Blades and Clades

Why some grasses got better photosynthesis

Two groups — clades — of grasses that once had a common ancestry diverged. The PACMAD clade was predisposed to evolve a more efficient “C4” means of photosynthesis than grasses in the BEP clade. In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Brown-led team pinpoints the anatomical differences between the clades that led to the PACMAD’s tendency toward C4.

Transfusions add risk in some heart attacks

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that while blood transfusions for heart attack patients with anemia are commonly performed in emergency rooms, the practice can increase the risk of death when the transfusions are too extensive. The authors, led by Saurav Chatterjee, a cardiology fellow at Brown University, compared evidence from 10 prior studies of more than 203,000 patients.
Op-Ed: Judith Bentkover

Mental-health parity can cut costs

Implementation of the Mental Health Parity Act could save tens, possibly hundreds of billions of dollars and prevent needless suffering. The federal government has promised further guidance about how the law applies, but to date, there is confusion and no publicly available compliance data. Judith Bentkover, academic director of Brown’s Executive Master of Health-Care Leadership Program, urges citizens and elected leaders to break the silence around mental-health services. Her essay originally appeared in the Providence Journal on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
Commentary: Lyle Goldstein

Sunshine returns to the Korean peninsula?

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, Park Geun-hye was elected South Korea’s new president, making her the first woman to hold the title. It’s a victory some say signals the beginning of a new era for the tension-riddled region. Lyle Goldstein, International Relations program visiting faculty and associate professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute of the U.S. Naval War College, comments on what Park’s election means for the future of South Korea and the country’s relationship with the United States and China. 

Women’s History Month honors STEM faculty

Susan Gerbi and Jill Pipher are among 18 women to be honored in March by the National Women's History Project. The 2013 awards honor women who are leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Environmental cost of agriculture

Soil determines fate of phosphorus

Brazil’s soybean yields have become competitive with those of the United States and Argentina, but the soil demands a lot of phosphorus, which is not renewable. In the United States, meanwhile, historical applications of the fertilizer have polluted waterways. What accounts for these problems? It’s the soils, according to a new study comparing agriculture in the three countries.
Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership

Nine named to healthcare leadership panel

Brown University’s Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership program has appointed a nine-member advisory committee. The advisers, from healthcare industries and organizations, will help the program focus on the nation's rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
Op-Ed: Wendy J. Schiller

Filibuster and the mission of the U.S. Senate

In a highly partisan time, the filibuster appears to be the obstructionist tool of choice. But the filibuster does have value and purpose, writes Wendy J. Schiller, associate professor of political science and public policy at Brown University. The problem lies with the failure of the U.S. Senate to enforce a basic requirement: that a filibuster consist of extended speech. Schiller adapted this article from an essay forthcoming in Debating Reform: Conflicting Perspectives on How to Fix the American Political System, edited by Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson.

Philanthropy 101: How to make a difference

Students in “SOC1870A – Investing in Social Change: The Practice of Philanthropy” get a real-world immersion into the strategic giving process, taking on the challenge of awarding $45,000 in grants to local community organizations. This semester, for the first time, the class has partnered with United Way of Rhode Island, with employees from the nonprofit offering guidance and community connections as students navigate the complexities of the philanthropic world.
Questions for Clyde Briant

What does the fiscal cliff mean for research?

The so-called “fiscal cliff” — an increase in income tax rates, expiration of many tax benefits and automatic federal spending cuts known collectively as sequestration — still looms as a possibility come January 2. Unless a deal is reached, universities across the country will face unprecedented cuts in federal funding, including cuts to research and development funding. Kevin Stacey spoke with Clyde Briant, vice president for University research, about the implications of the fiscal cliff.

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