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Student Research: ‘Mutation Hotspot’ Allows Common Fungus to adapt to Different Host Environments

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The fungus Candida albicans is found in the gastrointestinal tract of about half of healthy adults with little if any effect, yet it also causes an oft-fatal blood infection among patients with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS. New research helps show how this fungus gets the flexibility to live in these vastly different environments. The researchers, including Shen-Huan Liang, a pathobiology Ph.D. student, found that patient samples of the fungus frequently lack one copy of a gene that serves as a vital master regulator. In the lab, these cells can regularly switch to having a different set of traits, or phenotype, by losing the other copy. Read more.

Brown Students Team With Space Exploration Company on Moon Mission Planning

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Students in a planetary science course at Brown (14 graduate and a few undergraduates) are helping a private space company plan a Moon mission, a collaborative effort that has caught the eyes of top NASA officials. In consultation with OrbitBeyond engineers and using the technical specs for ECA, the students spent last semester devising a design reference mission — a detailed template for what the real mission might ultimately look like. The group scoped out landing sites, planned possible rover traverses and delivered their recommendations to OrbitBeyond. “Being involved at this stage in our careers with an actual mission that’s going to fly is an experience I don't think we could get elsewhere,” said Ph.D. student Ashley Palumbo, one of the leaders of the project. “It’s just a great opportunity.” Read more.

Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program Presents The Good Person of Szechwan

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The Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program presents its spring thesis show, The Good Person of Szechwan, directed by MFA directing student Addie Gorlin. It is a story about balancing moral goodness and monetary success. “The most obvious question that this play asks is: can someone be good and still succeed in a capitalist society? I'm asking this question with a particular lens on gender,” says Gorlin. She cast an all-female production to call out the façade of masculinity these women are forced into in order to be taken seriously. Performances run February 28 through March 10 at the Pell Chafee Performance Center. Learn more.

Fifth-Year Master's Fair on Feb. 26

The Graduate School is hosting a Fifth-Year Master's Fair on Tuesday, February 26, from 11 am to 1:30 pm in Kasper Multipurpose Room, Robert Campus Center. Brown juniors and seniors are encouraged to come explore their options for a master's degree at Brown. Seniors may apply up until Commencement. Program representatives and the Graduate School will be available to answer questions. See the list of programs offering a fifth-year degree. 

Student Research: Tiny Satellites Reveal Water Dynamics in Thousands of Northern Lakes

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Using an army of small satellites, researchers, including Ph.D. student Sarah Cooley, have shown that water levels in small lakes across northern Canada and Alaska are far more variable during the summer than previously thought. The findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, could have implications for how scientists calculate the natural greenhouse gas emissions from these northern lakes. “There’s been a lot of research on climate-driven changes in lake area, but it’s mainly focused on long-term changes,” said Sarah Cooley, a Ph.D. student at Brown University and the study’s lead author. “This is the first time that anyone has looked at fine-scale, short-term changes, and we found that there’s much more variability within a season than expected.” Read more

For third year running, Brown is nation’s top Fulbright-producing university

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For the third year in a row, students and recent graduates of Brown University earned more Fulbright scholarships than those at any other university in the nation, according to data released by the Fulbright Program on Monday, Feb. 11. Thirty-five Brown undergraduates, graduate students and recent alumni received Fulbright awards for the 2018-19 year. Awarded by the U.S. Department of State, the grants fund research or teaching abroad for up to one year. Read more.

Student Research: Research Details Sticky Situations at the Nanoscale

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In a finding that will be useful in nanoscale engineering, Brown University researchers, including Engineering doctoral student Weilin Deng, have shown that miniscule differences in the roughness of surfaces can have important effects on how they stick together. In a series of papers, the latest of which is published in Scientific Reports, the researchers show that miniscule differences in the roughness of a surface can cause surprising changes in the way two surfaces adhere to each other. Certain levels of roughness, the studies show, can cause the surfaces to exert different amounts of force on each other depending upon whether they're being pushed together or pulled apart. Read more

2019 Executive Scholars Selected

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Ten doctoral and master's students are exploring university administration as part of the ninth cohort of the Brown Executive Scholars Training program. The Graduate School's 12-week program introduces graduate students to careers in higher education administration.

"I hold a great appreciation for the invaluable work that goes on behind the scenes at the administrative level to help Brown sustain its mission. I am interested in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of these efforts, such as the roles of different offices and how they work in tandem with one another," says master’s student Sydney Menzin on why she applied to the BEST program.

Carroll Wins POD Network Award

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Charlie Carroll, PhD student in History, recently won the Professional and Organizational Development Network (POD) Career Development Award.

POD is a professional organization comprised of educational developers, whose work helps universities function as effective teaching and learning communities. This grant is awarded by POD’s Special Interest Group on graduate student, professional student, and postdoctoral scholar development and provides funding for conference fees.

Fulbright-Hays DDRA Call for Applications

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The Fiscal Year 2019 competition for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program is open. The federal program provides opportunities to doctoral candidates in the humanities and social sciences to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The internal Brown deadline for submitting an application is 5 p.m. on March 4, 2019. Learn more and watch the instructional webinar.