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SB Researchers Predict Material ‘Denser than Diamond’

New forms of carbon break the record of density and predicted to possess tunable electronic properties

Stony Brook University graduate student Qiang Zhu, together with Professor of Geosciences and Physics, Artem R. Oganov, postdoc Andriy O. Lyakhov and their colleagues from the University de Oviedo in Spain, have predicted three new forms of carbon, the findings of which were published in a paper entitled “Denser than diamond: Ab initio search for superdense carbon allotropes,” in the June 7, 2011 online edition of Physical Review B. So far, each new found modification of carbon resulted in a scientific, technological revolution – the same could happen now, if scientists can find a way to synthesize these new forms of carbon.

Elemental carbon possesses a unique range of structures and properties – from ultrasoft graphite to superhard diamond, including elusive carbines, beautifully symmetric fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and the recently established new form, M-carbon (the structure of which was predicted by Oganov in 2006). Properties of all these modifications of carbon are so interesting and so tunable that two Nobel prizes were awarded recently for their studies (the 1996 Chemistry and 2010 Physics awards).

Graphene is the densest two-dimensional material, with unique mechanical and electronic properties and having some electrons moving with near-light velocities and behaving as if they had zero mass. Diamond has set several records – it is not only the hardest known material, but also has denser packing of atoms than any other known three-dimensional material. When doped by boron, diamond displays superconductivity and is the only known material simultaneously displaying superhardness and superconductivity.

Now Zhu, Oganov, and their colleagues propose three new structures of carbon, which should be more than 3% denser than diamond. Greater density means that electrons should have a higher kinetic energy (that is, move faster). Calculations of Zhu et al. show that the new modifications are almost as hard as diamond, but do not exceed its hardness. Their electronic properties are very diverse, with the band gap ranging from 3.0 eV to 7.3 eV. Band gap is the minimum separation in energy between occupied and unoccupied electronic orbitals and is the most important characteristic of the electronic structure of materials. Such a wide range of band gaps implies the possibility of tuning the electronic properties. The band gap of 7.3 eV predicted for the tP12 modification is the largest value for all forms of carbon.

Other interesting properties include ultralow compressibility – when subjected to pressure, the new forms of carbon will contract less than most materials (even slightly less than diamond, the current record holder). They have higher refractive indices and stronger light dispersion than diamond – which means better brilliance and color effects than those displayed by diamond. “Carbon is an inexhaustible element in its chemical diversity and in the multitude of its physical applications”, says Professor Oganov. “If these predicted forms of carbon can be synthesized, they may find important technological roles”. Researchers believe that the new forms of carbon, thanks to their high densities, could be synthesized by shock compression of low-density modifications, or by directed growth on substrate.

Yi-Xian Qin of Biomedical Engineering Elected Into American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s (AIMBE) College of Fellows

Dr. Yi-Xian Qin recognized for his work in orthopedic biomechanics

Yi-Xian Qin, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Orthopaedics, and Biophysics at Stony Brook University, has been elected into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Recipients of this honor, considered one of the highest in the biomedical engineering discipline, are chosen for their outstanding achievements in medical and biological engineering.

AIMBE states that Dr. Qin was elected into the College of Fellows “for his work in orthopedic biomechanics, which has provided unique insights into the mechanical control of bone repair and remodeling, as well as noninvasive diagnosis of bone diseases.”

Dr. Qin, Director of Stony Brook’s Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory, has developed a new form of ultrasound that assesses multiple parameters of hard tissue like bone. This technology, called SCAN (Scanning Confocal Acoustic Navigation) is more advanced than existing ultrasound in that it assesses bone parameters beyond mineral density.

“SCAN enables researchers to identify weak regions in bone and thus is an emerging technology that may assist in bone healing and prediction of fractures,” says Dr. Qin. “The technology also has the potential as a diagnostic for the prediction of early bone loss, a hallmark of osteoporosis, a disease that affects millions worldwide.”

The 2011 AIMBE election of Fellows led to 79 researchers nationwide named as Fellows. A non-profit organization representing 50,000 individuals, AIMBE was founded in 1991 to provide leadership and advocacy in medical and biological engineering for the benefit of society. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers.

Thomas C. Skalak, AIMBE President and Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia, called the 2011 elected Fellows talented individuals who “truly enhance the fabric of our society.”

Recognized for their contributions in teaching, research, and innovation, Fellows include leaders in industry as entrepreneurs, directors of research and development, and respected professors as well as heads of engineering and medical schools nationwide.

Dr. Qin received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stony Brook University in 1997. He earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1993, also from Stony Brook University. Previous to that he completed his undergraduate education in Shanghai, China, in 1982.

President Stanley’s Statement on the NYSUNY 2020 Initiative

May 2, 2011

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s announcement of the NYSUNY 2020 Program.

“NYSUNY 2020 is exciting for SUNY, for Stony Brook University and for our region,” said President Stanley. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher as well, for her commitment and support; together they are advancing the role of SUNY’s research institutions and the future of the State’s prospects for economic development.

“The Governor’s plan calls for an infusion of capital dollars for construction keyed to research and requires long term economic and academic plans which Stony Brook has finalized recently and will promptly submit for consideration,” said Dr. Stanley. “This visionary plan presents the opportunity for Stony Brook to increase tuition resulting in additional operating revenue while helping us generate the necessary private funding that will enable us to populate new facilities with leading research faculty and staff, and provide opportunities for the most exceptional students. In so doing, the plan will further our mission of education, research, and discovery of cutting edge technology and new medical treatments.

“As a top-tier research university and member of the prestigious AAU, Stony Brook University is poised to be the engine of a dynamic, interconnected and entrepreneurial regional network for economic innovation and will help NY excel under NYSUNY 2020. SBU accounts for 97% of all SUNY royalties; its average royalty income is $10 million – $15 million per year, and SBU’s gross royalty income for FY 09 was $17,220,322.57. In addition, SBU researchers have filed approximately 1,400 invention disclosures and have been awarded more than 800 patents.

“It is exceptional that the Governor and the Chancellor have recognized the track record of Stony Brook and the other University Centers for their leadership and ability to have a positive and productive impact on regional economic development. We look forward to working with the entire Long Island delegation, the Long Island Association and other key business leaders on Long Island to get their full support, which is critical for NYSUNY 2020 to succeed.

News Release from Gov. Cuomo’s Office: GOVERNOR CUOMO AND SUNY CHANCELLOR ZIMPHER UNVEIL GROUNDBREAKING “NYSUNY 2020″ PROGRAM

New Research Explains Why More Species Live in the Amazon Rainforests

A treefrog (Osteocephalus heyeri) from the Amazonian rainforest. Photo by Dan Moen.

Evolution of Treefrogs Sheds Light on the Mystery of High Amazonian Diversity

For more than two hundred years, the question of why there are more species in the tropics has been a biological enigma. A particularly perplexing aspect is why so many species live together in a small area in the tropics, especially at some sites in the rainforests of the Amazon Basin in South America.

New research on the evolution and ecology of treefrogs, to be published online this month in the journal “Ecology Letters,” sheds new light on the puzzle. The patterns found in treefrogs may also help to explain the high species richness of other groups of organisms—such as trees, birds and insects—in the Amazon rainforests.

The article, entitled “Phylogenetic Origins of Local-Scale Diversity Patterns and the Causes of Amazonian Megadiversity,” will be published online at http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=1461-023x.

“Treefrogs are a particularly important group to study for understanding amphibian diversity, because they can make up nearly half of all amphibian species in some rainforest sites,” says lead author John J. Wiens, an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University. “Treefrogs also offer a striking example of the high local-scale biodiversity in the Amazon. At some sites in the Amazon rainforest, there are more treefrog species in a small area than there are across all of North America or Europe.”

The researchers compiled data on the number of treefrog species at 123 sites around the world and analyzed the data with a new evolutionary tree (based on DNA sequence data) for 360 treefrog species. They discovered that the richness of treefrog species in the Amazon rainforest sites is not explained by wet, tropical climatic conditions alone.

“In fact, we found that many tropical rainforest sites that are outside the Amazon Basin have no more species than do some sites in temperate North America,” explains Dr. Wiens.

Instead, the researchers discovered that the high biodiversity of Amazonian sites is related to different groups of treefrogs occurring together in the Amazon Basin for more than 60 million years—since before most dinosaurs became extinct. In contrast, those sites in tropical rainforests that have relatively few treefrog species are in areas that were colonized by treefrogs much more recently.

These results also have important implications for humans. “The results suggest that the incredible biodiversity of amphibians in some sites in the Amazon Basin took more than 50 million years to develop,” says Dr. Wiens. “If the Amazon rainforests are destroyed and the amphibian species are driven to extinction by human activities in the next few decades, it may take tens of millions of years for this incredible level of biodiversity to ever return.”

SUNY STEM Conference

SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity 

November 3-4, 2011, the Albany Crown Plaza, Albany, New York

Several SUNY Institutions are New York State and national leaders in enhancing the participation of underrepresented students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  Much of the diversity work is done with the support of New York State, federal, business/industry, and private foundation support. 

The SUNY STEM conference will showcase successful programs dedicated to educating diverse students in SUNY and beyond.   The conference will include workshops and posters on best practices in diversity in STEM education–as well as two keynote speakers:  Dr. Irving McPhail, President and CEO, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), and Dr. Lorelle Espinosa, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). 

Participants will have the opportunity to explore partnerships that include schools and higher education (SUNY and beyond), business/industry, and government.  The conference is being organized by the SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity (ODEE) – led by Mr. Carlos Medina, Associate Provost/Associate Vice Chancellor for ODEE.  The co-chairs of the conference are Dr. David L. Ferguson, Distinguished Service Professor and Chair, Department of Technology and Society in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, and Dr. Letitia Thomas, Assistant Vice Provost and Director of the Center for Academic Development Services in the Cora P. Maloney College at the University at Buffalo. 

Call for Proposals:

There will be two types of opportunities for presentations: workshops and posters. All confirmed workshop presenters should also be prepared to share a poster of their workshop. Submissions for “poster session only” proposals are also welcomed. The poster session will provide an opportunity for all conference attendees to be exposed to the wide variety of programs that exist across SUNY.

We seek 500-1,000-word proposals that demonstrate effective efforts at increasing the number of diverse students for STEM disciplines and professions. Proposals that incorporate partnerships with schools or industry with demonstrated success in increasing access, retention and graduation of historically underrepresented student populations in STEM majors are particularly encouraged.

Workshops will be approximately 75 minutes in length. Presentation proposals that outline one or more of the following strands are invited.

  • Recruiting – what are the most effective methods for recruiting diverse students into the STEM disciplines?
  • Retaining – what are the best practices and strategies for acquiring funding for retaining diverse students in the STEM disciplines?
  • Releasing – how do we best prepare diverse students for their futures, including but not limited to, graduate schools, professional schools, or their careers?
  • Partnering – what programs model the best practices between academia and some other group (for example: an outside industry, such as technology companies, businesses, or post-graduate and professional training programs; another school, such as a high school, community college, college/university, or graduate school) in the recruiting, retaining or releasing of diverse students in the STEM disciplines?

Posters are encouraged if they include elements of any of the strands discussed above. Posters will be on display throughout the meeting, with a specific time set aside for their presentation and discussion.

Deadline to submit proposals is June 1, 2011. 

The conference committee strongly encourages the participation of administrators, faculty, staff, business/industry professionals, and governmental leaders. Visit www.suny.edu/provost/stemfor further information.

Registration is expected to open in July 2011.

Scientists Can Track Origin of Shark Fins Using ‘Zip Codes’ In Their DNA

Studies show that coastal sharks have ‘DNA zip codes’ that can reveal where they were born; underscores potential of DNA testing to monitor fin trade

An international team of scientists, led by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University,  has used DNA to determine that groups of dusky sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus) and copper sharks (Carcharhinus brachyurus) living in different coastal regions across the globe are separate populations of each species. Both are large apex predators that are heavily exploited for the shark fin trade, which claims tens of millions of animals every year to produce the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. Many of these species are declining as a result of this fishing pressure for their fins.

The dusky shark is classified as “Endangered” in the Western Atlantic by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as its population is below 20 percent of what it was two decades ago. These new studies show that the genetic differences among populations of these sharks are large enough for scientists to be able to track the actual origin of the fins on sale in Asian markets, enabling better regional monitoring and management of these threatened predators.

These research findings appear in two scientific articles. “Global phylogeography of the dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus: implications for fisheries management and monitoring the shark fin trade,” has been published online in the journal Endangered Species Research. “Phylogeography of the copper shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus) in the southern hemisphere: implications for the conservation of a coastal apex predator” will soon be published in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research. The primary objective of these studies was to identify any genetic differences among regional groups of dusky and copper sharks and establish how many distinct populations there are. The second objective was to determine if these population differences were great enough to allow scientists to reconstruct their contributions to fin trade in the future. Like many large sharks, these species have a wide distribution around the globe but are tied to coastal areas for reproduction.

“By analyzing part of the genome that is inherited solely through the mother, we were able to detect differences between sharks living along different  continents – in effect, their DNA zip codes,” said Dr. Demian Chapman, leader of the research team and assistant director of science of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science. “This research shows that adult females faithfully give birth along the continental region where they were born. If fished too much, the population will collapse, and it is extremely unlikely that it will be replenished from immigration of sharks from another region.”

This is precisely what has happened along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, where the once common dusky shark is now rare and a species of concern for listing under the Endangered Species Act. At one time, these animals were common in ocean waters off the United States; however, a recent stock assessment of the sharks along the U.S. East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico showed an 80 percent decline even though they have been protected since 2000. The recovery of the species is extremely slow because the average age of maturity is 20 years, its reproductive cycle only occurs every three years – including a two-year pregnancy – and its litter size is relatively small (three to 14 offspring).

“Here in the United States, it took only a few decades to nearly wipe out our dusky sharks, and it will probably take a few centuries for their stocks to be replenished,” said Martin Benavides, lead author of both studies and research assistant at the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science. “Our results dash any hopes that dusky sharks from other areas of the world will replenish the depleted U.S. stock. The sight of a dusky shark swimming off our shores will be a rare experience for generations to come.”

“We know very little about the shark fin trade, but by using DNA-zip coding we can identify source populations that are contributing most to the trade, and prioritize them for management,” added Dr. Chapman. “We, therefore, really need to establish sampling programs of fins on their way to Asia or in the markets to regulate the global trade before many more populations suffer the fate of the dusky shark in the United States.”

For years, it was difficult to determine the origin of these fins and whether they were from threatened species. A study by Dr. Chapman, which was published in 2009, Chapman(1) used DNA testing to trace scalloped hammerhead shark fins from the Hong Kong market all the way back to the sharks’ geographic origin and found many came from collapsed Western Atlantic populations. These new research results demonstrate that this type of testing also can be used to trace the origins of the fins of dusky and copper sharks.

“As apex predators at the top of marine food webs, it is essential for ocean health that we take steps, such as monitoring and regulating the fin trade, to protect these large sharks,” said Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science.

Both research projects were conducted by a collaborative international team of scientists from the United States, Australia, South America, Asia, New Zealand and southern Africa. The scientists collectively analyzed part of the mitochondrial DNA in nearly 400 sharks sampled from all over the globe.

This research was funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts through a grant to the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University. Sequence data were collected in the Field Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution, operated with support from the Pritzker Foundation. Additional sequence data were collected at the Guy Harvey Research Institute with operational funds and a grant from the Save Our Seas Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Turner Fellowship Program and the Tinker Foundation.

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For more information on “Global phylogeography of the dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus: implications for fisheries management and monitoring the shark fin trade,” visit: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v14/n1/p13-22/.

For more information on “Phylogeography of the copper shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus) in the southern hemisphere: implications for the conservation of a coastal apex predator,” visit: http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journals_pip_abstract.cfm?nid=127&ver=3&pip=MF10236

The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University is dedicated to advancing ocean conservation through science. The Institute transforms real-world policy while pursuing serious science, both of which are essential for ocean health.  For more information, go to www.oceanconservationscience.org.

(1)  Chapman DD, Pinhal D, Shivji MS (2009); “Tracking the fin trade: genetic stock identification in Western Atlantic scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini),” Endangered Species Research.

URECA Researcher of the Month: James Pastore

This month’s featured student is James Pastore, a University Scholars junior majoring in chemistry who presented a poster at the Sigma Xi regional northeast conference (April 9, CEWIT) held at Stony Brook for the first time; and at URECA’s campus-wide undergraduate research Celebration (April 27, SAC).  James has been working since summer 2009 under the mentorship of Drs. Clare Grey and Lin-Shu Du in the Grey group, a trans-Atlantic research group linking Cambridge, England and Stony Brook, NY. Through the lab, he collaborates as a team member of the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) and the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage  (NECCES) — a multi-institutional, DOE-funded effort being led by Stony Brook University, and including as partners Rutgers University, MIT, Binghamton University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Michigan, and the University of California at San Diego.

James’s project focuses on the  conversion mechanism of metal fluoride nano-composites as positive electrode materials in lithium ion batteries. He is the only undergraduate in the Grey group, and has had to undergo a lot of training to perform complex NMR experiments – assembling coin cells with electrode materials in a glove box, learning how to process NMR and XRD data. As part of the research, he also works with collaborators at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) to interpret data and confirm experimental results.

Last summer, James presented at the 15th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries in Montreal, Canada (June, 2010). James attended Sachem High School East, Farmingville, NY; his long term plans are to pursue graduate studies in materials chemistry.

For the full interview/feature, please go to: http://www.stonybrook.edu/ureca/researcher-month.shtml

Provost’s Lecture Series – Professors and Imagination: Mastering Mental Imagery to Improve Teaching/Writing and Reveal Hidden Genius

Friday, May 13, 4:00 pm, Wang Center, Room 201

Robert Boice, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University, and world-renowned author, is notable for his studies in faculty development and progress. Having received numerous awards in teaching, he also has published several books and more than 200 published articles. Some of his works include: Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing, Procrastination and Blocking, and Advice for New Faculty Members. His work is highly regarded for its practical use and worthy guidance for new faculty. Boice is currently making final revisions on his forthcoming book, tentatively titled Imagination and the Professor, drawn from his current research on building higher minds by way of learned skills of imagination. His distinguished career has been dedicated to counseling new faculty on balancing their research work and classroom instruction. The focus of much of his work has been with helping faculty to overcome their writing problems so that they are able to turn their attention to their students and, therefore, become effective educators. Co-sponsored by Teaching Learning + Technology.

BME Professors Awarded NIH Grant for Research

Helmut Strey, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Eric Brouzes, Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, have been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for their research proposal, “Microfluidics for Single Cell Genomics.” This grant will bring in approximately $450K during its two-year funding period, and complements the $97K bioscience technology development proposal they recently received from the Center for Biotechnology for their microfluidics technology.

“Our NIH research grant is funding the development of high-throughput microfluidics used to measure gene expression in single cells,” said Strey. “This new approach has the potential to revolutionize how gene expression analysis is done.”

“This research is a wonderful example of science and technology development at the convergence of biology and engineering, with terrific potential to improve our ability to identify those at risk of disease or the efficacy of new treatments,” said Clinton Rubin, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University. “Helmut and Eric are at the cutting edge of biomedical diagnostics, and we are all very excited about seeing this science translate to improve healthcare. This is great for Stony Brook, and great for New York.”

Current gene expression analysis techniques are often limited because they combine the gene expression data of large cell populations and therefore miss the critical gene information expressed in single cells. This new single cell gene expression analysis allows for a better understanding of the individual cellular components of different groups of cells (tumors, brain tissue, etc.) and how genes in individual cells play a role during stem cell differentiation.

This new approach can be used by both researchers and clinicians. For example, it can be used to identify a single circulating tumor cell out of a billion cells present in the blood. Such an approach could lead to methods for early cancer diagnostics and cancer treatment monitoring.

Earthstock 2011: April 25-29

 


This week-long, campus-wide event, is free and open to the public. Environmental organizations, participants with an earth-friendly message, and local schools will celebrate on the Academic Mall, Friday, April 29. Stony Brook University is at the vanguard of the sustainability movement. Our commitment to a green future is evident everywhere on our 1,400 acres: from reducing our carbon footprint, to advocating recycling and using recycled materials whenever possible, to promoting alternatively fueled transportation.  Check out the link, below, for Program Highlights.

http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/earthstock/index.html

Stony Brook University And Rutgers University Awarded National Science Foundation Grant For New Research Center

New Designation Brings Together Academics and Industry for Solving Data Collection and Analysis Challenges

The National Science Foundation has designated the Center for Dynamic Data Analytics (CDDA)—a partnership between Stony Brook University and Rutgers University—as a new Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The CDDA, based at Stony Brook’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) will have a base budget exceeding $2M over the initial five year period. It will unite academics and industry in an effort to improve IT technology and its relevance in the business world. The focus will be on innovative research and applications in the emerging field of dynamic data analysis based on the collaborative efforts between the two Universities and the member companies.

The Stony Brook CDDA’s corporate partners include CA Technologies, Northrop Grumman Corporation, SAP, Siemens, VJ Technologies, Softheon, Future Tech, Intrigma, DrChrono, Reveal Analytics, and General Sentiment. Additional businesses in the process of joining include IBM, Verizon, JP Morgan, Siemens, Applied Vision, FalconStor, Fatwire, Language Mate, XSB and Adobe.

“Our mission is to advance our knowledge on how to analyze and visualize massive, complex, multi-dimensional and multi-scale dynamic data,” explains Principal Investigator Arie E. Kaufman, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department and Chief Scientist of CEWIT at Stony Brook University. “The end result will be novel science, algorithms, systems and applications that transform chaos (due to the size of the data) into knowledge.”

“CA Technologies is an IT management software and solutions company with expertise across all IT environments—from mainframe and physical, to virtual and cloud,” says Russ Artzt Vice Chairman of CA Technologies, who serves as the Chairman of CEWIT Advisory Board. “CA manages and secures IT environments and enables customers to deliver more flexible IT services [and] as such CA is interested in dynamic and large data analytics and specifically interested in collaborating with the Stony Brook CEWIT on data experimental and analytics. The CDDA and the associated NSF funding will perfectly complement these activities.”

The team of researchers from Stony Brook University and Rutgers University are experts in data analysis and visualization and have a long history of collaboration, while the corporate partners are leaders in their respective fields. “The center will close the essential loop between science and applications that is equally lacking between computer science research and IT development,” notes Professor Kaufman. “The algorithm and system design will be tested, validated, and improved based on the close collaboration and research between the two universities and industry. This cycle of design, testing and improvement can only be accomplished through a close University-Industry collaboration and is especially significant in this situation because of the complexity of the data and the absence of relevant algorithms and systems.”

“My colleagues Dorin Comaniciu, Kevin Zhou and Gareth Funka-Lea attended the CDDA planning meeting [at CEWIT] in January 2010, and are excited at the potential for CDDA to drive important innovations in data analytics,” says Silvano Dall’Asta, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens.

In addition to advancing the science of dynamic data analytics, the CDDA will also accelerate its transfer to industry by working closely with its business partners in the definition and prioritization of projects to be pursued by the Center and will seek involvement from world renowned faculty and excellent students.

“Adobe Systems Inc. is delighted to participate as an industry partner in the IUCRC Center for Dynamic Data Analytics,” says Jue Wang, Senior Research Scientist at Adobe. “The proposed scope of work around computer vision, computer graphics, context aware computing and distributed processing are extremely relevant to portfolios Adobe is building in digital media authoring and publishing solutions. Additionally, the goal of the Center to apply these novel data analytic approaches to healthcare, entertainment, environmental monitoring, and computer networks aligns with our mission of enabling new products and services in these industries.”

Zhen Wen of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, New York, says, “The proposed scope of work around large-scale, distributed data processing and mining is extremely relevant to IBM’s portfolios in smarter planet solutions.”

Dall’Asta, of Siemens, notes, “We fully support the Center’s primary goal of accelerating both our understanding of the fundamentals of dynamic data analytics, and the transfer of these fundamentals into industry solutions.”

“Northrop Grumman Corporation is pleased to participate in the proposed center and is interested in the general area of dynamic data analytics and more specifically in multivariate analytics, multi-dimensional data visualization, advanced human/machine interfaces for managing multi-dimensional data,” says Lenny Poveromo, Director of Strategic University Alliances for Northrop Grumman.

“Our research will transform traditional research and significantly advance the computer science curriculum by improving the applications taught in our classes as well as having our industry partners lecture on the problems faced by industry,” notes Professor Kaufman. “Our students will spend time with our industrial affiliates as research assistants and through internships, and will thus improve their skills and design more sound and improved algorithms.”

The specific topics to be addressed by the Center are an emerging class of problems that are becoming increasingly important in many scientific and industrial areas, including computer science (e.g. cloud computing), biology, security, linguistics and the environmental sciences—all of which are confronted with analytics of massive and dynamic data. Ultimately, this endeavor will lead to new product development by the industrial partners in the area of dynamic data analytics. “The CDDA will transform traditional research in computer science and will have far-reaching consequences for both industry and homeland security,” notes Professor Kaufman.

Kenneth Kaushansky Elected to Council Of the Association of American Physicians

 

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., MACP, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, has been elected as a Council Member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). Part of the governing body of the AAP, the 10-member Council oversees the annual membership nomination process of physician-scientists and other medical researchers nationwide who have helped advance medicine through scientific discovery. Officially elected a Council member on March 25, Dr. Kaushansky has been a member of the AAP since 1998.

A physician-scientist and leading hematologist, Dr. Kaushansky has conducted seminal research on the molecular biology of blood cell production. His team has cloned several of the genes important in the growth and differentiation of blood cells, including thrombopoietin, a key regulator of stem cell and platelet production. He is an accomplished clinician, and he has been a champion of the need to train more physician-scientists who can bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinical arena, translating research discoveries into improved treatments and technologies for the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease.

Dr. Kaushansky’s laboratory work has led to several significant discoveries, for which he received the Dameshek Award from the American Society of Hematology, awarded annually to the scientist who has provided the most seminal insight into the Pathophysiology of hematological disorders, and the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Society for Medical Research, the most prestigious award of the Society.

Dr. Kaushansky earned his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed his Internal Medicine Internship, Residency and Chief Medical Residency, and Fellowship in Hematology at the University of Washington. He joined the faculty at the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor in 1987, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1991 and to Professor in 1995. Following his service as Hematology Section Chief at the University of Washington Medical Center, Dr. Kaushansky was named Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego in February 2002.

He is a past-president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (2004 – 2005), the Western Society for Clinical Investigation (1998 – 1999) and the American Society of Hematology (ASH; 2007-2008). He also served a five-year term as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Blood (1998-2002) and has served as a major reviewer for the NIH, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and many major scientific periodicals.

Dr. Kaushansky has also been recognized for his scientific, educational and clinical contributions by election as a Master of the American College of Physicians, and to several honor societies and organizations, including the AAP, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Association of American Physicians is a nonprofit, professional organization founded in 1885 by seven physicians, including Dr. William Osler, for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” Now, the Association is composed of over 1300 active members and approximately 600 emeritus and honorary members from the United States, Canada and other countries. The goals of its members include the pursuit of medical knowledge, and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine. Each year, individuals having attained excellence in achieving these goals, are recognized by nomination for membership by the Council of the Association. Their election gives them the opportunity to share their scientific discoveries and contributions with their colleagues at the annual meeting.

Stony Brook University to Host 2011 Sigma Xi Northeastern Research Symposium

On Saturday, April 9, 2011 the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) at Stony Brook University will host the 2011 Sigma Xi Northeastern Research Symposium at the Stony Brook University Center of Excellence for Information & Wireless Technology (CEWIT) to showcase the work of top undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from across the country in various fields of science.

Sponsored by the USG in collaboration with NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology (Sensor CAT), and the Office of the Vice President of Research at Stony Brook University, the Sigma Xi research symposium is regarded as one of the most prestigious student research conferences in the Northeast. Held in celebration of National Undergraduate Research Week, this year’s symposium promises to be the largest and most decorated in Sigma XI history.

Among the attendees will be twenty-three of Stony Brook’s own students. The students will be joined by many faculty members including three world-renowned scientists, Professor Paul Greengard of Rockefeller University, Professor Grigori Enikolopov of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Vice President for Research John H. Marburger, III of Stony Brook University, who will be speaking at this event.

“This year’s conference has attracted emerging scholars from all over the country, including such elite universities as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Emory, Medical College of Wisconsin, Stony Brook University, and many others,” said Yan Leyfman, Stony Brook undergraduate student and Director of this year’s symposium. “This event will allow aspiring student scientists to network with each other, faculty, guests, and members of the Stony Brook community.”

About the Speakers:  

- Paul Greengard (Rockefeller University) was the 2000 Nobel Prize recipient in Physiology or Medicine for his work in neuronal signaling. He is currently conducting influential research on Alzheimer’s disease.

- Grigori Enikolopov (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) is a leading authority on neural stem cells, adult neurogenesis, and the molecular basis for mood disorders. Dr. Enikolopov holds several patents, founded two biotechnology companies, and has authored over 100 publications.

- John H. Marburger, III (Stony Brook University) is a physicist, the current Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University, the third President of Stony Brook University, former Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, President George W. Bush’s Science Advisor, and former director of the federal Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

For more information visit http://www.oswego.edu/~bendinsk/sigmaxiconference.html.

Institutions Represented

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Cornell University
  • CUNY Lehman College
  • CUNY Queens College
  • CUNY York College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Fairfield University
  • Fordham University
  • Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)
  • Harvard University
  • Ithaca College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Monmouth University
  • National Institutes of Health
  • NYU Collage of Dentistry
  • Princeton University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Smith College
  • Stanford University
  • Stony Brook University
  • SUNY Oswego
  • SUNY Plattsburgh
  • SUNY Purchase
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Wells College
  • Yale University

SBU Pharmacology Researchers Uncover New Role for Mitochondria

Reported in Developmental Cell, the Findings May Provide Clues to Male Infertility

Michael Frohman, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and colleagues, have discovered a new role for mitochondria during ribonucleic acid (RNA) processing. This latest finding, reported in Developmental Cell, may hold clues to some causes of male infertility.

Long-recognized by scientists as the powerhouse of the cell involved in the role of energy production, mitochondria help regulate numerous cell biological processes. These processes involve communication between the mitochondria and the rest of the cell via signaling pathways on the mitochondrial surface that mediate interactions with cytoplasmic proteins. Some of the pathways involve lipids.

The research team studied a specific aspect of this mitochondria activity – the machinery that generates and senses protein and lipid signals. They focused their investigation of activities that occur on and around the mitochondrial surface.

“Our experimentation uncovered a new role for mitochondria in a specialized form of RNA-processing that appears to take place at the interface between the mitochondrial surface and adjacent granules of RNA and RNA-associated proteins,” says Dr. Frohman, summarizing the research results. “More specifically, we linked a signaling enzyme on the mitochondrial surface, called MitoPLD, to the production of piRNAs, which are produced from RNA copies early in spermatogenesis during meiosis.”

Dr. Frohman explained that the significance of the finding is that piRNAs are known for suppressing cellular transcription (copying of RNA) and thus mobilization of genetic elements known as transposons, which make up almost half of the human genome. Many types of piRNAs also target non-transposon genes. But without piRNAs, transposons replicate, leading to widespread DNA damage and subsequent death of differentiating sperm cells.

Furthering the research, the team genetically engineered mice to lack the gene MitoPLD. They found the mice to be normal, except that the males were infertile. No effect has been seen on female fertility.

“The long-term potential significance of our laboratory findings is the possibility that some cases of male infertility may be caused by inherited mutations in MitoPLD, the signaling enzyme, especially since at least one inactivating mutation is found in the database of sequenced human DNA,” says Dr. Frohman. “Conversely, pharmacological inhibitors of MitoPLD could have potential utility as male contraceptives.”

In their study, titled “piRNA-Associated Germline Nuage Formation and Spermatogenesis Require MitoPLD Profusogenic Mitochondrial-Surface Lipid Signaling,” the authors point out that despite their findings, the piRNA generation pathway is complex and the mechanism underlying MitoPLD effects on mitochondrial morphology and fusion are unknown. However, they believe the biological significance of their work has pharmacological potential.

“Because inhibitors have been developed for other members of the same enzyme family, MitoPLD is likely a feasible target,” theorizes Dr. Frohman.

Dr. Frohman’s co-authors include: Huiyan Huang, Qun Gao, Xiaoxue Peng, and Krishna Sarma, of the Center for Developmental Genetics, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook University; Hongmei Ren and Andrew J. Morris, of the Gill Heart Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington; and Seok-Yong Choi, of Stony Brook University and the Chonnam National University Medical School in Korea.

Stony Brook Department Declared A Landmark

Benjamin Hsiao, chair department of Chemistry, Nancy B.

Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan | Benjamin Hsiao, chair department of Chemistry, Nancy B. Jackson, President of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Joseph A. Frank, National Institutes of Health and former student of Paul Lauterbur, John H. Marburger III, Vice President for Reasearch, Eriks Kupce, Senior Scientific Advisor, Agilent Technologies , UK, Daniel Raleigh, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Dr. Jerome Ackerman, Harvard Medical School and former student of Paul C. Lauterbur. Stony Brook MRI to earn historic status. The American Chemical Society Friday designates the development of the MRI at Stony Brook University's Chemistry Department as a national historic landmark. (March 10, 2011)

 

Forty years ago, during his second bite into a hamburger, Paul Lauterbur experienced a “Eureka” moment: He figured out the scientific basis of what was to become the MRI.

On Friday, the American Chemical Society honored Lauterbur posthumously by designating Stony Brook University’s chemistry department a historic landmark.

It’s the department where he taught for more than 20 years and refined his pioneering work on magnetic resonance imaging.

Stony Brook officials and Nancy Jackson, president of the chemical society, were on hand for the presentation of a plaque marking Lauterbur’s accomplishment.

He was wooed away from the school in 1985 by the University of Illinois and won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2003 for his groundbreaking ideas that produced truly useful images. Lauterbur died four years later at the age of 78.

“He developed the mathematical theory for magnetic resonance imaging and how we can detect information from the human body,” said Debiao Li, vice president of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Lauterbur’s widow, Joan Dawson, an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus, said her husband’s discovery came suddenly, while dining at a Long Island Big Boy restaurant with a colleague.

He jotted down his thoughts on a napkin but quickly ran out of space.

“Paul ran out to a drugstore and bought a spiral notebook, and wrote down his ideas,” Dawson recalled.

In 2003, Lauterbur told Newsday on the day he won the Nobel Prize, “I knew [MRI] would be a useful tool from the very first ideas, but not how useful.”

His development of MRI grew out of work involving nuclear resonance imaging.

MRI allows physicians to peer into the body without invasive surgery. It has proved useful for scanning the brain and other organs, as well as the spinal cord and joints. The images are comparable to those generated by three-dimensional CT scans but are produced without potentially harmful ionizing radiation.

MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the body. Dawson said she’s touched that Lauterbur is still remembered at Stony Brook.

“My husband has been awarded many honors over the years,” she said. “But this would be very special to him. And he would be proud to know this department still remembers him.”