-concept paper, Weissman, Regev, and others have used this sequencing method on smaller scales. For example, the researchers used Perturb-seq in 2021 to explore how human and viral genes interact over the course of an infection with HCMV, a common herpesvirus.

    In the new study, Replogle and collaborators including Reuben Saunders, a graduate student in Weissman’s lab and co-first author of the paper, scaled up the method to the entire genome. Using human blood cancer cell lines as well noncancerous cells derived from the retina, he performed Perturb-seq across more than 2.5 million cells, and used the data to build a comprehensive map tying genotypes to phenotypes.

    Delving into the data

    Upon completing the screen, the researchers decided to put their new dataset to use and examine a few biological questions. “The advantage of Perturb-seq is it lets you get a big dataset in an unbiased way,” says Tom Norman. “No one knows entirely what the limits are of what you can get out of that kind of dataset. Now, the question is, what do you actually do with it?”

    The first, most obvious application was to look into genes with unknown functions. Because the screen also read out phenotypes of many known genes, the researchers could use the data to compare unknown genes to known ones and look for similar transcriptional outcomes, which could suggest the gene products worked together as part of a larger complex.

    The mutation of one gene called C7orf26 in particular stood out. Researchers noticed that genes whose removal led to a similar phenotype were part of a protein complex called Integrator that played a role in creating small nuclear RNAs. The Integrator complex is made up of many smaller subunits — previous studies had suggested 14 individual proteins — and the researchers were able to confirm that C7orf26 made up a 15th component of the complex.

    They also discovered that the 15 subunits worked together in smaller modules to perform specific functions within the Integrator complex. “Absent this thousand-foot-high view of the situation, it was not so clear that these different modules were so functionally distinct,” says Saunders.

    Another perk of Perturb-seq is that because the assay focuses on single cells, the researchers could use the data to look at more complex phenotypes that become muddied when they are studied together with data from other cells. “We often take all the cells where ‘gene X’ is knocked down and average them together to look at how they changed,” Weissman says. “But sometimes when you knock down a gene, different cells that are losing that same gene behave differently, and that behavior may be missed by the average.”

    The researchers found that a subset of genes whose removal led to different outcomes from cell to cell were responsible for chromosome segregation. Their removal was causing cells to lose a chromosome or pick up an extra one, a condition known as aneuploidy. “You couldn’t predict what the transcriptional response to losing this gene was because it depended on the secondary effect of what chromosome you gained or lost,” Weissman says. “We realized we could then turn this around and create this composite phenotype looking for signatures of chromosomes being gained and lost. In this way, we’ve done the first genome-wide screen for factors that are required for the correct segregation of DNA.”

    “I think the aneuploidy study is the most interesting application of this data so far,” Norman says. “It captures a phenotype that you can only get using a single-cell readout. You can’t go after it any other way.”

    The researchers also used their dataset to study how mitochondria responded to stress. Mitochondria, which evolved from free-living bacteria, carry 13 genes in their genomes. Within the nuclear DNA, around 1,000 genes are somehow related to mitochondrial function. “People have been interested for a long time in how nuclear and mitochondrial DNA are coordinated and regulated in different cellular conditions, especially when a cell is stressed,” Replogle says.

    The researchers found that when they perturbed different mitochondria-related genes, the nuclear genome responded similarly to many different genetic changes. However, the mitochondrial genome responses were much more variable.

    “There’s still an open question of why mitochondria still have their own DNA,” said Replogle. “A big-picture takeaway from our work is that one benefit of having a separate mitochondrial genome might be having localized or very specific genetic regulation in response to different stressors.”

    “If you have one mitochondria that’s broken, and another one that is broken in a different way, those mitochondria could be responding differentially,” Weissman says.

    In the future, the researchers hope to use Perturb-seq on different types of cells besides the cancer cell line they started in. They also hope to continue to explore their map of gene functions, and hope others will do the same. “This really is the culmination of many years of work by the authors and other collaborators, and I’m really pleased to see it continue to succeed and expand,” says Norman

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:43 am on June 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Engineers develop nanoparticles that cross the blood-brain barrier", , , , , Medicine, , Tested using a new brain tissue model the particles may be able to deliver chemotherapy drugs for glioblastoma., The blood vessels surrounding the brain are much more restrictive than other blood vessels in the body to keep out potentially harmful molecules.,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Engineers develop nanoparticles that cross the blood-brain barrier” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    June 1, 2022
    Anne Trafton

    Tested using a new brain tissue model the particles may be able to deliver chemotherapy drugs for glioblastoma.

    1
    MIT researchers have created a tissue model that allows them model drug delivery to brain tumors. Tumor cells (green) are surrounded by endothelial cells (purple). Image: Cynthia Hajal and Roger D. Kamm (MIT), edited by Chris Straehla.

    There are currently few good treatment options for glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer with a high fatality rate. One reason that the disease is so difficult to treat is that most chemotherapy drugs can’t penetrate the blood vessels that surround the brain.

    A team of MIT researchers is now developing drug-carrying nanoparticles that appear to get into the brain more efficiently than drugs given on their own. Using a human tissue model they designed, which accurately replicates the blood-brain barrier, the researchers showed that the particles could get into tumors and kill glioblastoma cells.

    Many potential glioblastoma treatments have shown success in animal models but then ended up failing in clinical trials. This suggests that a better kind of modeling is needed, says Joelle Straehla, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and a pediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    “We are hoping that by testing these nanoparticles in a much more realistic model, we can cut out a lot of the time and energy that’s wasted trying things in the clinic that don’t work,” she says. “Unfortunately, for this type of brain tumor, there have been hundreds of trials that have had negative results.”

    Straehla and Cynthia Hajal SM ’18, PhD ’21, a postdoc at Dana-Farber, are the lead authors of the study, which appears this week in the PNAS. Paula Hammond, an MIT Institute Professor, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a member of the Koch Institute; and Roger Kamm, the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering, are the senior authors of the paper.

    Modeling the blood-brain barrier

    Several years ago, Kamm’s lab began working on a microfluidic model of the brain and the blood vessels that make up the blood-brain barrier.

    Because the brain is such a vital organ, the blood vessels surrounding the brain are much more restrictive than other blood vessels in the body to keep out potentially harmful molecules.

    To mimic that structure in a tissue model, the researchers grew patient-derived glioblastoma cells in a microfluidic device. Then, they used human endothelial cells to grow blood vessels in tiny tubes surrounding the sphere of tumor cells. The model also includes pericytes and astrocytes, two cell types that are involved in transporting molecules across the blood-brain barrier.

    While Hajal was working on this model as a graduate student in Kamm’s lab, she got connected with Straehla, then a postdoc in Hammond’s lab, who was interested in finding new ways to model nanoparticle drug delivery to the brain. Getting drugs across the blood-brain barrier is critical for improving treatment for glioblastoma, which is usually treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and the oral chemotherapy temozolomide. The five-year survival rate for the disease is less than 10 percent.

    Hammond’s lab pioneered a technique called layer-by-layer assembly, which they can use to create surface-functionalized nanoparticles that carry drugs in their core. The particles that the researchers developed for this study are coated with a peptide called AP2, which has been shown in previous work to help nanoparticles get through the blood brain barrier. However, without accurate models, it was difficult to study how the peptides helped with transport across blood vessels and into tumor cells.

    When the researchers delivered these nanoparticles to tissue models of both glioblastoma and healthy brain tissue, they found that the particles coated with the AP2 peptide were much better at penetrating the vessels surrounding the tumors. They also showed that the transport occurred due to binding a receptor called LRP1, which is more abundant near tumors than in normal brain vessels.

    The researchers then filled the particles with cisplatin, a commonly used chemotherapy drug. When these particles were coated with the targeting peptide, they were able to effectively kill glioblastoma tumor cells in the tissue model. However, particles that didn’t have the peptides ended up damaging the healthy blood vessels instead of targeting the tumors.

    “We saw increased cell death in tumors that were treated with the peptide-coated nanoparticle compared to the bare nanoparticles or free drug. Those coated particles showed more specificity of killing the tumor, versus killing everything in a nonspecific way,” Hajal says.

    More effective particles

    The researchers then tried delivering the nanoparticles to mice, using a specialized surgical microscope to track the nanoparticles moving through the brain. They found that the particles’ ability to cross the blood-brain barrier was very similar to what they had seen in their human tissue model.

    They also showed that coated nanoparticles carrying cisplatin could slow down tumor growth in mice, but the effect wasn’t as strong as what they saw in the tissue model. This might be because the tumors were in a more advanced stage, the researchers say. They now hope to test other drugs, carried by a variety of nanoparticles, to see which might have the greatest effect. They also plan to use their approach to model other types of brain tumors.

    “This is a model that we could use to design more effective nanoparticles,” Straehla says. “We’ve only tested one type of brain tumor, but we really want to expand and test this with a lot of others, especially rare tumors that are difficult to study because there may not be as many samples available.”

    The researchers described the method they used to create the brain tissue model in a recent Nature Protocols paper, so that other labs can also use it.

    The research was funded, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement Award from the National Cancer Institute, a Horizon Award from the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, a Cancer Research UK Brain Tumour Award, a Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology Graduate Fellowship, the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research/The Truth 365, the Helen Gurley Brown Presidential Initiative, and the Koch Institute Support (core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:34 am on June 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "By studying polar bear poop researchers aim to learn how chemicals are trapped in the body", , , , Medicine, , U of T Scarborough   

    From The University of Toronto (CA): “By studying polar bear poop researchers aim to learn how chemicals are trapped in the body” 

    From The University of Toronto (CA)

    May 27, 2022
    Don Campbell

    1
    Researchers at U of T Scarborough developed a new method to study how PCBs accumulate inside polar bears after they eat contaminated food (photo by Vaclav Sebek/Shutterstock)

    A new University of Toronto study is using polar bear scat to reveal how certain chemical contaminants can become trapped – and build up – inside the body.

    Polar bears are prone to storing certain contaminants in their bodies because they are at the top of the food chain, have a very fatty diet and have evolved to absorb high amounts of fat.

    “They’re like a trap for these chemicals,” says Frank Wania, a professor in department of physical and environmental science at U of T Scarborough who was one of the study’s authors.

    “Their contaminant intake is very high, but their ability to expel it is very low.”

    For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Wania and PhD student Yuhao Chen developed a new method to study how certain chemicals, called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), accumulate inside polar bears from contaminated food. They analyzed the diet and fecal samples of polar bears from the Toronto Zoo to see what quantity of PCBs get trapped compared to how much gets excreted.

    Polar bears experience what’s known as bio-magnification, where greater levels of toxins accumulate higher up in the food chain. Since polar bears are at the top, they’ve consumed the highest level of contaminants in their diet. (A polar bear has higher levels of contaminants than the seal it eats, the seal has more than a cod, the cod more than a small fish etc.)

    As well, researchers found that PCBs tend to bio-magnify at a higher rate in polar bears because of their high-fat diets and the capacity of their digestive system to absorb those lipids.

    While animals and humans are generally good at expelling most chemicals that shouldn’t be in the body, some contaminants are harder to get rid of due to their properties. Ones that are lipid-soluble and persistent, including the pesticide DDT and certain types of PCBs, can build up in body tissue because they cannot be broken down or excreted easily in the digestive system.

    Sarra Gourlie, supervisor of nutrition science at the Toronto Zoo who provided the dietary and fecal samples for the study, says polar bears have evolved to absorb nearly all the fat they eat – mostly from seal blubber.

    “They’re able to extract about 97 per cent of fat from their diet, so very little of it actually gets excreted,” she says.

    The polar bears at the Toronto Zoo aren’t fed wild seal blubber, which can contain high levels of PCBs. Chen says the that polar bears living in the wild have much higher levels of contaminants than ones at the zoo, which have a cleaner diet.

    He says it’s important to monitor these contaminant levels because of the harm they can cause. Studies have linked high levels of PCBs in wild polar bears to lower levels of testosterone, which can impact reproduction. It’s also been linked to disruptions of the immune and endocrine systems, which may lower survival rates.

    “The levels of PCBs have been found to exceed levels of concern to the point where they are expected to have a negative impact on polar bears living in the wild,” says Wania.

    PCBs are a group of highly toxic chemicals that have been banned globally, but can last a long time in the environment. While the researchers only looked at PCBs in this study, they say the approach might also help in monitoring other chemicals trapped through bio-magnification.

    Non-invasive method for top predators and humans

    The traditional way of studying bio-magnification relies on analyzing tissue, which can only be done on dead animals or humans. As a result, there is virtually no research on bio-magnification in humans or endangered apex predators. The researchers hope the method they’ve developed can be used on other apex predators in the wild such as lions or tigers.

    It might also be used on humans. Chen says he is currently looking into analyzing food and fecal samples from different people to see how contaminants can bio-magnify inside the body and whether there are differences between individuals.

    “We know these contaminants are in humans, and we know how the body absorbs these contaminants,” he says.

    “What we don’t know is how much of these contaminants are stored or expelled by our body when we eat a certain amount of food that is contaminated.”

    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 The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • 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, , , Biosynthesis, , Medicine, The Dresden University of Technology [Technische Universität Dresden] (DE)   

    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.

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

    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 7:54 am on May 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Abnormal development of brain’s visual system may contribute to autism", , , Medicine,   

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

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    May 26, 2022
    Jim Dryden
    jdryden@wustl.edu

    MRI scans of babies identify irregularities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
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