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Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Students Present Shakespeare Plays

The Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program season opens on October 20 with The Taming of the Shrew, directed by MFA student Kate Bergstrom, and runs through October 23. The Winter’s Tale, directed by MFA student Mauricio Salgado, follows from November 3-6. Both shows feature MFA student actors: John Noble Barrack, Octavia Chavez-Richmond, Jack Dwyer, Viraj Gandhi, Shenyse Harris, Tyler Herman, Billy Hutto, Oriana Lada, Meghan Leathers, Matt Lytle, Teddy Lytle, Marcel Mascaro and Jayne McLendon. Performances are at the Pell Chafee Performance Center. For more information, please visit the Trinity Rep website

Cocoa Compound Linked to Some Cardiovascular Niomarker Improvements

To the tantalizing delight of chocolate lovers everywhere, a number of recent studies, including one led by Xiaochen Lin, an Epidemiology doctoral student, have suggested that compounds in cocoa called flavanols could benefit cardiovascular health. Now a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of cocoa consumption reveals some further pieces of supporting evidence. 

The meta-analysis in the Journal of Nutrition, an assessment of the combined evidence from all 19 RCTs, focused on whether consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa products was associated with improvements in specific circulating biomarkers of cardiometabolic health as compared to consuming placebos with negligible cocoa flavanol content. In all, 1,139 volunteers were involved in these trials.

Researchers Develop New Ligase for Biomedical Use

A new Ligase:

Ligases are enzymes that serve critical functions in cells, helping to fuse together broken strands of DNA and RNA. These enzymes are also important bioengineering tools, useful in genetic sequencing, mutation detection and other applications. Researchers in Brown University’s School of Engineering, including Lei Zhang, a Biomedical Engineering doctoral student, have now developed a new RNA ligase for laboratory use. Derived from a microbe that thrives near volcanic thermal vents, the new ligase, called KOD1Rnl, can work at the high temperature desirable for some laboratory procedures.

New Technique Helps Identify Cancer Cell Types

Brown University researchers, including Susan Leggett, a doctoral Pathobiology student, have developed a new image analysis technique to distinguish two key cancer cell types associated with tumor progression. The approach could help in pre-clinical screening of cancer drugs and shed light on a cellular metamorphosis that is associated with more malignant and drug-resistant cancers.

Bragging As a Strategy: What Boasting Buys, and Costs, a Candidate

Life is full of auditions in which it might seem advantageous, if not outright required, to describe oneself as above average. Think of job interviews, dating or running for president of the United States. A new study led by Patrick Heck, a doctoral Psychology student at Brown, that measured how people judge those who made such boasts and those who didn’t, however, showed that making self-superiority or self-effacement claims is a strategy with considerable complexity and risk, often requiring a person to know whether evidence of their true ability could come to light.

Effective Performance Workshop Series Deadline Extended

The deadline has been extended to Friday, October 14 at noon for doctoral and master's students to apply for the Effective Performance: Improvisation and Performance Techniques workshop series. Over five sessions, participants will receive an introduction to performance values drawn from improvisational and theatrical techniques. Sessions will be held Monday evenings in October and November. Learn more and apply.

Trinity Rep Play Features MFA Students

MFA students Marina Morrissey and Alec Weinberg star in Trinity Rep’s production of "Appropriate" that runs October 6 through November 6 in the Dowling Theater. The play is a comic-drama about an estranged family that returns to their Arkansas home after the passing of their family and the revelations they have sorting through family mementos. Watch them rehearse and learn more at

Brown’s J. Michael Kosterlitz Wins Nobel Prize in Physics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded Brown University Professor J. Michael Kosterlitz the Nobel Prize in Physics “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” Kosterlitz is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown, where he joined the faculty in 1979. He shares one half of the Nobel prize with F. Duncan M. Haldane of Princeton University, with the other half of the Nobel going to David J. Thouless of the University of Washington in Seattle.