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  • richardmitnick 2:54 pm on July 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How to Protect Corals Facing Climate Change", , , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “How to Protect Corals Facing Climate Change” 

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    From Rutgers University

    July 8, 2019

    Todd Bates
    848-932-0550
    todd.bates@rutgers.edu

    Conserving a wide range of coral habitats is the best strategy.

    The best way to protect corals threatened by climate change is to conserve a wide range of their habitats, according to a study in Nature Climate Change. The finding likely applies to conservation efforts for many other species in the ocean and on land, including trees and birds.

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    A coral reef off Cuatros Islas in the Philippines.
    Photo: Michelle Stuart/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

    “Rather than conserving just the cold places with corals, we found that the best strategies will conserve a wide diversity of sites,” said co-author Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Hot reefs are important sources of heat-tolerant corals, while cold sites and those in between are important future refuges and stepping stones for corals as the water heats up.”

    Worldwide, about 500 million people rely on coral reefs for food and livelihoods, with billions of dollars a year boosting economies, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Reefs protect coastlines from storms and erosion; provide habitat as well as spawning and nursery grounds for fish; and result in income from fishing, recreation and tourism, among other benefits.

    But corals face several threats, including global warming, warm water bleaching episodes, reef destruction, nutrient pollution and ocean acidification from carbon dioxide emitted when fossils fuels burn.

    Predictions about the future of corals are generally grim, the study notes, but there is growing recognition that they can adapt rapidly to a changing climate.

    Pinsky and scientists at the University of Washington, Utah State University, Coral Reef Alliance, Stanford University and University of Queensland in Australia modeled how different conservation strategies might help coral reefs survive climate change. Previous research addressed where to establish marine protected areas to help corals, but nearly all studies overlooked the fact that corals can also evolve in response to climate change, Pinsky said.

    The researchers evaluated a range of potential conservation strategies, including those that: protected sites where existing coral populations appeared to be “preadapted” to future conditions; conserved sites suitable for corals to move to in the future; conserved sites with large populations of certain species; conserved the smallest populations; or protected reef sites chosen at random. The researchers found that conserving many different kinds of reefs would work best.

    “Corals are facing a gauntlet over the coming years and decades from warming oceans, but we found that reef conservation in general can really boost corals’ ability to evolve and cope with these changes,” Pinsky said. “There is strength in diversity, even when it comes to corals. We need to think not only about saving the cooler places, where corals can best survive in the future, but also the hot places that already have heat-resistant corals. It’s about protecting a diversity of habitats, which scientists hadn’t fully appreciated before.”

    The researchers are developing regional models to test conservation strategies for the Caribbean Sea, the central Pacific Ocean and the Coral Triangle in the western Pacific, he said. They want to understand how the most effective conservation strategies differ from one region to the next.

    “We are working closely with conservation groups that will be applying the guidelines and findings from this study to coral reef conservation around the world,” Pinsky said.

    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.

    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 10:02 am on May 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Targeting Key Gene Could Help Lead to Down Syndrome Treatment", , , , Rutgers University,   

    From Rutgers University: “Targeting Key Gene Could Help Lead to Down Syndrome Treatment” 

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    From Rutgers University

    May 22, 2019

    Todd Bates
    848-932-0550
    todd.bates@rutgers.edu

    Rutgers-led team uses stem cell-based disease models to pinpoint gene linked to impaired memory in Down syndrome.

    2
    A living 3D “organoid” model of the brain generated from Down syndrome human stem cells. Photo: Ranjie Xu/Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

    Targeting a key gene before birth could someday help lead to a treatment for Down syndrome by reversing abnormal embryonic brain development and improving cognitive function after birth, according to a Rutgers-led study.

    Using stem cells that can turn into other cells in the brain, researchers developed two experimental models – a living 3D “organoid” model of the brain and a mouse brain model with implanted human cells – to investigate early brain development linked to Down syndrome, according to the study in the journal Cell Stem Cell. The study focused on human chromosome 21 gene OLIG2.

    “Our results suggest the OLIG2 gene is potentially an excellent prenatal therapeutic target to reverse abnormal embryonic brain development, rebalance the two types of neurons in the brain – excitatory and inhibitory, and a healthy balance is critical – as well as improve postnatal cognitive function,” said Peng Jiang, assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

    Usually, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes, but babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21. That changes how a baby’s body and brain develops, which can lead to mental and physical challenges, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States, affecting about one in 700 babies, and about 6,000 infants are born each year with the condition.

    The researchers obtained skin cells collected from Down syndrome patients and genetically reprogrammed those cells to human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Resembling embryonic stem cells, the special cells can develop into many different types of cells, including brain cells, during early life and growth and are useful tools for drug development and disease modeling, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    Using brain cells derived from stem cells with an extra copy of chromosome 21, the scientists developed the 3D brain organoid model, which resembles the early developing human brain. They also developed the mouse brain model, with stem cell-derived human brain cells implanted into the mouse brain within a day after the mice were born. They found that inhibitory neurons – which make your brain function smoothly – were overproduced in both models, and adult mice had impaired memory. They also found that the OLIG2 gene plays a critical role in those effects and that inhibiting it led to improvements.

    The combination of the brain organoid and mouse brain model could be used to study other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder. It may also help scientists better understand the mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease. Down syndrome patients often develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Jiang noted.

    The study’s lead author is Ranjie Xu, a postdoctoral researcher in Jiang’s lab. Other Rutgers co-authors include Hyosung Kim, a former post-doc in Jiang’s lab; Ronald P. Hart, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers–New Brunswick; Zhiping P. Pang, an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Jing-Jing Liu, a former post-doc in Pang’s lab. Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Kent State University, and University of Nebraska Medical Center contributed to the study.

    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.

    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 10:45 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , “Tractor beam”, “What I want to do is understand these complex biological processes using the laws and tools of physics.”, , For Lee these multidisciplinary projects reflect the essence of his chosen calling: biophysics., , Lee is also able to generate ultra-high resolution images of neuron development for research aimed at finding improved treatments for degenerative diseases., Lee is principal investigator on a $1.5 million Department of Energy project—with his Rutgers team (Shishir Chundawat; Eric Lam; and Laura Fabris), Lee says “I became determined to understand biological processes through the simple universal and beautiful principles of physics.”, Lee’s device allows him to examine live plant cells in “unprecedented molecular detail” for a project that could help break new ground in the development of biofuels., , Rutgers physicist Sang-Hyuk Lee, Rutgers University, The development of optical tweezers goes back decades., The instrument uses a focused laser beam to trap hold and move microscopic objects that previously had been too tiny to touch.   

    From Rutgers University: “Once a Dream of Science Fiction, a Laser Tweezer Helps a Rutgers Biophysicist Boldly Go Where Molecules Move” 

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    From Rutgers University

    THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO L.Z. OF RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PHYSICS AND H.P.

    5.14.19
    John Chadwick

    Sang-Hyuk Lee integrates two Nobel Prize-winning innovations.

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    Sang-Hyuk Lee

    “An old dream of science fiction,” the Nobel Prize Committee said in its praise of the invention.

    Like the “tractor beam” of vintage Star Trek episodes others observed.

    The futuristic device they’re talking about is optical tweezers.

    Invented by Arthur Ashkin, one of three pioneers in laser physics to win the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, the instrument uses a focused laser beam to trap, hold, and move microscopic objects that previously had been too tiny to touch.

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    Sang-Hyuk Lee with Nobel Prize winning device, “tractor beam”

    The revolutionary tool is essential to the work of a Rutgers professor who recently brought the technology to the university. Sang-Hyuk Lee, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, has also added advanced microscopy techniques to make the device capable of examining and visualizing molecules at the tiniest level.

    He is using the innovative instrument for several federally-funded research projects that combine elements of physics and biology.

    Lee’s device allows him to examine live plant cells in “unprecedented molecular detail” for a project that could help break new ground in the development of biofuels. He is also able to generate ultra-high resolution images of neuron development for research aimed at finding improved treatments for degenerative diseases.

    For Lee, these multidisciplinary projects reflect the essence of his chosen calling: biophysics.

    “A biophysicist is bridging the gap between two worlds,” he says. “What I want to do is understand these complex biological processes using the laws and tools of physics.”

    The optical tweezers provide him with the perfect tool for that mission.

    The development of optical tweezers goes back decades. Ashkin, who was the head of laser science at Bell Labs in Holmdel, N.J., from 1963 to 1987, set out to build an instrument capable of grabbing particles, atoms, molecules, and living cells with “laser beam fingers,” according to NobelPrize.org. A major breakthrough came in 1987, when Ashkin succeeded in capturing living bacteria without harming them.

    Optical tweezers can move and manipulate particles smaller than a micron. A single strand of human hair is about 75 microns in width.

    Lee became intrigued by the technology while working on his doctorate at New York University under David Grier, a physicist who created more complex versions of optical tweezers by adding digital holography. Lee was also influenced by, and later worked as a post-doc for Carlos Bustamante, a biophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who used optical tweezers to stretch a single DNA molecule to measure the force holding it together.

    “His work completely changed my views of biology,” Lee says. “I became determined to understand biological processes through the simple, universal, and beautiful principles of physics.”

    After arriving at Rutgers in 2015, Lee designed and built the mammoth instrument that’s now housed within a glass enclosure in a laboratory at the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine on Busch Campus. The device is far more versatile than commercially available models because Lee integrated a number of advanced optics techniques, including use of multiple lasers, and a technology known as super resolution fluorescence microscopy, which won the 2014 Nobel in Chemistry for producing higher resolution image than what conventional light microscopes could achieve.

    “So, we can get super-resolution image of intra-cellular structures while we exert measure force on individual molecules,” he says. “Our instrument is a one-of-a-kind, home-built microscope.”

    Physics Chair Robert Bartynski agrees. And he said the application of laser physics to contemporary problems in biology is opening an exciting new chapter in interdisciplinary science.

    4
    Nobel Prize winning device, “Tractor Beam”

    “The optical tweezers technology that Sang-Hyuk has developed at Rutgers give us a singular capability that expands our understanding of how biomolecules move in and around cells to carry out critical tasks,” Bartynski said. “The ability to manipulate and visualize individual molecules with these advanced optical techniques, will give unprecedented insights into the physics behind key biological processes

    Lee is principal investigator on a $1.5 million Department of Energy project—with his Rutgers team (Shishir Chundawat, Eric Lam and Laura Fabris), along with collaborators at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory—that seeks to understand how cell walls in plants are formed—knowledge that may accelerate the development of genetically engineered crops for use as renewable fuels and have broad impact on molecular and cellular biology fields in general.

    He is also involved in a National Science Foundation-funded project—with Nada N. Boustany, a Rutgers professor of biomedical engineering serving as principal investigator—that could help improve treatments for degenerative neural diseases or nerve injury due to trauma.

    Lee describes his research focus as “single-molecule biophysics,” the study of individual biomolecules to understand how they carry out their functions in living cells.

    “The application to important biology problems is still in its infancy,” he says. “This emerging field has tremendous potential.

    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.

    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 11:02 am on April 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Improving TB Treatment—and Survival—in the World’s Poorest Places", , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Improving TB Treatment—and Survival—in the World’s Poorest Places” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    1
    RGHI

    Mar 22, 2019 [Just appeared in social media]
    RGHI

    1
    Blood-test results remain a gold standard of accuracy when doctors need to determine if tuberculosis (TB) patients are adequately absorbing their medications. Indicators such as the blood levels of TB drugs at fixed timepoints after dosing, usually two and six hours, influence how treatment regimens are customized.

    In some regions of the world, however, clinicians don’t have access to high-tech liquid chromatography equipment for testing blood. In resource-limited settings, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, doctors learn that TB treatment is failing only when it fails—if a patient’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve—endangering human lives as well as entire communities because of the airborne disease’s infectious nature.

    Christopher Vinnard, an assistant professor of medicine at New Jersey Medical School and a TB researcher at the school’s Public Health Research Institute, hopes his work will close that dangerous gap.

    NIH grant supports Rutgers-led research to help eliminate TB

    With support from a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Vinnard is developing a urine test that could enable clinicians to determine TB patients’ treatment drug levels via a desktop device as simple to use as a smartphone camera.

    His work may help the World Health Organization (WHO) achieve an ambitious goal: a 95 percent reduction in TB deaths by 2035.

    TB is a global threat and among the top 10 causes of death

    Tuberculosis is an ancient disease that remains a modern-day scourge: WHO estimates that 10 million people contracted TB in 2017 and 1.6 million died, ranking the disease among the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Although 95 percent of TB cases and deaths occur in developing countries, the disease strikes in the United States, too, especially among those who are homeless or HIV-positive, or who come from TB-afflicted regions.

    “We’re all connected. Disease anywhere in the world can be disease in the U.S. in a few hours,” Vinnard says.

    2
    Christopher Vinnard (center) with research laboratory colleagues Deborah Handler (left) and Isaac Zentner, at the Public Health Research Institute, part of Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School.

    New approach looks to optimize existing TB treatments

    While some researchers are developing new TB drugs and vaccines, Vinnard has a nearer-term goal: optimizing the effectiveness of existing drugs by ensuring that patients get the amounts they need.

    Even when two people take identical doses, he explains, different amounts of medication may reach their bloodstreams. “There’s so much variability among us—about our genetics, our diets, our kidney function—that there’s always going to be a significant amount of variability for any drug,” Vinnard says.

    In TB treatment, that variability could mean the difference between a dose large enough to cure—or a dose so low that it leaves the patient sick, contagious, and at risk of developing a drug-resistant strain of the disease.

    Vinnard, determined to create greater access to accurate TB diagnostics, is investigating the use of a low-complexity, low-technology testing mechanism—colorimetric urine assays—to pinpoint the concentration of TB treatment drugs in patients’ urine samples. This information will tell clinicians whether the drug has been absorbed adequately.

    How it works: urine specimens are collected from patients at specific time intervals after they take their medications. The urine is then chemically tested to measure the level of a particular drug in each specimen. Each specimen changes color, and the intensity of that color change corresponds to the concentration of a TB drug.

    Point-of-care tests will eliminate hurdles

    “The assays we are developing can be transformed, with the help of an engineer, into point-of-care devices,” Vinnard says. This will allow the urine tests to be analyzed at the clinic sites where TB patients go for their routine care. Whereas blood assays, he says, are performed at reference laboratories that are potentially a far distance from the clinic, requiring blood samples to be processed, frozen, and shipped.

    “It’s really a non-starter to think of performing standard blood-based drug-level tests in rural areas with high TB burdens,” Vinnard says.

    A point-of-care medical device is being designed by Umer Hassan, an assistant professor in Rutgers’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a core faculty member of Rutgers Global Health Institute. This collaboration will allow the new test to be much more accessible to clinicians in the world’s poorest places.

    Vinnard’s new clinical studies, conducted in collaboration with colleagues at University of Virginia, will enroll TB patients in the United States and Tanzania. The researchers’ current work involves refining the urine test to ensure that it yields results as reliable as those from a blood test.

    The new approach will provide an on-the-spot, easy-to-use tool for clinicians who are “strapped for resources and strapped for time” and need to know, precisely, if their patients are on the right dose of the lifesaving medications, Vinnard says. “It really is a totally new paradigm for how we treat tuberculosis.”

    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.

    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 10:29 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Rutgers University,   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Researchers Discover Crucial Link Between Brain and Gut Stem Cells” 

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    From Rutgers University

    April 15, 2019

    Patti Verbanas
    848-932-0551
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

    Study paves the way for better detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and colorectal cancers.

    1
    Their findings show that the insulin-like growth factor II gene is essential for multiple types of adult stem cells that are critical for cognitive function and renewing the lining of the small intestine in adults.

    The organs in our bodies house stem cells that are necessary to regenerate cells when they become damaged, diseased or too old to function. Researchers at Rutgers University have identified a new factor that is essential for maintaining the stem cells in the brain and gut and whose loss may contribute to anxiety and cognitive disorders and to gastrointestinal diseases.

    The study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, reveals the importance of the insulin-like growth factor II gene in adult stem cell maintenance in these two organs. The gene provides key support for the existence of two, functionally distinct sets of stem cells in the intestine, whose unregulated self-renewal and proliferation may contribute to colorectal cancers.

    “The role that the insulin-like growth factor II gene plays in adult stem cells has been largely unknown. This growth factor was previously regarded as dispensable in adults,” said co-author Steven Levison, director of the Laboratory for Regenerative Neurobiology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “The discovery that there is a factor — this gene product — that is common between more than one adult stem cell population is remarkable.”

    The findings indicate that this growth factor is essential for multiple types of adult stem cells, including those critical for cognitive function, sense of smell and for renewing the lining of the small intestine in adults.

    In the study, the researchers removed the gene from adult mice either rapidly over five days or more slowly over 15 days. In the intestine, the fast deletion of the gene led to a rapid loss of fast-cycling stem cells that replenish the gut lining, leading to dramatic weight loss and death within a week. A slower deletion of the gene allowed the mice to survive due to the recruitment of a second, and more inactive, population of gut stem cells, whose existence has been debated. Additionally, the study revealed that half of the stem cells in two regions of the brain that house neural stem cells were lost, causing deficits in learning and memory, increased anxiety and a loss of the sense of smell.

    “When the gene was removed acutely, the stem cells in glands in the inner surface of the small intestine could not continue their normal cycle of continued cell replacement, causing organ failure,” said co-author Teresa Wood, a professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “However, when the gene was deleted slowly, it gave the other stem cells an opportunity to take over for the lost stem cells.”

    Other Rutgers co-authors were Qiang Feng, Shravanthi Chidambaram, Jaimie M. Testai, Ekta Kumari, Deborah E. Rothbard, Tara Cominski, Kevin Pang and Nan Gao. The intestinal studies were performed in Gao’s lab at Rutgers University–Newark.

    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.

    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 12:35 pm on April 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "STEM Education for Minority Students Gets Boost With 5-Year NSF Grant", GS-LSAMP-Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “STEM Education for Minority Students Gets Boost With 5-Year NSF Grant” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    Mar 20, 2019
    Lawrence Lerner

    1

    STEM education received a big boost recently when the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) a $4 million grant to continue leading a statewide program to increase minority representation in STEM fields.

    The grant will fund Phase III of the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS-LSAMP) from March 2019 through February 2024.

    GS-LSAMP was launched in fall 2009 with a 5-year, $5 million NSF grant. Phase II, which ran July 2014 through June 2019, was supported by a $3.5 million award from the agency.

    Eight years into the program, GS-LSAMP has increased its number of underrepresented minority graduates in STEM majors by 167 percent, and initiated a Cross Campus Peer Mentoring program in which minority transfer students from 4-year colleges mentor minority STEM students from community colleges to encourage a higher transfer rate, which was 97 percent compared with the national average of 33 percent.

    “It is wonderful to continue to be able to support our deserving students both academically and financially, and it is truly an honor to have the National Science Foundation hold the Garden State LSAMP in such high regard,” says Distinguished Service Professor Alec Gates, of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, who directs the program.

    Gates has been leading a consortium of nine schools that make up GS-LSAMP, including Kean University, New Jersey City University, Essex County College, Montclair State University, Farleigh Dickinson University/Teaneck, William Paterson University and Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and NJIT, who joined earlier this month.

    Four additional community colleges are closely affiliated with GS-LSAMP through the Northern New Jersey Bridges to Baccalaureat Program, which creates a pipeline for STEM students to make seamless transitions to 4-year colleges. More than 3,000 students are participating in GS-LSAMP statewide. About 150 of those are from RU-N.

    This latest NSF grant comes on the heels of proven success during Phase II, when GS-LSAMP was named a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education by The White House and received the Trailblazer in Equity Award from the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education.

    Gates says that additional grants that collaborated with GS-LSAMP have totaled about $24 million.

    The Phase III grant offers an opportunity for even more growth and innovation. To that end, Gates has added a research component to the mix by inviting RU-N Psychology Professor Luis Rivera to study how and why GS-LSAMP’s methods work, looking mostly at the impact of peer and faculty mentors on the engagement and success of underrepresented minority students in STEM, and how this can be refined and disseminated to a national and international audience. Once he’s completed his study, Rivera will publish his findings in academic journals.

    “I’ve been so impressed by the GS-LSAMP alliance’s successes. Through our research, we’ll get a greater understanding of what STEM education practices work, for whom, and under what conditions,” says Rivera.

    In addition, LSAMP, which is a national NSF-funded initiative with alliances like GS-LSAMP in regions across the country, recently welcomed seven new alliances of colleges and universities. Due to GS-LSAMP’s success, the NSF asked Gates to train leaders of some of these new alliances in best practices to ensure they get off to a solid start. Gates also serves on the board of the Louis Stokes Midwest Center of Excellence as a result of the Garden State program’s track record.

    “The best practices for encouraging success of underrepresented minority students in STEM, developed by the Garden State LSAMP, will now be disseminated nationally, benefitting these students in STEM throughout the U.S.,” says Gates.

    4

    LSAMP is a national initiative to recruit, mentor and support under-represented minority college students in pursuit of careers in STEM fields. Between 1992 and 2017, the initiative has helped produce more than 650,000 baccalaureate degrees at LSAMP institutions in STEM fields for underrepresented minority students, according to NSF LSAMP Program Director A. James Hicks. Currently more than 250,000 students per year participate through 52 alliances involving some 600 campuses.

    LSAMP, which was previously known as the Alliance for Minority Participation, was renamed in 1999 to honor civil rights activist Louis Stokes, the first African-American congressman from Ohio. Stokes founded the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and had been an advocate for health care and public health issues before his death in 2015.

    Denis Paré, Acting Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN) and Director of RU-N’s Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, stresses the importance of GS-LSAMP’s work, situating it within the wider context of American democracy.

    “African Americans, Latinx, and American Indians/Alaska Natives constitute approximately 33% of the U.S. population but only between 9% and 21% of bachelors degrees in STEM, depending on the specific field. This imbalance is one of the main factors that fuel racial inequalities in the U.S.,” says Paré. “Effective interventions like the GS-LSAMP are absolutely critical to ensure that we progress toward realizing the American ideal. RU-N’s School of Arts and Sciences is grateful to the National Science Foundation for allowing Alec Gates to continue his visionary work.”

    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.

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:45 am on March 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: $29 million to translate clinical research into patient care and treatment more quickly, , NJ ACTS: New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science- Additional funding from the institutions will grow the program to about $45 million., Rutgers University, The Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science includes Princeton University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, This huge grant is a natural outgrowth of the integration of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers.   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers-Led Team Awarded $29 Million NIH Grant for Statewide Translational Research Institute” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    March 11, 2019

    Patti Verbanas
    848-932-0551
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

    A NIH grant will advance moving research discoveries into clinical practice and improve health care in the state.

    1
    Reynold A. Panettieri, vice chancellor for Translational Medicine and Science and director of Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a Rutgers-led team $29 million to translate clinical research into patient care and treatment more quickly.

    The Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, which includes Princeton University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, will receive the grant over five years for joining the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program.

    Translational science takes observations made in the laboratory, clinic and community and creates interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations – from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral interventions.

    “The ultimate goal is bringing more evidence-based treatments to more patients more quickly,” said Reynold Panettieri, vice chancellor for translational medicine and science and director of Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science. “In addition, our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health gives us a great opportunity to expand our clinical research, connecting the basic science research done by our 200+ investigators to patient care statewide.”

    The clinical and translational program at Rutgers will be known as NJ ACTS: New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science. Additional funding from the institutions will grow the program to about $45 million.

    NIH supports a national network of more than 50 programs at medical research institutions nationwide that collaborate to speed the translation of research discoveries into improved patient care. It enables research teams, including scientists, patient advocacy organizations and community members, to tackle system-wide scientific and operational problems in clinical and translational research that no one team can overcome.

    The grant will allow Rutgers and its partners to train and cultivate the translational science workforce; engage patients and communities in every phase of the translational process; promote the integration of special and underserved populations in translational research across the human lifespan; innovate processes to increase the quality and efficiency of translational research, particularly of multisite trials; and advance the use of big data information systems.

    The collaborative program develops innovative approaches to barriers in clinical research, such as the efficient recruitment of research participants and approvals for multisite clinical trials.

    Rutgers and its partners will build a new infrastructure for clinical and translational research across the entire state, which will give patients access to clinical trials with cutting-edge care.

    In addition, NJ ACTS will have the capacity to analyze big data to discover trends in population health that can inform basic science research. It will also allow for diversity in clinical trials across Rutgers’ five clinical research units, which include the Adult Clinical Research and Pediatric Clinical Research Unit at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and centers based at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, and Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.

    “This huge grant is a natural outgrowth of the integration of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers, and the type of opportunity for New Jersey then envisioned by the state government. It will foster the further development of innovation in New Jersey,” said Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs for Rutgers. “It would not have been possible without the combination of resources from these two large great universities as well as the funding provided through our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health. It indicates to the world and to New Jersey industry that New Jersey is now in the big leagues of academic clinical research.”

    The grant also will build a pipeline for new clinical investigators by funding two positions a year for five years for junior faculty or professionals finishing their post-doctoral fellowship who can move into faculty positions with two years of guaranteed support. It will fund six positions for graduate students, who will be trained in translational and clinical research.

    The grant was awarded due to the strength of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, the alliance between Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Princeton and NJIT, and the partnerships with community-based organizations, hospitals, community health centers, outpatient practices, data centers and health information exchanges. It reaches nearly seven million of the state’s nine million residents.

    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.

    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 12:58 pm on February 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Pedro Gerum, Planet discovery, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Student Helps NASA Discover Planets” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    February 22, 2019
    Cynthia Medina
    c.medina@rutgers.edu

    Pedro Gerum explains how working on railway tracks led to an internship with the space agency.

    1
    Doctoral student Pedro Gerum recently started his internship in NASA’s Ames Research Center, where he will be a part of the TESS satellite mission to help discover new planets.
    Photo: Courtesy of Pedro Gerum

    NASA/MIT TESS

    Pedro Gerum is putting the skills he developed working to improve railroad track inspections in New Jersey as a graduate student toward helping NASA discover new planets outside our solar system.

    The fourth-year industrial and sytems engineering doctoral student at Rutgers-New Brunswick recently started an internship at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, which is part of the agency’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) mission that collects and analyzes data on exoplanets, those planets outside of our solar system that orbit around other stars but not the sun.

    The space telescope is designed to scan an area of the sky that is 400 times larger than the one covered by the recently retired Kepler mission, which searched for earth-sized planets orbiting stars.

    “My job is to see light curves from the satellite and try to detect if those curves represent a planet or not using computer algorithms,” Gerum said.

    Gerum’s role at NASA will have some similarities to his research at Rutgers under Melike Baykal-Gürsoy, an associate professor in the School of Engineering, working to detect rail track defects. He uses data and statistics to create patterns that can more accurately pinpoint where a problem originates and then develops a computer program to detect those patterns.

    “In the case of railways, I am looking for patterns, and those patterns will help detect the problem areas,’’ Gerum said. “In the case of NASA, I am looking for patterns, and those patterns will help determine whether a light curve indicates the presence of new planets.”

    Baykal-Gürsoy said this process of creating patterns in search of a conclusion is called building a stochastic model, which translates to the expertise NASA needs.

    “The first step in a stochastic model for the railway system is to figure out how to model a defect process found during inspections, and then the second step is to figure out how to predict a behavioral pattern from it,” Baykal-Gürsoy said. “Then you train a computer to detect problems on its own by plugging in examples of these patterns until it learns to do it accurately, and then it does the work for you, even better than you. This is called machine-learning.”


    Watch NASA scientists explain how the TESS satellite works to find undiscovered worlds around bright nearby stars, providing targets where future studies will assess their capacity to harbor life. (Video Courtesy of NASA.)

    Gerum will be doing that exact research with NASA, along with seven other students from across the globe who will be working on other projects. Gerum, originally from Brazil, completed his undergraduate degree at the Federal University of São Carlos and landed the position at NASA as a result of a partnership between the Brazilian Space Agency and NASA. Gerum said Baykal-Gürsoy helped him develop his expertise on data science and optimization and is grateful for how much assistance the university has offered to help him reach his goals.

    “I traveled to Rutgers to meet with Dr. Baykal-Gürsoy and I really liked her expertise in her field and she made me feel welcome,” Gerum said. “As an international student, I was lucky that Rutgers could fund part of my tuition. They really helped me get to where I am.”

    Gerum, who is the first Rutgers student in the industrial and systems engineering program to work at a NASA facility, hopes others from the university will be inspired to use their skills in areas outside of their immediate field of study. He said the relationship between tracking railway defects and discovering planets is more closely related than it seems.

    “There is usually a way to use your skill set in most fields,” said Gerum, who will return to Rutgers to complete his degree after his internship ends in May 2019. “You just have to stay open and get the right support.”

    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.

    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 2:20 pm on February 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adults With Autism to Benefit From New Employment Center at Rutgers, , , , Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services, Rutgers University, The first program of its kind in the country   

    From Rutgers University: “Adults With Autism to Benefit From New Employment Center at Rutgers” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    February 14, 2019
    Megan Schumann
    MEGAN.SCHUMANN@rutgers.edu

    2
    Craig Lillard of Princeton (left) who works at Harvest in the Institute for Food Nutrition and Health as part of the Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services with mentor Doug Stracquadanio. Courtesy of Rutgers University

    Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services, the first program of its kind in the country, will more than double in size

    The Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a proposal by the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology to build a new facility for the Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services (RCAAS) on Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Douglass campus.

    The two-year-old center, the first of its kind at a higher education institution in the United States, currently provides employment, vocational training and other services to 12 participants who commute from home. The expansion will enable the program to serve up to 30 participants. The project, estimated to cost $9.5 million, will be paid for through philanthropic funds.

    Christopher Manente, executive director of RCAAS, said, “We are committed to serving adults with autism by providing meaningful paid employment, full integration into the Rutgers community and ongoing research and training related to helping adults with autism lead full lives. We serve as a model that can be replicated at colleges and universities, or within small communities across the country.”

    Current participants have paying jobs on campus, five days a week, in food service, horticulture maintenance, university mail services, document and records management, the Rutgers Cinema, computer retail services, and other areas. Participants also benefit from individualized services to help them succeed on the job and maintain their independence in the community.

    The new facility will include a multifunctional gathering space and vocational training space, administrative offices for faculty and clinical staff and support spaces and provide community-based job training, life skills and recreational opportunities.

    Autism and autism spectrum disorder are among the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the United States. Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology created the center to address the well-documented shortage of quality services that help adults with autism lead meaningful and productive lives, and to conduct research that can inform the development of other programs for adults with autism.

    The new building will be at the location of the former Corwin Dormitories on Nichol Avenue between Comstock Street and Dudley Road in New Brunswick. Its development will include demolition of the vacant Corwin residential buildings. Groundbreaking is expected later this year.

    Rutgers-New Brunswick is a leader in autism research facilities. The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository, containing the world’s largest collection of autism biomaterials, and the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, which includes an on-campus K-12 day school for children with autism from across New Jersey, are among many research and educational programs for autism at the university.

    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.

    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 6:29 pm on February 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Count Basie Comes Home", Rutgers University, Rutgers–Newark's Institute of Jazz Studies   

    From Rutgers University: “Count Basie Comes Home” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    The voluminous archives of Count Basie are entrusted to Rutgers–Newark’s Institute of Jazz Studies.

    1
    The Count Basie Orchestra had a breakthrough year in 1938, following a run of performances at the Famous Door, a popular club on West 52nd Street in New York City. CBS broadcast some of the shows live, giving Count Basie (seated at the piano) and his band the kind of exposure that catapulted them into the upper echelons of big band jazz, alongside Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and Cab Calloway. Basie was the first bandleader to use two tenor saxophonists in his orchestra. “After that summer at the Famous Door, Basie never looked back,” wrote jazz historian Frank Driggs.
    Photography: courtesy of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University–Newark

    Jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader William J. “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1904. His father played the mellophone, his mother the piano. At 24, Basie was hired to play with Walter Page’s Blue Devils, a Kansas City-based big band that toured the small nightclubs and dance halls of the American Southwest. By the time he was 30, Basie was leading his own big band, the Barons of Rhythm, based in Kansas City and featuring the tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Over the ensuing four decades, Basie’s style of swing revolutionized jazz rhythm, and Basie himself became one of the most recognizable musicians in America.

    When Wayne Winborne, the executive director of Rutgers’ Institute of Jazz Studies, first learned that Count Basie’s estate was looking for an organization to catalog, manage, maintain, and display Basie’s vast archives, he knew the institute was just the right place. Winborne says the Basie collection will enable scholars to investigate the many chapters of Basie’s musical evolution. “Studying all those things is going to be interesting,” Winborne says, “because you’re also drawing a parallel to American music in the 20th century. So, you have to look at the broader economic context in which he was making music—how all of the big bands, post-World War II, had to struggle to find a place.”

    RUTGERS MAGAZINE: How did Rutgers come into possession of the Count Basie archives?
    WAYNE WINBORNE: I got a call about a year ago from Branford Marsalis, saying he had a conversation with a representative of the Basie estate. They were looking for a home for the collection. The Institute of Jazz Studies is the world’s foremost archival research facility in jazz. Branford said to this person, “You need to call Wayne Winborne.” There are a number of people who would have said the same thing: “You don’t need to look around; that needs to go to Rutgers. They’re going to be good stewards.”

    RM: What’s in the collection?
    WW: Count Basie kept a lot of stuff. We have home recordings, newspaper clippings, correspondence, love letters to his wife and daughter, telegrams when he was ill from Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson and Frank Sinatra—just wonderful stuff that fans of the music would be interested in. But also ledgers—the amount they paid the band—things that historians and writers will be interested in. We’ve got his home collection of books and records, suits, his signature cap, tailor-made articles of clothing that he would wear on gigs. We’ve got the piano he would play at home, his organ—just so much wonderful stuff that we plan to exhibit and possibly also develop a touring exhibit.

    RM: Is this material going to be of greater importance to scholars or equally accessible to the public?
    WW: Yes to both. Our intention is to make it available to the public and we’re already doing so. We have several pieces that are on loan to three Grammy museums—the one in Los Angeles, the one in Mississippi, and then the Grammy Museum Experience here in Newark. So, we’re absolutely partnering with other organizations and museums and sharing some pieces of the collection to expose the public to Count Basie’s music.

    RM: How important is it that this collection is going to be in New Jersey?
    WW: I think it’s extremely important. This is a son of New Jersey. People forget what a global icon he was—the first African American to win a Grammy. He has four tunes—either written by him or strongly associated with him—in the Grammy Hall of Fame. He was extremely influential and crossed over into the popular culture, from his music and his band appearing in movies in the 1940s and ’50s and ’60s, to that iconic image in the Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles of Count Basie sitting at the piano. The fact that Mel Brooks would put that in the film, and understand that people would both recognize the musician and laugh at the juxtaposition—again, it speaks to how large he was as an icon. So that New Jersey connection is important, and that’s part of his story that needs to be highlighted.

    RM: Is there a single most important item in this collection?
    WW: No, there is not, and don’t make me try to think of one. There were so many aspects to his life. He was a husband. He was a father. Some of the personal things are so touching to me: letters he would write to his daughter, who has disabilities. Some of the letters he wrote to her from the road are very, very touching. I tell people of the telegrams he’d gotten from folks, either from birthday parties or from when he was sick. There’s one from Oscar Peterson. I guess Basie must’ve had a birthday party at the Waldorf Astoria. Oscar Peterson says something like: “Sorry I couldn’t be there, but you didn’t have to go through all that trouble for everybody to tell you what I need to say to you: I love you, man.”

    I love the one he got from Frank Sinatra. Basie had been in the hospital at the time, and Sinatra says something like, “Hey, man, that ain’t no way for a cat to behave. Get out of there soon.” And he signed it: “Your boy singer, Francis Albert.” Oh, man, I just love that so much. The respect, you know, from Frank Sinatra—this is, again, a global icon. For him to pay that kind of respect: “Your boy singer, Francis Albert.” C’mon, is that cool?

    RM: One Jersey guy to another, right?
    WW: One Jersey guy to another. One icon to another. That’s beautiful. I love that.

    RM: What else should we know about the Basie collection?
    WW: His wife, Catherine, was a very interesting woman. They lived in Queens. They were very immersed in the community, local civic organizations, did a lot of work with the NAACP. She received a lot of awards herself. She’d been a dancer for years, and raised their daughter at home, and was his life partner in every sense of the word for almost 50 years. I really believe she’s going to be the subject of serious study.

    RM: Will the collection be digitized?
    WW: To the extent that we can. This is something I’ve got to raise money for. There’s a donor or three who has a particular interest in digitization, and that’s a very important piece of work with archives and libraries across the country. So, I’ve got to raise some money to do that.

    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.

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

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

     
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