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News Archive

Searching for the Missing Women of Geology: Mary Anning

Suzanne Pilaar Birch, postdoctoral fellow in Archaeology, discusses the possibility that Mary Anning, a renowned female palaeontologist, is represented in a salt print image from 1843. Anning was the discoverer of the famous ichthyosaur and plesiosaur fossils on the Jurassic coast of Dorset. This image could be the only existing photograph of her. Read more of the story in

How Sleep Helps the Brain Learn Motor Tasks

Sleep Waves :

Sleep helps the brain consolidate what we've learned, but scientists have struggled to determine what goes on in the brain to make that happen for different kinds of learned tasks. In a new study, researchers, including postdoctoral researcher Masako Tamaki, pinpoint the brainwave frequencies and brain region associated with sleep-enhanced learning of a sequential finger tapping task akin to typing, or playing piano. 

More Intestinal Cells Can Absorb Larger Particles

Safe passage :

A new study reports that the small intestine uses more cells than scientists had realized to absorb microspheres large enough to contain therapeutic protein drugs, such as insulin. These findings are potentially good news for developing a means for oral delivery of such drugs. Graduate student in Biomedical Engineering, Yu-Ting Dingle, along with others at Brown, authored this report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Big Ice May Explain Mars’ Double-Layer Craters

An odd type of crater :

Brown planetary geologists, including graduate student David Kutai Weiss, have an explanation for the formation of more than 600 “double-layer ejecta” (DLE) craters on Mars. The Martian surface was covered with a thick sheet of ice at impact. Ejected material would later slide down steep crater sides and across the ice, forming a second layer.

Ombuds Office Expands Service

The Ombuds Office, under the continued leadership of Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, has expanded its service to graduate students and all staff, effective August 1. The Ombuds Office serves as an independent, confidential, neutral and informal resource for faculty, postdocs, and now staff, and graduate students who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at Brown.

Origins and Uses of Wrinkles, Creases, Folds

Three ruga states and how they form :

Engineers from Brown University, including postdoctoral researcher Mazen Diab,  have mapped out the amounts of compression required to cause wrinkles, creases, and folds to form in rubbery materials. The findings could help engineers control the formation of these structures, which can be useful in designing nanostructured materials for flexible electronic devices or surfaces that require variable adhesion.

Newly Found CLAMP Protein Regulates Genes

Dosage compensation: A male lifeline :

A newly discovered protein, found in many species, turns out to be the missing link that allows a key regulatory complex to find and operate on the lone X chromosome of male fruit flies, bringing them to parity with females. Brown University scientists, including graduate students Marcela Soruco and Jessica Chery helped lead this discovery and name the new protein, CLAMP.

DNA Markers in Low-IQ Autism Suggest Heredity

A possible biomarker:

Researchers, including graduate students Emma Viscidi and Abbie Frederick, are striving to understand the different genetic structures that underlie at least a subset of autism spectrum disorders. In cases where the genetic code is in error, did that happen anew in the patient, perhaps through mutation or copying error, or was it inherited? A new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics finds evidence that there may often be a recessive, inherited genetic contribution in autism with significant intellectual disability.

Brown is a project site for AAU STEM effort

Brown University is one of eight research universities chosen as a project site for a national effort at improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Graduate students in STEM areas will work with faculty, the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Brown Science Center to develop new curricula that emphasize hands-on learning, group problem solving, and opportunities for original research.