Schennach honored with Frisch Medal

Susanne Schennach, professor of economics, has been awarded the 2014 Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society for a paper she co-authored titled “Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation,” published in the May 2010 edition of Econometrica. Schennach co-authored the paper with Flavio Cunha, assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and James Heckman, professor of economics at the University of Chicago.

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Study finds genetic patterns in preeclampsia
Bioinformatic tools help identify the genetic causes of complex diseases:

A comprehensive review of preeclampsia genetics found important patterns among more than 500 significant genes. Among the insights is that different manifestations of the disease have distinct genetic underpinnings. The researchers plan to make their data freely searchable later this year.

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Snacking quality may decline as kids age
The age-related dietary effect of snacks :

A new study done by researchers at Brown University and Tufts University suggests that while snacks uniformly contribute to energy intake in both children and adolescents, the effect of snacking on dietary quality differs by age group. Findings suggest that snacks improve diet quality in elementary school children but detract from diet quality in adolescents.

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Makeathon inspires new assistive technologies
A weekend of intense focus on assistive technologies:

People who are “locked in” by paralysis may have lots to say but no way to say it. Assistive communications devices can create a communications channel from the slightest remaining ability for expressing intent: the blink of an eye, the twitch of a muscle. New designs for assistive technologies was the whole point of a recent two-day “makeathon” at Brown University.

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Grant for nuclear waste research

Brad Marston, professor of physics, will use a newly announced $75,000 grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative to develop predictive models needed to ensure the safe, long-term disposal of spent nuclear fuel rods.

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On Nurture, Nature, Votes, and Parties: Studying the Biological Underpinnings of Political Behavior

Rose McDermott and a small group of peers aim to determine the role that genes play in influencing behavior – in this case, political behaviors such as casting votes, choosing parties, leading countries, amassing weapons, waging war.  An offshoot of behavior genetics, the field is intensely interdisciplinary, mining the intersection of genetics and political science and marrying the knowledge, tools, and research methods of both disciplines.

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Programming the smart home: ‘If this, then that’
I’m up. Where’s the coffee?:

Homes already have intelligent devices beyond the TV remote — garage door openers, coffee makers, laundry machines, lights, HVAC — but each has its own arcane steps for programming. User research now shows that “trigger-action programming” could give users a reliable and simple way to control everything, as easy as “If this, then that.” 


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R.I. nitrogen cycle differs in bay and sound
Short distance, large difference:

A new study reports that anammox, a key process in the nitrogen cycle, is barely present in Narragansett Bay even though it’s a major factor just a little farther out into Rhode Island Sound. Scientists traced that to differences between bay and sound sediments, but that raises new questions about what’s going on in the Bay to account for those.

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13 Projects Get Record Seed Funding

Thirteen Brown research projects attracted $970,000 in Seed Awards through the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). This record level of support results from funds committed to projects that have grown out of the Signature Academic Initiative process.

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New Brown center for long-term care

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living have awarded the Brown University School of Public Health $1 million to launch the Long Term Care Quality and Innovation Center. The center will work to improve the quality of long-term and post-acute care by studying best practices, conducting other research, and developing training and leadership programs in the field.

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Cicilline explores Brown’s robotics lab
Technologies that open possibilities:

Robots assemble cars and search the floor of the Indian Ocean miles below the surface. But they can also help elderly or disabled people with more routine tasks of daily living. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline visited the CIT for a look at how robotic assistive technologies are becoming more useful and can be more conveniently controlled.

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Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years
A snapshot of ancient environmental conditions:

Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists exploring large fields of impact glass in Argentina suggest that what happened on Earth might well have happened on Mars millions of years ago. Martian impact glass could hold traces of organic compounds.

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Understanding the Gap between Policy and Reality
David Adler:

David Adler ’14 already had a long list of awards, projects, and affiliations to his name – including being a member of the Brown International Scholarship Program, a fellow in the Brown-India Initiative, a Watson Undergraduate Fellow, and an undergraduate fellow at Brown’s Cogut Center for the Humanities. As of March, he can add “Fulbright scholar” to the list. After graduation, Adler will head to Mexico City, where he will research public policy and housing at CEDUA, an urban demographic and environmental studies center at El Colegio de México.

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Brown to launch new environmental institute
Institute for the Study of Environment and Society (ISES):

The Board of Fellows has approved creation of an Institute for the Study of Environment and Society (ISES) in the coming academic year. Environmental questions range in scale from molecular to planetary and demand research collaboration from many disciplines. The new center will draw on Brown’s strengths in environmental teaching and research to address those questions in a holistic way.

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