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National Rankings include Brown's Graduate School among top universities

U.S. News and World Report recognized Brown’s Graduate School in this year’s graduate program rankings, released last spring. A number of graduate programs ranked in the Top 25 in their respective fields, including: applied mathematics (No. 4), English (No. 13), sociology (No. 14), mathematics (No. 14), Earth sciences (No. 15), history (No. 16), public health (No. 17), economics (No. 19) and computer science (No. 25). Separately, Brown’s master of fine arts program in acting, offered in partnership with Trinity Repertory Company, earned the No. 4 rank on Hollywood Reporter's annual “Top Graduate MFA Acting Programs” list. Read more.

Free Group Fitness Classes for Graduate Students

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Beginning this academic year, all medical and graduate students will have free and unlimited access to Brown Recreation's group fitness classes. Nearly 100 classes are offered per week and include strength training, kickboxing, cardio, yoga, dance and more. Starting Tuesday, September 10, Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7-8 am, the Astronaut Training club will host a graduate/medical student only workout class led by certified group fitness instructors designed to get the heart rate up (through cardio, toning, and interval training) and meet students from other departments. Read more.

Student Research: Computer model could help test new sickle cell drugs

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A team of Brown University researchers, including Lu Lu, a Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics, has developed a new computer model that simulates the way red blood cells become misshapen by sickle cell disease. The model, described in a paper published in Science Advances, could be useful in the preclinical evaluation of drugs aimed at preventing the sickling process. “There are currently only two drugs approved by the FDA for treating sickle cell disease, and they don’t work for everyone. We wanted to build a model that considers the entire sickling process and could be used to quickly and inexpensively pre-screen new drug candidates,” said Lu. Read more.

Community Fellows Info Sessions

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Community Fellows, both master’s and doctoral students, have the opportunity to create events and projects for the purpose of building graduate student community and fostering a graduate culture that respects and celebrates diversity, inclusion, and equity. Fellows will work in pairs to foster community in the following areas: race and social justice, international community, wellness and health, family-friendly, and master’s student community. Info session is on Monday, September 9 at 4:05 pm in Horace Mann, Room 103 at 47 George St. This session will cover the program’s goals, structure, past successes, funding, application process, and timeline. Learn more.

Student Research: New technique isolates placental cells for non-invasive genetic testing

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Brown University researchers, including Christina Bailey-Hytholt, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, have developed a simple method for isolating placental cells from cervical swabs. The technique, described in the journal Scientific Reports, could aid in developing less invasive ways of diagnosing genetic disorders in developing fetuses. The technique isolates trophoblast cells — placental cells that carry the complete fetal genome — by taking advantage of their tendency to settle to the bottom of microwell plates. Read more.

Student Research: Modeling hurricane effects on Rhode Island

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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

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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 9. Applications: Humanities & Social Sciences | Life & Physical Sciences

PhD Student Ariel Deutsch discusses lunar exploration past and future

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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

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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.