Driving brain rhythm makes mice more sensitive to touch

: In a new study researchers show that they could make faint sensations more vivid by triggering a brain rhythm that appears to shift sensory attention. The study in mice, reported in Nature Neuroscience, provides the first direct evidence that the brain’s “gamma” rhythms have a causal role in processing the sense of touch.

Provost Colvin to address 251st Opening Convocation

Brown University Provost Vicki Leigh Colvin will deliver the 251st Opening Convocation address to the campus community, including new undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students beginning their studies at Brown this fall. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, on the College Green.

Intimacy a strong motivator for PrEP HIV prevention

Many HIV-negative gay or bisexual men in steady relationships with other HIV-negative men don’t always use condoms out of a desire for intimacy. That same desire, according to a new study, makes such men more inclined to use antiretroviral medications to prevent getting HIV, a practice known as PrEP.
Nursing homes

Care improves with culture change

Nursing homes that invest in “culture change” can develop a more residential and less hospital-like feel. Culture change also allows residents and front-line care workers more of a say in how homes operate. A new study finds that the practice produces important benefits in quality of care, but only when the changes are implemented extensively.

NSF funds research on bio-informed ‘smart lights’

A new collaboration between sleep researchers and engineers at Brown University, funded by the National Science Foundation, may be the first step toward “smart lighting” that tunes the interior environment — the wavelength, intensity, direction, and other factors of artificial light — to accommodate human biological rhythms of sleep and wakefulness.
Questions for Dr. Ian Michelow

Ebola virus biology and research

Terrible suffering in Western Africa has refocused the world’s attention on Ebola viruses, for which there is no vaccine or cure. The viruses are masters of their attack, but researchers are working hard to fight them, said Dr. Ian Michelow, who has studied an approach.

Microchip reveals how tumor cells transition to invasion

A microscopic obstacle course of carefully spaced pillars enables researchers to observe cancer cells directly as they break away from a tumor mass and move more rapidly across the microchip. The device could be useful for testing cancer drugs and further research on the mechanics of metastasis.
At the Bell Gallery

Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdlian, and [The User]

The David Winton Bell Gallery presents Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdlian, and [The User], an exhibition of contemporary sound art, on view at the Bell Gallery Saturday, Aug. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, and at the Cohen Gallery in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for Creative Arts, Saturday, Aug. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 12.

Copper foam turns CO2 into useful chemicals

Scientists at Brown University’s Center for Capture and Conversion of CO2 have discovered that copper foam could provide a new way of converting excess CO2 into useful industrial chemicals, including formic acid.

Elusive viral ‘machine’ architecture finally rendered

Biologists have worked with the lambda virus as a model system for more than 50 years but they’ve never had an overarching picture of the molecular machines that allow it to insert or remove DNA from the cells that it infects. Now they can, thanks to an advance that highlights the intriguingly intricate way the virus accomplishes its genetic manipulations.