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  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on April 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “In Celebration of Science at Rutgers” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    From President Barchi-

    Members of the Rutgers Community:

    With the upcoming March for Science focusing national attention on science and the role it plays in American life, we at Rutgers have much to celebrate about the contributions we have made, and continue to make, in scientific research.

    I’m proud to say that Rutgers is pursuing life-changing scientific discoveries in so many areas, including precision medicine, transportation infrastructure, energy research, drug development, wireless technology, disease diagnostics, nutrition and food science, proteomics, genetics, sustainable materials, computational biology, brain health, autism research, and much more.

    Rutgers scientists gave the world the antibiotic streptomycin, proved the case against smoking, and identified the first AIDS cases. Today our scientists are changing our understanding of oceans, developing world-renowned turfgrass, and revolutionizing the way we test for tuberculosis. Our faculty conducted more than $650 million in research last year alone, more than half of that funded by federal grants.

    In our classrooms and labs, our professors are training students who will become the scientists, physicians, engineers, and inventors who will add to our stores of knowledge and further improve human health, explore and protect the natural environment, and advance economic development.

    True to our service mission, we are also applying our scientific expertise to help our state’s communities through the programs of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). For instance, the Water Resources Program has helped towns better manage their storm-water runoff through green infrastructure practices such as porous pavement and rain gardens, and our Haskins Shellfish Research Laboratory has helped revive the oyster industry in southern New Jersey. We also support New Jersey with science in other ways, too; for example, we bring our medical knowledge to New Jersey residents through our clinical practices, clinical trials, and community health programs.

    Science matters to everyone. It affects all of us, and for a research university like Rutgers, it is at the heart of what we do. It is important to remind ourselves, and all those we serve as a public research university, of our ongoing commitment to excellence in science and scientific research. In that pursuit, our Office of Research and Development provides essential guidance while our Federal Relations team advocates for research funding on Capitol Hill.

    I share the sentiments of those from Rutgers who intend to participate in demonstrations in support of science this weekend, including the March for Science in Washington. I also respect the rights of others who have dissenting viewpoints and wish to express them.

    Please take a moment to view a new video with a number of Rutgers voices expressing why science matters and see a Q&A with the Office of Federal Relations. I also invite you to read my op-ed on science, published this morning by USA Today.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Barchi

    Received via email .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

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    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.

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    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:45 pm on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , How Graphene Could Cool Smartphone Computer and Other Electronics Chips, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “How Graphene Could Cool Smartphone, Computer and Other Electronics Chips” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    March 27, 2017 [Nothing like beimg timely.]
    Todd B. Bates

    Rutgers scientists lead research that discovers potential advance for the electronics industry.

    1
    Graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of graphite, consists of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Photo: OliveTree/Shutterstock

    With graphene, Rutgers researchers have discovered a powerful way to cool tiny chips – key components of electronic devices with billions of transistors apiece.

    “You can fit graphene, a very thin, two-dimensional material that can be miniaturized, to cool a hot spot that creates heating problems in your chip, said Eva Y. Andrei, Board of Governors professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “This solution doesn’t have moving parts and it’s quite efficient for cooling.”

    The shrinking of electronic components and the excessive heat generated by their increasing power has heightened the need for chip-cooling solutions, according to a Rutgers-led study published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using graphene combined with a boron nitride crystal substrate, the researchers demonstrated a more powerful and efficient cooling mechanism.

    “We’ve achieved a power factor that is about two times higher than in previous thermoelectric coolers,” said Andrei, who works in the School of Arts and Sciences.

    The power factor refers to the effectiveness of active cooling. That’s when an electrical current carries heat away, as shown in this study, while passive cooling is when heat diffuses naturally.

    Graphene has major upsides. It’s a one-atom-thick layer of graphite, which is the flaky stuff inside a pencil. The thinnest flakes, graphene, consist of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice that looks like chicken wire, Andrei said. It conducts electricity better than copper, is 100 times stronger than steel and quickly diffuses heat.

    The graphene is placed on devices made of boron nitride, which is extremely flat and smooth as a skating rink, she said. Silicon dioxide – the traditional base for chips – hinders performance because it scatters electrons that can carry heat away.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

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    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.

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    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:02 pm on April 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rutgers, Selman Waksman   

    From Rutgers: “Selman Waksman: Rutgers Alumnus, Researcher and Nobel Prize Winner Developed System to Discover Antibiotics” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 18, 2016
    Robin Warshaw

    1
    Selman Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1952. Photo: Rutgers University archives.

    His work led to the discovery of at least 20 antibiotics, including streptomycin, the first effective treatment for tuberculosis.

    2

    Throughout the first half of the 20th century, tuberculosis (TB) was one of the nation’s most feared killers.

    At one point, the highly infectious disease killed more than 400 Americans a day. But by the early 1950s, TB deaths had dropped sharply—due in large part to research begun years before by a Rutgers soil microbiologist named Selman Waksman.

    Waksman’s work in what was then the Rutgers College of Agriculture eventually led to the discovery of at least 20 antibiotics, including streptomycin, the first effective treatment for TB. In 1952, Waksman received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his “ingenious, systematic, and successful studies of the soil microbes” involved in that discovery.

    It was a startling investigative pathway to pursue. “If you say soil, dirt—in medical terms, it was anathema,” says Douglas E. Eveleigh, distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Somebody who proposes ‘you’ve got things in soil that would be of use in a medical manner’ was way out on a limb.”

    Eveleigh admires the professional risk Waksman took. “He was a famous soil microbiologist. For him to suddenly … go off in a new direction and hope this was going to work, you have to give him credit.”

    When Waksman entered Rutgers as an undergraduate in 1911, he was 23, a Russian immigrant who had been denied university admission in his homeland because he was Jewish. He lived with cousins on a farm near New Brunswick, where he worked and learned about plant and animal growth.

    That interest, and a scholarship, drew him to study agriculture at Rutgers, where his senior project in 1915 focused on assessing soil microbes. He studied soil bacteriology as a graduate student under the dean of the College of Agriculture, Jacob G. Lipman (for whom Lipman Hall on Rutgers’ George H. Cook Campus is named) and received his master of science degree in 1916.

    Waksman went to the University of California, Berkeley, for his Ph.D. in biochemistry. He returned to Rutgers as a research microbiologist at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and a lecturer in soil microbiology. By 1930, he was a full professor.

    In the late 1930s, British scientists were trying to refine penicillin, which had been found accidentally, and produce it in quantity. Waksman believed he could deliberately look for other antibiotics that might be made in soil by microbes. Using a process Waksman developed, his team of researchers began screening soil bacteria, and found one that produced actinomycin in 1940. “It was better than penicillin in attacking a wider spectrum of germs—including tuberculosis—but also was toxic to people,” Eveleigh says.

    More discoveries followed in Waksman’s lab using the screening system, including the discovery in 1943 by graduate student Albert Schatz, a member of Waksman’s team, of streptomycin’s properties to combat TB. Seeing that streptomycin worked against TB, which penicillin did not, Waksman contacted medical researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Human trials proved the antibiotic safe for use and it later went into production. The drug needed to be given for several months, but it saved many patients and TB deaths fell.

    “Really, he was probably the foundation of turning Rutgers into a research university. He was the first to have research with impact,” says Joachim Messing, director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology.

    The institute was created from royalties Waksman and the university received from his work. It “was his big dream and the culmination of his career,” says Nan Waksman Schanbacher, Waksman’s granddaughter. She was 3 years old when her grandfather won the Nobel Prize and now she is vice president and board chair of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, an organization that supports research and education in the field. “He was motivated very strongly to do something good for the world,” Schanbacher says.

    Opened in 1954 as the Institute of Microbiology, the institute was renamed for Waksman in 1974, one year after his death. Waksman’s original laboratory in the basement of Martin Hall has been converted into a state-of-the-art conference room/mini-museum of the development of antibiotics. The American Chemical Society designated the space at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s G.H. Cook Campus as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of the development of the actinomycete antibiotics.

    Waksman’s influence is still felt, although the mission of the institute has broadened. It now conducts research in microbial, developmental, and plant molecular genetics as well as structural and computational biology.

    Even today, its research sometimes links back to Waksman’s work. In the face of growing antibiotic resistance in some TB strains, Messing notes that one institute project has led to a new type of antibiotic that could potentially be useful against the disease. “Now we’ve ended up doing exactly what Waksman would have liked to have done, but from a different angle,” he says.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

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    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.

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    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:47 am on April 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rutgers, Rutgers’ Office of Federal Relations Advocates for Science Year-Round   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers’ Office of Federal Relations Advocates for Science Year-Round” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 17, 2017
    Alexandria Hermann
    202-220-1338
    hermann@oq.rutgers.edu

    Building relationships and keeping key policymakers informed helps advance research underway across the university

    As people across the nation prepare to take to the streets of Washington, D.C., and more than 400 cities to champion the value of science on April 22 (Earth Day), Rutgers’ Office of Federal Relations has a year-round mission to advocate for scientific research.

    The Office of Federal Relations, located just steps from the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., works closely with administrators, faculty, staff and students throughout Rutgers to build relationships with key federal policymakers that will help advance the important scientific work underway across the university. The office works closely with the New Jersey congressional delegation and national associations of higher education to be a voice for Rutgers and for science on a national level.

    Francine Newsome Pfeiffer, who directs the Rutgers Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria Hermann, associate director, talked with Rutgers Today about the importance of federal investment in science and the role their office plays in advancing research at Rutgers.

    How does Rutgers advocate for scientific research at the federal level?

    Newsome Pfeiffer: Early and often.The Rutgers Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., advocates year-round for the university’s federal priorities, especially for the federal investments that support our students and faculty. Funding for university-based scientific research is a major concern. We visit regularly with our New Jersey members of Congress and their staff to talk about the federal agencies and programs that fund research at Rutgers, and often bring faculty, staff and students so they may speak directly about their federally funded research and why it matters. We also arrange congressional visits to campus so our elected officials can see research in action, whether it’s a lab working on Alzheimer’s research funded by the National Institutes of Health, an outdoor bridge testing facility at the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation or a visit to the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab for a real-time look at ocean data. It’s important to keep our congressional offices informed about the exciting scientific research underway at Rutgers because so much of it wouldn’t be possible without federal funding.

    Can you give examples of how that advocacy has been successful in advancing scientific research at Rutgers?

    Newsome Pfeiffer: In 1997, Rutgers received $94 million in federal research funding. In 2007, our federal research funding total climbed to $195 million. This year, our federal research funding is at the highest level yet, totaling $331 million – which can be attributed, in part, to the historic 2013 integration between Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Persistent advocacy for federal investments in scientific research have fostered strong, bipartisan support for research at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and many other federal agencies. We have champions in Congress from both sides of the aisle who are outspoken about the need to invest in innovation. And our scientists have shown that they can compete for a growing share of these federal dollars. Rutgers research expenditures have grown 250 percent in 20 years.

    Does Rutgers work with other universities on advocacy?

    Hermann: Absolutely. As a leading public research university we are part of several important national associations with a shared interest in strong partnerships with the federal government to advance innovation across the country. Amplified, unified voices are the best way to be heard on Capitol Hill, which is why we coordinate with our government affairs counterparts at universities, associations and scientific societies when lobbying for robust funding levels for research, even in times of fiscal restraint. In addition, research doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Rutgers faculty members frequently work in partnerships spanning multiple universities across the country, so we work specifically with those universities to showcase our collaborations and coordinate advocacy. Did we mention that our office in Washington, D.C., is shared with Princeton University’s Office of Government Affairs? They are terrific neighbors and partners in making the case about federal research and education investments with our New Jersey members of Congress.

    Why is the federal investment in science so important?

    Hermann: Strong, stable federal funding is essential if the United States wishes to continue to be the global innovation leader. Basic research has led to countless scientific discoveries – discoveries that save lives, serve as a driver of our economy and are critical to a prosperous future for the country. Life-saving vaccines and drugs, personal computers and smartphones all came about as a result of research in labs and centers funded by the federal government, and there would be a dark cloud hanging over the timeline of American innovation if the federal government failed to see an advantage for the investment in science and in our students, the scientific workforce that will drive innovation well into the future.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

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

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

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:07 am on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Could Subsea Methane Hydrates Be a Warming 'Tipping Point'?, Deep Discoverer remotely-operated vehicle, Rutgers, Tipping points   

    From Eos: “Could Subsea Methane Hydrates Be a Warming ‘Tipping Point’? “ 

    AGU bloc

    AGU
    Eos news bloc

    Eos

    13 April 2017
    Alan Robock

    1
    Gas hydrate (white material) on the floor of the northern Gulf of Mexico (~966 meters) under a cap of rocks encrusted with chemosynthetic mussels. The photograph was taken in 2014 by the Deep Discoverer remotely-operated vehicle managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Exploration and Research Program. Credit: NOAA

    2
    The Office of Ocean Exploration and Research’s new 6,000-meter-rated Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was brought online for engineering trials this past May, and will be used in a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration for the first time during the Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition. The ROV was named after the retired NOAA Ship Discoverer that operated in the Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific, and Atlantic basins and conducted surveys and research ranging from undersea vents to aerosol characterization, leaving a vast and wide legacy including data that continues to be used by scientists today. Similarly, Deep Discoverer is expected to go places others have not and provide a legacy of data that will provide value to the science and management communities by doing what it does best – making discoveries. Image courtesy of the NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

    One of the fears from global warming is the potential for “tipping points” that will vastly exaggerate the warming, and one of most discussed is increased methane emissions from high latitudes. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and large increases in its concentration would certainly amplify the warming associated with anthropogenic emissions. Two potential methane sources have been suggested: melting permafrost on land and subsea permafrost. A review article recently published in Reviews of Geophysics examined the potential for subsea methane hydrates to be a tipping point, but found no evidence so far. The authors, Carolyn D. Ruppel and John D. Kessler, answer some questions about this area of research.

    A major concern is that warming in the oceans and the melting of ice might release large amounts of methane stored within ocean sediments which would further amplify the warming. What new understanding or synthesis are you providing of this feedback?

    Certainly gas hydrate is breaking down at some locations now, mostly associated with subsea permafrost on Arctic Ocean shelves and with hydrate at the upper limit of its stability on temperate-latitude upper continental slopes affected by warming ocean waters. In our assessment strong biogeochemical sinks and physical processes prevent much of the methane released via gas hydrate degradation from reaching the sea-air interface and being injected into the atmosphere. For example, some of the methane formerly contained in gas hydrate is retained in the sediments and consumed in the near-seafloor sulfate reduction zone in marine settings. Methane bubbles emitted at water depths greater than about 100 m are unlikely to retain their methane as they ascend to the sea-air interface. The methane that dissolves in the water column is often oxidized to carbon dioxide through microbial processes. Seafloor methane emissions are not entirely benign for ocean chemistry, but gas hydrate degradation likely makes insignificant contributions to global atmospheric methane concentrations.

    What are the societal implications of the new understanding?

    Because gas hydrates globally sequester such a large amount of methane at depths that are shallow compared to those associated with conventional gas, even reputable publications sometimes posit that warming climate will lead to catastrophic breakdown of global gas hydrate deposits and the subsequent injection of the released methane into the atmosphere. Our review underscores the implausibility of such scenarios. The spatial distribution of climate-susceptible gas hydrates, the strong sinks that consume much of the methane released from gas hydrate breakdown before the gas reaches the atmosphere, and the thermodynamic barriers to runaway gas hydrate breakdown all argue against strong synergy between gas hydrates and the climate system. In fact, we estimate that seafloor emissions of hydrate-derived methane (most of which never reaches the atmosphere) is dwarfed by annual carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources.

    2
    Methane seeps emanating from the seafloor behind authigenic carbonate rock (formed as a result of microbially-mediated processes) on the upper continental slope (~450 meters) on the Virginia margin. The photograph was taken in 2013 by the Deep Discoverer remotely-operated vehicle managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Exploration and Research Program. Credit: NOAA

    What are the major unsolved or unresolved questions and where are additional data or modeling efforts needed?

    The most critical need is a fingerprinting method that can distinguish methane formerly contained in gas hydrate from other methane sources. For example, at least 5 geologic sources may contribute to seafloor methane emissions on some Arctic continental shelves, but the scientific community currently lacks the ability to discern the component of emissions that could be derived from degradation of gas hydrate. Another need is for robust measurements of sea-air methane fluxes, particularly at high latitudes where controversy has arisen as various datasets have been reported. Numerical modeling of the interaction of climate and gas hydrates during past warming events and during contemporary and future climate change should also be improved to more thoroughly account for realistic distributions of gas hydrate, sediment and water column methane sinks and the transfer of methane-carbon to other carbon pools, regional oceanographic conditions, and full atmospheric chemistry.

    Alan Robock, Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University; email: robock@envsci.rutgers.edu

    See the full article here .

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    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:33 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brian Strom, Eliminating viral hepatitis, , Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “Study Committee Announces Recommendations for Eliminating Viral Hepatitis” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    March 28, 2017

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee is headed by Rutgers’ Brian Strom

    1
    Renowned epidemiologist Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, headed the committee of scientists studying the possibility of eliminating viral hepatitis. Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

    Viral hepatitis could become rare – and approximately 20,000 deaths annually in the U.S. could be eliminated – if federal and state agencies make the disease a priority, according to recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today in Washington, D.C.

    Brian L. Strom, a renowned epidemiologist and the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, headed the committee of scientists selected by the Academies, which studied the issue and developed the recommendations.

    Hepatitis, often referred to as the “silent killer,” appears mostly as hepatitis B (HBV), for which a vaccine exists, or hepatitis C (HCV), which can be eliminated with antiviral drugs in more than 90 percent of chronically infected patients.

    The Academies’ recommendations provide a framework for hepatitis elimination. The key, the Academies said, is to support prevention methods – vaccinations for HBV and antiviral drugs to treat HCV, combined with reducing exposure to the virus – with a major effort to identify and educate individuals with the virus.

    “Many people suffering from viral hepatitis are not in contact with the health system, so the elimination strategy must give as much attention to the delivery of services as to the services themselves,” Strom said. “A variety of federal and state agencies should give more explicit attention to bringing hepatitis services to these populations. A system of the same breadth and flexibility as the Ryan White Act, which was passed in response to similar issues in those with HIV, would go far to reaching marginalized viral hepatitis patients.”

    The committee’s recommendations also addressed the major costs of the antiviral drugs in light of the very expensive drug therapies which remain under patents. While these drugs are cost effective compared to other health interventions, the sheer cost of the drug has been “access prohibitive,” Strom said.

    “The committee recommends a voluntary transaction between the government and the companies producing direct-acting antivirals, in which companies compete to license a patented drug to the federal government for use in neglected populations,” he explained.

    The committee suggests licensing rights to the expensive drugs to treat vulnerable populations not currently reached through community health providers, such as prisoners and Medicaid beneficiaries. Such an effort could cost approximately $2 billion, with states paying about $140 million, to reach an estimated 700,000 hepatitis patients, the committee said.

    By comparison, currently it would cost approximately $10 billion over the next 12 years to treat only 240,000 patients among the prisoner and Medicaid populations, the Academies said.

    “It is possible to eliminate hepatitis B and C as a public health problem in the United States, averting about 90,000 deaths by 2030,” Strom predicted.

    Citing the importance of the issue, Strom noted that chronic HBV and HCV infections affect 3 to 5 times more Americans and 10 times more people worldwide than HIV. Viral hepatitis kills more people worldwide each year than HIV, road traffic injuries, or diabetes, Strom said.

    Despite being the seventh-leading cause of death in the world, viral hepatitis consumes less than 1 percent of the National Institutes of Health research budget, Strom pointed out. Approximately 1.3 million Americans have HVB and 2.7 million have hepatitis C.

    HVB and HVC account for approximately 80 percent of the world’s liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B increases the odds of liver cancer 50 to 100 times, and of hepatitis C, 15 to 20 times, Strom said, adding that viral hepatitis is a driving factor in the 38 percent increase in liver cancer in the U.S. between 2003 and 2012.

    Strom, a member of the Academies’ Institute of Medicine, has led several major institute projects, including the smallpox vaccination program implementation in 2002-2003 and the committee on dietary salt intake in 2012-2013.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:54 am on March 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Power factor, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “How Graphene Could Cool Smartphone, Computer and Other Electronics Chips” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    March 27, 2017
    Todd B. Bates

    1
    Graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of graphite, consists of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Photo: OliveTree/Shutterstock

    Rutgers scientists lead research that discovers potential advance for the electronics industry.

    With graphene, Rutgers researchers have discovered a powerful way to cool tiny chips – key components of electronic devices with billions of transistors apiece.

    “You can fit graphene, a very thin, two-dimensional material that can be miniaturized, to cool a hot spot that creates heating problems in your chip, said Eva Y. Andrei, Board of Governors professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “This solution doesn’t have moving parts and it’s quite efficient for cooling.”

    The shrinking of electronic components and the excessive heat generated by their increasing power has heightened the need for chip-cooling solutions, according to a Rutgers-led study published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using graphene combined with a boron nitride crystal substrate, the researchers demonstrated a more powerful and efficient cooling mechanism.

    “We’ve achieved a power factor that is about two times higher than in previous thermoelectric coolers,” said Andrei, who works in the School of Arts and Sciences.

    The power factor refers to the effectiveness of active cooling. That’s when an electrical current carries heat away, as shown in this study, while passive cooling is when heat diffuses naturally.

    Graphene has major upsides. It’s a one-atom-thick layer of graphite, which is the flaky stuff inside a pencil. The thinnest flakes, graphene, consist of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice that looks like chicken wire, Andrei said. It conducts electricity better than copper, is 100 times stronger than steel and quickly diffuses heat.

    The graphene is placed on devices made of boron nitride, which is extremely flat and smooth as a skating rink, she said. Silicon dioxide – the traditional base for chips – hinders performance because it scatters electrons that can carry heat away.

    In a tiny computer or smartphone chip, billions of transistors generate lots of heat, and that’s a big problem, Andrei said. High temperatures hamper the performance of transistors – electronic devices that control the flow of power and can amplify signals – so they need cooling.

    Current methods include little fans in computers, but the fans are becoming less efficient and break down, she said. Water is also used for cooling, but that bulky method is complicated and prone to leaks that can fry computers.

    “In a refrigerator, you have compression that does the cooling and you circulate a liquid,” Andrei said. “But this involves moving parts and one method of cooling without moving parts is called thermoelectric cooling.”

    Think of thermoelectric cooling in terms of the water in a bathtub. If the tub has hot water and you turn on the cold water, it takes a long time for the cold water below the faucet to diffuse in the tub. This is passive cooling because molecules slowly diffuse in bathwater and become diluted, Andrei said. But if you use your hands to push the water from the cold end to the hot, the cooling process – also known as convection or active cooling – will be much faster.

    The same process takes place in computer and smartphone chips, she said. You can connect a piece of wire, such as copper, to a hot chip and heat is carried away passively, just like in a bathtub.

    Now imagine a piece of metal with hot and cold ends. The metal’s atoms and electrons zip around the hot end and are sluggish at the cold end, Andrei said. Her research team, in effect, applied voltage to the metal, sending a current from the hot end to the cold end. Similar to the case of active cooling in the bathtub example, the current spurred the electrons to carry away the heat much more efficiently than via passive cooling. Graphene is actually superior in both its passive and active cooling capability. The combination of the two makes graphene an excellent cooler.

    “The electronics industry is moving towards this kind of cooling,” Andrei said. “There’s a very big research push to incorporate these kinds of coolers. There is a good chance that the graphene cooler is going to win out. Other materials out there are much more expensive, they’re not as thin and they don’t have such a high power factor.”

    The study’s lead author is Junxi Duan, a Rutgers physics post-doctoral fellow. Other authors include Xiaoming Wang, a Rutgers mechanical engineering post-doctoral fellow; Xinyuan Lai, a Rutgers physics undergraduate student; Guohong Li, a Rutgers physics research associate; Kenji Watanabe and Takashi Taniguchi of the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan; Mona Zebarjadi, a former Rutgers mechanical engineering professor who is now at the University of Virginia; and Andrei. Zebarjadi conducted a previous study on electronic cooling using thermoelectric devices.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

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    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.

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  • richardmitnick 1:27 pm on March 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Rutgers,   

    From OpenZika at WCG: “OpenZika Researchers Continue Calculations and Prepare for Next Stage” 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)


    By: The OpenZika research team
    21 Mar 2017

    Summary
    The OpenZika researchers are continuing to screen millions of chemical compounds as they look for potential treatments for the Zika virus. In this update, they report on the status of their calculations and their continuing work to spread the word about the project.

    Project Background

    While the Zika virus may not be getting the continuous press coverage that it received in 2015 and 2016, it is still a threat to the health of people across the globe. New infections continue to be reported in both South America and North America, and medical workers are just beginning to assess the effects of the virus on young children whose mothers were infected while pregnant.

    The search for effective treatments is crucial to stemming the tide of the virus. In addition to the OpenZika project, several other labs are doing cell-based screens with drugs already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency, but few to none of the “hit” compounds that have been identified thus far are both potent enough against Zika virus and also safe for pregnant women.

    Also, there are a number of efforts underway to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus. However, vaccines do not help people who already have the infection. It will be several years before they are proven effective and safe, and before enough doses can be mass produced and distributed. And even after approved vaccines are available and distributed to the public, not all people will be vaccinated. Consequently, in the meantime and in the future, cures for Zika infections are needed.


    ZIKV NS3 helicase bound to RNA with the predicted binding modes of five approved drugs (from our second set of candidates) selected by virtual screening. These candidates are shown as surfaces with different shades of green. The identification of these candidates and the video were made by Dr. Alexander L. Perryman at RWJ Rutgers University.

    3
    Alex Perryman

    We began the analysis phase of the project by focusing on the results against the apo NS3 helicase crystal structure (apo means that the protein was not bound to anything else, such as a cofactor, inhibitor, or nucleic acid) to select our first set of candidates, which are currently being assayed by our collaborator at University of California San Diego, Dr. Jair L. Siqueira-Neto, using cell-based assays. The NS3 helicase is a component of the Zika virus that is required for it to replicate itself.

    In the second set of screening results that we recently examined, we used the new crystal structure of NS3 helicase bound to RNA as the target (see the images / animation above). Similar to the first set of candidates, we docked approximately 7,600 compounds in a composite library composed of the US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, the drugs approved in the European Union, and the US National Institutes of Health clinical collection library against the new RNA-bound structure of the helicase. Below are the results of this second screening:

    232 compounds passed the larger collection of different energetic and interaction-based docking filters, and their predicted binding modes were inspected and measured in detail.
    Of the compounds that were inspected in detail, 19 unique compounds passed this visual inspection stage of their docked modes.
    From the compounds that passed the visual inspection, 9 passed subsequent medicinal chemistry-based inspection and will be ordered soon.

    Status of the calculations

    In total, we have submitted 2.56 billion docking jobs, which involved the virtual screening of 6 million compounds versus 427 different target sites. We have already received approximately 1.9 billion of these results on our server. (There is some lag time between when the calculations are performed on your volunteered machines and when we get the results, since all of the results per “package” of approximately 10,000 different docking jobs need to be returned to World Community Grid, re-organized, and then compressed before sending them to our server.)

    Except for a few stragglers, we have received all of the results for our experiments that involve docking 6 million compounds versus the proteins NS1, NS3 helicase (both the RNA binding site and the ATP site), and NS5 (both the RNA polymerase and the methyltransferase domains). We are currently receiving the results from our most recent experiments against the NS2B / NS3 protease.

    A new stage of the project

    We just finished preparing and testing the docking input files that will be used for the second stage of this project. Instead of docking 6 million compounds, we will soon be able to start screening 30.2 million compounds against these targets. This new, massive library was originally obtained in a different type of format from the ZINC15 server. It represents almost all of “commercially available chemical space” (that is, almost all of the “small molecule” drug-like and hit-like compounds that can be purchased from reputable chemical vendors).

    The ZINC15 server provided these files as “multi-molecule mol2” files (that is, many different compounds were contained in each “mol2” formatted file). These files had to be re-formatted (we used the Raccoon program from Dr. Stefano Forli, who is part of the FightAIDS@Home team) by splitting them into individual mol2 files (1 compound per file) and then converting them into the “pdbqt” docking input format.

    We then ran a quick quality control test to make sure that the software used for the project, called AutoDock Vina, could properly use each pdbqt file as an input. Many compounds had to be rejected, because they had types of atoms that cause Vina to crash (such as silicon or boron), and we obviously don’t want to waste the computer time that you donate by submitting calculations that will crash.

    By splitting, reformatting, and testing hundreds of thousands of compounds per day, day after day, after approximately six months this massive new library of compounds is ready to be used in our OpenZika calculations. Without the tremendous resources that World Community Grid volunteers provide for this project, we would not even dream of trying to dock over 30 million compounds against many different targets from the Zika virus. Thank you all very much!!!

    For more information about these experiments, please visit our website.

    Publications and Collaborations

    Our PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases paper, OpenZika: An IBM World Community Grid Project to Accelerate Zika Virus Drug Discovery, was published on October 20, and it has already been viewed over 4,000 times. Anyone can access and read this paper for free. Another research paper Illustrating and homology modeling the proteins of the Zika virus has been accepted by F1000Research and viewed > 3800 times.

    A group from Brazil, coordinated by Prof. Glaucius Oliva, has contacted us because of our PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases paper to discuss a new collaboration to test the selected candidate compounds directly on enzymatic assays with the NS5 protein of Zika virus. They have solved two high-resolution crystal structures of ZIKV NS5, which have been recently released on the PDB (Protein Data Bank) (PDB ID: 5TIT and 5U04).

    Our paper entitled “Molecular Dynamics simulations of Zika Virus NS3 helicase: Insights into RNA binding site activity” was just accepted for publication in a special issue on Flaviviruses for the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. This study of the NS3 helicase system helped us learn more about this promising target for blocking Zika replication. The results will help guide how we analyze the virtual screens that we already performed against NS3 helicase, and the molecular dynamics simulations generated new conformations of this protein that we will use as input targets in new virtual screens that we perform as part of OpenZika.

    These articles are helping to bring additional attention to the project and to encourage the formation of new collaborations.

    Additional News

    We have applied and been accepted to present “OpenZika: Opening the Discovery of New Antiviral candidates against Zika Virus and Insights into Dynamic behavior of NS3 Helicase” to the 46th World Chemistry Congress. The conference will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 7-14.

    Dr. Sean Ekins has hired a postdoc and a master level scientist who will get involved with the OpenZika project. We have also started to collate literature inhibitors from Zika papers.

    Also, Drs. Sean Ekins and Carolina Andrade have offered to buy some of the candidate compounds that we identified in the virtual screens from OpenZika, so that they can be assayed in the next round of tests.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
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    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

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    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    MyBOINC

    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

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    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
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    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

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    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
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  • richardmitnick 11:01 am on February 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Father’s Mental Illness Spurs Iranian-Born Woman to Seek Cures for Disease, , Rutgers, Sheida Hayati,   

    From Rutgers: Women in STEM – “Father’s Mental Illness Spurs Iranian-Born Woman to Seek Cures for Disease” Sheida Hayati 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    February 27, 2017
    Robin Lally
    robin.lally@rutgers.edu
    848-932-0557

    1
    Sheida Hayati wants to help find cures for diseases like cancer using scientific data and computer science.

    Sheida Hayati was only 5 when her father left their home in 1980 and went to fight in the war between Iraq and Iran. Two years later – after being on the front line – the army officer came home to Tehran a broken man.

    The 35-year-old father of four was paranoid, heard voices and saw things that weren’t there. “I watched my father suffering every day,” said Hayati, who became an American citizen three years ago. “He was the first love of my life and there was nothing I could do.”

    The Rutgers doctoral student may not have been able to help her father, who suffered with a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for 30 years until he died in 2011. But Hayati has made it her life’s mission to use scientific data to try and find answers for incurable diseases that continue to take the lives of millions of people each year and wreak havoc on the families they leave behind.

    “I think this need goes all the way back to my childhood,” said Hayati who is working toward her Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics in the Rutgers School of Health Professions, an interdisciplinary field that combines computer science and medicine in order to find treatment and cures by computationally analyzing available scientific and clinical data.

    “At the time nobody in my family or in the medical field in Iran knew what was wrong with my father or how to help him,” she said. “As a child, it was devastating.”

    Hayati’s father’s illness left her thinking that she might go to medical school and become a physician. She was an exceptional student, aced math and physics in school and was encouraged by her teachers to either become an engineer or a doctor.

    But Hayati wanted answers and discovered that research was her passion. She studied clinical laboratory sciences in Iran and graduated with the highest honors from Iran University of Medical Sciences, known for training prominent graduates in medicine and allied sciences. After graduating, Hayati managed a hematology laboratory in Iran for five years before she met her husband, an American citizen, who was visiting relatives in Iran.

    When Hayati decided to move to the United States and get married, she entered the country on a K-1 Fiancée Visa. She had never been to the United States, and although 60 percent of women in Iran are educated, life here is much different.

    “You come here and learn about the multi-cultural aspects of this society, and the fact that there is no limit in advancing your goal and turning your dreams into reality.” said Hayati whose mother and three siblings still live in Iran.

    After graduating from a master’s degree program in biotechnology at William Paterson University, Hayati decided to fulfill her dream of finding treatments and cures for diseases like the one that tore her family apart and enrolled in the doctorate program at Rutgers.

    Her goal as a scientist is to collaborate with other researchers to find a cure for cancer, in large part, because of the impact it has on young children whose parents get cancer and the data that is available to study.

    “Considering the 20 percent chance of being diagnosed with cancer at age 20-55, many young children will experience a distressing time that might influence their entire life,” Hayati said.

    Working in the laboratory of Antonina Mitrofanova, a professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Rutgers School of Health Professions, Hayati will begin a three-month internship at the National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. in May. There she will analyze data from a clinical trial and try to unlock the riddle of what might predispose one leukemia patient to benefit from immunotherapy, while another patient doesn’t. It’s a big question for every doctor in cancer research, she said.

    “As I grew up the pain of seeing my father in so much suffering has stayed with me,” said Hayati. “I would like to help prevent that from happening to other children.”

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

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  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on February 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Antibiotic resistance in downstream sediments, Fracking Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills, including Fracking Wastewater, Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    February 23, 2017
    Todd B. Bates

    1
    The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) water cycle includes withdrawing water, adding chemicals, injecting fracking fluids through a well to a rock formation, and pumping wastewater to the surface for disposal or reuse. Photo: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Wastewater from oil and gas operations – including fracking for shale gas – at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a Rutgers-led study.

    The study, published recently in Science of the Total Environment, showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

    The study also documented changes in antibiotic resistance in downstream sediments, but did not uncover hot spots, or areas with high levels of resistance. The findings point to the need to understand the impacts on microbial ecosystems from accidental releases or improper treatment of fracking-related wastewater. Moreover, microbial changes in sediments may have implications for the treatment and beneficial reuse of wastewater, the researchers say.

    “My hope is that the study could be used to start making hypotheses about the impacts of wastewater,” said Nicole Fahrenfeld, lead author of the study and assistant professor in Rutgers’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Much remains unknown about the impacts of wastewater from fracking, she added.

    “I do think we’re at the beginning of seeing what the impacts could be,” said Fahrenfeld, who works in the School of Engineering. “I want to learn about the real risks and focus our efforts on what matters in the environment.”

    Underground reservoirs of oil and natural gas contain water that is naturally occurring or injected to boost production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), whose scientists contributed to the study. During fracking, a fracturing fluid and a solid material are injected into an underground reservoir under very high pressure, creating fractures to increase the porosity and permeability of rocks.

    2
    Nicole Fahrenfeld, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Photo: Nick Romanenko

    Liquid pumped to the surface is usually a mixture of the injected fluids with briny water from the reservoir. It can contain dissolved salt, petroleum and other organic compounds, suspended solids, trace elements, bacteria, naturally occurring radioactive materials and anything injected into wells, the USGS says. Such water is recycled, treated and discharged; spread on roads, evaporated or infiltrated; or injected into deep wells.

    Fracking for natural gas and oil and its wastewater has increased dramatically in recent years. And that could overwhelm local infrastructure and strain many parts of the post-fracking water cycle, including the storage, treatment, reuse, transportation or disposal of the wastewater, according to the USGS.

    For the Rutgers-USGS study, water and sediment samples were collected from tributaries of Wolf Creek in West Virginia in June 2014, including an unnamed tributary that runs through an underground injection control facility.

    The facility includes a disposal well, which injects wastewater to 2,600 feet below the surface, brine storage tanks, an access road and two lined ponds (now-closed) that were used to temporarily store wastewater to allow particles to settle before injection.

    Water samples were shipped to Rutgers, where they were analyzed. Sediment samples were analyzed at the Waksman Genomics Core Facility at Rutgers. The study generated a rich dataset from metagenomic sequencing, which pinpoints the genes in entire microbial communities, Fahrenfeld noted.

    “The results showed shifts in the microbial community and antibiotic resistance, but this site doesn’t appear to be a new hot spot for antibiotic resistance,” she said. The use of biocides in some fracturing fluids raised the question of whether this type of wastewater could serve as an environment that is favorable for increasing antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance detected in these sediments did not rise to the levels found in municipal wastewater – an important environmental source of antimicrobial resistance along with agricultural sites.

    Antibiotics and similar drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the microbes the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year in the U.S., with at least 23,000 of them dying from the infections.

    “We have this really nice dataset with all the genes and all the microbes that were at the site,” Fahrenfeld said. “We hope to apply some of these techniques to other environmental systems.”

    Study authors include Rutgers undergraduate Hannah Delos Reyes and Rutgers doctoral candidate Alessia Eramo. Other authors include Denise M. Akob, Adam C. Mumford and Isabelle M. Cozzarelli of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Research Program. Mumford earned a doctorate in microbiology at Rutgers.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

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    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

     
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