Press Releases in November, 2013

Crash Course: Engineering after school

“Crash Course” in engineering:  An elastic motor, low-friction ultra-narrow wheels ... Leann Albert and Moises Ferrer try to wring the most performance out of materials at hand. They're learning engineering concepts along the way.
BEAST — Brown Engineering After School Team — is in its fourth semester of providing after-school instruction for Providence High School students. In “Crash Course,” its current offering, students from the Brown School of Engineering help high school students build small elastic-powered cars from readily available materials.  It's really all about engineering: friction, torque, power-to-weight ratios, and so forth. (Distributed November 26, 2013)
Media Advisory

Watson Institute to host conference on NSA

Experts on issues of intelligence and privacy will come together for two panel discussions on “Big Transparency for the NSA: Perspectives on Spying and Privacy,” on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Joukowsky Forum. The event is free and open to the public. (Distributed November 26, 2013)

Biomechanics: Taking a whack at research

The biomechanics of a good swing:  An array of four high-speed cameras records whack after whack on 11 
different field hockey balls. Motion markers — bits of tape on the balls,
 sticks and players’ hips — documents the shot and follow-through.
Kathryn Yates is a biology concentrator whose research interests are brushing up against engineering. Brown’s open curriculum is helping her pursue those interests — the comparative physical properties of various field hockey balls and the biomechanics of the women who whack them. (Distributed November 26, 2013)

Brain imaging differences in infants at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s

Different areas, different rates of development:  The graph plots the trajectory of brain development for children carrying the ε3 and ε4 variants of the APOE gene in areas of the brain where they diverge (blue).
Using a special MRI technique designed for studies of sleeping infants, researchers at Brown University and Banner Alzheimer’s Institute have found that infants who carry a gene associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease tend to have differences in brain development compared to infants who do not carry the gene. The findings are neither diagnostic nor predictive of Alzheimer’s, but they may be a step toward understanding how this gene confers risk much later in life. (Distributed November 25, 2013)
World AIDS Day December 1

Miss. clergy to preach HIV testing, treatment

Amy Nunn:  “AIDS is a social justice crisis that requires community leadership. ... What we’re doing in Jackson is something that could and should happen in cities all over the country.”
HIV disproportionately affects African Americans nationwide, but the community in Jackson, Miss., is especially hard hit. On World AIDS Day Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, many of the city’s most influential pastors will preach about getting tested and overcoming stigma. This campaign of Mississippi Faith in Action, a coalition led by Amy Nunn of Brown University, will launch with a press conference Nov. 29 at the Mississippi State Capitol. (Distributed November 21, 2013)
Taubman Center for Public Policy

Poll: Providence voters pessimistic on economy

A new poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University finds that while most Providence voters remain pessimistic about the local economy, the percentage of voters who think Providence is on the “right track” has risen 10 percentage points in the last year. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras continues to enjoy broad approval among Providence voters. (Distributed November 21, 2013)

Aging erodes genetic control, but it’s flexible

TRUE blue:  Some genes need to be silenced for health and long life. Researchers used “reporter” genes to see whether changes associated with aging would reduce fruit flies’ ability to silence those genes. Tissues with reporter genes glowed blue. The fly on the left is 10 days old; on the right, 50.
In yeast at least, the aging process appears to reduce an organism’s ability to silence certain genes that need to be silenced. Now researchers at Brown University who study the biology of aging have shown that the loss of genetic control occurs in fruit flies as well. Results appear online in the journal Aging. (Distributed November 20, 2013)
Media Advisory

Thursday: Taubman survey of Providence voters

Brown University will release a new public opinion survey conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 9 a.m. The Taubman Center surveyed voters in the City of Providence about a number of issues in the city. (Distributed November 20, 2013)

How much trash is recyclable?
How much recycling is trash?

EcoReps — Brown undergraduate educators on environmental issues — got down with residence hall trash on America Recycles Day, Friday, Nov.15. After combing through 105.8 pounds of trash and nearly 80 pounds of recyclables, they reported their findings by weight. (Distributed November 19, 2013)

Filipino Alliance to host typhoon benefit concert

Being heroes for one anotheer:  The benefit concert at Brown on Sunday, Nov. 24, is part of a worldwide effort in Manila, Cebu, Davao, 
London, Melbourne, San Francisco, New York City, Paris, and New Zealand.
The Filipino Alliance at Brown University will host a benefit concert to raise funds for the victims of the typhoon that struck the Philippines on Nov. 7. “Bayanihan” will take place on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. in List Art Center, Room 120. (Distributed November 19, 2013)
Watson Institute for International Studies

Ambassador Rao named Gandhi visiting fellow

Nirupama Rao:  Former ambassador of India to the United States, Rao will begin a one-year appointment as the Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow with the Brown-India Initiative at the Watson Institute for International Studies.
Nirupama Rao, the former ambassador of India to the United States, has accepted a one-year appointment as the Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow with the Brown-India Initiative at the Watson Institute for International Studies. Rao begins her appointment in January 2014. (Distributed November 18, 2013)
Questions for Lance Dworkin

Stents aren’t more help for renal artery stenosis

Renal artery stenosis, a narrowing of arteries that lead to the kidneys because of athlerosclerosis, affects millions of Americans. Doctors have disagreed about how to treat it. Results from the CORAL clinical trial, simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association Nov. 18, 2013, show there is no additional long-term benefit to inserting a stent in patients who are provided a good regimen of drug and medical therapies. The randomized, controlled study involving nearly 1,000 patients at more than 100 sites may settle disagreements about treatment. (Distributed November 18, 2013)

Protein interplay in muscle tied to life span

Messy muscle:  More protein aggregates, shown as green specks, built up over 1, 3, and 5 weeks (left to right) in the muscle fibers of control flies (top row) compared to those in which dawdle, which hinders their cleanup, was suppressed (bottom row).
Brown University biologists have uncovered a complicated chain of molecular events that leads from insulin to protein degradation in muscles and significantly diminished life span in fruit flies. The new study in PLoS Genetics, which may have broad implications across species, identifies the fly version of the mammalian protein activin as the central culprit in the process. (Distributed November 14, 2013)

Compound stymies polyomaviruses in lab

Retro-2:  Other substances can control the polyoma virus only if they were administered prior to infection. In cell culture studies, Retro-2 appears to control the infectivity and spread of polyomavirus even when the virus is already established.
There is no approved medicine to treat polyomaviruses, which afflict people with weakened immune systems, but scientists have found that a chemical compound called Retro-2 is able to reduce significantly the infectivity and spread of the viruses in lab cell cultures. Now they are working to improve it. (Distributed November 13, 2013)

Brown honors military veterans

The debt we owe:  Led by bagpiper Andrew Bower, the Veterans Day procession makes its way to Simmons Quadrangle from the College Green.
President Christina Paxson, Sen. Jack Reed, and Brown student veterans led more than 100 University guests in a ceremony honoring the service of U.S. military veterans. The annual observance began at noon Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. (Distributed November 11, 2013)