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Brown Researchers Developing New Interactive Sleep App

There are plenty of cellphone apps on the market designed to help people monitor their sleep patterns. The apps generally record data on when people go to bed and when they wake, and many use the device’s microphone and accelerometer to take note of noises in the night and to monitor how much people toss and turn. A group of Brown University computer scientists, including Nediyana Daskalova, a doctoral student in computer science, and clinical psychologists have come up with an approach that takes sleep monitoring one step further.

Holiday Food Drive, Nov. 2-21

All are welcome to particiate in the Graduate School's ninth annual Holiday Food Drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. We are collecting food from November 2-21, 2016. Please drop off needed canned goods (see list), in the Food Bank boxes at the Graduate School, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health, Population Studies & Training Center, the Arnold Lab or the GSC Lounge. Thank you to all partners!

Students Present Why Their Research Matters on Nov. 5

The Graduate School is hosting its second Research Matters! event, featuring live talks by outstanding graduate students and post-docs on "why my research matters" on November 5, 2016 from 3-5 pm in the Granoff Center. Come hear the student and postdoc speakers: Emily Contois, Aditi Rawat, Julian Saporiti, Nicosia Shakes, Alexandra Stephan, Jennifer Thum, Kyle Trenshaw, Torrey Truszkowski, Meghan Wilson, and Xuan Zhao.

New Master's Program to Foster Deep Data Fluency

A new one-year master's degree in data science will prepare Brown University students to be leaders in a data-enabled society. The new degree program is an early feature of Brown's Data Science Initiative, which was launched to catalyze new research programs to address some of the world's most complex challenges and provide students with innovative educational opportunities relating to "big data."

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.