Chestnut Hill, MA, United States
Chestnut Hill, MA, United States

Boston College is a private Jesuit Catholic research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA, 6 miles west of downtown Boston. It has 9,100 full-time undergraduates and almost 5,000 graduate students. The university's name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school in Boston's South End. It is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.Boston College's undergraduate program is currently ranked 31st in the National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Boston College is categorized as a research university with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Students at the university earned 21 Fulbright Awards in 2012, ranking the school eighth among American research institutions. At $2.131 billion, Boston College has the 40th largest university endowment in North America, and the largest endowment of all Jesuit colleges and universities.Boston College offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees through its nine schools and colleges: College of Arts & science, Boston College Graduate School of Arts & science, Carroll School of Management, Lynch School of Education, Connell School of Nursing, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College Law School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Woods College of Advancing Studies.Boston College sports teams are called the Eagles, and their colors are maroon and gold; the school mascot is Baldwin the Eagle. The Eagles compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports offered by the ACC. The men's and women's ice hockey teams compete in Hockey East. Boston College's men's ice hockey team is one of the most decorated programs in the nation, having won five national championships. Wikipedia.

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The invention provides novel azaborine compounds, methods for their syntheses and functionalization, and various applications thereof. For example, novel azaborine-containing biarylcarboxylic acids and biarylcarboxamides are disclosed herein, which provide the opportunity to be used as therapeutic agents in different diseases. The novel azaborine-containing compounds show unique physical and biological properties when compared to their corresponding all-carbon compounds. Also, disclosed herein are substituted 1,2-dihydro-1,2-azaborine compounds and methods for making the same including methods for the preparation of various substituted azaborines including alkyl, alkenyl, aryl, nitrile, heteroaryl, and fused ring substituents in the presence of BH, BCl, BO and NH bonds from Br-substituted azaborines as well as the synthesis of new fused BN-heterocycles.

Heyman G.M.,Boston College
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology | Year: 2013

According to the idea that addiction is a chronic relapsing disease, remission is at most a temporary state. Either addicts never stop using drugs, or if they do stop, remission is short lived. However, research on remission reveals a more complex picture. In national epidemiological surveys that recruited representative drug users, remission rates varied widely and were markedly different for legal and illegal drugs and for different racial/ethnic groups. For instance, the half-life for cocaine dependence was four years, but for alcohol dependence it was 16 years, and although most dependent cocaine users remitted before age 30, about 5% remained heavy cocaine users well into their forties. Although varied, the remission results were orderly. An exponential growth curve closely approximated the cumulative frequency of remitting for different drugs and different ethnic/racial groups. Thus, each year a constant proportion of those still addicted remitted, independent of the number of years since the onset of dependence. Copyright © 2013 by Annual Reviews.

Tan K.L.,Boston College
ACS Catalysis | Year: 2011

The use of reversibly formed covalent bonds to induce intramolecular reactions is a powerful way of controlling regio- and stereoselectivity, as well as accelerating reactions. Although this mode of activation was demonstrated in catalytic systems over 60 years ago, it is infrequently used in catalyst design. This review will focus on highlighting examples of reversible covalent bonding in organic catalysts as well as ligands for metal catalysis. A key aspect of this type of catalysis is that it is an entropically driven process, so it has the potential to be applied to a broad variety of reactions. Furthermore, this design element can be used in concert with more traditional forms of catalyst activation. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2016

This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by developing and testing a six-year sequence of courses and summer events designed to prepare low-income youth for the local area workforce. The project will recruit, retain, and prepare students from underrepresented populations in STEM-related fields. While in the program, students will learn: a) science concepts related to hydroponics; b) how to develop hydroponics systems that are powered by alternative energy sources; c) how to build and program robotic arms to plant and harvest produce; d) how to automate the operation and monitoring of hydroponic systems; and e) how to build and program telepresence robots while earning college credits. Midway through the program, beginning in grade 10, participating students will also benefit from a Web-based mentoring program that will facilitate interactions with STEM professionals, program alumni, and each other. The project is collaborative effort involving a school district, a community college, a university, and a mentoring organization.

Outcomes of the multi-year program of activities, courses, and mentoring strategies will be studied through a mixed-methods research approach based on a combination of survey data and participant interviews. The theoretical framework for the project is grounded in social cognitive career theory, career construction theory, and the relational theory of working. The work will be guided by four research questions: 1. To what extent does the seeding-the-future intervention foster progress in students intentions to pursue further STEM educational options and to consider STEM careers? 2. To what extent does the intervention enhance students career adaptability, as defined by academic resilience? 3. What role does relational support, as exemplified by the virtual mentoring program, support from family members, teachers, and other important people in the students lives, play in self-efficacy development, interest formation, resilience, and intentionality to pursue STEM courses and fields? And, 4. How do youth understandings of complex scientific and technological systems change over time, and what aspects of the program support youth system thinking? Constructs being measured include social support, academic support, academic resilience, mathematics and science outcome expectancy, mathematics and science intent, mathematics and science self-efficacy, and science interest.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PALEOCLIMATE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 383.82K | Year: 2016

This collaborative project aims to investigate the role of changes in the South American Summer Monsoon (SASM) intensity on forest-savanna biome shifts that occurred during the Late Holocene. Development of paleoclimate records from in and near the core of the monsoon region enables an assessment of the strength of the paleo-monsoon signal across the region.

The researchers look to generate independent, yet co-located, records of past climate (speleothems) and vegetation (soil profiles) dynamics from the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado (savanna), for which existing records are absent. Paleoclimate and ecological interpretations will be validated using cave monitoring and proxy system modeling.

The researchers intend to evaluate the following questions: i) Do speleothem delta 18-Oxygen values reflect variations in SASM intensity, ii) Do variations in SASM intensity drive corresponding variation in local moisture conditions, iii) What was the nature and driver of Late Holocene variability in SASM intensity and local moisture conditions, and iv) how sensitive were biomes in vegetative transition zones to variability in SASM intensity and local moisture conditions.

The project involves the monitoring of modern cave environments to evaluate speleothem delta 18-Oxygen values as a proxy of SASM intensity and speleothem trace element concentrations and Strontium isotope compositions as a proxy of local moisture conditions. The research will extend existing speleothem delta 18-Oxygen records of the last millennium from the Amazon and Cerrado further back in time and develop corresponding records of speleothem trace element and 87- Strontium /86-Strontium and soil organic matter delta 13-Carbon to assess the co-variability between regional monsoon intensity, local moisture conditions, and biome shifts.

The project helps promote greater understanding of the SASM and strong collaboration with Brazilian scientists. The SASM is the most important source of rainfall to the region with great socio-economic and environmental relevance, including defining current ecosystem distribution and stability, hydroelectric production, and agriculture.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 454.40K | Year: 2016

An award is made to Boston College to support the acquisition of a Super-Resolution Structured Illumination Microscope that will be shared by researchers in the Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology departments. Each of the co-PIs on this grant trains multiple undergraduates every year, and these undergraduates will benefit dramatically from experience using a super-resolution microscope. Furthermore, this microscope will be used as a general training and recruitment platform to draw more undergraduates from diverse backgrounds into life-science. Specifically, the microscope will be directly incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum via the Advanced Cellular Imaging Course which enrolls 24 students annually. Additionally, the microscope will be incorporated into many outreach efforts run by faculty in the department including Research Day for Under-represented Students and the Women in Science and Technology Program. Finally, a collaboration has been initiated with Wellesley College, a highly competitive college for women, which will have access to this microscope for research projects, and will include in the class Modern Biological Imaging, which trains 12 women every year. Thus, enrichment of undergraduate training in general, and for women and under-represented groups specifically, is a primary function of this instrument.

Super-resolution microscopy is crucial to cell biological research today. This fact is highlighted by entire sessions at international meetings such as the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting being devoted to the technique, and by the volume of manuscripts that would not be possible without the spatial resolution made possible by super-resolution microscopy. Boston College has a critical mass of cell biologists, and a well-equipped, University-funded, imaging facility. The addition of Super-Resolution Microscopy capabilities will expand the questions that can be asked, and the depth to which questions can be addressed. Furthermore, it will be a tool for the recruitment of new faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. In conclusion, super-resolution capabilities are necessary, not only to drive cell based research today, but to properly train future scientists. The SR-SIM system at Boston College will be maximized for both goals and will additionally be used as a tool to develop collaborations between faculty and students at a number of area institutions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CATALYSIS AND BIOCATALYSIS | Award Amount: 375.00K | Year: 2016

Professor Matthias Waegele of Boston College is supported by the Chemical Catalysis program in the Division of Chemistry to develop a better understanding of how carbon dioxide is converted to hydrocarbons using readily-available copper as a catalyst. The primary considerations that motivate this research are: the reduction of carbon dioxide could potentially serve as a sustainable source of hydrocarbon-based fuels, and the process may additionally provide a sustainable chemical route to ethylene and other essential chemicals. A novel, time-resolved, infrared spectroscopic method is developed to detect intermediates of this complex multi-step chemical conversion process. The new insight gained from conducting the research leads to a better understanding of the molecular origins that control the catalytic activity and selectivity of copper. A better understanding on the molecular level informs the design and development of industrially-viable catalysts for the conversion of carbon dioxide to fuel and building block chemicals. In addition to the technical broader impacts of the project, societal benefits are realized in the training of graduate and undergraduate students in advanced chemical research methods. This research is under the SusChEM initiative as it uses a non-precious metal, copper, as the catalyst.

The principal goal of this research is to reveal the underlying molecular mechanism responsible for the unique catalytic ability of copper to reduce carbon dioxide to methane and ethylene in an aqueous electrochemical environment. Specifically, this research aims to delineate the mechanistic origins of the high over-potentials necessary to drive the reduction and the elementary steps which control the selectivity for one hydrocarbon product over the other. While the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide has been an active area of research for over three decades, this project develops and employs a fundamentally different technique uniquely suited to address these key aims. Specifically, an electrochemical cell is coupled to a time-resolved infrared spectrometer. The potential of the electrochemical cell is rapidly jumped on a sub-microsecond timescale, providing a fast electrical trigger for the electro-reduction reaction. The transient intermediates of the triggered reaction are monitored by the time-resolved infrared spectrometer. The approach provides new thermodynamic, kinetic, and structural information essential for guiding the design of more efficient catalysts for this reaction.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS | Award Amount: 135.55K | Year: 2017

Nontechnical Abstract:
Materials can often be categorized based on how electrons within them behave. For example, in metals, electrons are free to move around and conduct electricity, while in insulators, they cannot. Topological materials are a new family of materials that cannot be classified in such a simple manner. For instance, a prototypical topological material called a topological insulator (TI) is an insulator in the bulk, but exhibits metallic behavior on the surface. In other words, only the surface of a TI is allowed to conduct electricity. Moreover, electrons on the surface of a TI can have zero mass and behave like relativistic particles. A theoretical framework for several novel types of topological materials has emerged in recent years, each one hosting new exotic properties, but experiments have struggled to fully catch up with these predictions. This project combines two advanced atomic-scale techniques to create and characterize new topological materials: (1) molecular beam epitaxy to create the materials a single atomic layer at a time, and (2) scanning tunneling microscopy to visualize their atomic and electronic structure. The project aims to provide a fundamental advancement in the understanding of topological materials, as well as to craft new materials for their eventual use in technology, such as in spintronics and quantum computing. The education goals of this project utilize the principal investigators expertise in materials growth and microscopy imaging, and are targeted to impact a wide range of students, including middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate students. The specific efforts include establishing outreach events in local K-12 schools, participating in Research Science Institute summer program, organizing science talks at the university level, and developing courses focused on state-of-the-art synthesis and microscopy techniques.

Technical Abstract:
The past few decades have seen the emergence of several classes of materials with extraordinary physical properties, such as high-temperature superconductors, colossal magnetoresistance materials and 2D systems such as graphene. Topological materials - systems hosting novel electronic states whose existence and properties are specified by a topological invariant - are the most recent addition to the list. Prototypical topological materials are topological insulators, systems characterized by an odd Z2 topological invariant calculated from the electronic band structure. Even though topological insulators are bulk insulators, the topology of the band structure dictates the existence of gapless metallic electronic states at their boundary, occupied by massless Dirac fermions that are protected by symmetry. Recently, a theoretical framework for several new classes of topological systems has emerged, including topological crystalline insulators, topological superconductors and Weyl semimetals. However, experiments have struggled to fully catch up with these predictions, due to both synthesis and characterization bottlenecks. This project uses a rare combination of molecular beam epitaxy and spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunneling microscopy to explore new pathways for discovering and manipulating topological phases. Specifically, the project aims to create new topological phases in thin films of (Pb,Sn)Te family of semiconductors, by exploring different film thicknesses, substrates, doping and strain. Nanoscale spectroscopic characterization down to ~400 mK base temperature in variable magnetic field allows the explorations of topological phases with superior spatial and energy resolution. The education goals of this project are targeted to impact a wide range of students via establishing outreach events in local middle school and high schools, participating in Research Science Institute summer program, organizing science talks for students at the university level, and developing courses focused on state-of-the-art synthesis and microscopy techniques.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY | Award Amount: 382.64K | Year: 2016

Moral judgment depends on an assessment of internal mental states such as beliefs, intentions, and motivations, and not just external, observable actions. Thus, forming moral judgments of other people and interacting with them requires reasoning about their minds--a capacity known as theory of mind. For example, judging the morality of an action requires questions such as Did she INTEND to poison his coffee, or did she THINK it was sugar? Prior work has examined the role of theory of mind for moral judgment for some contexts, such as distinguishing intentional from accidental harms when people make judgments regarding third-party interactions. However, people are not mere observers. People are active participants in the social world; they consider the minds of their social partners with whom they are interacting. Theory of mind processes may differ in important ways for an active participant in an interaction. Understanding theory of mind in contexts where individuals goals involve social connection and coordination versus strife and social distance may be of particular societal importance. For example, in a process called dehumanization, individuals distance themselves from being aware of others as thinking, feeling agents with intentions and minds. Research suggests people may dehumanize the enemy to justify their own aggression, either before aggressing or after the fact. Thus existing research reveals the importance of theory of mind for moral judgment, and it also provides clues that theory of mind might be modulated by social context. The current work addresses a key gap in theory of mind research, by examining systematically how theory of mind is deployed for social interaction in two distinct motivational contexts--competition and cooperation. This project uses methodological and theoretical approaches from social, cognitive and developmental psychology and neuroscience. Investigating the early emergence of differences in social cognition for competition versus cooperation and the underlying neural mechanisms will provide insight for scholars and policy makers into the scale and nature of the problems at hand. Ultimately, understanding social cognition across motivational contexts will shed light on societal problems, from political disagreement to ethnic discord.

The investigators consider three fundamental questions about the role of theory of mind in social interaction across motivational contexts. First, do distinct neural mechanisms support theory of mind for competition versus cooperation? Second, do distinct developmental trajectories underlie theory of mind across these contexts? Third, what are the social consequences of these differences for intergroup conflict, such as whether people support diplomatic efforts? The research will use functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural processes in typically developing adults and adults with autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction. To track the developmental trajectories, the research will apply novel paradigms to typically developing children between 3 and 5 years of age, an age group associated with emerging theory of mind capacities. To investigate the social consequences of possible differences in theory of mind processes and to test the impact of an intervention, the research will examine existing groups in society with a history of conflict. By integrating social psychological, developmental, and cognitive neuroscientific methods, the project aims to provide a comprehensive account of how theory of mind operates in real and consequential contexts of social interaction. In addition, testing whether cognitive impairments are associated with an inability to distinguish between these contexts will also advance our understanding of the cognitive capacities that enable most people to be able to make such distinctions. Finally, the research may provide preliminary guidance on how situations of potential intergroup conflict may be reduced via theory of mind processes.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Synthesis | Award Amount: 380.00K | Year: 2016

In this project, funded by the Chemical Synthesis Program of the NSF Chemistry Division, Professor Shih-Yuan Liu and his students in the Department of Chemistry at Boston College synthesize boron-nitrogen(BN)-containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These molecules exhibit BN/CC (carbon-carbon) isosterism, that is, they replace two carbon atoms in an aromatic organic molecule with one boron and one nitrogen atom. While both the carbon-carbon and boron-nitrogen containing molecules have the same number of overall electrons, their properties are very different. BN-substituted PAHs may be useful in a number of applications including medicinal chemistry and devices that convert light to electricity. The Liu group is developing new synthetic methods to make BN-doped PAHs. Once prepared, the molecules are examined to see how they react differently than the related carbon-containing molecules. The broader impacts of this program include industrial internships for graduate students at local companies, science outreach to local high schools, collaboration with international researchers, hosting of an international conference, and continued involvement of undergraduates in chemical research via programs which promote participation of underrepresented groups.

Boron-Nitrogen/Carbon-Carbon (BN/CC) isosterism, i.e., the replacement of two carbon atoms with a boron and a nitrogen atom, has emerged as a novel strategy to expand the structural diversity of compounds relevant to materials science. Despite the recent advances in BN heterocycle chemistry, the systematic exploration of BN/CC isosteres of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that have relevance to the development of organic materials has remained underexplored. This research seeks to develop a comprehensive structure/reactivity relationship in BN isosteres of simple acenes. Research plans include: 1) synthesis of the unreported parental BN isosteres of naphthalene and anthracene, 2) characterization of the optoelectronic properties and chemical reactivity of the synthesized materials, and 3) development of a predictive energetic model for BN/CC isosterism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Moreover, this research serves as excellent training for graduate and undergraduate researchers in fundamental and applied chemical synthesis. Student participants in this project are exposed to a variety of experimental methods and techniques commonly applied in synthetic organic, inorganic, physical organic, and organometallic chemistry. The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the research in conjunction with the outreach activities seamlessly integrates with the education and career development of participating students.

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