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  • richardmitnick 1:36 pm on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Computational modeling to the understanding of psychiatric diseases, , Rutgers, Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry   

    From Rutgers and Princeton: “New Rutgers-Princeton center uses computational models to understand psychiatric conditions” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    Princeton University
    Princeton University

    Feb. 8, 2017 [Just found this, could not pass it up.]
    Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research, Princeton

    A new center is bringing together researchers from Princeton and Rutgers universities to apply computational modeling to the understanding of psychiatric diseases. The Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, which will open its doors this month, aims to improve the diagnosis of mental disorders, better predict their progression and eventually aid in developing treatments.

    The center fosters collaboration between computational neuroscientists, who develop models of brain activity and cognitive processes, and clinical researchers who work directly with patients. The studies conducted at the center will address disorders ranging from depression, anxiety and schizophrenia to obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.

    The center, located at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in Piscataway, features a 1,400-square foot facility with rooms for conducting patient intake and testing. It is supported by matching funds from Princeton and Rutgers.

    “We can learn a lot about how the brain controls behaviors when we create computational models of how life events affect brain circuits, and how these circuits change over time. This center will allow us to bring this knowledge into the patient setting,” said Yael Niv, who co-directs the new center and is an associate professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

    “We still lack an understanding of the biological basis of many of the symptoms of psychiatric disorders, and computational approaches can help us start to close that gap,” said Steven Silverstein, co-director of the center with Niv. Silverstein is the director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, and a professor of psychiatry at the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

    Over the last decade or so, neuroscientists have turned to computational modeling to help them understand how brain activity gives rise to behaviors. For example, researchers can build a computer model that represents how two areas of the brain communicate to generate behavior, and then block that communication to see what happens to the behavior.

    The researchers can then test the model’s predictions by comparing them to the real-life behavior of human volunteers. At present, most of these tests are done with community members or students. The new center will enable researchers to test models of disorders like depression and bipolar disorder in individuals living with those conditions.

    One goal of the research is to better understand the brain’s circuitry and what goes awry in mental disorders — how brain regions are connected, what is the role of each brain area, and how disruptions in brain circuitry can give rise to symptoms.

    “With computational models, you can quickly find out which of your hypotheses about how the brain works are likely to be true, and which are unlikely to be true,” said Silverstein. “This can accelerate scientific progress by maximizing the chances that follow-up experiments with people will lead to useful results, and avoiding long and expensive studies that are unlikely to succeed.”

    Models can also help improve diagnosis, Niv said. “Models allow us to describe behaviors in a precise, quantitative way,” Niv said. “For example, we can quantify the extent to which getting an unexpected reward affects your mood, and how this differs between patients and healthy control. This allows us to start to think about diagnosing psychiatric disorders in a more definitive way, with tools that are more like a blood test rather than a self-report of symptoms.”

    As the models improve, and researchers gain confidence that computational models accurately represent human conditions, it should be possible to use the models to develop new treatments, Silverstein said. “You can ask, what happens to behavior if I add a treatment effect to the model, and this can help us understand what might happen in patients.”

    Rutgers has one of the country’s largest academically affiliated mental health care systems, serving over 12,500 people each year. Princeton is a leading institution in the field of computational neuroscience. Also participating are collaborators at the Max Planck-UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here.

    Princeton University Campus

    About Princeton: Overview

    Princeton University is a vibrant community of scholarship and learning that stands in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations. Chartered in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. Princeton is an independent, coeducational, nondenominational institution that provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

    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.
    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.

    rutgers-campus

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  • richardmitnick 12:31 pm on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dianne Barba, , Nursing, Rutgers,   

    From Rutgers: Women in STEM – “Major Surgery Prompted Graduate to Become a Nurse” Dianne Barba 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    May 4, 2017
    Carla Cantor

    1
    Though her dream is to work in a neonatal intensive care unit, Dianne Barba will be happy with whatever the future holds. Photo: William Noel

    Dianne Barba changed her career trajectory after an operation to remove brain tumor.

    Dianne Barba’s decision to become a nurse came upon her, suddenly, a little more than two years ago as she lay in a hospital bed the day after undergoing brain surgery.

    She had just gotten word that the tumor removed from the frontal lobe of her brain, as doctors had suspected, was benign.

    “The machines whirring, the pace of the hospital, the nursed who cared for me, I loved everything. I was in a lot of pain, but I also felt happy, because I didn’t have cancer, and I realized in that moment I would become a nurse,” said Barba, 27, who will earn her B.S. degree this month from Rutgers’ School of Nursing, her second undergraduate degree.

    Until that experience, Barba had no desire to enter the nursing profession. “My mother is a nurse, and my sister is a nurse in the Navy,” she said. “But I was never interested. I just didn’t think it was for me.” She majored in early childhood and special education at the University of Scranton and, after graduating in 2011, taught at several preschools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    On April 2, 2015, after fighting an excruciating headache all day, at home in Elmwood Park that night she had a seizure. “One minute I was on the couch playing on my iPhone. The next, I was in the ER,” said Barba. With her parents by her side and her boyfriend RJ holding her hand, she heard the doctor’s terrifying words: “There’s a mass in your brain.”

    During a four-hour operation at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson, a surgical team removed a “benign mature teratoma” – the size of a lemon – which she was later told may have been growing slowly in her brain from birth.

    Barba came home to a grueling recovery. “I didn’t get out of bed for a month. It was hard to walk, to feed myself. I was dizzy, and my head hurt,” she recalled. But during that period she had enough strength to begin investigating nursing schools, and was particularly excited about the Second Degree Baccalaureate Program at Rutgers’ School of Nursing, which one of the nurses in the hospital had told her about.

    Deciding to give up teaching, she applied to the Rutgers program in May and that summer enrolled in prerequisite courses in microbiology, chemistry and nutrition online and at Bergen Community College. In November, she found out she’d gotten in.

    “I was so excited to be accepted at Rutgers, and by the time I started school in January, I felt totally normal,” Barba said.

    Through the 14-month program, she’s gained hands-on skills in clinical rotations at hospitals in New Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy and Old Bridge. She’s worked on medical-surgical floors, in pediatrics, the psychiatric ward, the intensive care unit and the mother-baby unit, which is her favorite.

    “I love babies and taking care of new mothers. It’s such an amazing time in their lives and I feel honored being able to share it with them,” Barba said.

    She also has made great friends. The program is intimate, with a graduating class of about 70. “Each of us is coming to nursing from a different place – psychology, finance, biology, education – and the students are from so many ethnic backgrounds, said Barba, who emigrated with her family from the Philippines to New Jersey as a toddler.

    Since March, she’s been working per diem as a nursing assistant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Along with looking forward to graduation, she is busy studying for her NCLEX- RN exam (National Council Licensure Examination), which will allow her to practice as a registered nurse.

    And though her dream is to work in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), she’ll be happy with whatever the future holds, which sometime during the next two years will include a wedding.

    In December, RJ proposed at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

    “I feel pretty lucky,” Barba says. “When you get sick, it gives the people around you the chance to show how much they love you. My family has been so supportive, and RJ, too, is amazing. What we went through together is a good test for a marriage.”

    See the full article here.

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

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    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:39 am on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lithium, , Rutgers, Traumatic Brain Injuries May be Helped with Drug Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder   

    From Rutgers: “Traumatic Brain Injuries May be Helped with Drug Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    May 8, 2017
    Robin Lally

    Rutgers research indicates lithium may prevent brain cell damage.

    A drug used to treat bipolar disorder and other forms of depression may help to preserve brain function and prevent nerve cells from dying in people with a traumatic brain injury, according to a new Rutgers University study.

    In research published in Scientific Reports on May 8, Rutgers scientists discovered that lithium – used as a mood stabilizer and to treat depression and bipolar disorder – and rapamycin, a treatment for some forms of cancer, protected nerve cells in the brain and stopped the chemical glutamate from sending signals to other cells and creating further brain cell damage.

    “Many medications now used for those suffering with traumatic brain injury focus on treating the symptoms and stopping the pain instead of protecting any further damage from occurring,” said lead author Bonnie Firestein, professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We wanted to find a drug that could protect the cells and keep them from dying.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States with an estimated 1.7 people sustaining a TBI annually. About 30 percent of all deaths due to injury are due, in part, to a TBI.

    The symptoms of a TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, personality changes and depression, as well as vision and hearing problems. The CDC reports that every day 153 people in the U.S. die from injuries that include a TBI. Children and older adults are at the highest risk, according to the CDC.

    When a TBI occurs, Firestein said, a violent blow to the head can result in the release of abnormally high concentrations of glutamate, which under normal circumstances is an important chemical for learning and memory. But an overproduction of glutamate, she said, causes toxicity which leads to cell damage and death.

    In the Rutgers research, scientists discovered that when these two FDA-approved medications were added to damaged cell cultures in the laboratory, the glutamate was not able to send messages between nerve cells. This stopped cell damage and death, Firestein said.

    Further research needs to be done, she said, in animals and humans to determine if these drugs could help prevent brain damage and nerve cell death in humans after a traumatic brain injury.

    “The most common traumatic brain injury that people deal with every day is concussion which affects thousands of children each year,” said Firestein. “Concussions are often hard to diagnose in children because they are not as vocal, which is why it is critical to find drugs that work to prevent long-term damage.”

    The Rutgers research was funded by a three-year grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research. The commission is funded, in part, by traffic tickets for moving violations like speeding, using a cell phone or driving without a license, and provides $1 to the fund from every ticket issued.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    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 for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: How Rutgers supports the New Jersey economy, President Barchi, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers President Barchi: How Rutgers benefits the New Jersey Economy 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    3
    Rutgers President Barchi

    Members of the Rutgers Alumni Community:

    As you know, Rutgers plays a crucial role in New Jersey, the state that more than 280,000 of our graduates call home. We teach 69,000 students and provide continuing education to approximately 50,000 women and men a year. Our research yields discoveries that improve the quality of life. We deliver health care to tens of thousands of New Jerseyans. Our service benefits small businesses, farmers, families, schools, and local governments in every county.

    But as a new analysis by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy demonstrates, Rutgers—the state’s third-largest non-government employer—is also a job creator and an economic engine. The combined impact of our operations each year supports nearly 58,000 jobs statewide and generates $5.2 billion in economic activity in New Jersey. Adding to those totals, our construction activities over the past five years have supported nearly 12,000 short-term jobs and generated another $1.2 billion in economic activity.

    I’m glad to add that we are a smart investment, too: for every dollar state government provides to Rutgers, we return nearly 7 dollars to the New Jersey economy.

    To see how much we benefit New Jersey, I invite you to read Rutgers Grows the Garden State, a report that highlights the key findings of the Bloustein School analysis.

    The University is sending the document to policy makers in Trenton and business leaders across the state, but I also welcome you to use this information to help advocate for Rutgers throughout the year. Visit http://economicimpact.rutgers.edu to access the report, the full analysis, and a related video.

    As alumni, you have contributed to the story we have to tell about Rutgers. I hope you share my pride in all your alma mater is doing to make life better here in the Garden State and far beyond.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Barchi

    2

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    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 for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:13 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rutgers, Rutgers Students Advocate on Capitol Hill for Financial Aid   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers Students Advocate on Capitol Hill for Financial Aid” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 27, 2017
    Dory Devlin

    1
    Rutgers students from New Brunswick, Newark and Camden meet with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, about the need for continued funding of federal aid programs.

    Students from New Brunswick, Newark and Camden urge lawmakers to avoid cuts to federal funding for education grants.

    As Congress weighs budget proposals that would significantly cut student aid and other discretionary spending, 15 students from Rutgers in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden urged federal legislators to maintain the current level of student aid funding.

    The students traveled on Tuesday to Washington, D.C., where they headed to all 14 New Jersey congressional delegation offices to put a human face to the need for continued funding of federal aid programs.

    Prosper Delle, at Rutgers University-Newark sophomore, shared with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, that without the Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants he receives, he would have to take on more debt to earn his degree.

    “These grants help make it possible for me to go to college,” said Delle, a public administration major who immigrated to the United States from Ghana.

    Rutgers students benefit from a variety of federal aid programs totaling $400 million, including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Perkins Loans and Direct Loans.

    More than 17,000 students – one third of Rutgers undergraduates – receive Pell Grants, which provide $75 million toward their educational costs.

    Joe Clark, a sophomore communication major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, stressed that the students are not asking for more funding, but to maintain current levels. He asked a receptive Sen. Robert Menendez that he and other legislators support the appropriated base of $4,860 for the Pell Grant, which would allow the scheduled increase in the maximum award to $5,935 in fiscal year 2018.

    The students also encouraged representatives to restore year-round Pell Grants to give students the opportunity to graduate sooner by taking courses in summer and winter sessions.

    While getting to college is key, being able to afford everyday expenses often makes the difference for whether students stay and complete their degrees, said Ini Ross, a junior social work major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, noting work-study grants help fill that financial need for 3,000 Rutgers students.

    “Work-study is a lifeline,” Ross said, adding students gain valuable work and community experience through the program. “If it weren’t for the Federal Work-Study program, many students wouldn’t be able to maintain their academic schedules. Work-study allows students to not have to choose between textbooks and other essentials.”

    The students advocated for Congress to maintain funding of $990 million for work-study grants – which average $1,600 to 675,000 U.S. students – in fiscal year 2018.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    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 for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:56 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Failure is Okay, Rutgers, SAS Honors Program Blog   

    From Rutgers: “What I Learned in Boating School is… Failure is Okay” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    SAS Honors Program Blog

    April 27, 2017
    Nida Saeed

    For many of you, college is the highlight of your lives. It may be better than high school, and you know, you probably discovered yourself here. Or are on the path of discovering yourself here. (I’m the latter).

    As I look back at my college career, I’m proud of myself. I had no qualms that I would graduate when I first started, but things got a little hairy as I went further in. No worries, though! If there’s one thing college has taught me, it’s that if you persevere and sometimes, hang on for dear life, you’ll make it through.

    Honestly, I didn’t realize that sometimes all you have to really do is just hold on, y’know, like that new Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki song. Anyway.

    Finals are coming up, and a lot of you may be worried about where you stand. I’m telling you, really telling you, to stop worrying. I know this is easier said than done, but in the bigger scheme of things, these exams are a blip in your life. Your GPA is a blip in your life. This time is a literal blip in your life!

    If you find yourself worrying, do this: take a deep breath, and think about the length your life will be, based on probability and averages. Think about what happens if you pass, and what happens if you fail. The most realistic effect: your GPA falls a little, your parents are upset, etc. etc.

    Okay, fine, but you’re not dead, right? You still have the brains to solve any problem that comes at you in the future? Yes, it makes life a little harder if you don’t do as well. But I’m also trying to say that the future isn’t impossible if you fail. Everything has a solution. And failing is sometimes okay.

    Failure puts things into perspective. We feel that we can’t fail, as if we won’t be able to handle it. But we are a lot more resilient than that. I think we’ve forgotten that.

    So I just wanted to remind you all that failing is okay sometimes. It means you tried something, and it didn’t work. It might give you insight as to how you function as a person. It certainly gave me that insight. I realized I had to be myself and stop doing things the way everyone else did them.

    So yeah, I love college (this is a very recent understanding, trust me) because I failed a lot. A LOT. And at first, I was ashamed of how much I’ve failed. But I’m not worried anymore. Those failures were just a blip in my career; they’re so small, just like the amount of time that I’ve spent at Rutgers.

    So it’s okay to fail if you do.

    But.

    I’m not giving you the go-ahead to party instead of studying for your finals.

    If you have the ability to change your circumstances, like studying as hard as you can just to pass a class, then do it. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but if you can do it, then do it.

    Failure shouldn’t be used as an excuse; it’s another tool in your arsenal. And college should help you build an arsenal of strategies to overcome problems with brilliant solutions. It did this for me.

    College was wild. I hope it’s wild for all of you too.

    And here is where I leave you all.

    It was a pleasure writing for you and giving you all advice. I hope it’s helped the lot of you, even a little. As I graduate and just move to another pasture, I know I’ll be ruminating over the lessons I’ve learned here. And I hope I’ve made some lessons at Rutgers easier to learn.

    And now, I bid you adieu.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    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 for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:58 am on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Rutgers, Rutgers Senior Who Started College Midlife Poised To Graduate With Three Majors, Sten Knutsen   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers Senior Who Started College Midlife Poised To Graduate With Three Majors” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 24, 2017
    Lisa Intrabartola

    Sten Knutsen, 47, is grateful he traded his full-time job to become a full-time student and ‘figure things out’.

    1
    Sten Knutsen, 47, is about to graduate from Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences with three majors – in linguistics, computer science and cognitive science.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko.

    Sten Knutsen remembers being wowed by Rutgers University during a high school field trip he took in the late ’80s.

    “In one of the engineering buildings on a tour of Busch Campus, they showed us this piece of tile from the space shuttle that was glowing red in the middle, and it was just the coolest thing,” he said.

    The math whiz was filled with curiosity about out how things worked. But his fascination with electrical and mechanical engineering ended up taking a backseat to his faith. Raised a Jehovah’s Witness, Knutsen followed the advice of church elders and skipped college to pursue a personal ministry.

    Nearly 30 years later, Knutsen, 47, is about to graduate from Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences with three majors – in linguistics, computer science and cognitive science.

    “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said the Long Valley resident of his circuitous route to college. “My whole life the mechanisms were in place to prevent this from happening. But I broke out of it and made it happen. It’s an accomplishment that is meaningful.”

    For years Knutsen was content with the answers his religion offered to his many questions. He spread his church’s message door-to-door, worked as an operator for Bell Atlantic – now Verizon Communications – married a fellow church member and helped raise her two children.

    But as he approached 40, Knutsen became increasingly interested in questions raised by science – especially in the field of cognitive science – questions that his religious teachings did not cover. Soon it felt like his reliable job with good benefits was an albatross, and his decision to forgo higher education was a mistake.

    “I thought ‘I’m still not that old. I’ve got to get my butt in school,’” he said. “I probably always was this person, but I pushed it down for a long time.”

    Knutsen investigated his company’s tuition assistance plan and transferred from his North Jersey office to South Plainfield so he could be close to the New Brunswick campus. In the fall of 2011, he enrolled in his first class: “Expository Writing.”

    He worked by day, studied at night. Then Hurricane Sandy hit. With downed phone cables crisscrossing the state, it was all hands on deck at Verizon. Knutsen’s days started at 4 a.m. and didn’t end until 10 p.m., a schedule that almost kept him from class. But a flexible employer allowed him to make it to classes while working an otherwise full shift repairing fiber optics seven days a week. That stressful experience solidified what was most important to him: becoming a full-time student.

    “I figured if I could do that, I’m not sure what I can’t do,” he said.

    So in 2013 Knutsen left his steady job to focus on linguistics full time at the behest of his linguistics professor Jane Grimshaw who told him he was an outstanding student and up for the challenges that would come with a decision of this magnitude.

    “I was afraid that if he didn’t seize this opportunity he would always regret it, and if he felt that way too it was entirely reasonable for him to turn his life upside down and start studying full time,” said Grimshaw. “I run into Sten regularly at lectures and other events and I often ask him if he has any regrets. The answers range from ‘none’ to ‘never’ ‘no’ and ‘nope’.”

    Unlike his peers who are half his age, Knutsen said he doesn’t experience the same pressure or fear of failure as a student because this is his second act and an unplanned one at that. That unfettered approach allows Knutsen, who is defending his senior thesis in human language processing, to revel in the research process.

    “Designing the experiment, getting data from participants, trying to analyze it,” he said. “When you’re done, hopefully you’re going to know one more detail that no one ever knew before.”

    As his thirst for knowledge grew so did his fields of study. Knutsen added computer science as a major in 2014, followed by cognitive science. Soon he’ll have all three undergraduate degrees in hand. So how does he plan to use them?

    “At this point I have no goal other than going to graduate school and doing cool things I never thought possible,” said Knutsen, who has been accepted to Rutgers’ doctoral program in cognitive psychology and hopes to remain in academia. “My motivation wasn’t getting a job. It was figuring stuff out. The cool thing about cognitive science is it’s a relatively new field and there is a lot of stuff to figure out.”

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    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 for non-tradional students.

     
  • 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 .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

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    Stem Education Coalition

    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 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 .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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 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 .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

     
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