Skip to Navigation

News Archive

Student Research: Arctic ‘shorefast' sea ice threatened by climate change, study finds

thumbnail image

For people who live in the Arctic, sea ice that forms along shorelines is a vital resource that connects isolated communities and provides access to hunting and fishing grounds. A new study by Brown University researchers, including doctoral candidate Sarah Cooley, found that climate change could significantly reduce this “shorefast ice” in communities across Northern Canada and Western Greenland. Read more.

Physics, Chemistry and Engineering – An Interdisciplinary Perspective with PhD Yuan Liu

thumbnail image

Yuan Liu, a student in the Open Graduate Education program, will graduate this May with a doctoral degree in chemistry and a master’s in engineering. In July he will begin a postdoctoral associate position at MIT in the Center for Ultracold Atoms. “During my time at Brown, I was very excited to be on a campus with such great diversity. I met many outstanding people who shaped my views and thoughts to the world dramatically,” says Liu. Read more

Student Research: With historians in Newport, PhD students preserve a crucial piece of African American history

thumbnail image

Doctoral students in archaeology, Alex Marko, Dan Plekhov and Miriam Rothenberg worked with the Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission in Newport, Rhode Island, to create an interactive map of God’s Little Acre, one of the oldest African and African American burial grounds in the country. It is the final resting place of untold numbers of individuals. Some were born across the Atlantic, others mere blocks away. Some died centuries ago, others just decades ago. Some were slaves, others business owners. The students are working with Newport’s Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission, whose mission is to preserve and revive their stories. Read more.

Student Research: Barnacles offer genetic clues on how organisms adapt to changing environments

thumbnail image

What genes help organisms survive in changing environments? As climate change impacts species across the planet, it’s a big question in basic biology. New research by a Brown research time, including doctoral student Joaquin Nunez, on barnacles may provide some answers. Barnacles are crustaceans, related to shrimps and crabs. After a brief period when they float freely around the ocean, barnacle larvae attach to a hard surface — a rock, a boat, a whale — and develop into adults. They build hard plates surrounding their bodies, which they can open to feed and to reproduce, and close protectively during low tide and other harsh conditions. Read more.

Student Research: How do zebrafish get their stripes? New data analysis tool could provide an answer

thumbnail image

The iconic stripes of zebrafish are a classic example of natural self-organization. As zebrafish embryos develop, three types of pigment cells move around the skin, eventually jostling into positions that form body-length yellow and blue stripes. Scientists want to understand the genetic rules that direct this delicate dance, and a new algorithm developed by Brown University mathematicians, including doctoral student Melissa McGuirl, could help them accomplish that. The algorithm, described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is able to quantify various attributes of shapes and patterns, enabling scientists to more objectively test ideas about how zebrafish stripes — and potentially other developmental patterns — are formed. Read more.

MFA Student Davis Directs Marie Antoinette for Thesis Show

thumbnail image

Josiah Davis is a Los Angeles-based director, choreographer and actor from Dallas, TX, who is currently in his final year of the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program in directing. This production of Marie Antoinette is his thesis project and features a cast of third year students from the MFA acting program. Performances run February 27 through March 8 at the Pell Chafee Performance Center.

Davis says of the show, “Some may say ignorance is bliss. But looking at Marie Antoinette, ignorance is death. We are living in a time of fire. A time when our core beliefs and values are constantly being put to the test under a microscope. This year specifically, it is pivotal that we keep thinking about who is fit to hold positions of power. We must learn from our history or it will inevitably repeat itself.” Learn more at

Student Research: Cracks in perovskite films for solar cells easily healed, study finds

thumbnail image

A new study, published in the journal Acta Materialia, finds that though perovskite films tend to crack easily, those cracks are easily healed with some compression or a little bit of heat. That bodes well, the researchers say, for the use of inexpensive perovskites to replace or complement pricy silicon in solar cell technologies. Nitin Padture, a professor in Brown’s School of Engineering and director of the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation led the study, with doctoral student Srinivas Yadavalli as first author.

For the study, Yadavalli deposited perovskite films on plastic substrates. He then bent the substrate to put tensile (pulling apart) stress on the perovskite film while using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to detect cracks. Once the film was cracked, the researchers then bent the substrate in the opposite direction to see if compressive stress might heal those cracks. Read more.