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  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on September 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Poor Motor Skills Predict Long-Term Language Impairments For Children with Autism, , , , Rutgers Study Finds", Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Poor Motor Skills Predict Long-Term Language Impairments For Children with Autism, Rutgers Study Finds” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 10, 2019
    Megan Schumann
    MEGAN.SCHUMANN@rutgers.edu
    848-445-1907

    1
    Fine motor skills may be a strong predictor for identifying whether children with autism are at risk for long-term language disabilities, according to a Rutgers-led study. Shutterstock

    Fine motor skills – used for eating, writing and buttoning clothing – may be a strong predictor for identifying whether children with autism are at risk for long-term language disabilities, according to a Rutgers-led study.

    The study, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, highlights the association between fine motor skills and their later language development in young speech-delayed children with autism who, at approximately age three, are nonverbal or using primarily single words to communicate.

    In an American sample of language-delayed children with autism, researchers found that nearly half had extremely delayed fine motor skills. Of this group, 77.5 percent who had extremely delayed motor skills continued to have language disabilities in later childhood or young adulthood. By contrast, 69.6 percent of children who demonstrated less impaired fine motor skills overcame their language delays by late childhood or young adulthood.

    In a second study of Canadian children with autism, researchers found that those with extremely delayed fine motor skills made fewer gains in expressive language.

    “Language development is complex. Many interventions for young children with autism focus on language intervention or social skills,” said lead researcher Vanessa Bal, the Karmazin and Lillard Chair in Adult Autism at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. “But our findings indicate it may be useful for clinicians and parents to assess fine motor skills and build opportunities for these skills to be further developed, in order to help with language development.”

    The researchers analyzed data from existing studies that used different standardized developmental tests to assess fine motor skills through tasks that require children to manipulate small objects, such as picking up Cheerios or stacking small blocks.

    The first analyses focused on 86 children with autism recruited to an American study from before their second birthday to age 19. The replication study was conducted using data from a Canadian study that followed 181 children with autism from two to four years of age, until age 10.

    The Rutgers-led researchers analyzed the American study and found the link between fine motor skills and later language ability. They replicated the findings in the Canadian study sample. Replication in independent samples, using different developmental tests of fine motor skills is a strength of this study and underscores the potential importance of the findings.

    The study was a collaboration between Dr. Bal’s Rutgers LifeSPAN ASD Lab, and researchers from University of California Los Angeles, and the Canadian Pathways 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 10:09 am on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ocean warming has fisheries on the move helping some but hurting more", , , , , Rutgers University,   

    From The Conversation: “Ocean warming has fisheries on the move, helping some but hurting more” 

    Conversation
    From The Conversation

    August 19, 2019
    Chris Free, UCSB

    1
    Atlantic Cod on Ice. Alamy. Cod fisheries in the North Sea and Irish Sea are declining due to overfishing and climate change.

    Climate change has been steadily warming the ocean, which absorbs most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for 100 years. This warming is altering marine ecosystems and having a direct impact on fish populations. About half of the world’s population relies on fish as a vital source of protein, and the fishing industry employs more the 56 million people worldwide.

    My recent study [Science] with colleagues from Rutgers University and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that ocean warming has already impacted global fish populations. We found that some populations benefited from warming, but more of them suffered.


    3

    Overall, ocean warming reduced catch potential – the greatest amount of fish that can be caught year after year – by a net 4% over the past 80 years. In some regions, the effects of warming have been much larger. The North Sea, which has large commercial fisheries, and the seas of East Asia, which support some of the fastest-growing human populations, experienced losses of 15% to 35%.

    4
    The reddish and brown circles represent fish populations whose maximum sustainable yields have dropped as the ocean has warmed. The darkest tones represent extremes of 35 percent. Blueish colors represent fish yields that increased in warmer waters. Chris Free, CC BY-ND

    Although ocean warming has already challenged the ability of ocean fisheries to provide food and income, swift reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reforms to fisheries management could lessen many of the negative impacts of continued warming.

    How and why does ocean warming affect fish?

    My collaborators and I like to say that fish are like Goldilocks: They don’t want their water too hot or too cold, but just right.

    Put another way, most fish species have evolved narrow temperature tolerances. Supporting the cellular machinery necessary to tolerate wider temperatures demands a lot of energy. This evolutionary strategy saves energy when temperatures are “just right,” but it becomes a problem when fish find themselves in warming water. As their bodies begin to fail, they must divert energy from searching for food or avoiding predators to maintaining basic bodily functions and searching for cooler waters.

    Thus, as the oceans warm, fish move to track their preferred temperatures. Most fish are moving poleward or into deeper waters. For some species, warming expands their ranges. In other cases it contracts their ranges by reducing the amount of ocean they can thermally tolerate. These shifts change where fish go, their abundance and their catch potential.

    Warming can also modify the availability of key prey species. For example, if warming causes zooplankton – small invertebrates at the bottom of the ocean food web – to bloom early, they may not be available when juvenile fish need them most. Alternatively, warming can sometimes enhance the strength of zooplankton blooms, thereby increasing the productivity of juvenile fish.

    Understanding how the complex impacts of warming on fish populations balance out is crucial for projecting how climate change could affect the ocean’s potential to provide food and income for people.

    4

    Impacts of historical warming on marine fisheries

    Sustainable fisheries are like healthy bank accounts. If people live off the interest and don’t overly deplete the principal, both people and the bank thrive. If a fish population is overfished, the population’s “principal” shrinks too much to generate high long-term yields.

    Similarly, stresses on fish populations from environmental change can reduce population growth rates, much as an interest rate reduction reduces the growth rate of savings in a bank account.

    In our study we combined maps of historical ocean temperatures with estimates of historical fish abundance and exploitation. This allowed us to assess how warming has affected those interest rates and returns from the global fisheries bank account.

    Losers outweigh winners

    We found that warming has damaged some fisheries and benefited others. The losers outweighed the winners, resulting in a net 4% decline in sustainable catch potential over the last 80 years. This represents a cumulative loss of 1.4 million metric tons previously available for food and income.

    Some regions have been hit especially hard. The North Sea, with large commercial fisheries for species like Atlantic cod, haddock and herring, has experienced a 35% loss in sustainable catch potential since 1930. The waters of East Asia, neighbored by some of the fastest-growing human populations in the world, saw losses of 8% to 35% across three seas.

    Other species and regions benefited from warming. Black sea bass, a popular species among recreational anglers on the U.S. East Coast, expanded its range and catch potential as waters previously too cool for it warmed. In the Baltic Sea, juvenile herring and sprat – another small herring-like fish – have more food available to them in warm years than in cool years, and have also benefited from warming. However, these climate winners can tolerate only so much warming, and may see declines as temperatures continue to rise.

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    Shucking scallops in Maine, where fishery management has kept scallop numbers sustainable. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

    Management boosts fishes’ resilience

    Our work suggests three encouraging pieces of news for fish populations.

    First, well-managed fisheries, such as Atlantic scallops on the U.S. East Coast, were among the most resilient to warming. Others with a history of overfishing, such as Atlantic cod in the Irish and North seas, were among the most vulnerable. These findings suggest that preventing overfishing and rebuilding overfished populations will enhance resilience and maximize long-term food and income potential.

    Second, new research suggests that swift climate-adaptive management reforms can make it possible for fish to feed humans and generate income into the future. This will require scientific agencies to work with the fishing industry on new methods for assessing fish populations’ health, set catch limits that account for the effects of climate change and establish new international institutions to ensure that management remains strong as fish migrate poleward from one nation’s waters into another’s. These agencies would be similar to multinational organizations that manage tuna, swordfish and marlin today.

    Finally, nations will have to aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions. Even the best fishery management reforms will be unable to compensate for the 4 degree Celsius ocean temperature increase that scientists project will occur by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

    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 Conversation launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:23 pm on August 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Red algae steal genes from bacteria to cope with environmental stresses", Adaptation to a challenging environment can be directly facilitated by stolen genes., Cyanidiales red algal species, Morning AGClips, Research could lead to designer algae that produces fuels and cleanup chemicals., Rutgers University, Scientists generated 10 novel Cyanidiales genomes in the genus Galdieria that thrive in hot springs such as at Yellowstone National Park despite high temperatures and highly acidic conditions., The next steps are to build genetic tools to study the red algal species and conduct more lab tests to determine if they turn on bacterial genes.   

    From Morning AgClips via Rutgers University: “Red algae steal genes from bacteria to cope with environmental stresses” 

    From Morning AGClips

    via

    Rutgers smaller
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    Rutgers University

    August 12, 2019

    Research could lead to designer algae that produces fuels and cleanup chemicals.

    1
    Cyanidiales species of red algae, which appear green in this photo because chlorophyll masks their red pigment, growing in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. (Photo by Debashish Bhattacharya/Rutgers University)

    It’s a case of grand larceny that could lead to new fuels and cleanup chemicals. Ten species of red algae stole about 1 percent of their genes from bacteria to cope with toxic metals and salt stress in hot springs, according to a study in the journal eLife.

    These red algal species, known as Cyanidiales, also stole many genes that allow them to absorb and process different sources of carbon in the environment to provide additional sources of energy and supplement their photosynthetic lifestyle.

    “The role of stolen genes in eukaryotes, which include most living things such as algae, has been hotly debated and many think it is unimportant and plays little to no role in their biology,” said co-author Debashish Bhattacharya, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Our robust genome data provide the first major evidence that this is a false narrative and that adaptation to a challenging environment can be directly facilitated by stolen genes.”

    Finding such phenomena in nature inspires scientists to figure out how gene theft happens, and they can use these rules of nature to develop novel genetic engineering methods in the lab to benefit humans. This can be done by designing algae that produce fuels or chemicals that can clean up polluted sites because Cyanidiales can process toxic compounds and metals such as arsenic and mercury, according to Bhattacharya, who works in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

    In the new study, the scientists generated 10 novel Cyanidiales genomes in the genus Galdieria that thrive in hot springs such as at Yellowstone National Park, despite high temperatures and highly acidic conditions. The goal was to determine whether these algae adapted to their extreme environment by stealing genes from resident, pre-adapted bacteria that made them resistant to the stresses. Genome analyses showed that about 1 percent of the red algal genes came from bacteria.

    The next steps are to build genetic tools to study the red algal species and conduct more lab tests to determine if they turn on bacterial genes, as expected, under stress. Julia Van Etten, a doctoral student in the Bhattacharya lab, recently received a three-year NASA award to conduct these studies with Cyanidiales.

    Study authors include Dana C. Price, an associate research professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers–New Brunswick who helped design and conduct many of the bioinformatic analyses, and scientists at Heinrich-Heine University in Germany and Arizona State 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 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.

    1
    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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    Our Great Seal.

    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.

    1
    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.

    2
    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” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    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” 

    Rutgers smaller
    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” 

    Rutgers smaller
    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.

     
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