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  • richardmitnick 3:17 pm on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , New Techniques Can Detect Lyme Disease Weeks Before Current Tests, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “New Techniques Can Detect Lyme Disease Weeks Before Current Tests” 

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    From Rutgers University

    October 11, 2018
    Patti Verbanas
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

    Rutgers researcher leads team analyzing more exact methods to diagnose the most common tick-borne infection

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    New tests are at hand that offer more accurate, less ambiguous test results that can yield actionable results in a timely fashion.

    Researchers have developed techniques to detect Lyme disease bacteria weeks sooner than current tests, allowing patients to start treatment earlier.

    The findings appear in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The authors include scientists from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Harvard University, Yale University, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions.

    The new techniques can detect an active infection with the Lyme bacteria faster than the three weeks it takes for the current indirect antibody-based tests, which have been a standard since 1994. Another advantage of the new tests is that a positive result in blood indicates the infection is active and should be treated immediately, allowing quicker treatment to prevent long-term health problems. The techniques detect DNA or protein from the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.

    “These direct tests are needed because you can get Lyme disease more than once, features are often non-diagnostic and the current standard FDA-approved tests cannot distinguish an active, ongoing infection from a past cured one,” said lead author Steven Schutzer, a physician-scientist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “The problem is worsening because Lyme disease has increased in numbers to 300,000 per year in the United States and is spreading across the country and world.”

    Lyme disease signs frequently, but not always, include a red ring or bull’s eye skin rash. When there is no rash, a reliable laboratory test is needed and preferably one that indicates active disease. The only FDA-approved Lyme disease tests rely on detecting antibodies that the body’s immune system makes in response to the disease. Such a single antibody test is not an active disease indicator but rather only an exposure indicator — past or present.

    “The new tests that directly detect the Lyme agent’s DNA are more exact and are not susceptible to the same false-positive results and uncertainties associated with current FDA-approved indirect tests,” said Schutzer. “It will not be surprising to see direct tests for Lyme disease join the growing list of FDA-approved direct tests for other bacterial, fungal and viral infections that include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Candida, influenza, HIV, herpes and hepatitis, among others.”

    The authors developed the paper after a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Banbury Conference Center, a nonprofit research institution in New York to discuss current Lyme disease tests and the potential of new scientific advances to increase the accuracy of an early diagnosis.

    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 5:29 pm on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rutgers University, Scientists Uncover Possible New Causes of Tourette Syndrome   

    From Rutgers University: “Scientists Uncover Possible New Causes of Tourette Syndrome” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 25, 2018

    Caitlin Coyle
    848-445-1955
    caitlin.coyle@rutgers.edu

    1

    An international team that includes multiple Rutgers scientists has made significant progress in understanding the genetic causes of Tourette syndrome. They estimate that over 400 singular or combined mutated genes could pose a risk for Tourette syndrome, suggesting the disorder is as complex as autism, epilepsy and intellectual disability.

    The study appears in the journal Cell Reports.

    Jay Tischfield, MacMillan Distinguished Professor of Genetics, and Gary Heiman, associate professor in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers-New Brunswick are part of the ongoing Tourette International Collaborative Genetics (TIC Genetics) study, which is the largest DNA sequencing study of Tourette. The new results are the second major set to come out of the 11-year-old study, following last year’s findings Neuron, that four damaged, high-risk genes may disrupt the normal brain development.

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    Rutgers and a group of scientists from across the country identified one damaged, or mutant, “high confidence” risk gene for Tourette’s as well as three others they believe are genes whose mutation is a probable risk for the disorder. Photo: Courtesy of Neuron

    In the new study, scientists and clinicians from Rutgers, the University of California-San Francisco, and from around the United States, Europe and South Korea report two significant findings: Tourette syndrome is sometimes caused by new and rare damaging mutations in specific genes or through structural mutations, known as copy number variants (CNVs), spanning multiple genes. In addition to likely Tourette risk genes, they found another “high confidence” risk gene called CELSR3.

    According to Tischfield, CNVs change the structure of segments of DNA, either through duplication or deletion. “We discovered that CNVs occur two to three times more often in children with Tourette syndrome compared to those without,” he said.

    Additionally, the reoccurring damaging mutations in CELSR3 in different families, as well as observation of new mutations in other genes involved in cell polarity, provide additional evidence for how brain development is disrupted in Tourette syndrome. “These two significant findings provide a framework for future research into the causes and treatment of this remarkable and peculiar disorder,” said Tischfield.

    Recently, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded the TIC Genetics study a grant of more than $10 million to continue the research for the next five years.

    According to Heiman, the ongoing funding and research would not have been possible without the support of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS).

    “NJCTS executive director Faith Rice and the more than 200 families at NJCTS were instrumental in launching the pilot study,” said Heiman. “Through the initial families who participated, we were able to collect samples and data to start the study and establish the first sharing repository for researchers from all over the world interested in studying Tourette syndrome.”

    In 2011, the NJCTS sharing repository at Rutgers was incorporated as part of the study, which allows researchers around the world to work together to investigate the possible causes of Tourette and attempt to ultimately enable the development of more effective treatments.

    “It has been rewarding to see researchers come together as a strong team committed not only to research but to finding answers,” Rice said.

    According to NJCTS, Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by involuntary movements and uncontrollable vocal sounds referred to as tics. Tourette usually presents in early childhood, affects all races and ethnic groups, and is often accompanied by co-occurring conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention deficit disorder. Currently, there is no known cause for Tourette syndrome nor is there a medication available that completely eliminates symptoms.

    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 5:13 pm on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Rutgers Researchers Discover Possible Cause for Alzheimer's and Traumatic Brain Injury, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Researchers Discover Possible Cause for Alzheimer’s and Traumatic Brain Injury” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 26, 2018

    Jennifer Forbes Mullenhard
    732-788-8301
    mullenjf@rwjms.rutgers.edu

    Caitlin Coyle
    848-445-1955
    caitlin.coyle@rutgers.edu

    The new mechanism may have also led to the discovery of an effective treatment.

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    Federico Sesti, a professor of neuroscience and cell biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School discovered possible cause for Alzheimer’s which may have also led to the discovery of an effective treatment.
    Photo: Kim Sokoloff

    Rutgers researchers have discovered a new mechanism that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury. They now hope to launch a clinical trial to test the treatment in humans.

    What causes Alzheimer’s is unknown, but a popular theory suggests a protein known as amyloid-beta slowly builds up a plaque in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. But in a recent study in the journal Cell Death & Disease, Federico Sesti, a professor of neuroscience and cell biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, looked at a new mechanism, which involves a non-amyloid-beta protein, a potassium channel referred to as KCNB1.

    Under conditions of stress in a brain affected by Alzheimer’s, KCNB1 builds up and becomes toxic to neurons and then promotes the production of amyloid-beta. The build-up of KCNB1 channels is caused by a chemical process commonly known as oxidation.

    “Indeed, scientists have known for a long time that during aging or in neurodegenerative disease cells produce free radicals,” said Sesti. “Free radicals are toxic molecules that can cause a reaction that results in lost electrons in important cellular components, including the channels.”

    The study found that in brains affected by Alzheimer’s, the build-up of KCNB1 was much higher compared to normal brains.

    “The discovery of KCNB1’s oxidation/build-up was found through observation of both mouse and human brains, which is significant as most scientific studies do not usually go beyond observing animals,” said Sesti. “Further, KCBB1 channels may not only contribute to Alzheimer’s but also to other conditions of stress as it was found in a recent study that they are formed following brain trauma.”

    In the cases of Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury, the build-up of KCNB1 is associated with severe damage of mental function. As a result of this discovery, Sesti successfully tested a drug called Sprycel in mice. The drug is used to treat patients with leukemia.

    “Our study shows that this drug and similar ones could potentially be used to treat Alzheimer’s, a discovery that leads the way to launching a clinical trial to test this drug in humans.”

    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 10:08 am on September 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Rutgers Receives NSF Award to Continue Pioneering Ocean Initiative, Rutgers University, ,   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Receives NSF Award to Continue Pioneering Ocean Initiative” 

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    From Rutgers University

    September 25, 2018

    Dalya Ewais
    848-445-3153
    dalya.ewais@rutgers.edu

    The project delivers insight to researchers, policymakers and the public worldwide.

    The National Science Foundation this week announced it has awarded a five-year, $220 million contract to a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations, including Rutgers University–New Brunswick, to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative [OOI].

    The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with direction from the NSF, includes Rutgers, the University of Washington and Oregon State University.

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    The initiative includes platforms and sensors that measure physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the sea surface in key coastal and open-ocean sites of the Atlantic and Pacific. It was designed to address critical questions about the Earth-ocean system, including climate change, ecosystem variability, ocean acidification plate-scale seismicity and submarine volcanoes, and carbon cycling. The goal is to better understand the ocean and our planet.

    3
    The seafloor cable extends off the coast of Oregon and allows real-time communication with the deep sea. University of Washington

    Each institution will continue to operate and maintain the portion of project’s assets for which it is currently responsible. Rutgers will operate the cyberinfrastructure system that ingests and delivers data for the initiative.

    The initiative supports more than 500 autonomous instruments on the seafloor and on moored and free-swimming platforms that are serviced during regular, ship-based expeditions to the array sites. Data from each instrument is transmitted to shore, where it is freely available to users worldwide, including scientists, policy experts, decision-makers, educators and the general public.

    “Rutgers is proud to be a part of this transformative project that provides scientists and educators across the globe access to the richest source of real-time, in-water oceanographic data,” said David Kimball, interim senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers.

    Over the last three years, the Rutgers team led by Manish Parashar, director of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute and Distinguished Professor of computer science, designed, built and operated the OOI’s cyberinfrastructure. The team also included Scott Glenn and Oscar Schofield, Distinguished Professors in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and co-founders of Rutgers’ Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, who led the Rutgers data team.

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    From left to right: Manish Parashar, director of the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute and Distinguished Professor of computer science; Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president for economic development at Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development; and Ivan Rodero, project manager.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

    For the second phase of the OOI project, which begins on October 1 and runs for five years, Rutgers will receive about $6.6 million and will be responsible for maintaining the cyberinfrastructure and providing a network that allows 24/7 connectivity, ensuring sustained, reliable worldwide ocean observing data any time, any place, on any computer or mobile device. Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president for economic development at Rutgers’ Office of Research and Economic Development, will serve as acting principal investigator.

    “Greater awareness and knowledge of the state of our oceans and the effects of their interrelated systems today is critical to a deeper understanding of our changing climate, marine and coastal ecosystems, atmospheric exchanges, and geodynamics. We are pleased to continue our involvement with this project that enables researchers to better understand the state of our oceans,” Brennan-Tonetta 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 9:41 am on September 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3D virtual cadaver, , , , Digital Cadavers Offer a High-Tech Lesson in Anatomy, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Digital Cadavers Offer a High-Tech Lesson in Anatomy” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 26, 2018
    Beverly McCarron

    1
    Rebekah J. Thomas, center, an assistant professor at the School of Health Professions, demonstrates how to operate the school’s new virtual dissection table.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

    Rutgers University physician assistant students hovered over a virtual dissection table displaying the life-size image of a cadaver –the body of a 38-year-old man who had donated his body for medical research.

    The minutely detailed, 3D virtual cadaver had been recreated in vivid color based on actual body scans and loaded into the 6-foot long, touch-screen table.

    Swiping the screen, students peeled back layers of the cadaver, revealing pink organs and muscles, blue veins and, finally, the skeleton. To find the appendix, first-year student Lindsey DuBoff tapped on a scalpel icon, and then sliced away muscle and tissue with her finger, exposing the small organ.

    Seemingly out of science fiction (it has been used by the fictional doctors on Grey’s Anatomy), the virtual dissection table brings the future of gross anatomy and clinical science education to Rutgers’ School of Health Professions, one of eight schools and clinical and education resources that comprise the university’s academic health center. Rutgers is New Jersey’s first university to use this technology.

    “This table helps our students visualize and better understand anatomy and lays the foundation for stronger skills in clinical medicine,” said Matthew McQuillan, director of the physician assistant program, which confers a Master of Science degree.

    “Many go into surgery and subspecialties and having them understand spatial relationships is critical to becoming good clinicians. Anyone doing a physical exam has to be able to visualize the body structure. The virtual dissection table helps lay a foundation to build better skills in clinical medicine.

    Rebekah Thomas, an assistant professor in the program who brought the idea of the virtual cadaver to Rutgers, anticipates that it will complement – not replace – the school’s real cadavers.

    Removing a kidney from a real cadaver gives students a tactile sense of the body. Students holding the organ will feel its weight and size in a way they can’t on a screen.

    But a virtual kidney enables them to study the histology of an organ right down to its microscopic tissue and cells. Students can zoom in and out and see blood vessels and nerves.

    In addition, once an organ is removed, a flesh-and-bone cadaver is no longer pristine. After a year of training its students with a cadaver, the university must obtain a new donor. Virtual cadavers, on the other hand, can be digitally refreshed without limit.

    The computerized table gives students the flexibility to work on a variety of patient donors with different clinical and pathological conditions, body types, ethnicities and causes of death, Students also have access to a library of more than 1,000 images involving living clinical cases, which include conditions, such as an ectopic pregnancy and conjoined twins – with all patients giving prior consent to the digital use of their data, according to Anatomage, the California-based company that developed the table.

    “I’ve done cadaver dissections before,” said PA student Victoria Latella. “But I feel like this is a tool we never knew we needed.”

    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 10:39 am on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “New State Autism Center Opens at Rutgers” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 25, 2018
    Patti Verbanas
    patti.verbanas@rutgers.edu

    1
    The New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence is positioned to become a national model for programs that integrate autism research, clinical care and education.

    A new statewide center based at Rutgers University–New Brunswick has been established to improve research, treatment and services for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    The New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence, which is funded by the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism, the New Jersey Department of Health, will be led by Elizabeth Torres, an associate professor in psychology at Rutgers–New Brunswick; James Millonig, an associate professor in neuroscience and cell biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Jill Harris, director of Research Development and Coordinator of Autism Services at Children’s Specialized Hospital.

    The new center is positioned to become a national model for programs that integrate autism research, clinical care and education, said Torres. While autism affects one in 59 children in United States, one in 34 children has the disorder in New Jersey.

    “We are one of the only states in the nation that for nearly 20 years has maintained the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism. Indeed, families of people with autism come to New Jersey from across the globe due to the exceptional services offered here,” Torres said. “But like the rest of the nation, we lack a comprehensive network that allows researchers, clinicians and families to connect. We also face barriers to research and don’t have a scientifically grounded understanding of how well certain treatments work.”

    A consumer advisory board composed of parents and advocates will inform the center on the unmet needs of the autistic population and help shape the center’s vision for the future. “We reached out to people with ASD, families and service providers to better understand where the ASD research and service gaps are,” says Harris. “Their input helps ensure that the goals and planned activities of the NJACE meets these needs including creating training for current and next generation health care providers to address needs of people with ASD across the lifespan.”

    Torres notes the lack of adequate insurance coverage for basic needs for people with this condition, and families cannot afford treatment that can help their children. “Since there are no physical outcome measures that provide a solid account of how well certain treatments work, parents get discouraged,” she said. “Then, children age beyond school years and services end.”

    Over the coming year, the center will create a collaborative, interdisciplinary network of health care providers, researchers, families, biopharmaceutical companies, universities, corporations, small businesses and other autism centers. The goal is to establish best practices, share information on successes and challenges to research, educate researchers and clinicians and locate treatment and employment for people of all ages with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “We will stimulate innovative cutting-edge research, connect researchers to experts in their respective fields, assist with reporting and help communicate important findings to the autism community,” said Millonig.

    “The members of the New Jersey Autism Council are committed to the next steps in order to advance and disseminate the understanding, treatment, and management of ASD,” said Caroline Eggerding, the Council’s chair. “We look forward to working with the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence to carry out the vision of coordinated innovative transformation research, treatment and professional education.”

    Of prime research interest: How effective are specific treatments for individuals with autism at different stages of life? Retroactive research on the trajectory of people diagnosed with autism as far back as 15 years ago can provide crucial insights into this lifelong condition and allow clinicians to understand what interventions succeeded or failed in promoting autonomy, independence and self-sufficiency during the transition from childhood to young adulthood, Torres said. The center will create a de-identified and centralized scientific data repository to help connect research outcomes from grantees from diverse layers of the knowledge network, spanning from patient’s contributed data, to digital biomarkers and environmental exposures, the microbiome and genetics.

    “Autism is not just a childhood disorder,” said Torres. “By three years of age, we have more certainty that something deviates from typical neurodevelopment; but the evolution toward this condition starts earlier. As such, we must intervene early, but physical outcome measures required for objective evaluations do not currently exist and as such there is no data on treatments’ effectiveness in any of the existing data repositories we have access to. We are merely guessing at what treatments will work or when such treatments will be most effective. The support of the center will aid researchers in obtaining age-dependent physical outcome measurements on personalized treatments that are scientifically grounded. This could be particularly useful to guide early intervention programs, even before autism is detected and officially diagnosed.”

    The center also seeks to change the public perception of ASD, shifting it from an exclusive psychological- or psychiatric-centered description of symptoms to one that more holistically ascertains the physiological underpinnings of this condition. The aim is to improve the person’s autonomy and physical independence to promote healthy social living.

    “A staggering number of adults with autism live without any hope to be embraced by our society,” Torres said. “The descriptions of autism as a mental illness, a social deficit, a lack of empathy or a mind that cannot theorize about others’ behaviors or actions obscures a person’s inherent abilities. We need to change the model to help children with autism become adults who are an integral part of our workforce.”

    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 1:30 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , OOI-Ocean Observatories Initiative, , Regional Cabled Array, Rutgers University, ,   

    From University of Washington: “NSF awards contract to carry OOI into the next decade and beyond” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    September 19, 2018
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    The seafloor cable extends off the coast of Oregon and allows real-time communication with the deep sea. University of Washington

    The National Science Foundation announced that it has awarded a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations a five-year, $220 million contract to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

    The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with direction from the NSF and guidance from the OOI Facilities Board, will include the University of Washington, Oregon State University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

    3

    The OOI is an advanced system of integrated, scientific platforms and sensors that measure physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the sea surface in key coastal and open-ocean sites of the Atlantic and Pacific. as designed to address critical questions about the Earth–ocean system, including climate change, ecosystem variability, ocean acidification, plate-scale seismicity, submarine volcanoes and carbon cycling with the goal of better understanding the ocean and our planet. All OOI data are freely available online.

    Each institution will continue to operate and maintain the portion of OOI assets for which it is currently responsible: the UW will operate the Regional Cabled Array that extends across the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and overlying ocean; OSU will operate the Endurance Array off the coast of Washington and Oregon; WHOI will operate the Pioneer Array off the Northeast U.S. coast and the Global Arrays in the Irminger Sea off the southern tip of Greenland and at Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska; and Rutgers will operate the cyberinfrastructure system that ingests and delivers data for the initiative. In addition, WHOI will serve as the home of a new OOI Project Management Office.

    “We at NSF are proud of our continuing investment in 24/7 streaming data from the ocean and coupled Earth systems,” said William Easterling, NSF assistant director for geosciences. “From underwater volcanoes to ocean currents, OOI enables cutting-edge scientific discoveries and makes big data accessible to classrooms at all levels. These data are key to addressing everyday challenges, such as better storm predictions and management of our coastal resources.”

    The OOI officially launched in 2009, when the NSF and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership signed a cooperative agreement to support the construction and initial operation of OOI’s cabled, coastal and global arrays. The launch represented the culmination of work begun decades earlier, when ocean scientists in the 1980s envisioned a collection of outposts in the ocean that would gather data around the clock, in real- and near-real time for years on end, and enhance the scientific community’s ability to observe complex oceanographic processes that occur and evolve over time scales ranging from seconds to decades, and spatial scales ranging from inches to miles.

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    An arm of the ocean robot ROB Jason installs a seafloor fluid sampler on the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Cabled Array in summer 2017.UW/OOI-NSF/WHOI, V17

    The OOI currently supports more than 500 autonomous instruments on the seafloor and on moored and free-swimming platforms that are serviced during regular, ship-based expeditions to the array sites. Data from each instrument is transmitted to shore, where it is freely available to users worldwide, including members of the scientific community, policy experts, decision-makers, educators and the general public.

    The UW operates the largest single piece of the OOI, the Regional Cabled Array: cables from Newport, Oregon, that bring high power and high-bandwidth internet to an observatory that spans the seafloor and water above. The equipment was built and installed by the UW starting in 2011 and became fully operational in 2016. It includes more than 140 instruments and six tethered robots laden with instruments that collect data from about 9,500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface to the near-surface environments.

    3
    Two UW undergraduates help graduate student Theresa Whorley (left) work on instruments retrieved from the seafloor during a summer 2017 maintenance cruise.Mitch Elend/University of Washington/V17

    The new grant will fund refresh and maintenance of the Regional Cabled Array infrastructure, data evaluation, and five annual cruises. The main hardware will continue to be maintained and upgraded by the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, and will continue to incorporate sensors from local companies Sea-Bird Scientific of Bellevue and Paroscientific of Redmond.

    Just before its official commissioning, the Regional Cabled Array in April 2015 captured first-of-its-kind data of an underwater volcanic eruption that included more than 8,000 earthquakes over a 24-hour period, a roughly 7-foot collapse of the seafloor and more than 30,000 explosive events. The data evolution of the eruption was the focus of several papers [Science]. One of those authors is now using real-time observations to predict that the underwater volcano’s next eruption, which also will be monitored, will occur in early 2022.

    “At one of the meetings, an NSF officer said: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ That’s what we’re seeing,” said UW principal investigator and oceanography professor Deborah Kelley. “The real-time capability and power supply are key because they let us have a permanent, 24/7 presence on the seafloor and throughout the water column and we are now able to respond to events in near-real time. We have significant expansion capabilities and are excited to continue gathering fundamental measurements in the ocean.”

    The number of instruments attached to the observatory is growing. William Wilcock, a UW professor of oceanography, has received two NSF grants that include funding for a new instrument now monitoring seismic activity and deformation of the seafloor, and another geophysical instrument to be installed next year on the underwater volcano, Axial Seamount. An award from Germany’s national research agency resulted in the installation this past summer of two high-resolution sonars to image methane gas plumes that are bubbling up from the seafloor at a highly active area called Southern Hydrate Ridge.

    “We are looking at some of the most biologically productive and geologically active regions in the world, and we’ve never had so many co-registered sensors in these dynamic environments. With these data, collected on time scales from seconds to years, we hope to discover important links about how the ocean works and evolves,” Kelley said.

    “We now have the capability to examine in real time the impacts of large storms and low-oxygen events on ocean biology and chemistry, offshore earthquakes and underwater eruptions, and to share these data and discoveries with a global community of users.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:36 am on September 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Rutgers Opens State-of-the-Art Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Opens State-of-the-Art Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    September 13, 2018
    Neal Buccino
    neal.buccino@rutgers.edu

    1
    Peter March, executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new 144,000-square-foot Chemistry and Chemical Biology building.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko

    2
    New Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building. Flad Architects

    The new home for the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, which provides expanded teaching, laboratory and support space, is open for classes and research.

    Rutgers University President Robert Barchi and Rutgers–New Brunswick Interim Chancellor Christopher Molloy on Friday unveiled the building that launches a new era in research and education.

    The four-story, 144,000-square-foot facility will help accelerate innovative work in biophysical chemistry related to human health, drug design and synthesis, alternative energy, biomaterials, nanotechnology and other fields. The $115 million project was funded largely by New Jersey’s 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act.

    “We’re grateful to the people of the state for their investment in the bond act, and we’ve created a facility they can be proud of,” President Barchi said. “It is both visually appealing in its architecture and equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories that will enable our scientists and students to make important new discoveries.”

    Interim Chancellor Molloy said, “Rutgers’ chemistry and chemical biology research is discovering new ways to improve lives, from clean energy solutions, to potential new treatments for cancer and HIV, to high-speed computing. We’re preparing students for success in fields from pharmaceuticals to flavors, from petroleum to semiconductors. This new building will allow us to do even more.”

    “The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology educates thousands of undergraduates and graduate students, and produces research that benefits health, energy, and the environment,” said School of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean Peter March. “Now the department has a fitting 21st century home.”

    “Designed with an eye toward collaboration, combining instructional spaces with flexible research spaces, and inviting common areas, the building will enhance already excellent teaching and research,” said Arts and Sciences Vice Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Jean Baum. “The new possibilities will attract graduate students and new faculty and bolster our partnership with industry.”

    3
    Graduate student Tariq Bhatti leads visitors on a tour in the new Chemistry and Chemical Biology building. Photo: Nick Romanenko.

    More than 6,000 Rutgers students take chemistry courses each semester, and they will benefit from the new classrooms and labs. The building allows the university to expand upon its tradition of collaborative research with leading academic labs, federal agencies and private companies in New Jersey and around the world. The building includes a microscopy suite and optical spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography laboratories. The facility’s modular design and versatile infrastructure allow reconfiguration of labs and classrooms to respond as teaching methods and technology evolve and the needs of students and faculty change. Common areas are designed to promote collaborations.

    Adjacent to the Wright-Reiman Chemistry complex on the Busch campus, the new building’s front courtyard features The PhD Molecule, a 27-foot-tall sculpture by Larry Kirkland, which includes a stainless steel depiction of a caffeine molecule on a black granite base representing a blackboard with etched chemistry symbols.

    In addition to conforming to New Jersey energy mandates and guidelines, Rutgers seeks to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for the building by reducing its energy usage. Green features include windows that maximize natural light and manage heat gain, advanced air handling and exhaust systems, construction materials made from a significant percentage of recycled content and native vegetation to encourage biodiversity and reduce the need for irrigation.

    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 2:47 pm on August 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Tiny Protein Like This May Have Kick-Started Life On Earth, Ambidoxin, , , , , , Computer modeling, Ferredoxins, , Peptides, , Redox catalysis, Rutgers University, Rutgers' Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory   

    From Rutgers University via Forbes: “A Tiny Protein Like This May Have Kick-Started Life On Earth” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    via

    Forbes

    Aug 31, 2018
    Fiona McMillan

    1
    Ambidoxin is a synthetic small protein that wraps around a metal core composed of iron and sulfur. Vikas Nanda/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

    Researchers have reverse engineered a simple protein that may have helped kick start life on Earth.

    Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, provide strong new evidence that simple protein catalysts could have contributed to the development of life.

    A few decades ago, a chemist named Günter Wächtershäuser put forward a theory that life most likely began on volcanic rocks in the ocean that were rich in iron, sulfur and a variety of other minerals and elements useful for the kind of chemistry needed for simple life forms to emerge. He and others went on to surmise that this process would have been helped along by peptides — which are short proteins — that would have been capable of functioning as catalysts.

    A catalyst is anything that can speed up or increase the likelihood of a chemical reaction. Protein catalysts, or enzymes, are able to achieve this by bringing the reactants together in close proximity, and sometimes by also bringing other factors into the mix that help the reaction along, such as a metal ion, a water molecule, or some other type of molecule that gets things moving. In this way, enzymes are like really good party hosts.

    Of course, modern enzymes are often big bulky things comprising hundreds of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids to choose from, so countless combinations are possible. These big, complex enzymes are able fold into a stunning variety of elaborate shapes, enabling them to capture and hold reactants, and carry out reactions. They’re absolutely critical to the function of both simple and complex cellular life; we literally couldn’t live without them.

    However, such complex molecules took billions of years to evolve. Wächtershäuser and others have proposed that the earliest peptides would have had much simpler structures — perhaps just 10 or 20 amino acids — with just enough chemical complexity to enable them to carry out basic primordial chemistry.

    Yet exactly what such peptides may have looked like has been a mystery.

    3
    Underwater sulfur chimneys at Northwest Eifuku volcano. Life may have begun on volcanic underwater rocks like these.Credit: Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist; Public domain image

    Now Vikas Nanda and his colleagues at Rutgers University have used computer modeling to find out just how simple a peptide can get while still retaining the ability to function as a catalyst.

    In so doing, they have designed a peptide only 12 amino acids long that is able to wrap around a cluster of iron and sulfur atoms, which closely resemble iron-sulfur clusters that would have been found in ancient oceans.

    Interestingly, the peptide, which they named ambidoxin, doesn’t need the full variety of 20 amino acids available to modern proteins — it only requires two types of amino acid. Given its simplicity, the researchers suggest such a structure could have evolved spontaneously under the right conditions.

    Importantly, ambidoxin is able to carry out simple oxidation-reduction chemistry, also known as redox catalysis. Essentially it is able to be charged and discharged without falling apart, effectively enabling it to shuttle electrons from one place to another.

    “Modern proteins called ferredoxins do this, shuttling electrons around the cell to promote metabolism,” says senior author Paul G. Falkowski, who leads Rutgers’ Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory.

    “A primordial peptide like the one we studied may have served a similar function in the origins of life,” he says.

    By shuttling electrons around, ambidoxin (or something like it) may have contributed to early metabolic cycles, and could have served as a precursor to longer, more complex enzymes.

    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.

     
    • stewarthoughblog 6:08 pm on August 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      How to get this straight? Ambidoxin is a synthetic molecule? It took intelligent designers to reverse engineer a simple protein? A totally open system of underwater volcanic rocks supposed was the source for this molecular development? Protein enzymes also had to form to “capture, hold and carry out reactions? the complex molecular enzymes took billions of years to “evolve, when evolution only occurs to living reproductive organisms that did not exist yet? Regardless of this obstacle, the 10-20 amino acids proposed to make its simpler for the formation of the molecule must be homochiral, a condition that no naturalistic process can accomplish. Which “2 amino acids?” Only the simplest can form naturalistically.

      There is no way the full article can rectify the absurd propositions in this article. This is intellectually insulting in its preposterous and nonscientific speculation.

      Like

    • richardmitnick 1:12 pm on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      • stewarthoughblog 6:42 pm on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for the reply and illumination of astrobiology.net’s beliefs. Nothing in their article answers the questions I posed.

        I can only offer my questions to them for serious response, as the astrobiology profession is motivated to pursue any and all aspects of potential life generation from a naturalistic worldview that is motivated to posit any and all mechanisms for the potential creation, development and sustaining of life. More cynically, their paycheck and funding depends on serious investigation and support of naturalistic processes, regardless of their viability.

        The second to last para of the article reveals an ostensible reliance on “evolution” for the formation of abiotic pre-assemblages of molecules that logically advocate abiogenetic assembly results. This, despite the well established disavowal by evolutionists of any evolution within abiogenesis. The astrobiologists are not so ideologically dogmatic if some origin of life milestone can be attained through evolutionary processes.

        Thank you. Regards.

        Like

  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on August 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EPA-United States Environmental Protection Agency, Food waste reduction project, Paterson NJ public schools, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University via EPA: “EPA Environmental Education Grant to Rutgers will help Paterson, NJ students, teachers and parents reduce food waste” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    via

    1

    United States Environmental Protection Agency

    August 22, 2018

    Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has been selected to receive funding to support a food waste reduction project in Paterson, NJ. EPA anticipates that it will award Rutgers an Environmental Education grant in the amount of $50,000 once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
    “We are very pleased to select Rutgers to receive this funding, which will help Paterson’s public schools increase local awareness of food waste as an environmental issue,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Locally-focused environmental education projects like this increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental and conservation issues and provide the skills needed to make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment.”
    “A baseline study of the Paterson Public Schools showed that, on average, 84 pounds of food was wasted every day at each school in the district – that’s 310 tons of food waste every year,” said Sara Elnakib, Family and Community Health Sciences Educator of Rutgers University’s Cooperative Extension of Passaic County, who is working on a food systems education program in Paterson, New Jersey alongside her colleagues, Marycarmen Kunicki of 4-H Youth Development and Amy Rowe of the university’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The EPA’s funding will be instrumental to our Grow Healthy school initiative in raising awareness about the food waste problem, encouraging healthy consumption, and introducing food waste reduction strategies that can holistically be applied on the personal, institutional, and community level and will benefit the environment.”
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – $50,000
    Project Title: Paterson Grow Healthy: Reducing Food Waste Through the Food Cycle
    The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Passaic County, a subset of The State University of New Jersey, will jointly manage this grant. The project has two goals:
    1) Work with students, teachers, cafeteria workers and parents in Paterson, NJ public schools, an environmental justice community, to increase awareness of food waste as an environmental issue and train them in methods of food waste reduction. Rutgers will host a Sustainable Schools Summit for select classes and teachers from participating Paterson Public Schools that will feature workshops and hands-on activities. They will also hold a separate workshop specifically for cafeteria staff to learn how to implement waste reduction practices in the lunchroom. Participant progress will be measured through pre- and post-training surveys and food waste studies.
    2) The students and teachers trained through this program will be responsible for planting and maintaining school gardens and setting up compost bins to supplement their education of growing food and food waste.
    Background on EPA’s Environmental Education Grant Program
    Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in EE grant funding per year, for a total of over $75 million supporting more than 3,700 grant projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques.


    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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