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Student Research: Modeling hurricane effects on Rhode Island

Joyce Pak, an MPH student, is spending her summer doing her part to ensure the Ocean State is prepared. Working at the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), she is refining a computer modeling system used by emergency preparedness experts and responders to minimize the impact of hurricanes, and other severe storms, on the state’s critical infrastructure such as hospitals and highways. Read more.

Student Research: Individuals are swayed by their peers, leading to more severe punishments, study finds

When acting as one part of a group charged with deciding how to punish someone — a jury, for example — individuals are swayed by their peers to punish more often than they would if deciding alone, a new study found. Jae-Young Son, a Psychology PhD student is first author on the paper, along with Oriel FeldmanHall, an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences who is senior researcher on the study. The research team conducted five experiments involving almost 400 participants. Four looked at individuals’ willingness to punish people who behaved selfishly in economic tasks, and another involved determining punishment recommendations for hypothetical perpetrators of crimes of varying severity. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. Read more.

Diversity Preview Day for PhD Students

Prospective graduate students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in pursing a PhD are invited to visit campus October 20-21 or November 3-4 to explore academic, social and professional opportunities at Brown. There will be opportunities to meet faculty, deans and current doctoral candidates, as well as tour campus and learn about Graduate School diversity initiatives. Priority will be given to recent graduates and current seniors who anticipate applying for fall of 2020. Associated expenses, including accommodations, meals and travel (up to $600) will be covered. Apply by September 6. Applications: Humanities & Social Sciences | Life & Physical Sciences

PhD Student Ariel Deutsch discusses lunar exploration past and future

Ariel Deutsch, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, will join an astronaut who walked on the Moon and two top NASA scientists for a panel titled “Lunar Geology: Past, Present and Future.” As the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing come to a close, Brown graduate student Ariel Deutsch is thinking about the future of lunar exploration — and NASA wants to hear what’s on her mind. Read more.

Student Research: Scientists identify interactions that stabilize a protein associated with neurodegeneration

Most of the well-studied proteins in our bodies are like metal; some can change shape easily, like aluminum foil, and others are rigid, like steel beams, but they typically have a solid, well-defined structure. Many other essential proteins are more like water — able to change phase from liquid to solid ice. A team of researchers led by Nicolas Fawzi, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology, used a combination of techniques to determine the atomic interactions that stabilize the liquid, yet “condensed” phase of FUS, one of the important phase-changing proteins. Fawzi’s team includes doctoral student Anastasia Murthy, the lead author on the study. The findings were published on Monday, July 1, in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. Read more.

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