R.I. nitrogen cycle differs in bay and sound

A new study reports that anammox, a key process in the nitrogen cycle, is barely present in Narragansett Bay even though it’s a major factor just a little farther out into Rhode Island Sound. Scientists traced that to differences between bay and sound sediments, but that raises new questions about what’s going on in the Bay to account for those.

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13 Projects Get Record Seed Funding

Thirteen Brown research projects attracted $970,000 in Seed Awards through the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). This record level of support results from funds committed to projects that have grown out of the Signature Academic Initiative process.

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New Brown center for long-term care

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living have awarded the Brown University School of Public Health $1 million to launch the Long Term Care Quality and Innovation Center. The center will work to improve the quality of long-term and post-acute care by studying best practices, conducting other research, and developing training and leadership programs in the field.

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Cicilline explores Brown’s robotics lab
Technologies that open possibilities:

Robots assemble cars and search the floor of the Indian Ocean miles below the surface. But they can also help elderly or disabled people with more routine tasks of daily living. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline visited the CIT for a look at how robotic assistive technologies are becoming more useful and can be more conveniently controlled.

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Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years
A snapshot of ancient environmental conditions:

Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists exploring large fields of impact glass in Argentina suggest that what happened on Earth might well have happened on Mars millions of years ago. Martian impact glass could hold traces of organic compounds.

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Understanding the Gap between Policy and Reality
David Adler:

David Adler ’14 already had a long list of awards, projects, and affiliations to his name – including being a member of the Brown International Scholarship Program, a fellow in the Brown-India Initiative, a Watson Undergraduate Fellow, and an undergraduate fellow at Brown’s Cogut Center for the Humanities. As of March, he can add “Fulbright scholar” to the list. After graduation, Adler will head to Mexico City, where he will research public policy and housing at CEDUA, an urban demographic and environmental studies center at El Colegio de México.

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Brown to launch new environmental institute
Institute for the Study of Environment and Society (ISES):

The Board of Fellows has approved creation of an Institute for the Study of Environment and Society (ISES) in the coming academic year. Environmental questions range in scale from molecular to planetary and demand research collaboration from many disciplines. The new center will draw on Brown’s strengths in environmental teaching and research to address those questions in a holistic way.

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HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine
HPV vaccine also helps immunosuppressed people:

HIV-positive women respond well to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), even when their immune system is struggling, according to newly published results of an international clinical trial. The study’s findings counter doubts about whether the vaccine would be helpful, said the Brown University medical professor who led the study. Instead, the data support the World Health Organization’s recommendation to vaccinate women with HIV.

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Meditation as object of medical research
Mindfulness studies:

Mindfulness meditation produces personal experiences that are not readily interpretable by scientists who want to study its psychiatric benefits in the brain. At a conference near Boston April 5, 2014, Brown University researchers will describe how they’ve been able to integrate mindfulness experience with hard neuroscience data to advance more rigorous study.

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New model combines multiple genomic data
No longer an either-or proposition:

Data about DNA differences, gene expression, or methylation can each tell epidemiologists something about the link between genomics and disease. A new statistical model that can integrate all those sources provides a markedly improved analysis, according to two new papers.

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Early neural wiring for smell persists
A window of plasticity:

A new study in Science reveals that the fundamental wiring of the olfactory system in mice sets up shortly after birth and then remains stable but adaptable. The research highlights how important early development can be throughout life and provides insights that may be important in devising regenerative medical therapies in the nervous system.

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Doctor’s specialty predicts feeding tube use
Feeding tube: Who makes the decision?:

A new study shows that when elderly patients with advanced dementia are hospitalized, the specialties of the doctors at their bedside have a lot to do with whether the patient will end up with a gastric feeding tube – a practice that some medical organizations recommend against for frail, terminal patients.

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Heat of mantle sets height of mid-ocean ridges
Temperature, not chemistry:

By  analyzing the speed of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, scientists have shown that temperature differences deep within Earth’s mantle control the elevation and volcanic activity along mid-ocean ridges, the colossal mountain ranges that line the ocean floor. Recent research sheds new light on how temperature in the depths of the mantle influences the contours of the Earth’s crust.

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Three faculty receive NSF CAREER Awards

Baylor Fox-Kemper, assistant professor of geological sciences, Thomas Serre, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, and Erik Sudderth, assistant professor of computer science, have received CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation, the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty scientists.

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