Stony Brook University Office of Research Services
Month: September, 2011

McCormick Foundation Gives $330,000 to Stony Brook University to Accelerate National Expansion of News Literacy Program

Stony Brook University School of Journalism has announced that the Robert R. McCormick Foundation is providing a $330,000 grant to the Center for News Literacy to fund the delivery of training and materials demanded by the rapid spread of News Literacy courses.

Some 21 colleges and universities across the country have adopted all or part of the Stony Brook Model, a course aimed at teaching students how best to find reliable information for their lives as citizens. During the same time period, more than 40 high schools have added the Stony Brook Model as a stand-alone course or significant unit within an existing course. This fall, Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Council approved a proposal to offer News Literacy as a for-college-credit “ACE” course. Northport and East Oyster Bay High School on Long Island launched those courses this week.

The Center for News Literacy was established in 2007 at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism with the mission to educate current and future news consumers. The Center serves as a resource center for universities and high schools across the U.S. The Center also develops programs, designs conferences, seminars, lectures, and workshops that bring together journalists and academics to explore issues related to the reliability of news. With funding from the Ford, Knight, Atlantic and McCormick Foundations, the Center for News Literacy has built an undergraduate course that has been taught to students at Stony Brook and is now being taught at universities around the country.

Read more at:

Stony Brook University Graduate Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

The United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced that Andréa Nesteruk has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship for English Teaching in Italy. She is one of approximately 1,600 U.S. citizens, and the only one from Stony Brook University, who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Read more at:

Lilianne Mujica-Parodi Receives Prestigious Presidential Early Career Award

Dr. Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and the Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Emotion and Cognition (LSEC), has been named by President Barack Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. She is one of 94 researchers in the nation to receive the award this year, and the third from Stony Brook University in the past three years.

Read more at:

SBU Researchers Develop Algorithm to Predict New Superhard Crystals

Opening the road for computational discovery of materials with desired properties

Stony Brook University researchers, Artem R. Oganov, Professor of Geosciences and Physics and Dr. Andriy O. Lyakhov, Research Fellow, have developed an algorithm capable of predicting new superhard materials. The findings of their work have just been published in a paper entitled “Evolutionary search for superhard materials: Methodology and applications to forms of carbon and TiO2,” in the current online edition of Physical Review B.

Dr. Lyakhov and Prof. Oganov propose to use supercomputers in the search for new superhard materials. Scientists developed a special hybrid evolutionary algorithm, and tested it on a few promising systems, such as carbon and carbon nitride (which many scientists believe to be able to surpass the diamond by hardness). The results show the power of this algorithm and confirm that diamond is the hardest form of carbon and, so far, the hardest material. As a byproduct of the calculations, a set of novel superhard carbon structures was obtained – these are only marginally softer than diamond. It was also shown that carbon nitride cannot be harder than diamond.

“A new era in material design and discovery is about to begin,” said Prof. Oganov. “New materials with desired properties will be routinely discovered using supercomputers, instead of the expensive trial-and-error method that is used today.”

Provost Lecture Series: Luis H. Zayas, October 10

Understanding Why Latinas Attempt Suicide

Luis H. Zayas is the inaugural holder of the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor of Social Work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work of Washington University in St. Louis. He is the founder and director of the School’s Center for Latino Family Research, the only center in a U.S. school of social work that conducts research on Latino social, health, mental health, and family and community development in the U.S. and Latin America.

Abstract: U.S. Latina adolescents have consistently outpaced other youth—males and females—in their rates of suicide ideation, planning and attempts. Drawing from his thirty years of clinical practice and research on this serious public health issue, Dr. Zayas will discuss the history of this phenomenon. He will present findings from the original research he has conducted in this field and from his latest book, Latinas Attempting Suicide: When Cultures, Families, and Daughters Collide (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Monday, October 10, 4:00 pm, Wang Center Theater

Provost Lecture Series: Mary Claire King, October 27

Anna Karenina and the Genetics of Complex Disease

Mary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. She was the first to prove that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. In addition to the inherited breast and ovarian cancer, her research interests include genetics of hearing loss, the genetic bases of schizophrenia, and human genetic diversity and evolution. She also pioneered the use of DNA sequencing for human rights investigations, developing the approach of sequencing mitochondrial DNA preserved in human remains, then applying this method to the identification of kidnapped children in Argentina and subsequently to cases of human rights violations on six continents. She is president-elect of the American Society of Human Genetics. Dr. King has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to the Institute of Medicine, and as a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences. She has received 13 honorary doctoral degrees, including from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton Universities. Co-sponsored by the School of Medicine.

Abstract: An evolutionary perspective on our success as a species suggests that a vast array of individually rare mutations of severe effect are responsible for most of the genetic contribution to human illness, both rare Mendelian disorders and common complex diseases. Current sequencing technologies offer the possibility of finding these rare disease-causing mutations, the genes that harbor them, and the consequences of their having gone awry.

Thursday, October 27, 1:00 pm, Wang Center Theater

Provost Lecture Series: Isobel Coleman, October 27

Women, Islam and Reform in the Middle East

Isobel Coleman
is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where she directs the Council’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative and the Women and Foreign Policy program. Her areas of expertise include democratization, civil society, economic development, regional gender issues, educational reform, and microfinance. She is the author and co-author of numerous publications, including Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010), Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), and Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security (Hoover Institution Press, 2006). Dr. Coleman’s writings have also appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and Forbes, and online venues such as The Huffington Post. She also maintains a blog, Democracy in Development, on  In 2010, she served as the track leader for the Girls and Women Action Area at the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2011, Newsweek named her as one of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

Abstract: Over the centuries and throughout the world, women have been struggling for equality and basic rights. Their challenge in the Middle East has been deepened by the rise of a political Islam that too often condemns women’s empowerment as Western cultural imperialism and even worse, anti-Islamic. The result has been a lag of women’s rights in the Middle East, with significant social, political and economic consequences. As the Middle East undergoes transformation, how effectively women’s rights are incorporated into broader demands for change in the Arab world will in many ways be a bellwether for the future of freedom and democracy in the region.  Coleman will journey through the strategic crescent of the greater Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan – to discuss how activists are working within the tenets of Islam to create economic, political and educational opportunities for women, and to reconcile religious traditions with modernity.

Thursday, October 27, 4:00 pm, Humanities Institute 1006

Provost Lecture Series: Lourdes Portillo, November 1

Art and Poetry in the Struggle for Human Rights 



Lourdes Portillo is a writer, director, and producer of documentary films. Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Portillo’s films have focused on the search for Latino identity. She has worked in a richly varied range of forms, from television documentary to satirical video-film collage. Over the course of her thirty-year career, she has pushed the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking. Deploying irony, satire, allegory, poetry, autobiography and even melodrama, Portillo has produced lyrical, visually intriguing, and entertaining documentaries. Her films include the Academy Award-nominated The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1985), as well as Columbus on Trial (1993) and The Devil Never Sleeps (2001). She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of her contributions to filmmaking. All of her work is widely shown in classrooms and academic circles and integrated into curriculum studies. Portillo has helped break down the proscriptions of traditional documentary making because “women, and women of color in particular, often come into filmmaking with a different set of objectives than their male counterparts.” Portillo’s films have received high praise at more than ten international women’s film festivals. Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute.

Abstract: What is the role of art in the struggle for social change? Can a film be an instrument for the pursuit of human rights? Renowned documentary filmmaker Lourdes Portillo will share her experiences and insights from the artistic front lines.

Tuesday, November 1, 4:30 pm, Humanities Institute 1006

Provost Lecture Series: Diane E. Meier, November 17

The Twelfth Annual George Goodman Memorial Symposium

Palliative Care 2011: Going to Scale

Diane E. Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization devoted to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States. Under her leadership the number has more than doubled in the last 5 years. She is also Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute; Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; and Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Meier was named one of 20 People Who Make Healthcare Better in the U.S. by HealthLeaders Media 2010. She is currently Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded five-year multisite study on the outcomes of hospital palliative care services in cancer patients. Dr. Meier served as one of Columbia University’s Health and Aging Policy Fellows in Washington DC during the 2009-2010 academic year, working both on the Senate’s HELP Committee and the Department of Health and Human Services. She has published extensively in all major peer-reviewed medical journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Her most recent book, Palliative Care: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness, was published by Jossey in 2010. Co-sponsored by the Goodman Memorial Fund and OLLI.

Abstract: Dr. Meier will present the data behind the rapid growth in hospital palliative care while describing the outcomes and future of palliative care.  

Thursday, November 17, 4:00 pm, Wang Center Theater

Provost Lecture Series: Fred Bookstein, October 24

Biology and Mathematical Imagination: The Meaning of Morphometrics

Fred L. Bookstein is Co-investigator at the University of Michigan’s Visible Human Project. A biometer, statistical scientist and applied mathematician, he is the principal creator of morphometrics, a new specialty that combines techniques of geometry, computer science, and mathematical biology with multivariate statistics in tools for analysis of biological shape variation and shape difference. His innovations are being applied broadly today across evolutionary and developmental biology, paleontology, computer vision, medical imaging, and cognitive neuroimaging.

Monday, October 24, 4:30 pm, Wang Center Lecture Hall 2

John H. Marburger, III Memorial Celebration Webcast Recording Available

URECA Researcher of the Month – Ze Zhang

This month’s featured student is Ze Zhang, a Biology and Anthropology double major (class of 2012), who was awarded URECA funding in summer 2011 to support her fieldwork /research in Madagascar. She conducted detailed household surveys in local communities around Ranomafana National Park as part of a team investigating  transmitted/zoonotic diseases (e.g., malaria, tuberculosis). Ze is working under the direction of Dr. Patricia C. Wright of the Dept. of Anthropology and Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, and will be using data collected this summer for her honors thesis project in Anthropology on:  “Traditional Medicine in Treating Infectious Diseases in Contemporary Madagascar.” Ze Zhang has to date travelled to Tanzania (2010), South Korea (2010),  and Madagascar (2011) through Study Abroad programs  at SB, and is herself an international student from Beijing, China.   While studying in Tanzania one year ago, Ze conducted an independent research project supervised by Dr. William E. Arens, Dean of International Academic Programs, on  “traditional medicine in contemporary Tanzania”, focusing on malarial treatment options. Since February 2009, Ze has also been deeply immersed in evolutionary biology research, working in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Bell (Dept. of Ecology & Evolution), doing fossil preparation and studying variation of bones in fossil stickleback fish (Gasterosteus doryssus) – a project she presented at URECA’s campus wide poster symposium last April.  During her first year at Stony Brook, Ze enjoyed being a member of the SB Marching Band (2008). She also has served with the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps /SBVAC as an EMT (2008-present); and as a Teaching Assistant in Asian & Asian American Studies, Biochemistry & Cell Biology, and Chemistry.

For the full interview/feature, please go to:

NIH Loan Repayment Programs

Participants in the NIH Loan Repayment Programs Receive Up to $35,000 Annually to Help Repay Student Loans

Application Deadline: November 15, 2011 

The 2012 application cycle for the National Institutes of Health’s Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) is now open, so start your application online at The LRPs repay the outstanding student loans of researchers who are or will be conducting nonprofit biomedical or behavioral research. Opportunities are available in five research areas clinical, pediatric, health disparities, contraception and infertility and clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Applications will be accepted until 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on November 15, 2011.

BENEFITS: New LRP contracts are awarded for a two-year period and repay up to $35,000 of qualified educational debt annually. Tax offsets also are provided as additional benefits. Participants may apply for competitive renewals, which are issued for one or two years. Undergraduate, graduate, medical school, and other health professional school loans qualify for repayment. An NIH grant or other NIH funding is not required to apply for or participate in the LRPs.  

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree (with the exception of the contraception and infertility research LRP); be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident; devote 20 hours or more per week to conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit, university or government entity; and have qualified educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20 percent of their institutional base salary.

APPLICATION TIPS: For guidance on the application process and NIH Institute and Center (IC) research priorities, potential applicants should watch this webinar, review Tips for Completing a Competitive Application and contact an IC LRP liaison.

QUESTIONS? Visit the LRP website at for more information and to access the online application. For additional assistance, call or e-mail the LRP Information Center at (866) 849-4047 or Also, receive application cycle updates and tips through Twitter @NIH_LRP and Facebook.

Upcoming ORC Educational Sessions for CORIHS (IRB) Investigators

Topic: Proving Compliance: Proper Documentation in Study Records

Date: Thursday, Sept 15th 
 1:00-2:30 p.m.
 Office of Research Compliance Conference Room, Melville Library, 5th Floor, W5530

Who Should Attend: This session will be invaluable to all investigators, particularly those conducting investigator-initiated studies.

Why you should attend: You will learn how to ensure your study records will be considered compliant upon monitoring or audit by ORC, sponsors, or federal oversight agencies.

Topic: Clinical Investigator Responsibilities in FDA-regulated Studies

Date: Monday, September 26th 
 1:00-2:30 p.m.
 Office of Research Compliance Conference Room, Melville Library, 5th Floor, W5530

Who Should Attend: Investigators involved with studies under FDA jurisdiction (involving experimental drugs, devices, biologics, and certain studies involving experimental use of approved drugs etc.)

Why you should attend: Investigators will learn important requirements in the compliant conduct of studies regulated by the FDA. 

RSVP to Be sure to indicate which session(s) you would like to attend.  Seating is limited, reserve your place now!

Provost’s Lecture Series: Jo Handelsman

Scientific Teaching: Launching A Revolution in Science Education

Jo Handelsman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, where she also directs the Center for Scientific Teaching. Her research deals with microbial communities and their role in infectious disease, focusing in particular on the genetic basis for community stability, the role of a gut community as a source of opportunistic pathogens, and the soil microbial community as a source of new antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes.

In addition to her research, Dr. Handelsman is nationally known for her efforts to improve science education and increase the participation of women and minorities in science at the university level. She wants faculty to approach teaching and mentoring with the same rigor, spirit of experimentation, and creativity that they bring to their research, by incorporating problem-solving and other active learning techniques and assessing their success. She has received many awards for her scientific and educational work, including, most recently, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Abstract: The United States needs a more scientifically literate workforce. President Obama has made meeting this need one of his top domestic priorities and academic scientists have a special responsibility to increase the body of outstanding students attracted to and retained in science majors. There is powerful evidence that many introductory college science courses drive away students who are quite able to be scientists but are bored by the way it is taught. To meet the nation’s needs for scientists, we must improve the introductory curriculum. This can be done through changes in content and using teaching methods that lead to more long-term learning and stimulate creative thinking. Dr. Handelsman will discuss “scientific teaching,” an evidence-based approach to science education and describe training programs in the theory and practice of scientific teaching for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty.

Monday, September 26, 4:00 pm, SAC Ballroom A