Optogenetics

Revolutionizing a revolutionary technology

: Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control cells with light, has blown the doors wide open in neuroscience since its debut less than a decade ago. With a new $1-million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, a team of neuroscientists at Brown University and Central Michigan University will strive to make it even more powerful in the brain and beyond.

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point

Using advanced computers and a computational technique to simulate physical processes at the atomic level, researchers at Brown University have predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon would have the highest known melting point, about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun.

1vyG reaches the White House

Rising senior Manuel Contreras was in Washington Thursday, taking part in a White House “Beating the Odds” panel with First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and musical artist Wale. Contreras is a co-founder of 1vyG, an organization that supports first-generation college students.
Birmingham, Ala.

Neighborhood revitalization motivated exercise

A community revitalization effort in a struggling neighborhood of Birmingham, Ala., succeeded in promoting healthy physical activity. A new study also documents the basis of that change in the hopes and concerns of the neighborhood’s residents.

Brown to help Ghana build HIV, TB research capacity

With $1.45 million over five years from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, a pair of Brown University professors will work with colleagues in Ghana to build the research capacity needed to address the deadly co-epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis.

Web app helps researchers explore cancer genetics

As gene sequencing has gotten faster and cheaper, clinicians and researchers are able to use genomic data to study, diagnose, and develop a course of treatment for a variety of individual cancers. MAGI, an open-source tool developed by Brown University researchers, lets users compare their data with enormous cancer genetics datasets.

How the brain plans a gripping motion

A new study significantly advances neuroscientists’ understanding of how a region of the brain formulates plans for the hand to grip an object. The findings could lead to direct application to improving brain-computer interface control over robotic arms and hands.

NIH funds study of early life chemical exposures

With more than $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health over the next four years, Brown University epidemiologist Joseph Braun will study how exposure to three common chemicals during pregnancy and childhood affects brain development and the thyroid.
James W. Head III

Thoughts on seeing images of Pluto

Exploring the New World was a task of centuries. The photos of Pluto that arrived Wednesday, July 15, 2015, from the New Horizons spacecraft meant that space probes had visited all the planets of our Solar System. It took about 50 years. “Imagine what the next 50 years have in store,” writes planetary scientist Jim Head.