Project seeks climate clues deep in Indonesian lakebed

: An international team of geoscientists co-led by James Russell will drill into ancient sediments beneath Lake Towuti on the Island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The sediment cores they produce could hold up to a million years of climate and environmental data.

Study IDs collagen-damaging protein in white nose syndrome

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Brown University and the University of California–San Francisco identify an enzyme that may damage bats in the fungal disease white nose syndrome. In lab experiments, they uncovered an inhibitor that could limit the ability of the fungal species to destroy collagen.

Study finds inhibitor for COPD lung destruction

Newly published observations in patients and experiments in mice provide evidence that cigarette smoke reduces expression of the protein NLRX1 in the lung, taking the restraints off a destructive immune response that results in COPD. The researchers hope that pinpointing the protein’s role could lead to improved COPD risk assessment, diagnostics, and treatment.

Conifer study illustrates twists of evolution

An apparently advantageous mechanism of conifer pollination has nevertheless been disappearing over millions of years, a new study finds. The mechanism works well, but because it depends on three traits related only loosely, the vagaries of evolution have led to its demise in many species. It its wake, however, a diversity of new traits and functions has emerged.

Expanded hospice improves care but raises costs

Hospice expanded rapidly in the United States during the 2000s, improving quality of care. End-of-life medical costs were reduced — but the increased cost of hospice care itself outpaced those savings and led to higher net Medicare costs among nursing home residents. Longer lengths of stay in hospice are a major driver of those costs.

Perception of U.S. care for the dying worsens

People asked to rate the end-of-life care of an elderly loved one were significantly less likely to report care was excellent in a 2011-13 survey than those who were surveyed in 2000. The study’s findings about the perception of care quality suggest an urgency to improving U.S. care for the dying.
Human needs meet nature

Researchers assess sustainability in Baja fisheries

The waters of Baja California Sur are both ecosystems and fisheries where human needs meet nature. In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers assessed the capacity to achieve sustainability by applying a framework that accounts for both ecological and human dimensions of environmental stewardship.

Tapeworm drug shows promise against MRSA

Researchers based at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital show in a new study that a drug already approved to fight tapeworms in people, effectively treated MRSA superbugs in lab cultures and in infected nematode worms. The scientists are pursuing further testing with hope that the findings will lead to new treatments for deadly MRSA infections.
The 247th Commencement

Bailhe, Johnson to deliver 2015 senior orations

With individual motivation to work for social justice, senior orators Michelle Bailhe and Lucas Johnson didn’t sit idly by at Brown. In their four years they worked in Rhode Island prisons and schools to learn how to effect change. That experience, as well as their lives on campus, will inform their 2015 senior orations titled “I Don’t Know” and “School Spirit.”

Dull glow of forest yields orbital tracking of photosynthesis

Researchers have found a tight correlation between ground-based measurements of forest-canopy photosynthesis and traces of fluorescence detected in low-Earth orbit, enabling continuous measurement of forest health on a global scale.