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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.

Bogues and Rose to Speak on 'Race and Knowledge'

Anthony Bogues and Tricia Rose will speak at the September 29 Academy in Context dinner-seminar on the topic of "Race and Knowledge." Bogues, the Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and the Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice, will focus on the hierarchies of knowledge production. Rose, who is Professor of Africana Studies and the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown, will focus on research on race under conditions of racial inequality. Graduate students are invited to attend; space is limited. Learn more and register.

CLACS Call: Reading & Writing Group Proposals

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies invites applications from groups of affiliated graduate students and faculty to form interdisciplinary country- or region-focused reading/writing groups in the academic year 2016-2017. The purpose is to enhance learning about the country or region from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Proposals are due September 26, 2016.  Learn more. 

PhD Student Arrives with New National Grant

Adedotun Ogunbajo is only beginning his doctoral studies in the Brown University School of Public Health this fall, but he already has a national credential: he is one of the first 40 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research ScholarsThe newly created, competitive award provides first- and second-year doctoral students from historically underrepresented groups with training and mentoring in health policy that they can integrate into their research.

Graduate Community Fellows Program

This program is open to all full-time graduate students interested in an opportunity to cultivate community as well as leadership, collaboration, and problem solving skills. Fellows will develop and implement initiatives that strengthen the Brown graduate community and foster a culture that respects and celebrates diversity, inclusion and equity. Attend an information session on September 15; applications are due September 30. Learn more.