The 252nd Academic Year

Rose to address 2015 Opening Convocation

Tricia Rose, professor of Africana studies and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, will deliver the 252nd Opening Convocation address to the campus community, including undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students who are beginning their studies at Brown this fall. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, on the College Green.

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers

An international team of researchers has found direct chemical evidence that the fossilized remains of a bird-like dinosaur still harbor melanosomes and the pigment they produced. Their study reinforces the idea that scientists can discern the coloration of long-lost animals.

Bright screens at night imperil sleep of young teens

A new study looked at the effect of light exposure at night — like that from phones or tablets — on the biology of teen sleep. The researchers found that children in early to middle puberty were especially vulnerable to suppression of a hormone key to sleep timing.

Art at Watson presents DIGNITY

The Art at Watson initiative at Brown University presents DIGNITY: Tribes in Transition, photography by Dana Gluckstein on view at the Watson Institute for International Studies and Public Affairs Thursday, Sept. 10, through Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The exhibition will open with a talk by the artist on Thursday, Sept, 10, at 4 p.m. There will be an artist panel at noon Friday, Sept. 11.

Study backs flu vaccinations for elderly

Amid debate about whether flu vaccination really helps the elderly, a new study provides fresh evidence that it does. Brown University researchers found vaccines well matched to the year’s flu strain significantly reduce deaths and hospitalizations compared to when the match is poor, suggesting that vaccination indeed makes a difference. They project that well-matched vaccines saves thousands of lives every flu season.

Research may solve lunar fire fountain mystery

Scientists have found traces of carbon in volcanic glass collected from the Apollo missions to the Moon. The finding may not only explain the driving force behind ancient “fire fountain” eruptions on the Moon but also suggest that some volatile elements on the Moon and Earth have a common origin.

At ICERM: Girls Get Math

Here in the 21st century, women hold less than a third of science and engineering jobs. Sustaining an interest in mathematics — quantitative ability — among high school girls keeps STEM career paths open. ICERM’s GirlsGetMath day camp does exactly that.

New diagnostic tools for dehydration severity in children

Dehydration from diarrhea, either viral or from cholera, kills 700,000 children a year worldwide, yet clinicians still lack a method that performs significantly better than chance for diagnosing dehydration severity. In a new study, researchers report two sensitive and specific diagnostic tools derived from the cases of hundreds of young children in Bangladesh.

Fossil study: Dogs evolved with climate change

A cooling, drying climate over the last 40 million years turned North America from a warm and wooded place into the drier, open plains we know today. A new study shows how dogs evolved in response to those changes, demonstrating that predators are sensitive to climate change because it alters the hunting opportunities in their habitat.
Questions for Dr. Richard Besdine

Promoting a better way to treat trauma in the elderly

Elderly patients under the stress of a trauma such as a hip fracture are highly vulnerable to delirium, heart or kidney failure, and other complications. Researchers, including Dr. Richard Besdine, have shown that when an orthopaedist and a geriatrician co-manage care, results improve. With a new grant, Besdine will lead an effort to disseminate this idea to make it a national standard of care.

Brown to lead $4-million solar cell research grant

Solar cells made from perovskites have great potential for high efficiency and low cost, but more research is necessary to scale them up to mass production. A new federal grant will support that effort and other perovskite improvements at Brown University, Rhode Island College and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Climate change and a hotter Rhode Island

As days warm, emergency visits, deaths rise

A new study finds that in Rhode Island heat-related emergency department visits and deaths increase notably among people of all ages as temperatures rise above 75 degrees. The study projects that if the population were living with the warmer temperatures forecast for the end of the century, emergency department visits and deaths would be measurably higher.

Fellowship allows grateful mentee to become a great mentor

On the path to a doctoral program at Brown, Valerie Zabala had guidance from mentors along the way. With a Gilliam fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, she’ll gain the training to become a mentor, too.
Primary Care-Population Medicine

Medical school program welcomes inaugural students

The nation’s first ever dual-degree program in medicine and population medicine got underway at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University the week of August 3. Sixteen students will earn M.D. and Sc.M. degrees in the context of a rapidly changing health care landscape.