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News Archive

DNA Markers in Low-IQ Autism Suggest Heredity

A possible biomarker:

Researchers, including graduate students Emma Viscidi and Abbie Frederick, are striving to understand the different genetic structures that underlie at least a subset of autism spectrum disorders. In cases where the genetic code is in error, did that happen anew in the patient, perhaps through mutation or copying error, or was it inherited? A new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics finds evidence that there may often be a recessive, inherited genetic contribution in autism with significant intellectual disability.

Brown is a project site for AAU STEM effort

Brown University is one of eight research universities chosen as a project site for a national effort at improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Graduate students in STEM areas will work with faculty, the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Brown Science Center to develop new curricula that emphasize hands-on learning, group problem solving, and opportunities for original research.

Computer Models Figure Out Sickle Cell Crisis

Using powerful computer models, first author Huan Lei, a postdoctoral researcher in applied mathematics, and other researchers at Brown have shown for the first time how different types of red blood cells interact to cause sickle cell crisis, a dangerous blockage of blood flow in capillaries that causes searing pain and tissue damage in people with sickle cell disease.

Designing Stable Tiny Fliers

Bin Liu, a postdoctoral research associate in Engineering was highlighted on Science360 for his work to design stable tiny flyers. He and Leif Ristroph of New York University analyzed the behavior of paper “bugs” of a variety of shapes (including cones, pyramids, umbrellas, and saucer-shaped UFOs) in a low-frequency woofer loudspeaker that mimics a cylindrical wind tunnel. Surprisingly they found that top-heavy designs are the most stable.

Noble gases hitch a ride on hydrous minerals

The Ring Cycle:

The six noble gases do not normally dissolve into minerals, leaving earth scientists to wonder how they are subducted back into the Earth. Researchers led by Colin Jackson, a graduate student in geological sciences, have discovered that the lattice structure of minerals such as amphibole provides a way. Better yet, the multiple isotopes of noble gases could help scientists track volatiles like water and carbon.

Hardy, Were named Hewlett/IIE Fellows

Two Brown graduate students are among the seven recipients of 2013 Hewlett Foundation/IIE Dissertation Fellowships. Morgan Hardy, a Ph.D. candidate in economics, was selected for her dissertation The Determinants, Dynamics, and Details of Female Labor Market Participation in the Developing World. Lawrence Were, a Ph.D. candidate in public health, was selected for his dissertation The Impact of Reproductive Health and Insurance on Economic Outcomes for HIV+ Women in Kenya.

New Technique to Guide Nerve Growth for Neuro Implants

The secrets of Schwann-like substrates:

Biomedical Engineering doctoral student, Cristina Lopez-Fagundo's research using Schwann cells to create straight instead of irregular paths of nerve growth is highlighted in medgadget.com. Growing nerves to correct all kinds of neurological disorders and injuries is a major goal of medicine, something that can revolutionize neurosurgery. Read more.

Bat's Super-Long Tongue Powered by Blood

Cally Harper:

Cally Harper, doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and video of her research on the Pallas's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina) is featured in National Geographic Daily News online. A new study using high-speed video shows that the tongue's mopping ability is powered by blood, a phenomenon unique in nature, said Harper. Read more.