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News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

BAR HARBOR, MAINE -- The MDI Biological Laboratory has announced that Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Cancer Institute, an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the molecular mechanisms underlying chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of cancer chemotherapy causing symptoms such as pain, tingling, temperature sensitivity and numbness in the extremities. The grant will allow Rieger to continue her research on peripheral neuropathy caused by Taxol (paclitaxel), a chemotherapy agent used in the treatment of ovarian, breast, lung, pancreatic and other cancers. About 60 to 70 percent of patients receiving Taxol experience peripheral neuropathy. In severe cases, patients may be forced to reduce or curtail treatment, which deprives them of cancer treatment and may decrease chances of survival. Rieger's research also has potential applications in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies caused by other conditions, including diabetes, aging and antibiotic treatment. Neuropathy is a general term for peripheral nerve degeneration, which is believed to affect at least 20 million Americans, with some estimates as high as 40 million. No treatments are currently available, other than for symptoms such as pain. "This grant is an acknowledgement of the importance of Dr. Rieger's research," said Kevin Strange, Ph.D. president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. "Peripheral neuropathy is much more common than generally believed. Her research on the underlying molecular mechanisms of nerve regeneration opens the door to the development of new drug therapies to help the millions who suffer from this potentially debilitating condition." The five-year grant, which takes effect July 1, totals approximately $1.8 million over five years, with additional funding for facilities and administrative costs. The grant will fund Rieger's continuing research in the zebrafish and research with neurologist Nathan P. Staff, M.D., Ph.D. on skin samples from breast cancer patients undergoing Taxol treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The research at the Mayo Clinic, which will take place over the first two years of the grant, will seek to determine if the same mechanisms that underlie Taxol-induced peripheral neuropathy in zebrafish are also linked to the condition in humans. "The research with Dr. Staff at the Mayo Clinic is the first step to developing a drug therapy to treat peripheral neuropathy in humans," Rieger said. "That's my major interest -- finding a therapy to cure this condition." The grant will allow Rieger to build on earlier research showing that Taxol-induced peripheral neuropathy is linked to the increased activity of a matrix-degrading enzyme, matrix metalloproteinase-13, or MMP-13, in the skin. The increase in MMP-13 activity leads to decreased skin resistance and the degeneration of sensory nerve endings, which in turn causes the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Rieger has also discovered two compounds that prevent or reverse chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in zebrafish by inhibiting the activity of MMP-13. The compounds are the subject of a provisional patent filed last year by the MDI Biological Laboratory for their use in the treatment of chemotherapy- and diabetes-induced peripheral neuropathy. The compounds have yet to be tested in humans. The ability offered by the grant to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying peripheral neuropathy raises the prospect that other MMP-inhibiting drugs can be developed to treat peripheral neuropathy. Our scientists are pioneering new approaches to regenerative medicine focused on drugs that activate our natural ability to heal, and that slow age-related degenerative changes. Our unique approach has identified new drugs with the potential to treat major diseases, demonstrating that regeneration could be as simple as taking a pill. As innovators and entrepreneurs, we also teach what we know. Our Center for Science Entrepreneurship prepares students for 21st century careers and equips entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to turn great ideas into successful products. For more information, please visit mdibl.org.


The National STEM Funders Network, which aims to assist states in enhancing equity and quality of STEM learning outcomes by reducing barriers within STEM educational systems is supporting the partnership between the Bucks/Chester/Delaware/Montgomery County intermediate units. Pennsylvania has been recognized as a national leader in STEM education for the collaboration between the state's STEM ecosystems. STEM learning ecosystems encompass schools, businesses, community settings including after-school and summer programs, science centers and museums, and other environments that together constitute a rich array of learning opportunities. Learning ecosystems harness the unique contributions of these different settings to deliver STEM experiences to all children. Designed pathways enable students to become engaged, knowledgeable, and skilled in the STEM disciplines as they progress through childhood into adolescence and early adulthood. In addition to the new partnership, existing formally-recognized regional ecosystems include: Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem (STEMcityPHL), Lancaster County STEM Alliance, Schuylkill/Carbon/Luzerne Region Ecosystem, Pittsburgh Area STEM Ecosystem. Additionally, four non-formal ecosystems, also called communities of practice, are operating across the state. Those communities include: ABC CREATE (a STEM partnership forged within Butler, Westmoreland, Alleghany, and Armstrong counties), Beaver County Innovation and Learning Consortium, Southwest Aquaponics Consortium, and a collaboration between BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, Central Intermediate Unit 10, and the Center for Science and the Schools at Penn State University. Since taking office, Governor Wolf has demonstrated a commitment to STEM education in the commonwealth. The Administration aims to increase enrollment in STEM-specific majors at state-supported postsecondary institutions by 10,000 by 2020. By 2018, there will be approximately 300,000 Pennsylvania jobs that require STEM skills or content knowledge, and over the next ten years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills. Under Governor Wolf's leadership, Pennsylvania has made early and important progress in delivering more resources to schools and classrooms, and fostering collaborative, cross-sector dialogue to support STEM education, work-based learning, career pathways, and college access and completion. For more information about Pennsylvania's education policies and programs, or to read PDE Secretary Rivera's budget testimony, visit the Department of Education's website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-department-of-education-announces-the-creation-of-regional-stem-ecosystem-300464241.html


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

US consumer, health, and food safety groups have filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), challenging a rule they argue undermines the integrity of the nation's food safety system, according to a release from the Center for Science and the Public Interest (CSPI). Chemical and food manufacturers often seek to add chemicals to food, typically to enhance flavor, add nutrients, or prevent spoilage, the CSPI said, adding that chemicals often leach into foods from processing equipment and packaging. While Congress has required FDA determine that chemical additives are safe before they can be used on food, the FDA rule allows manufacturers to decide for and by themselves—in secret—what can be added to foods. The groups assert this rule is unconstitutional and illegal. "The public expects, and the law demands, that FDA ensure the safety of Americans’ food," CSPI said. The groups suing the FDA for allegedly illegally delegating that authority to self-interested food and chemical manufacturers include the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Environmental Defense Fund and Environmental Working Group, represented by legal counsel from CFS and the environmental law firm Earthjustice. They also allege that while Congress mandates an open and public process, the FDA allows manufacturers to make these decisions about food ingredients without any disclosure to either the FDA or the public. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Federal law requires the FDA to ensure that substances used in food are safe, taking into account consumers’ entire diet and all exposure to the chemical and similar chemicals, CSPI said. But any substance designated as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by FDA or by a food or chemical company can bypass the rigorous pre-market review and approval process applied to food additives. This exemption was initially created to cover ingredients that are widely known to be safe, such as vegetable oil, but has been applied in recent practice to novel chemicals and is now a loophole that has swallowed the law, the CSPI said. Under pressure from industry, in 1997 and again in 2016, FDA adopted a practice that allows food and chemical manufacturers to decide for themselves, without notice to FDA or the public, that food chemicals are safe—even if the chemicals are new, not widely studied, and not widely accepted as safe, CSPI said. CFS filed suit in 2014 to challenge FDA’s use of an interim rule that initially put this practice into place; and that successful challenge forced FDA to stop using the interim rule and instead finalize the GRAS rule, CSPI said. Today’s lawsuit challenges the final rule that formalizes this practice. “FDA has a duty to ensure the products we buy and feed our families are safe,” said Cristina Stella, staff attorney for the Center for Food Safety and co-counsel in the case. “The secretive GRAS system makes it impossible for FDA to carry out its core responsibility to the public.”


The newly announced scientific board includes David Eagleman, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Stanford University, Founder & CSO, BrainCheck, and cofounder & CSO, NeoSensory; Christof Koch, PhD, CSO & President of Allen Institute for Brain Science; Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, Director of Stanford Sleep Center; and Cedric Villani, PhD, winner of the 2010 Fields Medal and Director of Henri Poincarré Institute. These experts will help Rythm define its research strategy, encompassing sleep diagnosis, treatment, improvement, and understanding of the human brain. The human brain is the most complex organ in the known universe, and understanding the brain and sleep are among the biggest scientific challenges of the century. One-third of the population does not sleep well or sufficiently long. Currently, there are no obvious solutions to this epidemic. However, international research in neuroscience and Rythm are at the forefront of developing non-invasive solutions that are accurate and effective. The company is tackling multiple, ambitious challenges at the nexus of multiple disciplines: medicine, neurosciences, and mathematics. In forming a board, Rythm successfully sought to attract the best-of-the-best from across disciplines who are aligned with the company's mission and vision. "The brain is the most complex system known today, and within that field of study, sleep is a new domain that presents a variety of complex problems and solutions," said Hugo Mercier, CEO & Co-founder at Rythm. "The diversity of fields, experience, and intellect that the members of our board bring will help Rythm unlock major challenges and pursue the right research directions." David Eagleman is a professor at Stanford University in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, known for his work on brain plasticity, time perception, synesthesia, and neurolaw. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Science and Law. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a council member in the World Economic Forum, and a popular TED speaker. He has launched two companies from his laboratory: NeoSensory and BrainCheck. He is a New York Times bestselling author published in 31 languages and is the writer and creator of the Emmy-nominated TV series, The Brain with David Eagleman. He is a renowned scientist with articles in all the major academic journals and profiles in national magazines such as the New Yorker. He is a regular commenter on national television and radio. "We don't yet fully understand why we sleep and dream, but we're aware that it's related to the consolidation of learning and memory," said Eagleman. "I am excited to work with Rythm to better unmask the mysteries and nuances of sleep state, and to be able to leverage that understanding to improve lives. Inadequate sleep prevents people from reaching their full potential. The improvement of sleep opens the hope of functioning at a more optimized mental performance." Christof Koch is a physicist turned neuroscientist serving as the President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He is leading a team of 300 scientists, engineers and staff engaged in a ten-year project that aims to understand the building blocks of the mammalian brain. Koch previously served as a professor at the California Institute of Technology for nearly 30 years, specializing in the biophysics of the brain and the neural bases of consciousness, and has been influential in arguing that consciousness can be approached using the modern tools of neurobiology. As a member of Rythm's board, Koch will contribute his neuroscientific expertise on how sleep relates to the brain and its electrical behavior in health and disease. "We have so much more to learn about the relationship that sleep has to the functioning of our brains and our health," said Koch. "Working with Rythm is an opportunity to bring academia together with the development of consumer products so that sleep research can become practicable." Emmanuel Mignot is the Craig Reynolds Professor of Sleep Medicine at Stanford Medical School and the Director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. He is a recognized authority on sleep research and medicine, known primarily for his work on narcolepsy. He is a member of the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and has received numerous research grants and honors, including National Institute of Health Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and McKnight Neuroscience awards. He is the co-author of more than 200 original scientific publications, and serves on the editorial board of scientific journals in the field of sleep and biology research. He formerly served as the president of the Sleep Research society, chair of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research advisory board of the National institutes of Health, and chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Mental Health. "I've always been intrigued by the enigma of sleep and devoted my career to studying sleep disorders," said Mignot. "With the rapid growth of portable technology, biology and analytics, it is an exciting time for sleep, with plenty of opportunities to increase well-being. Rythm is bringing together people spanning multiple fields of science and technology to push forward our understanding of sleep and improve the diagnosis of sleep disorders. I look forward to contributing my knowledge and working with Rythm to help realize this vision." Cedric Villani is one of the world's most famous mathematicians who was awarded the Fields Medal, the world's most prestigious math award, in 2010. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Lyon and serves as the director of Pierre and Marie Curie University 's Institut Henri Poincaré. Villani's work focuses on partial differential equations, Riemannian geometry and mathematical physics. He received the Fields Medal for his work on Landau damping and the Boltzmann equation. He is also a well-known author and speaker, renowned for his passionate ability to make math exciting and accessible. Villani's expertise on computational mathematics and machine learning will be a valuable asset to Rythm because both areas are critical to the understanding of sleep and the brain. Until recently, machine learning mimicked brain functions, but now the new frontier is to understand how the brain works, and sleep represents an ideal entry door. This world class team serves as a validation of all the important work Rythm has done since 2014. The company is leveraging advancements in neuroscience, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and mathematics to propel sleep research and medicine forward and bring a real sleep solution to the market. This unique solution will introduce a whole new category of product that is efficient but non-invasive, and this demands a strong research effort and the development of sophisticated technology. The board is not only working with Rythm on diagnosis and treatment, but also to help build the product that will launch in Summer 2017. Rythm is a leading neurotechnology company. Bringing together the world's foremost experts in hardware, software, and neuroscience, Rythm builds consumer technology that stimulates brain function to enhance individual health and performance. The company's first product, Dreem, is sleep solution that uses brain activity and sound stimulation to increase the quality of sleep in a non-invasive way. Based in Paris and San Francisco, Rythm has raised substantial funding from investors, awards and government grants to support a world-class team of more than 70 people. For more information, visit www.dreem.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rythm-accelerates-sleep-research-and-neurotechnology-efforts-with-a-prestigious-scientific-advisory-board-and-advances-in-the-ai-xprize-competition-300456427.html


Cook S.,University of Swansea | Zwinger T.,Center for Science Ltd | Rutt I.C.,University of Swansea | O'Neel S.,U.S. Geological Survey | Murray T.,University of Swansea
Annals of Glaciology | Year: 2012

A new implementation of a calving model, using the finite-element code Elmer, is presented and used to investigate the effects of surface water within crevasses on calving rate. For this work, we use a two-dimensional flowline model of Columbia Glacier, Alaska. Using the glacier's 1993 geometry as a starting point, we apply a crevasse-depth calving criterion, which predicts calving at the location where surface crevasses cross the waterline. Crevasse depth is calculated using the Nye formulation.We find that calving rate in such a regime is highly dependent on the depth of water in surface crevasses, with a change of just a few metres in water depth causing the glacier to change from advancing at a rate of 3.5kma-1 to retreating at a rate of 1.9km a-1. These results highlight the potential for atmospheric warming and surface meltwater to trigger glacier retreat, but also the difficulty of modelling calving rates, as crevasse water depth is difficult to determine either by measurement in situ or surface massbalance modelling. © 2012 Publishing Technology.


De Fleurian B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | De Fleurian B.,University Grenoble Alpes | Gagliardini O.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Gagliardini O.,University Grenoble Alpes | And 8 more authors.
Cryosphere | Year: 2014

The flow of glaciers and ice streams is strongly influenced by the presence of water at the interface between ice and bed. In this paper, a hydrological model evaluating the subglacial water pressure is developed with the final aim of estimating the sliding velocities of glaciers. The global model fully couples the subglacial hydrology and the ice dynamics through a water-dependent friction law. The hydrological part of the model follows a double continuum approach which relies on the use of porous layers to compute water heads in inefficient and efficient drainage systems. This method has the advantage of a relatively low computational cost that would allow its application to large ice bodies such as Greenland or Antarctica ice streams. The hydrological model has been implemented in the finite element code Elmer/Ice, which simultaneously computes the ice flow. Herein, we present an application to the Haut Glacier d'Arolla for which we have a large number of observations, making it well suited to the purpose of validating both the hydrology and ice flow model components. The selection of hydrological, under-determined parameters from a wide range of values is guided by comparison of the model results with available glacier observations. Once this selection has been performed, the coupling between subglacial hydrology and ice dynamics is undertaken throughout a melt season. Results indicate that this new modelling approach for subglacial hydrology is able to reproduce the broad temporal and spatial patterns of the observed subglacial hydrological system. Furthermore, the coupling with the ice dynamics shows good agreement with the observed spring speed-up. © Author(s) 2014.


Lehtola J.,University of Helsinki | Manninen P.,Center for Science Ltd. | Hakala M.,University of Helsinki | Hamalainen K.,University of Helsinki
Journal of Chemical Physics | Year: 2012

In the current work we apply the completeness-optimization paradigm [P. Manninen and J. Vaara, J. Comput. Chem. 27, 434 (2006)] to investigate the basis set convergence of the moments of the ground-state electron momentum density at the self-consistent field level of theory. We present a black-box completeness-optimization algorithm that can be used to generate computationally efficient basis sets for computing any property at any level of theory. We show that the complete basis set (CBS) limit of the moments of the electron momentum density can be reached more cost effectively using completeness-optimized basis sets than using conventional, energy-optimized Gaussian basis sets. By using the established CBS limits, we generate a series of smaller basis sets which can be used to systematically approach the CBS and to perform calculations on larger, experimentally interesting systems. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Gagliardini O.,Joseph Fourier University | Durand G.,Joseph Fourier University | Zwinger T.,Center for Science Ltd. | Hindmarsh R.C.A.,Natural Environment Research Council | Le Meur E.,Joseph Fourier University
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2010

Increase in ice-shelf melting is generally presumed to have triggered recent coastal ice-sheet thinning. Using a full-Stokes finite element model which includes a proper description of the grounding line dynamics, we investigate the impact of melting below ice shelves. We argue that the influence of ice-shelf melting on the ice-sheet dynamics induces a complex response, and the first naive view that melting inevitably leads to loss of grounded ice is erroneous. We demonstrate that melting acts directly on the magnitude of the buttressing force by modifying both the area experiencing lateral resistance and the ice-shelf velocity, indicating that the decrease of back stress imposed by the ice-shelf is the prevailing cause of inland dynamical thinning. We further show that feedback from melting and buttressing forces can lead to nontrivial results, as an increase in the average melt rate may lead to inland ice thickening and grounding line advance. © 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.


Durand G.,CNRS Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics | Gagliardini O.,CNRS Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics | Gagliardini O.,Institut Universitaire de France | Favier L.,CNRS Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics | And 2 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2011

Recent glaciological surveys have revealed a significant increase of ice discharge from polar ice caps into the ocean. In parallel, ice flow models have been greatly improved to better reproduce current changes and forecast the future behavior of ice sheets. For these models, surface topography and bedrock elevation are crucial input parameters that largely control the dynamics and the ensuing overall mass balance of the ice sheet. For obvious reasons of inaccessibility, only sparse and uneven bedrock elevation data is available. This raw data is processed to produce Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) on a regular 5 km grid. These DEMs are used to constrain the basal boundary conditions of all ice sheet models. Here, by using a full-Stokes finite element code, we examine the sensitivity of an ice flow model to the accuracy of the bedrock description. In the context of short-term ice sheet forecast, we show that in coastal regions, the bedrock elevation should be known at a resolution of the order of one kilometer. Conversely, a crude description of the bedrock in the interior of the continent does not affect modeling of the ice outflow into the ocean. These findings clearly indicate that coastal regions should be prioritized during future geophysical surveys. They also indicate that a paradigm shift is required to change the current design of DEMs describing the bedrock below the ice sheets: they must give users the opportunity to incorporate high-resolution bedrock elevation data in regions of interest. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Malinen M.,Center for Science Ltd.
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2012

Computational methods for solving coupled systems of partial differential equations can generally be divided into segregated and monolithic solvers. Monolithic solvers are often considered to be computationally expensive, and it is believed that their rewards are realized only in situations where segregated solvers have convergence problems due to the strong coupling. We give opposite empirical evidence by demonstrating that cost-effective monolithic solvers may be derived from using segregated solvers as preconditioners in the iterative solution of monolithic systems. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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