Cambridge, MA, United States
Cambridge, MA, United States

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. Researchers worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. The current 168-acre campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.MIT, with five schools and one college which contain a total of 32 departments, is traditionally known for research and education in the physical science and engineering, and more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, and management as well. The "Engineers" sponsor 31 sports, most teams of which compete in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC.MIT is often cited as among the world's top universities. As of 2014, 81 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars, 38 MacArthur Fellows, and 2 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT. MIT has a strong entrepreneurial culture and the aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world. Wikipedia.


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Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-01-30

System for visualization of conformal contact. The system visualizes conformal contact between a patterned stamp and a transparent impression surface. A patterned stamp is provided that includes a fluorescent structure for contact with the impression surface. A source of UV light is provided for transmission through the transparent impression surface to interact with the fluorescent structure to generate visible light re-emitted by the fluorescent structure. An imaging system captures the visible light to form a high-contrast image of an area of conformal contact between the patterned stamp and the impression surface. The high-contrast image comprises bright and dark regions representing contact and no contact respectively.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-23

The attenuation and other optical properties of a medium are exploited to measure a thickness of the medium between a sensor and a target surface. Disclosed herein are various mediums, arrangements of hardware, and processing techniques that can be used to capture these thickness measurements and obtain three-dimensional images of the target surface in a variety of imaging contexts. This includes general techniques for imaging interior/concave surfaces as well as exterior/convex surfaces, as well as specific adaptations of these techniques to imaging ear canals, human dentition, and so forth.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-03

A model-based neuromechanical controller for a robotic limb having at least one joint includes a finite state machine configured to receive feedback data relating to the state of the robotic limb and to determine the state of the robotic limb, a muscle model processor configured to receive state information from the finite state machine and, using muscle geometry and reflex architecture information and a neuromuscular model, to determine at least one desired joint torque or stiffness command to be sent to the robotic limb, and a joint command processor configured to command the biomimetic torques and stiffnesses determined by the muscle model processor at the robotic limb joint. The feedback data is preferably provided by at least one sensor mounted at each joint of the robotic limb. In a preferred embodiment, the robotic limb is a leg and the finite state machine is synchronized to the leg gait cycle.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-27

Systems, apparatus, and methods related to modeling, monitoring, and/or managing metabolism of a subject include measuring a respiratory quotient (RQ) level in a subject and/or optimizing and executing a nonlinear feedback model to model energy substrate utilization in the subject based on at least one of a macronutrient composition and caloric value of food consumed by the subject, an intensity and duration of activity by the subject, a rate and maximum capacity of glycogen storage in the subject, a rate and maximum capacity of de novo lipogenesis in the subject, a quality and duration of sleep by the subject, and/or an RQ level in the subject.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center | Date: 2016-09-15

Systems and methods are presented for the diagnosis of middle ear pathological conditions based on spectral signatures. Preferred embodiments provide for detection of one or more analytes from the tympanic membrane. Devices use spectral measurements including spectral imaging to non-invasively identify middle ear pathological conditions including cholesteatoma and acute otitis media by providing real-time information of differentially expressed molecules. Devices and methods can also be used to non-invasively detect and quantify blood analytes from the tympanic membrane.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-27

Systems and methods for a short wave infrared (SWIR) otoscope device are provided. The SWIR otoscope device can capture images of a patients middle ear to aid in diagnosing one of a plurality of maladies. In one embodiment, the SWIR otoscope device can include a SWIR detector, a light source, and a plurality of optics that can enable the SWIR otoscope device to capture images of the middle ear of a patient.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-28

A method for monitoring periodic motions of one or more subjects uses signal reflections from the subjects. The method includes emitting a transmitted signal from a transmitting antenna and receiving a received signal at one or more receiving antennas. The received signal includes a combination of a number of reflections of the transmitted signal, at least some of which are associated with the subjects. The received signal, including the reflections, is processed to determine an estimate of a fundamental frequency of the periodic motions.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-28

Robotic endoscopes have the potential to help endoscopists position tools during procedures, to propel the endoscope to the desired position, to automate functions and to prevent perforations during procedures. Modular architecture for a continuum robotic endoscope with multiple bending segments along the length of the endoscope. Each of the segments is modular, containing a set of actuation motors that drive short cables in the continuum segments.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Childrens Medical Center Corporation and Rey Juan Carlos University | Date: 2016-04-25

A method is provided for generating images using a MRI system. The method includes one or more acts below. First, the MRI system applies a pulse sequence to obtain a first set of blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) MRI images of a pregnant subject during a first time period. The MRI system then applies the pulse sequence to obtain a second set of BOLD MRI images of the pregnant subject during a second time period. The MRI system automatically extracts one or more regions of interest that include a placenta of the pregnant subject in the first and second sets of BOLD MRI images. The MRI system obtains BOLD signal changes in the one or more regions of interest based on the first and second sets of BOLD MRI images. The MRI system generates, based on the BOLD signal changes, a map indicating placental oxygen transport.


Patent
Brigham, Women's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-02-13

Nanoparticles having a positive feedback delivery system include an agent specific for a target in combination with a target inducing agent. Upon administration to a subject, the targeting moiety on the nanoparticles binds to available targets in the subject. The nanoparticles release the target inducing agent and, optionally, a therapeutic agent, at the site where the nanoparticles bind the target. The inducing agent causes additional targets to be expressed. More nanoparticles bind to the additional, induced targets. By inducing additional targets to be expressed at specific regions in the subject that require treatment, more nanoparticles can bind to the targets in that specific region of interest, increasing the concentration of nanoparticles at a specific area of subject is increased.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women's Hospital | Date: 2015-09-03

Method and compositions for inducing the self-renewal of stem/progenitor supporting cells comprised by a cochlear cell population, including inducing the stem/progenitor cells to proliferate while maintaining, in the daughter cells, the capacity to differentiate into hair cells.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Whitehead Institute For Biomedical Research | Date: 2016-09-23

Compositions and methods for modified dendrimer nanoparticle (MDNP) delivery of therapeutic, prophylactic and/or diagnostic agent such as large repRNA molecules to the cells of a subject have been developed. MDNPs efficiently drive proliferation of antigen-specific T cells against intracellular antigen, and potentiate antigen-specific antibody responses. MDNPs can be multiplexed to deliver two or more different repRNAs to modify expression kinetics of encoded antigens and to simultaneous deliver repRNAs and mRNAs including the same UTR elements that promote expression of encoded antigens.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-03-17

The invention provides, inter alia, methods of treating a disorder characterized by excessive metakaryotic stem cell growth by a combination metakaryocidal therapy. Also encompassed by the present invention are preventative methods comprising the administration of a metakaryocidal or metakayrostatic therapeutic agent.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dalhousie University | Date: 2016-08-09

Amblyopia is a prevalent form of visual impairment that generally arises during infancy and early childhood when inputs to the visual cortex form the two eyes are poorly balanced. Disclosed herein are methods involving retinal inactivation of at least one retina to treat visual impairment in the form of amblyopia or other conditions.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-24

Knee adduction moment of an untethered human during gait is modulated by determining at least one feature associated with instantaneous knee adduction moment of the untethered human during a gait cycle. Feedback to be transmitted to the human is, optionally, derived from the feature, such as by comparing the at least one feature to a value, such as a target value. The feature, or feedback derived from the feature, is transmitted to the human for response by the human, thereby modulating knee adduction moment of the untethered human during the gait.


Patent
The General Hospital Corporation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-22

A system and method for diagnosing mental or emotional disorders is disclosed. An affective BCI component is incorporated into a closed loop, symptomresponsive psychiatric DBS system. A series of input data related to a brain of the patient is acquired while the patient performs a battery of behavioral tasks. From the patients performance on the task battery, the system identifies what is abnormal for that individual patient in terms of functional domains. Patient-specific behavioral measurements are then linked to patterns of activation and de-activation across different brain regions, identifying specific structures that are the source of the patients individual impairment.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Childrens Medical Center Corporation | Date: 2016-08-12

Systems and methods are disclosed herein for quantitatively identifying a patients sedation level and predicting adverse events, based on one or more capnograms or outputs from a pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, or ventilatory model. A sensor measures a carbon dioxide concentration of air exhaled by a patient into a breath receiver. A processor processes the sensor data to generate a capnogram including one or more respiratory cycles, computes the outputs of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, or ventilatory models, and extracts one or more of the resulting features from the capnogram and pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, or ventilatory model outputs. A multi-parameter metric is computed based on the one or more extracted features and estimates the current or predicted sedation level of the patient.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The General Hospital Corporation | Date: 2016-08-12

A method to quantitatively predict a patients serum lactate level, comprising measuring arterial blood pressure and heart rate from the patient, computing estimates of one or more cardiovascular parameters from the measured arterial blood pressure and heart rate, providing one or more classifiers that have been trained on a training data set including a reference set of arterial blood pressure, heart rate, and serum lactate levels and using the one or more classifiers to estimate the serum lactate level of the patient.


Patent
President And Fellows Of Harvard College, Brigham, Women's Hospital, Childrens Medical Center Corporation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-13

An insertable light-dispensing catheter device, comprising a shaft including a proximal and distal end, a light guide extending through the shaft, and a mirror displaceably extendable from the catheter into a position where the mirror receives and reflects light emitted from the light guide. The mirror can be in the form of a coating on an inflatable balloon; and the balloon, when inflated, can press a patch against a defect (e.g., a ventricular septical defect), while the light cures an adhesive that binds the patch to the structure with the defect, thereby remedying the defect.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-02-18

A tissue collection needle with a hollow interior provides two opposing tips with beveled edges on facets that drive tissue toward the hollow interior where the tissue can be gathered and severed from surrounding tissue as the needle advances through a biological specimen. The points and bevels are advantageously formed from a minimal number of cuts amenable to rapid fabrication from readily available hollow needle stock.


Patent
The General Hospital Corporation, University of Washington and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-01

The present invention is directed toward a method of treating a subject for a condition mediated by aberrant Wnt/-catenin signaling by selecting a subject with a condition mediated by aberrant Wnt/-catenin signaling and administering to the selected subject a compound selected from the group consisting of those set forth in Table 1, Table 2, and a pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof. A method of similarly modulating the Wnt/-catenin pathway in a subject is also discussed.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-10-28

A method for injecting a substance through a biological body surface includes providing a needle-free transdermal transport device configured to inject the substance through the surface. The substance is injected into the biological body with the transport device while a parameter of the injection is sensed and a servo-controller is used to dynamically adjust at least one injection characteristic based on the sensed parameter. The substance is injected for (i) a first time period during which a first portion of a volume of the substance is injected at a first injection pressure, and (ii) a second time period during which a remainder of the volume of the substance is injected at a second injection pressure. A viscosity of the substance may be determined, and a pressure calculated for injecting the substance based on the viscosity. The substance may be injected with the transport device by using the calculated pressure.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-12

The present disclosure is directed, in some embodiments, to methods and compositions of comprising a cell having a non-internalizing receptor, and a nanoparticle surface-modified with a ligand that binds to the non-internalizing receptor.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2014-12-23

A method and an array filling system for loading a plurality of disparate sample containers, the sample containers comprising an integral structure. Each receptacle is characterized by a hydrophilic surface,, and the receptacles are separated by a hydrophobic surface. The system has a liquid transfer device capable of holding liquid and adapted for motion to cause sequential communication of liquid held in the liquid transfer device with successive receptacles of the array by dragging the liquid across the hydrophobic surface.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-09-17

Between two juxtaposed similar ion exchange membranes (AEMs or CEMs), an ion depletion zone and ion enrichment zone are generated under an electric field. As cations are selectively transferred through the CEMs, for example, anions are relocated in order to achieve electro-neutrality, resulting in the concentration drop (increase) in ion depletion (enrichment) zone. The use of a sacrificial metal anode allows electrocoagulation (EC) concurrently with ICP thereby permitting concentration of both ionic and non-ionic impurities to occur at the same time within the same cell or device.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-30

In illustrative implementations of this invention, a crucible kiln heats glass such that the glass becomes or remains molten. A nozzle extrudes the molten glass while one or more actuators actuate movements of the nozzle, a build platform or both. A computer controls these movements such that the extruded molten glass is selectively deposited to form a 3D glass object. The selective deposition of molten glass occurs inside an annealing kiln. The annealing kiln anneals the glass after it is extruded. In some cases, the actuators actuate the crucible kiln and nozzle to move in horizontal x, y directions and actuate the build platform to move in a z-direction. In some cases, fluid flows through a cavity or tubes adjacent to the nozzle tip, in order to cool the nozzle tip and thereby reduce the amount of glass that sticks to the nozzle tip.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals | Date: 2015-04-23

A method reuses produced water resulting from a fossil fuel extraction operation. The method includes providing the produced water as an input to an electrodialysis system. The method also includes running the electrodialysis system to produce a diluate and a concentrate. The diluate is contaminated so as to have a conductivity of no less than 0.1 Siemens/meter. The method also includes reformulating the diluate to produce fossil fuel extraction fluid. The method also includes using the produced fossil fuel extraction fluid in the fossil fuel extraction operation. An electrodialysis system includes first and second stacks. The electrodialysis system also includes first and second voltage sources, coupled to the first and second stacks, so as to apply a first voltage to the first stack lower by at least about 10% than a second voltage to the second stack.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-30

Compositions and methods for altering cell activity and function by expressing a light-activated ion pump polypeptide in a cell and contacting the cell with light that activates the expressed light-activated ion pump polypeptide. In some aspects of the invention, a light-activated ion pump polypeptide is a modified haloarcula halorhodopsin polypeptide, for example, a modified Halo 57 polypeptide.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-16

Methods and systems for control of solid phase peptide synthesis are generally described. Control of solid phase peptide synthesis involves the use of feedback from one or more reactions and/or processes (e.g., reagent removal) taking place in the solid phase peptide synthesis system. In some embodiments, a detector may detect one or more fluids flowing across a detection zone of a solid phase peptide synthesis system and one or more signals may be generated corresponding to the fluid(s). For instance, an electromagnetic radiation detector positioned downstream of a reactor may detect a fluid exiting the reactor after a deprotection reactor and produce a signal(s). In some embodiments, based at least in part on information derived from the signal(s), a parameter of the system may be modulated prior to and/or during one or more subsequent reactions and/or processes taking place in the solid phase peptide synthesis system. In some embodiments, the methods and systems, described herein, can be used to conduct quality control to determine and correct problems (e.g., aggregation, truncation, deletion) in reactions (e.g., coupling reactions) taking place in the solid phase peptide synthesis system.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-16

Methods and system for solid phase peptide synthesis are provided. Solid phase peptide synthesis is a known process in which amino acid residues are added to peptides that have been immobilized on a solid support. New amino acid residues are added via a coupling reaction between an activated amino acid and an amino acid residue of the immobilized peptide. Amino acids may be activated using, e.g., a base and an activating agent. Certain inventive concepts, described herein, relate to methods and systems for the activation of amino acids. These systems and methods may allow for fewer side reactions and a higher yield compared to conventional activation techniques as well as the customization of the coupling reaction on a residue-by-residue basis without the need for costly and/or complex processes.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-09

The present invention enables three-dimensional nanofabrication by isotropic shrinking of patterned hydrogels. A hydrogel is first expanded, the rate of expansion being controlled by the concentration of the crosslinker. The hydrogel is then infused with a reactive group and patterned in three dimensions using a photon beam through a limited-diffraction microscope. Functional particles or materials are then deposited on the pattern. The hydrogel is then shrunk and cleaved from the pattern.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-06-14

The present invention provides methods for uniform growth of nanostructures such as nanotubes (e.g., carbon nanotubes) on the surface of a substrate, wherein the long axes of the nanostructures may be substantially aligned. The nanostructures may be further processed for use in various applications, such as composite materials. For example, a set of aligned nanostructures may be formed and transferred, either in bulk or to another surface, to another material to enhance the properties of the material. In some cases, the nanostructures may enhance the mechanical properties of a material, for example, providing mechanical reinforcement at an interface between two materials or plies. In some cases, the nanostructures may enhance thermal and/or electronic properties of a material. The present invention also provides systems and methods for growth of nanostructures, including batch processes and continuous processes.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-12

According to some aspects, described herein is an automated droplet-based reactor that utilizes oscillatory motion of a droplet in a tubular reactor under inert atmosphere. In some cases, such a reactor may address current shortcomings of continuous multi-phase flow platforms.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-07-28

Presented herein are articles and methods featuring substrates with thin, uniform polymeric films grafted (e.g., covalently bonded) thereupon. The resulting coating provides significant reductions in thermal resistance, drop shedding size, and degradation rate during dropwise condensation of steam compared to existing coatings. Surfaces that promote dropwise shedding of low-surface tension condensates, such as liquid hydrocarbons, are also demonstrated herein.


Patent
The General Hospital Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Washington | Date: 2015-04-22

A closed-loop brain computer interface (BCI) system for treating mental or emotional disorders with responsive brain stimulation is disclosed. The system includes an implanted module including a processor configured to process neural data acquired from one or more electrodes in communication with one or more brain regions of a patient. The implanted module is configured to deliver stimulation to electrodes in contact with the brain regions. An interface is in wireless communication with the implanted module and configured to receive the neural data from the implanted module. A controller processes the patients brain and body signals to provide patient intentional control over the stimulation applied to the one or more electrodes and to control the stimulation.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-09-16

Disclosed are complex coacervate core micelles comprising an enzyme capable of hydrolyzing organophosphorus compounds, such as nerve agents, and, for example, their use in remediation or decontamination of stockpiles of chemical weapons.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-12-02

Disclosed are elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) that form hydrogels upon heating. Hydrogels comprising the polypeptides have mechanical properties, including elastic modulus and fracture toughness, required for load-bearing applications.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals | Date: 2015-04-23

A liquid purification system includes a filter system having a set of filters with a feed stream, a concentrate stream, and a permeate stream. The feed stream constitutes an input to the liquid purification system. The liquid purification system also includes an electrodialysis system having at least one stack of at least one pair of electrodes, between which is disposed at least one cell pair having an anion exchange membrane and a cation exchange membrane. The electrodialysis system includes a diluate inlet, a diluate outlet and a concentrate outlet. The diluate inlet is fluidly coupled to the concentrate stream and at least a portion of the diluate outlet is fluidly coupled to at least a portion of the permeate stream to produce a purified output stream. A ratio of electrical conductivity of the purified output stream to the feed stream is no less than about 0.55.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-09

Endothelial cells can become susceptible to disease when subjected to disturbed (atheroprone) blood flow patterns, which naturally occur in known locations in human arteries. Atheroprone flow is non-laminar, with low fluid shear stress magnitude and an oscillatory pattern representative in the temporal signature. At a macro-scale, atheroprone flow is multidirectional and chaotic. On the other hand, atheroprotective flow is laminar with high fluid shear stresses that have a specific temporal signature. Therefore, understanding the interplay between the atheroprotective and atheroprone hemodynamics and endothelial function is important. The invention relates, in some embodiments, to microfluidic devices and methods that dynamically apply controlled and physiologically relevant spatio-temporal atheroprone and atheroprotective flow signatures. Further, some embodiments according to the invention recreate these flow profiles upon different regions of the same cell culture, more closely resembling the in-vivo phenomenon.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-05-16

Disclosed are protein brushes that mimic mucin in physical and functional characteristics. The protein brushes have a variable number of tandem repeats similar to natural mucin and are modified at a number of their tyrosine residues to introduce brush substituents that mimic the hydrogel nature of mucin.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-03-17

Methods of evaluating agents for metakaryocidal and metakaryostatic activity in cell culture, explants and subjects are disclosed.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-05

The invention enables in situ genomic and transcriptomic assessment of nucleic acids to be conducted in biological specimens that have been physically expanded. The invention leverages the techniques for expansion microscopy (ExM) to provide new methods for in situ genomic and transcriptomic assessment of nucleic in a new process referred to herein as expansion fluorescent in situ hybridization (ExFISH).


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-10-31

A machine that is capable of assembling a copy of itself from a feedstock of parts is described. The machine operates on a lattice or grid on which it is able to move and from which it receives power and control signals. The machine (assembler) is composed of modules that each perform some functionality. In the simplest case, only three module types are needed: a linear step module, a gripper, and an anchor. The linear step module is capable of moving from one lattice location to the next, the gripper module is capable of gripping other modules, and the anchor module is capable of attaching the machine to the grid. With these three primitives it is possible for this simple machine to move on the grid using inchworm-like motions, pick up other modules, and assemble a copy of itself.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-20

Methods and apparatuses for bonding polymeric parts are disclosed. Specifically, in one embodiment, the polymeric parts are bonded by plastically deforming them against each other while they are below the glass transition temperatures. A method includes: placing a first polymeric part in contact with a second polymeric part; and plastically deforming the first polymeric part and the second polymeric part against each other to bond the first polymeric part to the second polymeric part. Additionally, during the plastic deformation, a temperature of the first polymeric part is less than a glass transition temperature of the first polymeric part and a temperature of the second polymeric part is less than a glass transition temperature of the second polymeric part.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-01

Two-phase gripper. The gripper reorients and grasps an object while being picked up, The gripper Includes a parallel jaw gripper including a pair of opposed, two-phase fingers, each finger including a cavity covered by an elastic strip wherein the elastic strip includes a point contact. Closure of the jaws of the gripper on as object at a first relatively lower force results in contact with lower friction between the point contact on the elastic strip on the fingers and the object allowing the object to rotate under gravity as the gripper is raised. Thereafter, closure of the jaws of the gripper on the object at a second relatively higher force causes the elastic strip to receded into the cavity resulting in multi-point contact with higher friction between the fingers and the object to securely grasp the object. In a preferred embodiment, the cavity is a Y-shaped groove and the object is cylindrical or prismatic.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-01

A set of machines and related systems build structures by the additive assembly of discrete parts. These digital material assemblies constrain the constituent parts to a discrete set of possible positions and orientations. In doing so, the structures exhibit many of the properties inherent in digital communication such as error correction, fault tolerance and allow the assembly of precise structures with comparatively imprecise tools. Assembly of discrete cellular lattices by a Modular Isotropic Lattice Extruder System (MILES) is implemented by pulling strings of lattice elements through a forming die that enforces geometry constraints that lock the elements into a rigid structure that can then be pushed against and extruded out of the die as an assembled, loadbearing structure.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-20

The disclosure provides nanostructures (e.g., nanospheres and nano-paddlewheels) formed through transition metal-ligand (e.g., Pd(II)-, Ni(II)-, or Fe(II)-ligand of Formula (A)) coordination and junction self-assembly. The disclosure also provides supramolecular complexes that include the nanostructures connected by divalent linkers Y. The provided supramolecular complexes are able to form gels (e.g., hydrogels). The gels are suprametallogels and exhibited excellent mechanical properties without sacrificing self-healing and showed high robustness and storage modulus. The present disclosure further provides compositions (e.g., gels) that include the nanostructures or supramolecular complexes and optionally an agent (e.g., small molecule), where the nanostructures and the nanostructure moieties of the supramolecular complexes may encapsulate and slowly release the agent. The nanostructures, supramolecular complex, and compositions may be useful in delivering an agent to a subject, tissue, or cell, as super-absorbent materials, and in treating a disease (e.g., a genetic diseases, proliferative disease (e.g., cancer or benign neoplasm), hematological disease, neurological disease, gastrointestinal disease (e.g., liver disease), spleen disease, respiratory disease (e.g., lung disease), painful condition, genitourinary disease, musculoskeletal condition, infectious disease, inflammatory disease, autoimmune disease, psychiatric disorder, or metabolic disorder).


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-06

Compositions and methods comprising metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and related uses are generally provided. In some embodiments, a MOF comprises a plurality of metal ions, each coordinated with at least one ligand comprising at least two sets of ortho-diimine groups arranged about an organic core.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The General Hospital Corporation d b a Massachusettes General Hospital and The Broad Institute Inc. | Date: 2016-09-22

Proteomic methods for identifying cancer related proteins and related products and kits are provided. The cancer specific proteins are extracellular matrix proteins that are associated with various aspects of cancer. Panels or signature sets of proteins useful in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers as well as monitoring therapeutic progress in a cancer patient are provided herein along with methods for their detection and for their use in targeting imaging and/or therapeutic agents to the tumors via binding to the specified proteins. The proteins were identified using proteomics analyses of tissue samples taken from cancer patients. In certain aspects the proteins are particularly useful in colon cancer patients.


Patent
Brigham, Women's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-29

A composition comprising a biodegradable polymeric material and therapeutic agent associated with the polymeric material that advantageously can provide controlled release of the therapeutic agent, while comprising little to no auxiliary materials. In some embodiments, the composition is formed by the reaction of one or more monomers in the presence of a food grade catalyst. In another embodiment, the composition comprises a polymeric material capable of undergoing thermal reconfiguration (i.e. a dynamic network). Advantageously, the compositions and materials described herein may comprise a reconfigurable polymeric material (e.g., a thermoset polymeric material) having the strength and integrity of epoxy resins, the biomedical applicability of hydrogels, and/or the moldability of vitrimers.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Alberta | Date: 2016-11-23

The invention, in some aspects relates to compositions and methods for altering cell activity and function and the introduction and use of light-activated ion channels.


Patent
President And Fellows Of Harvard College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Childrens Medical Center Corporation | Date: 2016-07-21

The present invention generally relates to nanoscale wires and tissue engineering. In various embodiments, cell scaffolds for growing cells or tissues can be formed that include nanoscale wires that can be connected to electronic circuits extending externally of the cell scaffold. The nanoscale wires may form an integral part of cells or tissues grown from the cell scaffold, and can even be determined or controlled, e.g., using various electronic circuits. This approach allows for the creation of fundamentally new types of functionalized cells and tissues, due to the high degree of electronic control offered by the nanoscale wires and electronic circuits. Accordingly, such cell scaffolds can be used to grow cells or tissues which can be determined and/or controlled at very high resolutions, due to the presence of the nanoscale wires, and such cell scaffolds will find use in a wide variety of novel applications, including applications in tissue engineering, prosthetics, pacemakers, implants, or the like.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-08

The invention provides delivery systems comprised of stabilized multilamellar vesicles, as well as compositions, methods of synthesis, and methods of use thereof. The stabilized multilamellar vesicles comprise terminal-cysteine-bearing antigens or cysteine-modified antigens, at their surface and/or internally.


Patent
President And Fellows Of Harvard College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-01

Disclosed is a new approach for delivering compounds and drugs to the cytosol of living cells through the use of engineered protein transporters. The engineered protein transporters include a pore and a pore specific delivery protein, wherein a reagent such as a drug is attached to one or more of the engineered protein transporters.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-29

Cold box. The cold box includes an enclosure comprising insulating walls having a first selected R value per surface area defining an interior space. A cold pack is located in a central region of the interior space and insulating material having a second R value per surface area is adjacent the cold pack forming a cold chamber within the interior space for receiving a substance between the insulating material and the insulating walls. The ratio of the first selected R value per surface area to the second selected R value per surface area is chosen to maintain temperature in the cold chamber within a selected range.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-18

A re-dispersible, dry graphene powder can be formed by producing a solution of graphene sheets in solvent, adding surfactant to the solution, and then drying the solution to produce dry graphene sheets coated with surfactant.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-06-20

Described embodiments detect changes in a scene over time using first and second images of the scene. A non-coherent intensity change detector detects large-scale changes between the first image and the second image and generates a large-scale change value for pairs of corresponding pixel locations in the first and second images. If the large-scale change value for a given pair of pixel locations reaches a threshold, a coherent change detector is used to detect small-scale changes between the first and second images. A small-scale change value is generated for the given pairs of pixel locations in the images. A composite change value is generated by combining the large-scale change value and the small-scale change value for each pixel pair. The change thresholds are used to determine whether a change in the scene has occurred over the time period.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-14

There is provided a photodiode array. The photodiode array includes a substrate that has an optical interface surface arranged for accepting external input radiation into the substrate. A plurality of photodiodes are disposed at a substrate surface opposite the optical interface surface of the substrate. Each photodiode in the plurality of photodiodes includes a photodiode material that generates light into the substrate as a result of external input radiation absorption by the photodiode. There is aperiodic photodiode placement along at least one direction of the array.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-14

An equalizer provided in a digital transmitter compensates for attenuation in a signal channel to a digital receiver. The equalizer generates signal levels as a logical function of bit history to emphasize transition signal levels relative to repeated signal levels. The preferred equalizer includes an FIR transition filter using a look-up table. Parallel circuits including FIR filters and digital-to-analog converters provide a high speed equalizer with lower speed circuitry. The equalizer is particularly suited to in-cabinet and local area network transmissions where feedback circuitry facilitates adaptive training of the equalizer.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-11-05

A multi-layer semiconductor device includes a first semiconductor structure having first and second opposing surfaces, the second surface of the first semiconductor structure having at least a first semiconductor package pitch. The multi-layer semiconductor device also includes a second semiconductor structure having first and second opposing surfaces, the first surface of the second semiconductor structure having a second semiconductor package pitch. The multi-layer semiconductor device additionally includes a third semiconductor structure having first and second opposing surfaces, the first surface of the third semiconductor structure having a third semiconductor package pitch which is different from at least the second semiconductor package pitch. The second and third semiconductor structures are provided on a same package level of the multi-layer semiconductor device. A corresponding method for fabricating a multi-layer semiconductor device is also provided.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-08-07

A system and techniques for decoding a message received over a communication channel comprises a receiver for receiving an encoded message. A sorting module is configured to organize candidate messages into a number of bins, sort the candidate messages within each bin, and output a group of candidate messages, the group comprising a number of most likely candidate messages from each message bin. A traceback module is configured to receive the most likely candidate message, and to walk through the tree of candidate messages to generate a decoded message.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2014-05-16

An apparatus includes at least one supernumerary artificial limb and a base structure configured to couple with a human body. The base structure includes a sensor that obtains a measurement regarding load of the human body. The proximal end of the supernumerary artificial limb is coupled to the base structure. The apparatus further includes a processor operatively coupled with the sensor and configured to receive the measurement from the sensor. The processor is also configured to generate a control signal to change at least one of a position of the supernumerary artificial limb and a torque exerted by the supernumerary artificial limb based on the measurement regarding the load.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2014-10-09

A motion tracking system makes use of a number antennas to transmit and receive radio frequency signals that are reflected from objects (e.g., people) in the environment of the system, which may include one or more rooms of a building, the interior of a vehicle, etc., and may be partitioned, for example, walls or cloth sheets. In general, the objects in the environment include both fixed objects, such as chairs, walls, etc., as well as moving objects, such as but not limited to people. The system can track people, who may be moving around a room, or may be relatively stationary, for instance, sitting in a chair of lying in bed, but may nevertheless exhibit breathing motion that may be detected. The system may detect body or limb gestures made by the people in the environment, and detect physical activity including detection of falls.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-10-03

A localized heating structure includes a spectrally-selective solar absorber, that absorbs incident solar radiation and reflects at wavelengths longer than 2 m, with an underlying heat-spreading layer having a thermal conductivity equal to or greater than 50 W/(mK), a thermally insulating layer, adjacent to the spectrally-selective solar absorber, having a thermal conductivity of less than 0.1 W/(mK), one or more evaporation openings through the spectrally-selective solar absorber and the thermally insulating layer, and an evaporation wick, disposed in one or more of the evaporation openings in the thermally insulating layer, that contacts liquid and allows the liquid to be transported from a location beneath the thermally insulating layer through to the spectrally-selective solar absorber in order to generate vapor from the liquid. The thermally insulating layer is configured to have a density less than the liquid so that the localized heating structure is able to float on the liquid.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-05

The invention provides a method termed protein retention ExM (proExM), in which proteins, rather than labels, are anchored to the swellable gel, using a cross-linking molecule. This proExM strategy can be used to perform nanoscale imaging of immunostained cells and tissues as well as samples expressing various FPs as fluorescent signals from genetically encoded fluorescent proteins and/or conventional fluorescently labeled secondary antibodies and streptavidin that are directly anchored to the gel are preserved even when subjected to the nonspecific proteolytic digestion.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-10-12

The present invention provides, among other things, antibody agents (e.g., antibodies, and/or antigen-binding fragments thereof) that bind to DV epitopes, as well as compositions containing them and methods of designing, providing, formulating, using, identifying and/or characterizing them. In some embodiments, provided antibody agents show significant binding to a plurality of DV serotypes. In some embodiments, provided antibody agents show significant binding to all four DV serotypes. Such antibody agents are useful, for example, in the prophylaxis, treatment, diagnosis, and/or study of DV.


This present invention provides high affinity variants of human methyl binding domain 2 (hMBD2), and nucleic acids encoding the variants, capable of recognizing and/or binding to methylated DNA. In particular, the hMBD2 variants of the invention recognize and/or bind a DNA sequence with single methylated CpG site with high affinity. The invention provides materials and methods for using the nucleic acid and/or amino acid sequence variants hMBD2 of the invention to detect methylated DNA. The hMBD2 variants of the invention are particularly useful for recognizing and/or binding a DNA sequence with single methylated CpG site with high affinity.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-08

Provided herein are microorganisms engineered with heme-responsive transcription factors and genetic circuits. Also provided are methods for using engineered microorganisms to sense bleeding events and treat bleeding in vivo.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-02-24

In one aspect, a reference transmit signal is distributed to each of one or more transmit antennas, and delayed by multiple different times before transmission from the transmit antennas. The reference transmit signal (or a delayed version of the reference signal) is also used at each of the receive antennas to determine propagation (time of flight) times reflecting from bodies from each of the transmit antennas to the receive antenna. In another aspect, locations of multiple objects are determined by iteratively (a) determining a location of a body based on determined propagation times between multiple transmitter-receiver pairs, and (b) having determined a location, effectively removing the effect of reflections from that location from the remaining signals.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-13

Reflectors for solar concentration and methods for formation thereof. A reflective assembly (1340) may include a plurality of elongate panels (370) forming a continuous trough (1330), and a frame (1230) configured to support the panels, with the frame with attached panels defining a parabolic contour on the top side of the trough.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-15

Disclosed are surface immobilized (electro)catalysts that may be prepared by a condensation reaction that generates an aromatic unit that is robust to acid and base and elevated temperatures. Among their many desirable characteristics, the catalysts are far less prone to the bimolecular deactivation pathways commonly observed for homogeneous catalysts, and may be used in solvents with a range of polarities and dielectric strengths. The catalysts are suitable for a wide array of thermal catalytic reactions (polymerization, oxidation, hydrogenation, cross-coupling etc.) and as anodes and/or cathodes in fuel cells, electrolyzers, and in batteries and supercapacitors.


Patent
Samsung and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-04-29

Provided is a lithium-conductive solid-state electrolyte material that comprises a sulfide compound of a composition that does not deviate substantially from a formula of Li_(9)S_(3)N. The compounds conductivity is greater than about 110^(7 )S/cm at about 25 C. and is in contact with a negative electroactive material. Also provided is an electrochemical cell that includes an anode layer, a cathode layer, and the electrolyte layer between the anode and cathode layers. In an example, the materials activation energy can be no greater than about 0.52 eV at about 25 C.


A multi-layer semiconductor device includes two or more semiconductor sections, each of the semiconductor sections including at least at least one device layer having first and second opposing surfaces and a plurality of electrical connections extending between the first and second surfaces. The electrical connections correspond to first conductive structures. The multi-layer semiconductor device also includes one or more second conductive structures which are provided as through oxide via (TOV) or through insulator via (TIV) structures. The multi-layer semiconductor device additionally includes one or more silicon layers. At least a first one of the silicon layers includes at least one third conductive structure which is provided as a through silicon via (TSV) structure. The multi-layer semiconductor device further includes one or more via joining layers including at least one fourth conductive structure. A corresponding method for fabricating a multi-layer semiconductor device is also provided.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-03-16

Systems, methods, and apparatus are provided for tuning a functional property of a device. The device (210) includes a layer of a dielectric material (214) disposed over and forming an interface (216) with a layer of an electrically conductive target material (222). The dielectric material layer includes at least one ionic species having a high ion mobility. The target material is configured such that a potential difference applied to the device can cause the at least one ionic species to migrate reversibly across the interface into or out of the target material layer. The mobility of the at least one ionic species can be tuned by exposing the device to electromagnetic radiation and/or a temperature change.


Patent
National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-02-11

Provided is a method for correcting errors in a data transmission network, comprising: transmitting a plurality of uncoded information packets across a network path; transmitting a plurality of coded packets for recovering information packets lost in transmission across said network path, the coded packets being temporally interspersed among said uncoded information packets, wherein the coded packets are encoded based on information packets transmitted prior to a previously transmitted coded packet; and determining the interspersion of the coded packets according to a packet loss rate.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-09-06

In a system and method for assessing the condition of a subject, control parameters are derived from a neurophysiological computational model that operates on features extracted from a speech signal. The control parameters are used as biomarkers (indicators) of the subjects condition. Speech related features are compared with model predicted speech features, and the error signal is used to update control parameters within the neurophysiological computational model. The updated control parameters are processed in a comparison with parameters associated with the disorder in a library.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-18

A planar mixed-metal perovskite solar cell can exhibit many favorable properties including high efficiencies and tunable electronic properties. The incorporation of different metal species (i.e. Co, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, Sn, Sr, and Zn) into the film is made possible by the solubility of either each metals divalent acetate or halide compound in a solvent.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-11-03

A metallic-dielectric photonic crystal is formed with a periodic structure defining a plurality of resonant cavities to selectively absorb incident radiation. A metal layer is deposited on the inner surfaces of the resonant cavities and a dielectric material fills inside the resonant cavities. This photonic crystal can be used to selectively absorb broadband solar radiation and then reemit absorbed radiation in a wavelength band that matches the absorption band of a photovoltaic cell. The photonic crystal can be fabricated by patterning a sacrificial layer with a plurality of holes, into which is deposited a supporting material. Removing the rest of the sacrificial layer creates a supporting structure, on which a layer of metal is deposited to define resonant cavities. A dielectric material then fills the cavities to form the photonic crystal.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-05-27

There is provided a photodiode array including a semiconducting substrate and a plurality of photodiodes that are disposed at a surface of the substrate. Each photodiode is laterally spaced apart from neighboring photodiodes by a lateral substrate surface region. An optical interface surface of the substrate is arranged for accepting external input radiation. A plurality of electrically conducting fuses are disposed on the substrate surface. Each fuse is connected to a photodiode in the plurality of photodiodes. Each fuse is disposed at a lateral substrate surface region that is spaced apart from neighboring photodiodes in the plurality of photodiodes.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-09

An assembly that includes a printed circuit board and a foam dielectric material, and a method of fabricating the assembly is disclosed. The assembly includes at least one layer of a foam dielectric material, which has properties similar to those of air. This layer of foam dielectric material is disposed between a top sublaminate and a bottom sublaminate. The bottom sublaminate may be a traditional printed circuit board, comprising an arbitrary number of layers. The top sublaminate may be a single layer, or may be multiple layers and may include an antenna. The foam dielectric material serves to provide mechanical support for the top sublaminate and the central conductor. The foam dielectric material also provides physical separation between the bottom sublaminate and the antenna.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-31

Automated tissue stiffness measurement devices and methods can identify cancerous lesions with high sensitivity and specificity. Systems and methods are presented to measure tissue stiffness using applied force, illumination and imaging techniques. The systems and methods can use structured illumination to characterize a tissue surface.


Patent
Samsung and Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-02

A solid electrolyte material represented by Formula 1: L_(1+2x)(M1)_(1-x)(M2)(M3)_(4)Formula 1


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-16

A distributed beamforming communication system including independent aerial nodes forming an antenna array is described. Described herein is a distributed beamforming array which utilizes independent aerial relay nodes or platforms (i.e. no strict control of relay node position, no communication between the relay nodes, and no coordinated transmission among the relay nodes) to form a distributed beamforming antenna.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-07-29

Described is a receiver for improving end-to-end efficiency in a device-to-device wireless charging system using resonant energy transfer through an inductive link. The receiver includes an efficiency controller which dynamically tracks a maximum efficiency point and controls an impedance between an inductive coupling of the receiver and a receiver rectifier circuit such that an impedance seen by the inductive coupling is an impedance which maximizes (or nearly maximizes) efficiency of the inductively coupled wireless power transfer operation.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-08-03

Described is a bearingless motor based upon a homopolar flux-biased magnetic bearing for force generation and a hysteresis motor for torque generation. The bearingless slice motor levitates and rotates a ring-shaped rotor made of a semi-hard magnetic material. The rotor is biased with a homopolar permanent-magnetic flux, on which 2-pole flux can be superimposed to generate suspension forces. Torque is generated by a hysteretic coupling between the rotor and a rotating multi-pole stator field.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2015-04-09

An assembly that includes a printed circuit board having an air gap, and a method of fabricating the assembly is disclosed. The assembly includes at least one air gap. This air gap is created by using a soluble material during the PCB assembly process. The soluble material can preferably be processed in accordance with traditional PCB fabrication processes. For example, other materials can be bonded to the soluble material. Additionally, the soluble material is capable of withstanding a drilling process. After the PCB assembly is complete, the soluble material is then dissolved, leaving an air gap where the soluble material once existed. This assembly may be useful in configurations where an antenna, EBG material or other electronic structure is to be disposed above the top surface of the printed circuit board.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pendar Technologies LLC | Date: 2016-07-27

Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) are based on quantum cascade (QC) structures. In embodiment methods and corresponding devices, a QC layer in a wave confinement region of an integrated multi-layer semiconductor structure capable of producing optical gain is depleted of free charge carriers to create a low-loss optical wave confinement region in a portion of the structure. Ion implantation may be used to create energetically deep trap levels to trap free charge carriers. Other embodiments include modifying a region of a passive, depleted QC structure to produce an active region capable of optical gain. Gain or loss may also be modified by partially depleting or enhancing free charge carrier density. QC lasers and amplifiers may be integrated monolithically with each other or with passive waveguides and other passive devices in a self-aligned manner. Embodiments overcome challenges of high cost, complex fabrication, and coupling loss involved with material re-growth methods.


Patent
The Broad Institute Inc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology and President And Fellows Of Harvard College | Date: 2017-03-22

The invention provides for systems, methods, and compositions for manipulation of sequences and/or activities of target sequences. Provided are vectors and vector systems, some of which encode one or more components of a CRISPR complex, as well as methods for the design and use of such vectors. Also provided are methods of directing CRISPR complex formation in eukaryotic cells and methods for selecting specific cells by introducing precise mutations utilizing the CRISPR-Cas system.


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2017-03-01

Embodiments related to cation-disordered lithium metal oxide compounds, their methods of manufacture, and use are described. In one embodiment, a cation-disordered lithium metal oxide includes LiMMO_(2) with a greater than 1. M includes at least one redox-active species with a first oxidation state n and an oxidation state n greater than n, and M is chosen such that a lithium-M oxide having a formula LiMO_(2) forms a cation-disordered rocksalt structure. M includes at least one charge-compensating species that has an oxidation state y that is greater than n.


Ribbeck K.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ISME Journal | Year: 2017

Mucus forms a major ecological niche for microbiota in various locations throughout the human body such as the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and oral cavity. The primary structural components of mucus are mucin glycoproteins, which crosslink to form a complex polymer network that surrounds microbes. Although the mucin matrix could create constraints that impact inhabiting microbes, little is understood about how this key environmental factor affects interspecies interactions. In this study, we develop an experimental model using gel-forming human salivary mucins to understand the influence of mucin on the viability of two competing species of oral bacteria. We use this dual-species model to show that mucins promote the coexistence of the two competing bacteria and that mucins shift cells from the mixed-species biofilm into the planktonic form. Taken together, these findings indicate that the mucus environment could influence bacterial viability by promoting a less competitive mode of growth.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 24 January 2017; doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.200. © 2017 International Society for Microbial Ecology


Sterman J.D.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Dogan G.,TAV
Journal of Operations Management | Year: 2015

When suppliers are unable to fill orders, delivery delays increase and customers receive less than they desire. Customers often respond by seeking larger safety stocks (hoarding) and by ordering more than they need to meet demand (phantom ordering). Such actions cause still longer delivery times, creating positive feedbacks that intensify scarcity and destabilize supply chains. Hoarding and phantom ordering can be rational when customers compete for limited supply in the presence of uncertainty or capacity constraints. But they may also be behavioral and emotional responses to scarcity. To address this question we extend Croson et al.'s (2014) experimental study with the Beer Distribution Game. Hoarding and phantom ordering are never rational in the experiment because there is no horizontal competition, randomness, or capacity constraint; further, customer demand is constant and participants have common knowledge of that fact. Nevertheless 22% of participants place orders more than 25 times greater than the known, constant demand. We generalize the ordering heuristic used in prior research to include the possibility of endogenous hoarding and phantom ordering. Estimation results strongly support the hypothesis, with hoarding and phantom ordering particularly strong for the outliers who placed extremely large orders. We discuss psychiatric and neuroanatomical evidence showing that environmental stressors can trigger the impulse to hoard, overwhelming rational decision-making. We speculate that stressors such as large orders, backlogs or late deliveries trigger hoarding and phantom ordering for some participants even though these behaviors are irrational. We discuss implications for supply chain design and behavioral operations research. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kim D.H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nature Nanotechnology | Year: 2017

Directed self-assembly (DSA) of the domain structure in block copolymer (BCP) thin films is a promising approach for sub-10-nm surface patterning. DSA requires the control of interfacial properties on both interfaces of a BCP film to induce the formation of domains that traverse the entire film with a perpendicular orientation. Here we show a methodology to control the interfacial properties of BCP films that uses a polymer topcoat deposited by initiated chemical vapour deposition (iCVD). The iCVD topcoat forms a crosslinked network that grafts to and immobilizes BCP chains to create an interface that is equally attractive to both blocks of the underlying copolymer. The topcoat, in conjunction with a chemically patterned substrate, directs the assembly of the grating structures in BCP films with a half-pitch dimension of 9.3 nm. As the iCVD topcoat can be as thin as 7 nm, it is amenable to pattern transfer without removal. The ease of vapour-phase deposition, applicability to high-resolution BCP systems and integration with pattern-transfer schemes are attractive properties of iCVD topcoats for industrial applications. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group


Host recognition and immune-mediated foreign body response to biomaterials can compromise the performance of implanted medical devices. To identify key cell and cytokine targets, here we perform in-depth systems analysis of innate and adaptive immune system responses to implanted biomaterials in rodents and non-human primates. While macrophages are indispensable to the fibrotic cascade, surprisingly neutrophils and complement are not. Macrophages, via CXCL13, lead to downstream B cell recruitment, which further potentiated fibrosis, as confirmed by B cell knockout and CXCL13 neutralization. Interestingly, colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R) is significantly increased following implantation of multiple biomaterial classes: ceramic, polymer and hydrogel. Its inhibition, like macrophage depletion, leads to complete loss of fibrosis, but spares other macrophage functions such as wound healing, reactive oxygen species production and phagocytosis. Our results indicate that targeting CSF1R may allow for a more selective method of fibrosis inhibition, and improve biomaterial biocompatibility without the need for broad immunosuppression. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group


Neve R.L.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2017

The formation of long-lasting memories requires coordinated changes in gene expression and protein synthesis. Although many studies implicate DNA modifications (DNA methylation, histone modifications) in memory formation, the contributions of RNA modifications remain largely unexplored. Here we investigated the role of mRNA methylation in hippocampal-dependent memory formation in mice. RNA modifications are highly dynamic and readily reversible. Methyltransferases add a methyl group to mRNA while demethylases remove methyl groups. Here we focused on examining the role of the best characterized RNA demethylase, FTO (fat mass and obesity-associated) in memory. We observed that FTO is expressed in the nuclei, dendrites and near dendritic spines of mouse dorsal hippocampal CA1 neurons. Next, we found that contextual fear conditioning transiently (0.5 h) decreased Fto levels in these neurons, with the largest decrease in FTO observed near synapses. The decrease in FTO observed shortly after contextual fear conditioning suggests that FTO normally constrains memory formation. To directly test this, we artificially decreased FTO levels in dorsal hippocampus of otherwise normal (wild-type) mice by microinjecting before training a single herpes simplex virus (HSV) vector expressing either CRISPR/Cas9 or shRNA targeted against Fto. Decreasing FTO using either method specifically enhanced contextual fear memory. Together, these results show the importance of FTO during memory formation and, furthermore, implicate mRNA modification and epi-transcriptomics as novel regulators of memory formation.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 15 March 2017; doi:10.1038/npp.2017.31. © 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology


Fenouille N.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nature Medicine | Year: 2017

Expression of the MECOM (also known as EVI1) proto-oncogene is deregulated by chromosomal translocations in some cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is associated with poor clinical outcome. Here, through transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling of hematopoietic cells, we reveal that EVI1 overexpression alters cellular metabolism. A screen using pooled short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) identified the ATP-buffering, mitochondrial creatine kinase CKMT1 as necessary for survival of EVI1-expressing cells in subjects with EVI1-positive AML. EVI1 promotes CKMT1 expression by repressing the myeloid differentiation regulator RUNX1. Suppression of arginine–creatine metabolism by CKMT1-directed shRNAs or by the small molecule cyclocreatine selectively decreased the viability, promoted the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of human EVI1-positive cell lines, and prolonged survival in both orthotopic xenograft models and mouse models of primary AML. CKMT1 inhibition altered mitochondrial respiration and ATP production, an effect that was abrogated by phosphocreatine-mediated reactivation of the arginine–creatine pathway. Targeting CKMT1 is thus a promising therapeutic strategy for this EVI1-driven AML subtype that is highly resistant to current treatment regimens. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.


Park G.Y.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nature Medicine | Year: 2017

Cisplatin and its platinum analogs, carboplatin and oxaliplatin, are some of the most widely used cancer chemotherapeutics. Although cisplatin and carboplatin are used primarily in germ cell, breast and lung malignancies, oxaliplatin is instead used almost exclusively to treat colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers. Here we utilize a unique, multi-platform genetic approach to study the mechanism of action of these clinically established platinum anti-cancer agents, as well as more recently developed cisplatin analogs. We show that oxaliplatin, unlike cisplatin and carboplatin, does not kill cells through the DNA-damage response. Rather, oxaliplatin kills cells by inducing ribosome biogenesis stress. This difference in drug mechanism explains the distinct clinical implementation of oxaliplatin relative to cisplatin, and it might enable mechanistically informed selection of distinct platinum drugs for distinct malignancies. These data highlight the functional diversity of core components of front-line cancer therapy and the potential benefits of applying a mechanism-based rationale to the use of our current arsenal of anti-cancer drugs. © 2017 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.


News Article | April 14, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)—which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level—is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have extended cryo-EM’s impact further by developing a new computational algorithm that was instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time. Over 20,000 two-dimensional cryo-EM images of bacteriophage P22 (also known as the P22 virus that infects the common bacterium Salmonella) from Baylor College of Medicine were used to make the model. The results were published by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Berkeley Lab in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences earlier in March. “This is a great example of how to exploit electron microscopy technology and combine it with new computational methods to determine a bacteriophage’s structure,” said Paul Adams, Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging division director and a co-author of the paper. “We developed the algorithms—the computational code—to optimize the atomic model so that it best fit the experimental data.” Pavel Afonine, a Berkeley Lab computational research scientist and paper co-author, took the lead in developing the algorithm using Phenix, a software suite used traditionally in X-ray crystallography for determining macromolecular structures. The successful rendering of bacteriophage P22’s 3-D atomic-scale model allows researchers to peek inside the virus’ protein coats at resolution. It is the culmination of several years of work that previously had enabled Baylor College researchers to trace out most of the protein’s backbone, but not the fine details, according to Corey Hryc, co-first author and a graduate student of Baylor biochemistry professor Wah Chiu. “Thanks to this exquisite structural detail, we have determined the protein chemistry of the P22 virus,” Chiu said. “I think it is important that we provide detailed annotations with the structure so other researchers can use it for their future experiments,” he added. Chiu’s lab has been using cryo-EM and computer reconstruction techniques to build 3-D molecular structures for almost 30 years. And the findings could have valuable biological implications as well. Thanks to the 3-D atomic-scale model, it’s now “possible to see the interactions between the pieces making up the P22 virus, which are critical to making it stable,” Adams said. This helps researchers figure out how to make chemicals that can bind to certain proteins. Adams underscores that the ability to understand the configuration of atoms in molecular space can be used to generate new insights into drug design and development.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Self-Assembly Lab, Steelcase, and designer Christophe Guberan has resulted in a 3D-printing breakthrough. This new process uses a rapid liquid printing technique that breaks the previous constraints of speed, scale, and quality. Buyers could affordably customize a piece of furniture and have it printed in minutes. Previously, 3D printing came with its own set of limitations. Printing an object required a support structure, layering, and time to cure. This results in a slow, small-scale process. While working with Steelcase, the Self-Assembly Lab created a technique that prints inside of a gel. With the gel acting as 360-degree support, a product designer can essentially draw in 3D space without the limitations of gravity. This makes printing faster and the product can be big as the machine available. Unlike traditional printing, curing is done while the 3D printing is still underway. A two-part mixing process allows the material to cure chemically rather than using light or temperature. According to MIT assistant professor Skylar Tibbits, the intricate design of their baseline table top took only 28 minutes to print. In another experiment, they were able to print a structure in 10 minutes that would have taken 50 hours using a more traditional 3D-printing method. While only an experiment, for now, the process has caught the interest of Turnstone, a Steelcase brand. “As a designer, what’s most fascinating and unique about rapid liquid printing is the line quality of the print. It’s soft, almost organic. It evokes images of brushstrokes or the branches of plants,” Turnstone senior industrial designer Yuka Hiyoshi said. “The printing speed is very impressive. In the far future, large-scale objects could be printed in minutes instead of days. Also, it’s not limited to typical 3D printing material making the technology very desirable from a design perspective.” For now, this collaboration will continue to experiment with materials, scale, and further improvements.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

In just half a day, a new type of robot built an igloo-shaped building half the diameter of the U.S. Capitol dome—all by itself. In the future, such autonomous machines could assemble entire towns, create wacky Dr. Seuss–like structures, and even prepare the moon for its first human colony. “It’s an impressive project,” says Matthias Kohler, an architect who studies autonomous construction at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, but was not involved in the work. People have experimented with many approaches to autonomous construction, and the scientists—a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) materials science and design focused Mediated Matter lab in Cambridge—weighed them all before designing their robot. Should their robot manufacture prefabricated parts in a distant factory? If it works on site, should it be crane-shaped? Should they create a swarm of builder drones? And what about the construction materials—should the robot assemble buildings from blocks? The scientists chose to go with a mobile, mechanical arm for easy customization and wider reach, and they decided to print buildings layer by layer, for more complex shapes. Their solution consists of a large hydraulic arm on motorized tanklike treads (which you can watch at work, above). At the end of the arm is a smaller electric arm for finer movements, armed with a suite of sensors for positioning and stability control, along with swappable tools for welding, digging, and printing. The combined reach of the arms is more than 10 meters. The Digital Construction Platform, as it’s called, also carries solar panels and batteries. To put the bot through its paces, the scientists programmed it to drive out of a warehouse and build an open-top dome using a method they developed called print-in-place: The electronic tip sprays a line of expanding foam that creates the outline of the structure. Layer by layer, the robot uses the foam to build up a hollow wall that serves as insulation and can later be filled with concrete and covered in plaster. To show its ability to print horizontally, the bot even added a bench to a wall. At 14.6 meters across, the structure is the largest building ever 3D-printed by a mobile robot, the researchers report today in . It’s also the fastest to be printed: 13.5 hours. Several elements of the new bot made the feat possible. For example, the group made an “interesting leap forward” by putting lasers at the end of the arm to sense the tip’s position and help it counteract any unwanted movement in the rest of the arm, instead of keeping the whole thing perfectly stable, Kohler says. The technique, which has never before been used in a construction bot, allows the entire machine to be lightweight and have a huge reach. David Wilson, a mechanical engineer and the chief innovation officer at Bechtel in Houston, Texas (the contractor responsible for the Hoover Dam), says that the micro-macro manipulators and print-in-place method offer new potential. Aside from the safety advantages, autonomous 3D printing is faster and more precise than manual construction. It can also maximize building strength and efficiency by placing material only where it’s needed, and it simplifies planning and logistics. Steven Keating, the MIT mechanical engineer who led the project, imagines seeing the exact time, cost, and structural integrity of a building before even hitting “print.” Robots also allow for almost any design you can dream up. “Instead of making a square building,” he says, “you can make a Dr. Seuss–looking building for the same cost.” The new robot can also build smaller structures from sand, compressed earth, metal chains (which it welds together), and even ice (which it deposits first as water). Such resourcefulness would be useful if it’s ever in a remote environment and has to build with whatever’s at hand. It can dig, sense various environmental cues including radiation (which could help it repair nuclear reactors), and print walls with variations in color or stiffness for further customization and efficiency. Keating would love to see the robot go to Mars, design a structure based on local ground and weather conditions, collect its own energy and materials, and then put up a house—or even a town. For the moment, the building machine still needs a little help from its human friends. At one point, dew settled on the dome, causing a layer of foam to slide off the structure before it could fully adhere. Keating had to swap out the printing tip for a chainsaw and backtrack. But because print-in-place uses standard materials, the MIT researchers say it can be used alongside traditional construction techniques, paving a path toward code certification. “We wanted to have the dream, the future vision,” Keating says, “and also something that we could implement right away.” Some people can hardly wait. The team has already been getting calls from NASA, the U.S. military, Google, and one guy who saw the dome and made a special request for a famous client: an underground basketball court.


News Article | April 13, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from air, even in low humidity. The device can produce nearly 3 liters of water per day for every kilogram of spongelike absorber it contains, and researchers say future versions will be even better. That means homes in the driest parts of the world could soon have a solar-powered appliance capable of delivering all the water they need, offering relief to billions of people. There are an estimated 13 trillion liters of water floating in the atmosphere at any one time, equivalent to 10% of all of the freshwater in our planet’s lakes and rivers. Over the years, researchers have developed ways to grab a few trickles, such as using fine nets to wick water from fog banks, or power-hungry dehumidifiers to condense it out of the air. But both approaches require either very humid air or far too much electricity to be broadly useful. To find an all-purpose solution, researchers led by Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, turned to a family of crystalline powders called metal organic frameworks, or MOFs. Yaghi developed the first MOFs—porous crystals that form continuous 3D networks—more than 20 years ago. The networks assemble in a Tinkertoy-like fashion from metal atoms that act as the hubs and sticklike organic compounds that link the hubs together. By choosing different metals and organics, chemists can dial in the properties of each MOF, controlling what gases bind to them, and how strongly they hold on. Over the past 2 decades chemists have synthesized more than 20,000 MOFs, each with unique molecule-grabbing properties. For example, Yaghi and others recently designed MOFs that absorb—and later release—methane, making them a type of high-capacity gas tank for natural gas–powered vehicles. In 2014, Yaghi and his colleagues synthesized a MOF that excelled at absorbing water, even under low-humidity conditions. That led him to reach out to Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, with whom he had previously worked on a project to use MOFs in automobile air conditioning. After synthesizing the new zirconium-based MOF, dubbed MOF-801, Yaghi met Wang at MIT and said, “Evelyn we have to come up with a water-harvesting device.” She agreed to give it a shot. The system Wang and her students designed consists of a kilogram of dust-sized MOF crystals pressed into a thin sheet of porous copper metal. That sheet is placed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate and positioned inside a chamber. At night the chamber is opened, allowing ambient air to diffuse through the porous MOF and water molecules to stick to its interior surfaces, gathering in groups of eight to form tiny cubic droplets. In the morning, the chamber is closed, and sunlight entering through a window on top of the device then heats up the MOF, which liberates the water droplets and drives them—as vapor—toward the cooler condenser. The temperature difference, as well as the high humidity inside the chamber, causes the vapor to condense as liquid water, which drips into a collector. The setup works so well that it pulls 2.8 liters of water out of the air per day for every kilogram of MOF it contained, the Berkeley and MIT team reports today in  . “It has been a longstanding dream” to harvest water from desert air, says Mercouri Kanatzidis, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who wasn’t involved with the work. “This demonstration … is a significant proof of concept.” It’s also one that Yaghi says has plenty of room for improvement. For starters, zirconium costs $150 a kilogram, making water-harvesting devices too expensive to be broadly useful. However, Yaghi says his group has already had early success in designing water-grabbing MOFs that replace zirconium with aluminum, a metal that is 100 times cheaper. That could make future water harvesters cheap enough not only to slake the thirst of people in arid regions, but perhaps even supply water to farmers in the desert. *Update, 14 March, 12:28 p.m.: This item has been updated to reflect the fact that the device pulls nearly 3 liters of water out of the air for every kilogram of the water-absorbing material that is used.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

For scientists searching the skies for other Earth-like planets—other living worlds—the brightest hope may be a quiet star too dim to be seen with the naked eye, a sedate and solitary red dwarf called LHS 1140 nestled just 40 light-years away in the southern constellation Cetus. There an international team of astronomers has found a world that, although not a twin of Earth, certainly counts as a close cousin. LHS 1140 b is a “super-Earth,” a planet bigger than ours but smaller than Neptune, and the most common variety of world thought to exist in our galaxy. Many erstwhile super-Earths, however, have proved to be uninhabitable “mini-Neptunes” smothered beneath thick layers of gas. This world is different. At just under 50 percent larger than Earth but more than six times as heavy, its dimensions suggest it must be a ball of rock and metal, potentially with a thin and comparatively Earth-like atmosphere. Its 25-day orbit brings it 10 times closer to its star than Earth ever gets to our sun, but LHS 1140 shines so weakly that its planet soaks up just half the starlight our own world receives—just enough, it seems, to sustain the possibility of life-giving liquid water oceans on its surface. This alien world might well be tidally locked due to its nearness to its star, eternally turning the same face to its sun just as the moon does to Earth, leaving its far side in constant darkness. The planet and star are estimated to be at least five billion years old—that is, about half a billion years older than our solar system. Most importantly, each orbit sends this temperate, rocky world “transiting” across the face of its star as seen from Earth—a fortuitous alignment allowing astronomers to observe the planet more closely than any other potentially habitable world yet found beyond our solar system. Molecules in a transiting planet's upper atmosphere absorb a fraction of the starlight passing through, forming a tenuous ring of light around the globe that astronomers can study to learn what is in its alien air. In coming years astronomers will use this and other techniques to seek out any biosphere that might exist on LHS 1140 b, potentially revealing signs of oxygen and other atmospheric gases that, on Earth, constitute the literal breath of life. The planet’s discovery is detailed in a study published in Nature. “LHS 1140 b is the best candidate to look at for signs of life in the near future,” says study co-author David Charbonneau, an astronomer at Harvard University who leads the MEarth Project, a global network of small telescopes that first observed the transiting planet. (The “M” in “MEarth” stands for “M dwarf,” a technical term for those red dwarf stars that are about 30 percent or less the mass of the sun. Such stars are by far the most common variety in our galaxy, and the most amenable to studies of planets.) “This is the first time we’ve found a rocky planet that gives us the opportunity to look for oxygen,” Charbonneau adds This really is the one we’ve been hunting for.” Long sought, the planet was also one that almost got away. MEarth’s array of telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere, located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, first picked up tentative signs of LHS 1140b’s transit in September 2014. MEarth team member and lead study author Jason Dittmann, then a graduate student at Harvard University, spearheaded the effort to confirm and study the potential planet. The case for the planet slowly grew over the next two years, as the MEarth team enlisted help from a second group of astronomers operating the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS instrument in Chile—the world’s premiere planet-hunting spectrograph. Rather than look for transits, HARPS finds planets by the periodic gravitational wobbles they impose on their stars. This slow, painstaking technique allows a planet’s mass to be estimated. “MEarth detected a transit event, but only one, and it was low signal to noise so they were not completely sure it was real,” says study co-author Xavier Bonfils, an astronomer at the University of Geneva who helms the HARPS survey of red dwarf stars. “But they have never passed us a false positive, so we considered this a quite reliable candidate and began an intensive observing campaign.” By combining HARPS and MEarth observations, the teams eventually predicted a transit for the putative planet would be viewable from facilities in Hawaii and Australia on September 1, 2016. But on the appointed night, poor weather prevented five of the six telescopes from observing the star. Only one observer, amateur astronomer and study co-author Thiam-Guan Tan, successfully watched the transit using a small telescope in the suburbs of Perth, Australia. That night, Tan sent the MEarth team a terse e-mail reporting his success: “Transit egress seen at ~HJD +7633.12. Depth about 5 mmag.” That is, Tan had recorded LHS 1140 dimming by just half of 1 percent from a transiting planet—equivalent, he says, to “observing the dimming of light caused by a grain of sand moving in front of a candle placed 400 kilometers away.” With the planet’s orbital period in hand, subsequent observations with MEarth and HARPS quickly firmed up estimates for its size and mass, revealing it to be a giant, rocky and very noteworthy world. One could be forgiven for thinking planet hunters are somehow confused. With every passing month a new prime candidate for “Earth 2.0” seems to emerge. But not all potentially habitable worlds are equally promising for follow-up study. For example, since its launch in 2009 NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered about a dozen potentially habitable worlds transiting other stars in our galaxy. Yet Kepler’s finds are thousands of light-years away—too far to be scrutinized for more nuanced signs of habitability and life. Conversely, last year astronomers discovered a potentially habitable Earth-size planet, Proxima b, around the sun’s nearest neighboring star—the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, scarcely more than four light-years away. But like most other known nearby worlds, Proxima b does not appear to transit, meaning deeper studies may be delayed for years as astronomers develop the technology to actually snap its picture. Earlier this year, planet hunters hit pay dirt with a system of at least seven Earth-size planets transiting another red dwarf, TRAPPIST-1, which like LHS 1140 is about 40 light-years away. Researchers carefully studied each transiting planet’s shadow to determine its size, and even managed to estimate some of their weights by watching how the orbiting planets tugged on one another to subtly alter the timing of their transits. These studies, however, yielded mixed results—the worlds of TRAPPIST-1 could be rocky, Charbonneau says, or they could be drowned or smothered beneath thick layers of water, ice or gas. Even so, because they do transit, astronomers using NASA’s upcoming infrared James Webb Space Telescope or under-construction ground-based telescopes with 30-meter mirrors will be able to learn much more about the planets of TRAPPIST-1 by studying the makeup of their atmospheres. But although TRAPPIST-1 is the same distance from Earth as LHS 1140, it is a much smaller and dimmer “ultracool” red dwarf—as small and dim as a star can be, in fact, while still qualifying as a star. The meager trickle of light it shines toward Earth is insufficient to support a robust search for atmospheric oxygen. Even if TRAPPIST-1 were bright enough to allow its planets to be studied for signs of oxygen, the star presents other problems for life-seeking astronomers. Like all red dwarfs, it experienced a tempestuous youth during which it shined far brighter as it slowly contracted to its current size. This formative period lasted for perhaps a billion years, and may well have left its retinue of worlds scorched and airless—or wreathed in a crushing, arid atmosphere of almost pure carbon dioxide, due to a Venus-style runaway greenhouse effect. Even today the star is highly active, bathing its planets in atmosphere-eroding x-ray and ultraviolet radiation. LHS 1140, by contrast, is thought to have had a much briefer formative phase of just 40 million years, and is now a relatively quiescent star. “That’s the big question now: ‘Which planet is going to retain its atmosphere against stellar heating and erosion?’” Bonfils says. “And the chance seems higher around a quiet star like LHS 1140.” The great bulk of LHS 1140 b, its discoverers say, could offer additional advantages. The planet’s hefty gravitational field may have allowed it to retain more of its air against stellar insults. And even if it did lose its primordial atmosphere or suffer a runaway greenhouse effect during its star’s initial 40 million years of planet-scorching brightness, back then its crust and mantle were likely still molten, forming a planetary magma ocean that could act as a reservoir for volatile gases. As the magma cooled, it could release those gases to replenish the planet’s atmosphere and inventory of water. Studying both planetary systems together, Dittmann says, could yield crucial insights about how potentially habitable worlds can keep—or lose—their atmospheres around red dwarf stars. “Between TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 b we have the opportunity to compare a planet bathed in intense radiation by an active ultracool dwarf star with one around a much calmer, steadier star,” he explains. “That will let us ask—and answer—some fun questions.” In the meantime, he says, the MEarth team’s plans for LHS 1140 “are incredibly simple: We’re going to hit this system with everything we’ve got.” Already, the team is hammering away at the system with additional observations, bombarding the star with HARPS measurements practically every night for several months in hopes of pinning down the planet’s true mass and learning whether other worlds lurk hidden in the system. Observations with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are measuring how much ultraviolet light from the star falls on the planet to better understand its prospects for life. Additional, yet-to-be-approved observations with Hubble and another space-based NASA telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, could reveal just how much high-energy radiation the world receives, further clarifying its capacity to support life. This fall the team hopes to take over most of the world-class telescopes in Chile for one night, monitoring a transit of the planet on October 26 with the twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes as well as three or four of the eight-meter observatories that make up the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope complex. These observations will seek to detect the planet’s atmosphere—or at least to confirm that it lacks a thick, biosphere-stifling envelope of gas. But the best information will come later this decade and early in the next with the launch of NASA’s Webb telescope in 2018 and the debut of ground-based 30-meter extremely large telescopes in the 2020s. Operating in the infrared part of the spectrum, Webb could search for signs of carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and other gases in LHS 1140 b’s atmosphere. A ground-based facility such as the under-construction Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) could look for atmospheric oxygen in visible light reflected from the planet. Combining data from Webb and the GMT, Charbonneau says, could allow astronomers to distinguish between potentially biological sources of oxygen—such as photosynthetic organisms—and abiotic production routes for the gas, which can be generated in enormous amounts by runaway-greenhouse conditions. “The message is that we really need both Webb and something like the GMT,” Charbonneau says. “The GMT could detect oxygen, which would tell us that there really could be life there. But to understand the source of that oxygen you must go and measure other atmospheric molecules, and those will be in domain of Webb.” Astronomers preparing Webb for launch are already planning observations of the new planet. “Only time will tell, but I would not be surprised that LHS 1140b will become one of the most-studied planets by Webb in its entire lifetime,” says René Doyon, an astronomer at the University of Montreal and principal investigator for NIRISS, a Canadian-built instrument for Webb that is optimized for studying planetary atmospheres. Doyon has already allocated some of NIRISS’s precious observing time to study the system, which he calls a “dream target” for Webb. Pondering the prospect of devoting years—decades even—of his scientific career to studying this newfound planet, Dittmann (who has since moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is a postdoctoral fellow) occasionally wonders whether the investment will pan out. Red dwarfs and super-Earths are respectively the most abundant stars and planets in the galaxy, and when they come together to form a transiting system they offer astronomers a bonanza of observational possibilities with current or near-future technology. But they are also profoundly alien, presenting myriad unique challenges to observers hoping to understand them and their prospects for life. Studies of more familiar territory—smaller planets around scarcer, larger stars like our sun—are at present far more difficult, with breakthrough results perhaps still decades away. “We’re being pushed to [red dwarfs] because of their abundance and our available technology. But you know, we go outside everyday and there’s a nice yellow star up there, shining for us,” Dittmann muses. “It is kind of strange, to wonder why we don’t instead orbit one of the most common star types in the universe—and maybe it’s because they’re not so great for life. It’s on the back of everyone’s mind—certainly mine. Then again, maybe life would have no problem around these stars. What’s important is that we’re now at the point where we’re finding and studying these planets, like LHS 1140 b and those of TRAPPIST-1—and more that will come—so that we can confront all these hypotheticals with actual data. So this is where we’re going. In 10 years I may eat my words, but in 10 years I’ll also be eating lots of telescope time.”


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced its 2017 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winners, capping a nationwide search for the most inventive college students. The Program awarded $115,000 in prizes to 18 undergraduate and graduate inventors, selected from a diverse and highly competitive pool of applicants from across the country. The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, serving as a catalyst for young inventors in the fields of health care, transportation, food and agriculture, and consumer devices. The “Drive it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: Rewarding technology-based inventions that can improve transportation. The “Use it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: Rewarding technology-based inventions that can improve consumer devices. The “Eat it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: Rewarding technology-based inventions that can improve food and agriculture. The “Cure it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: Rewarding technology-based inventions that can improve health care. The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention. Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the most prolific American inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering at MIT, an institution with a strong ongoing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for K-12 STEM education. For more information, visit Lemelson.MIT.edu. Established in the early 1990s by Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson and based in Portland, Oregon, The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. Inspired by the belief that invention can solve many of the biggest economic and social challenges of our time, the Foundation helps the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses to flourish. To date the Foundation has made grants totaling over $200 million in support of its mission. For more information, visit http://lemelson.org.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Antimatter has always been full of surprises. The first was that it existed. The second was that it didn’t. First things first. In the 1920s, British physicist Paul Dirac managed to marry quantum theory with Einstein’s special relativity to explain how tiny, fast-moving fundamental particles such as electrons work. But his austerely beautiful unifying equation, honoured with a plaque in London’s Westminster Abbey, had an unwanted consequence. For every matter particle like an electron, it predicted the existence of a second particle that was the same, but opposite in things like electric charge. Dirac initially brushed this under the carpet – out of “pure cowardice” he later said – but three years on, the antimatter version of the electron, the positron, was discovered in cosmic rays. Since then, as the standard model of particle physics was built on the foundation that Dirac and others laid, a very different problem has emerged. Antimatter shouldn’t just exist, it should be abundant: every time a matter particle is made, an antimatter particle should also be conjured from the void. “We should have a universe half full of antimatter,” says Michael Capell, an astroparticle physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So where are these particles? They can’t be near us because matter and antimatter mutually “annihilate” whenever they meet, and we would notice the flash of X-ray energy produced when they do. Various small-scale particle behaviours


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.prlog.org

Onyx Renewable Partners L.P. ("Onyx"), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ("MIT") Lincoln Laboratory, has successfully implemented an 820 kWDC photovoltaic (PV) carport at the Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

HUMAN language has long appeared miraculous. It has enabled us to accumulate knowledge, build cultures and conquer the planet, making us a creature seemingly apart from the rest of the animal world. During the 19th century, Alfred Russel Wallace doubted whether natural selection could explain such a unique power. In our century, Noam Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology academic who has dominated linguistics for 60 years, has supported a hypothesis that language and thought arose suddenly within the past 100,000 years. In The Truth About Language, Michael Corballis rejects all such “miraculist” explanations. He lays out a plausible route by which spoken language might have evolved, not from the calls of our primate ancestors, but through stages in which a language of gesture and mime dominated. Corballis, now an emeritus professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has spent a lifetime studying language and his book is a delight; it is confident, wise and witty. The idea of rooting language in gesture is not new. Its key exponents are two more Michaels: Michael Tomasello, a co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and Michael Arbib, a computer science professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. They have a good reason to consider that human speech didn’t evolve directly from primate vocalisations. Ape calls are spontaneous, involuntary expressions of emotion, made even when there is no one to hear. Hand movements are different. They are voluntary and can be finely controlled. It’s easy to shape fingers to represent objects or wiggle them to mimic movement. Each of the Michaels has their own story, with Corballis’s new account unique in stressing “mind wandering”, the subject of one of his earlier books, and storytelling as important parts of the long journey to language. “Our ‘mind wandering’ may be built on an ancient ability to map movements and plan journeys” When we have nothing much to do, our minds travel through past experiences, future plans and imaginary possibilities. The process of mind wandering, or daydreaming, is more remarkable than it seems. It shows our capacity to recall particular episodes from the past and project them freely into possible situations in the future, even though we are not using words, but thinking in images. Corballis quotes approvingly the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.” We have the good sort that allows us to travel forwards, too. Without that, we would live in an “eternal now” and language couldn’t have evolved. Where did mind wandering come from? Corballis explores the evidence that other animals share some of this power of thought. Birds that cache food may remember where they hid it and also its “use by” date so they won’t go to find it after it has gone off. Chimps and bonobos that have been shown King Kong-style movies demonstrate by where they look on screen that they anticipate what will happen next when they watch the films again. Crucially, recordings of the rat hippocampus – the part of the brain that lays down memories – show how the brain constructs maps of movement in space and time. Our mind wandering may be built on an ancient ability to map movements and plan journeys. Telling stories allows us to share those wanderings with others. Corballis quotes another researcher’s fictional account of our early ancestors returning from a hunt with a kill and acting out the day’s events, then miming plans for tomorrow. It is easy to picture and to see how the power of such stories could drive future cooperative activity. Corballis agrees with Aristotle that fiction is more important than history because it deals with possibility. If the gestures of mime become standardised and abstract – which happens naturally in modern sign languages – communication would grow ever more fluent. This is a move towards language. All this is just a part of the vista Corballis wants us to see. There is much more, including the ability of languages to refer to things that are not present, theory of mind and the emergence of grammar to make language more efficient. The trickiest section, however, is at the end when we reach the final step, as sound goes from an accompaniment of mime to a replacement, turning into speech. At this point, I have doubts and must admit, as Corballis does on his final page, that he too might be writing a just-so story, despite the breadth of his evidence. Still, I much prefer a speculative account of how language might have evolved to an invocation of miracles. And, right or wrong, Corballis will make you see your own mind differently. This article appeared in print under the headline “Talking with hands”


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

That "things link to other things" is a golden rule of the internet, and accounts for the "web" in "world wide web." It's easy to forget that the humble hyperlink was once a revolutionary concept, and created this writhing, evolving organism. Because of this, when you hear about a dark "web," you might imagine that it's an interconnected and active community, like the web you're used to. But, according to new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's SMART lab in Singapore, posted to the arXiv preprint server this week, the dark web isn't a web at all. Instead of being made up of sites that link to each other, allowing people to easily jump from page to page, the dark web is more like a collection of self-contained silos. It's just one more example of how the dark web as it exists in the popular imagination—a bustling underground market in some night-shrouded dystopia (and there definitely is some very nefarious activity going on there)—isn't quite what it seems. It's actually a sparse and isolated place, perhaps because of how dark web users approach their privacy. "It is an interesting finding about how people create bonds when there is no trust, but fear," Carlo Ratti, director of MIT's Senseable City Lab and co-author of the paper, wrote me in an email from Singapore. "As a result, however, there is an impact on how people use the [dark web], as they cannot surf freely from one site to the next." After crawling the dark web, Ratti and his colleagues found that 87 percent of sites on the dark web don't have a single link out to another site. Of the sites that did, a third of the time it was just a single page linking out. "All together, the onionweb [a name for the Tor network that makes up the dark web] is a sparse hub-and-spoke place," the authors wrote. "The term 'dark web' is commonplace, but based on our analysis, the 'web' is a misnomer," they continued in the paper. "It is more accurate to view it as a set of dark silos." Interestingly, the researchers also hypothesize that this sparseness isn't due to any technical limitation, like the fact that the garbled URLs on the dark web are notoriously impermanent. Instead, they surmise, the reason must be a social one having to do with the mindset of people who use the dark web. This makes some intuitive sense, since the technology that underpins it, the Tor network, is designed to protect users' privacy, so the people who decide to use it might be a bit more paranoid about building connections. The current paper is just a start for the work, Ratti wrote, and future research might shed more light on why the dark web isn't much of a web. "As next step," he said, "we are planning to develop a model to explain how a network develops when nodes do not trust each other." Subscribe to Science Solved It , Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a novel method that could revolutionize architecture. The team created a 3D printing system called the Digital Construction Platform (DCP) that can produce the basic structure of an entire building through a process that is faster and less expensive than traditional construction methods. DCP is essentially comprised of a tracked vehicle built with an industrial robotic arm that has a small, precision-motion robotic arm at the end. Users can take control of the arm and operate a conventional or unconventional construction nozzle for spraying insulation or pouring concrete. The scientists performed a proof-of-concept test with a prototype to construct the basic structure of the walls of a 50-foot-diameter, 12 foot high dome. DCP was able to fabricate the foam-insulation framework used to form a finished concrete structure in less than 14 hours of “printing” time. The nozzles of the system could be adapted to alter the density of the material being poured and even mix different materials together. During the test, the system was able to produce an insulating foam shell that could be left in place once the concrete was poured. Interior and exterior finish materials could be applied directly to the surface, according to the announcement. The scientists also made DCP develop a wide, built-in bench inside their prototype dome demonstrating the machine’s ability to create complex shapes and overhangs. DCP’s other potential capabilities include the ability to synthesize data about the site during the building process using a series of built-in sensors for temperature, light, and other factors, so it can easily adapt to the environment while building the structure. Ultimately, the researchers anticipate this system could be self-sufficient. Engineers could incorporate an electrical or solar panel power source so that DCP could operate in remote regions or areas for disaster relief to help quickly create durable shelters. You can watch a video of DCP in action below.


Running is not only good for longevity, it's also socially contagious. In fact, new research in Massachusetts revealed that when you share details of your workout on social media, it's highly likely that your friends will become motivated to get physically active too. The results highlight the impact of digital fitness tracking in understanding health behavior, researchers said. A team of experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed a data set that documented the social network ties, geographical locations, and daily exercise habits of more than 1 million people. The runners, who completed a total of 350 million kilometers in five years, logged their sessions in a social network. When a session was completed, it was immediately shared on the social network, which can be seen by the runner's friends. Data contained daily distance, pace, duration, and calories burned. Researchers found that in one day, an extra kilometer completed by friends can push a person to run an extra three-tenths of a kilometer. An extra 10 minute-run by friends can also motivate someone to run at least three minutes more. "Knowing the running behaviors of your friends as shared on social networks can cause you to run farther, faster, and longer," said Sinan Aral, who is a professor at MIT and one of the authors of the study. Runners are more motivated by peers whose performance is slightly worse than them, researchers said. Other users also often compare themselves to those ahead of them to motivate their own routine. In terms of gender, men are more influenced by other men, while women influence both women and men to run. However, men do not influence the habits of women at all, the study said. The study explained that when a person has many mutual friends, there are higher opportunities for "social sanctions," meaning there are consequences for misbehavior, as well as social rewards for positive behaviors. Because of this, mutual friends may offer an incentive to keep up with exercise buddies because copping out is observed in reinforced relationships. However, one of the report's limitations is that it does not represent the average person. Instead, it represents the one in every five Americans who wears a fitness device and the more than 100 million people who use these fitness tracking gadgets. Lastly, there are plenty of runners who do not share their data, the report said. Details of the study are published in the journal Nature Communications. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

When water falls to the ground, bacteria take to the skies. High-speed camera footage has revealed how raindrops can disperse microbes from the soil into the air in tiny water droplets, possibly allowing them to travel long distances. Bacteria and other microorganisms are abundant in the atmosphere, affecting the weather and  helping to spread diseases. We knew at least two ways they could get there: wind can lift them into the air from dry soil, and bursting bubbles can expel them from the ocean. Splashing raindrops is now a third. Cullen Buie and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology used high-speed cameras to film drops landing on six types of soil. The soil contained three species of bacteria stained with a fluorescent green dye that allowed them to be seen. Images from the experiment show bacteria inside fine droplets, or aerosols, thrown up by the simulated raindrops. In another experiment, the researchers collected aerosols on a sampling plate 1 centimetre above the soil, and later transferred them onto an agar plate to measure live bacteria. All three species of bacteria remained alive, even an hour after taking to the air. The researchers estimate that a single raindrop can transfer 0.01 per cent of bacteria on the soil surface into the air, and up to a quarter of bacteria emitted from the land might become airborne in this way. The process was most likely to happen on sandy clay soils, and least likely on sandy soils. In the experiment, these aerosols only travelled small distances, in the order of centimetres. “While dispersal of bacteria on this scale would be important for dispersal and connectivity of metapopulations in soil, I doubt it would have important implications for microbial community assembly and dispersal on large scales,” says Franciska de Vries, an ecologist at the University of Manchester, UK. Buie thinks it’s possible that bacteria dispersed in aerosols could travel longer distances outside the lab, although that hasn’t yet been demonstrated. “You would need to do an experiment on a much larger scale,” he says. The creation of aerosols by raindrops falling on soil is responsible for the smell of rain, as Buie and his team reported in 2015. They began thinking about the dispersal of bacteria through this method when another researcher got in touch to suggest that the process could be linked to the spread of melioidosis, a tropical disease caused by soil-borne bacteria. Scientists had noticed that more people contracted melioidosis after heavy rain, but the mechanism hadn’t been explained. Buie says more research will be needed to show whether raindrops falling on soil contribute to the spread of diseases. De Vries thinks this is plausible. “Dispersal over the small distance shown in this study might have implications for the dispersal of soil-borne pathogens, for example onto host animals or plants,” she says. There are also possible implications for agriculture: it’s likely that sprinkler systems disperse bacteria in a similar way to raindrops, including both plant pathogens and bacteria that are beneficial to plants. “You might try to design soil either to encourage this in the case of beneficial microbes or suppress it if you’re worried about the spread of pathogens,” says Buie. In addition, this type of dispersal could have a bearing on the climate. Bacteria high up in the atmosphere are thought to aid the formation of ice crystals and clouds, leading to rain or snow. Knowing that bacteria can take to the air in this way could help researchers develop more accurate climate models, says Buie. Read more: Rain makers: How high-flying bacteria could control the clouds; Strange skies: Invisible beings that live far above


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

People with Parkinson’s disease may show hints of motor difficulty years before an official diagnosis, but current methods for detecting early symptoms require clinic visits and highly trained personnel. Three recent studies, however, suggest that diagnosis could be as simple as walking, talking and typing. Tests of activities such as these might eventually enable early intervention, which will be crucial for halting progression of the neurodegenerative condition if a cure becomes available. The findings are exciting, says neurologist Zoltan Mari of Johns Hopkins University. But he cautions that larger studies will be necessary to ensure that these techniques are ready for wider use. Walking: Data from wearable sensors attached to 93 Parkinson’s patients and 73 healthy controls revealed distinctive walking patterns: factors such as step distance and heel force helped to differentiate between the two groups with 87 percent accuracy, according to an analysis by Shyam Perumal and Ravi Sankar of the University of South Florida. Talking: In a study by Jan Rusz of Czech Technical University and Charles University, both in Prague, and his colleagues, participants read a list of words aloud, and each made a 90-second recording during which they described their current interests. Fifty of the participants were at high risk for developing Parkinson’s, but only 23 had begun to show symptoms. Simple acoustic features of the short speech samples—including slower speed of talking and longer duration of pauses than healthy controls—pinpointed the symptomatic participants with 70 percent accuracy. Typing: People with and without Parkinson’s were asked to listen to a folktale and transcribe it by typing. The two groups were matched for age and overall typing speed and excluded people with dementia. Luca Giancardo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues successfully discriminated between the groups solely by analyzing key hold times (the time required to press and release a key). Their analysis performed comparably or better than motor tests currently used in clinical settings.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

A surge in innovation tied to low-carbon energy technologies is showing signs of tapering off in the United States, at a time when the Trump administration is targeting the field for cuts in government research spending. The number of patents issued in fields related to cutting carbon emissions climbed from 15,970 in 2009 to approximately 35,000 in 2014 and 2015, before slipping back slightly to about 32,000 in 2016, according to a new report issued today by the Washington, D.C.–based Brookings Institution. It’s too soon to know whether this short-term drop is part of a bigger trend, says Devashree Saha, the study’s lead author and an associate fellow at Brookings. But it could be compounded by a push from the new president to pare back spending on renewable energy research, she says. “That, I think, raises a lot of concerns as to what is going to be the future of cleantech innovation in the next few years." Patents can serve as a handy metric for innovation, because they track new inventions their creators think are economically valuable enough to patent. By that measure, the years from 2001 to 2009 were relatively staid for clean energy, as patents issued each year hovered around 15,000, according to the study. Saha and her fellow researchers counted patents related to a number of energy fields, including solar, wind, energy storage, energy efficiency, and nuclear power. Beginning in 2010, however, things took off, climbing steadily for 5 years. During that time, the growth in patents issued in clean tech fields outpaced patents overall, and also outpaced high-tech fields including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and semiconductors, according to the report. One likely reason for the shift was an injection of federal research dollars, including an infusion to help recover from the 2008 recession, and Obama administration initiatives to boost research in renewable energy, says Jesse Jenkins, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative in Cambridge. The federal recovery act pumped $3.3 billion into research and development at the Department of Energy (DOE), including a significant chunk for renewable energy–related work. The Obama administration also funded the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the $290 million program to push “moonshot” energy technologies into commercialization. Research spending through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy averaged $1 billion per year under Obama, $100 million more annually than under former President George W. Bush. But David Hart, an energy policy expert at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, cautions that other forces were probably crucial. It can take years for research spending to translate into patent applications, and for the patents to be issued. Hart suspects much of the credit for the patent boom lies with growth in private industry, spurred in part by government regulations to encourage more clean energy, such as tax credits and state-level renewable energy quotas. He also questions whether anything can be concluded from the downturn in clean energy patents in the last year. Saha, the study’s author, agrees that federal spending doesn’t explain all of the bump. In addition to growing corporate investment, in 2011 Congress also passed legislation to streamline the patent process, which could have resulted in more patents being issued, she notes. All three, however, agree the Trump administration could have an impact on the direction of such energy innovation. The president’s so-called “skinny” budget, for instance, would cut DOE’s energy-related research by 44% and eliminate ARPA-E. And Hart worries that some clean energy technologies, such as more efficient electrical grids and devices that can store intermittent solar and wind power, are still in an early stage where private investment alone won’t bring them to fruition. “They may have enough momentum on their own” to make it to market, he says. “But I think there is still an important role for the government.”


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Researchers are pursuing an innovative and unexpected new avenue in the quest to fight antibiotic resistance: synthetic mucus. By studying and replicating mucus' natural ability to control pathogenic bacteria, the scientists hope to find new methods for combating infections. Katharina Ribbeck, professor of tissue engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present the work at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, to be held April 22-26 in Chicago. "I am so excited about mucus because I am convinced it can help us find new strategies for protecting us from infections, in particular those that relate to an overgrowth of harmful microbes," said Ribbeck. "My lab and others around the world have begun to engineer mucin-inspired polymers and [synthetic] mucus. We want to use these engineered polymers to control problematic pathogens inside and outside of the body and to stop the growing threat of antibiotic resistant microbes." You might not think about it until you catch a cold, but mucus is everywhere in the human body. We produce about a gallon of mucus each day to sustain a protective coating on more than 2,000 square feet of internal surface area, including the entire digestive tract as well as the mouth, eyes, lungs, female reproductive tract and, of course, the nose. Microbes are also incredibly prevalent on and within our bodies, and most of these trillions of microbes live inside the mucus that lines the digestive tract. Through her research into the functions of mucus, Ribbeck has elucidated how this slimy substance helps maintain a healthy balance between beneficial and potentially harmful microbes. "Over millions of years, the mucus has evolved the ability to keep a number of these problematic pathogenic microbes in check, preventing them from causing damage," said Ribbeck. "But the mucus does not kill the microbes. Instead, it tames them." In its new work, her team investigated how mucins, the sugar-coated molecules that form the mucus gel, influence the makeup of our internal microbial communities by constraining the formation of multicellular assemblies (also known as biofilms) by the microbes. As a case study, the scientists looked at the mucins that are found in saliva, called MUC5B. They grew two types of bacteria known to compete in the mouth: Streptococcus mutans, which forms cavities, and Streptococcus sanguinis, a bacterium associated with healthy oral conditions. They found that the harmful Streptococcus mutans bacteria quickly outgrew Streptococcus sanguinis when grown together outside of saliva or mucin-containing media. But grown in the presence of MUC5B (both in real saliva and in MUC5B-containing synthetic mucus), the two species tended to establish a more even balance, suggesting mucin could be instrumental in supporting greater bacterial diversity. "We conclude from these findings that MUC5B may help prevent diseases such as dental caries [cavities] by reducing the potential that a single harmful species will dominate," said Ribbeck. As a next step, the team plans to continue to investigate the potential role of mucins in maintaining microbial diversity in other mucosal surfaces throughout the body.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Researchers have discovered that synthetic mucus may open up new roads in the fight against antibiotic resistance. A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that by studying and replicating mucus’ natural ability to control pathogenic bacteria, scientists may be able to find new methods to combat infections. “I am so excited about mucus because I am convinced it can help us find new strategies for protecting us from infections, in particular those that relate to an overgrowth of harmful microbes,” Katharina Ribbeck, professor of tissue engineering at MIT, said in a statement. “My lab and others around the world have begun to engineer mucin-inspired polymers and [synthetic] mucus. “We want to use these engineered polymers to control problematic pathogens inside and outside of the body and to stop the growing threat of antibiotic resistant microbes,” she added. Mucus is the gel that lines all wet epithelia in the body including the eyes, lungs and digestive tracts and has evolved to protect humans from pathogenic invasion. The average human being produces about a gallon’s worth of mucus daily to sustain a protective coating on more than 2,000 square feet of internal surface area. There are also trillions of microbes that live inside the mucus that line the digestive tract. “Over millions of years, the mucus has evolved the ability to keep a number of these problematic pathogenic microbes in check, preventing them from causing damage,” Ribbeck said. “But the mucus does not kill the microbes. Instead, it tames them.” The researchers investigated how the sugar-coated molecules that form the mucus gel called mucins influence the makeup of the internal microbial communities by constraining the formation of multicellular assemblies by the microbes. The researchers grew two types of bacteria—streptococcus mutans that form in cavities and streptococcus sanguinis, a bacterium associated with healthy oral conditions. The more harmful streptococcus mutans quickly outgrew Streptococcus sanguinis when they were grown together outside of saliva or mucin-containing media but when grown in the presence of MUC5B—the mucin found in saliva—the two bacterium established a more even balance. According to Ribbeck, this suggests that mucin could be instrumental in supporting greater bacterial diversity. “We conclude from these findings that MUC5B may help prevent diseases such as dental caries [cavities] by reducing the potential that a single harmful species will dominate,” Ribbeck said. The researchers will now investigate the potential role of mucins in maintaining microbial diversity in other mucosal surfaces throughout the body.


Sam Ting speaks softly and deliberately as he gets ready to deliver some juicy news to his audience. "You normally cannot hear me anyway," jokes the physicist at the start of a talk this past December at CERN, the particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, while a technician fiddles with his microphone. Ting may be soft-spoken, but few would call him retiring. Two decades ago, Ting persuaded funders to spend $1.5 billion to build the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). In 2011, NASA launched the 8.5-metric-ton magnet on the penultimate space shuttle flight and attached it to the International Space Station (ISS). Now he is capturing attention again, with a hint—buried at the end of his talk—that the AMS is finally delivering on the promise of its original name, when "AM" stood for "antimatter." So far, the AMS has measured the masses and electric charges of some 90 billion particles that have passed through the magnet's maw. Nearly all of those are protons and helium nuclei, along with a smattering of electrons and nuclei of carbon, oxygen, and iron. A precious few are antiprotons and positrons: the antimatter counterparts of protons and electrons. To Ting, those antiparticles may be clues to the unseen "dark matter" that weighs down galaxies with extra gravity, although many astrophysicists regard them as the byproduct of humdrum galactic events. Those antiparticles are not Ting's big news, however. At CERN, and again in a 16 February talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, where he has worked since 1969, Ting says that the AMS may have trapped a bigger and weirder form of antimatter. The AMS, he says, has seen a handful of candidate particles of antihelium-3, made of two antiprotons and an antineutron. In labs on Earth, physicists have made antihelium for a few fleeting instants, but no one has ever detected it in space. "It was shocking," says physicist Michael Salamon, AMS project manager at the Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C., who heard about the results when Ting called him during a vacation. It's so unexpected that Ting says he has refrained from publishing the finding or even asking theorists what might be going on. "I want to make sure the signal is genuine," he tells Science. Detecting antihelium in nature could shake up cosmology. A single confirmed detection could indicate the existence of islands of antimatter that have survived since the big bang, or point to particle interactions beyond the standard model of physics. And for Ting, who turned 81 in January, it would be a vindication, a final retort to his strident critics. In 1976, Ting shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a subatomic particle called the J/Psi meson. It was 1994 when he first proposed using the AMS to take the particle hunt to space. He promptly drew flak. Some contended that the project, funded by international partners and DOE, had won support through savvy political maneuvering instead of a normal scientific review, and that it wouldn't deliver big insights. Ting's results so far amount to "physics by press conference," says Greg Tarlé, an astrophysicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a vocal critic of Ting and the AMS. Ting's marquee AMS result—that more high-energy positrons than expected are buzzing around the galaxy—has not impressed the doubters. That positron excess, which a European satellite found in the mid-2000s and the AMS confirmed, has sparked hundreds of theory papers connecting it to hypothetical dark matter particles. The mutual annihilation of those particles might create a half-and-half blend of electrons and positrons in a narrow energy range. The electrons would fade into a sea of electrons from other sources, but the rarer positrons might stand out. To Ting, the best explanation for the extra positrons is a dark matter particle with a mass of 1 teraelectronvolt—about as much energy as a flying mosquito. Other researchers favor more familiar astrophysical sources. The proliferation of dark matter models, including those that Ting points to, "maybe has more to do with communities and how fast they write papers than it does with science," says Tim Linden, a particle astrophysicist at The Ohio State University in Columbus. He and others note that the Milky Way is a messy laboratory, roiling with pulsars—the spinning, highly magnetic cores of collapsed stars—and supernovas, which accelerate protons to ultrahigh energies and send them slamming into cooler gas. Both phenomena could generate the antimatter that the AMS sees. But the "four or five" antihelium candidates Ting says it has tallied over the past 5 years would be something else altogether. There are few conceivable ways for conventional astrophysical processes or dark matter particles to generate that much antihelium, says Kerstin Perez, a particle astrophysicist at MIT. She is co-leading a balloon experiment that could search for antihelium when it launches over Antarctica in 2020. "If it's real," she says of Ting's claim, "it's something fundamentally new." It also would validate Ting's original proposal. When Ting sold NASA and DOE on the AMS, he said it might find runaway particles from oases of antimatter, helping solve a deep riddle. The big bang produced matter and antimatter in equal amounts. Soon after, they began colliding and annihilating each other in puffs of gamma rays. But somehow, matter came to dominate the observable universe. That could be because of some fundamental difference between the two—or maybe it was just a coin flip, where certain regions of space came to be ruled by one or the other. Ting's idea to look for those regions galvanized his critics, who considered it outlandish because clumps of antimatter coexisting with normal galaxies would produce more gamma radiation than astronomers observe. Moreover, large antiparticles could not easily survive the journey to the AMS. But if antimatter were there, the AMS would sniff it out—or so the original pitch went. The feeling both inside and outside of the AMS team, though, is that it's still far too early to rule out a more mundane explanation: a problem in the detector. As charged particles pass through the doughnut-shaped magnet, its field bends their paths into signature curves that indicate their charge and momentum. The particles arc through nine cooled-down silicon detectors that track the curves. About a billion times a year the particle turns out to be a helium nucleus, with two positive charges. But each year has also brought one event or so that for all the world looks like it is curving with charge equal to minus two, Ting says—the expected signature of antihelium. The events could just be heliums bouncing unusually off an atom inside the experiment, leading to a misidentification. But the team has used computers to model all the possible paths a particle could take in the detector. "We still do not see any possible way this could come from any background," Ting says. "Many people in the collaboration think we should publish it." That he hasn't done so yet is typical of Ting, his supporters say. "That is kind of his trademark, so to speak , to be extremely sure when something comes out," says Philip von Doetinchem of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, who is a member of the AMS team but has not worked on the antihelium problem. But critics see it differently. "He knows that he has an instrumental problem," Tarlé says. To Tarlé, Ting is strategically playing coy to drum up further support for the mission. And Ting may need it. DOE, which will review the AMS in 2019, is eager for breakthroughs—not routine astrophysics. "Understanding the spectra of particular species of cosmic rays is good to know, but it's not as important, quite frankly," Salamon says. A more pressing concern is that just one of four redundant pumps that cool its silicon trackers is working at full strength. If the AMS can last until 2024, when the United States and other nations plan to stop funding the ISS, the magnet should be able to double its census of particles. Achieving that would not only help differentiate between exotic and mundane interpretations of its positron signals but also could give Ting more antihelium candidates. Ting won't say whether having 10 or more will provide the statistical power required to call this a discovery, but he says each one helps. Ting says he is planning to replace the broken pumps with a new system that astronauts would install during a spacewalk. A NASA spokesperson confirms that planning for the repair is underway, in case the last pump breaks. The agency has devoted $16 million to possible spacewalks between now and 2019. DOE and Ting's international partners have already purchased the replacement parts, he says. "There's no money issue," Ting says. If, after all these years, the AMS falls short of finding antihelium, it won't be for lack of trying. Clarification: A previous version of the story incorrectly suggested that DOE is impatient with the AMS project.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The European Patent Office (EPO) today announced that the team of U.S. Engineers James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson, and German Physicist Robert Huber, have been named finalists for the European Inventor Award 2017 in the category of “Non-European countries.” The winners of the 12th edition of the EPO’s annual innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony held on June 15th at the Arsenale di Venezia in Venice, Italy. Ever since the discovery of X-rays by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895 doctors have been able to "look inside" the human body for diagnostic purposes. But despite newer imaging methods, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), certain segments of human anatomy remained opaque. Soft tissue, especially minuscule blood vessels in the human eye and heart, proved nearly impossible to visualize. This has changed thanks to an entirely new category of medical imaging created by US engineers James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson together with German physicist Robert Huber. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) relies on "echoes" of light beams to render soft tissues visible in real time and in microscopic detail. Premiered as a clinical prototype in 1993, OCT is now used in around 30 million procedures per year around the world. "Thanks to this team, doctors can now create real-time images of human tissue for early detection of cancer, glaucoma and other ailments,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli, announcing the European Inventor Award 2017 finalists. “The optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging method is an impressive example of successful multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation that has helped millions of patients.” Fujimoto and Swanson began developing OCT technology as a method to diagnose glaucoma, a potentially blinding eye disease, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston in 1990. Filing more than 50 patents in the process, they made their breakthrough by directing laser light at soft body tissue and measuring the the time delay of the light beams (“echo”). Initial OCT devices for ophthalmology were rolled out to clinics in 1996, the first cardiovascular OCT scanner followed in 2004, dermatological OCT in 2010, and gastrointestinal in 2013. Key technologies behind cardiovascular OCT and lasers enabling an imaging speed that is up to a hundred times faster came from German physicist Robert Huber, who joined Fujimoto's MIT group as postdoctoral research fellow from 2003 to 2005. OCT solves a long-standing problem in medical imaging. Because images of soft tissue proved difficult to capture, doctors often had to perform invasive biopsies to obtain tissue samples for analysis. This is not an option for sensitive organs such as the human eye. Now, however, OCT can perform an "optical biopsy" without surgery. Similar to the working principle behind ultrasound – but with light beams instead of sound waves – the new technology delivers detailed images of the human retina, heart and other organs with unprecedented detail. "Ultra-fast pulsed infrared laser light penetrates up to three millimeters of opaque tissue. We can generate cross-sectional images of tissues in extremely high resolution. They can be seen in real time without the need of an injected agent," says Fujimoto, while pointing out that recent OCT applications can deliver "live" 3D images during surgery. “OCT is a method that measures from what depth any light reflections have come. Measuring the transit time of the light enables a 3D image to be generated,” explains Huber. Rolled out to clinical practice in 1996, OCT quickly became a standard technique for eye exams. "OCT is one of the most commonly-used imaging procedures in ophthalmology. About 30 million OCT scans are performed every year worldwide. That’s one every few seconds," says Swanson. By detecting serious eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration in early, still treatable stages, the technology has saved the eyesight of countless people. This achievement is even more remarkable considering that the team consists of engineers and a physicist, not medical professionals. "I am not a doctor, I am not on the front line of helping people, but even as engineer it is possible to do things that have a positive impact," says Fujimoto. There are also direct financial implications. "The economic impact of OCT has been exceptional. Today the system market is approaching a billion dollars a year. There are over 16,000 high-quality jobs and it's saved billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare expenditure," says Swanson. OCT was greeted as a "transformative medical technology" by the Association of Research and Vision, when Carl Zeiss – a market leader – released the first clinical ophthalmic OCT instrument in 1996. While numerous companies have commercialized OCT technology, the three inventors have launched their own successful start-up companies. The list includes the world's first OCT company, Advanced Ophthalmic Diagnostics, set up in 1992, as well as LightLab Imaging in 1998 (both founded by Fujimoto and Swanson), and Optores GmbH in 2013 (founded by Huber). OCT has single-handedly etched out a new market segment in medical technologies. It created revenues of about EUR 4.77 billion (USD 5.2 billion) between 1996 and 2016. Third-party analysts at BioOpticsWorld reported global revenues from OCT systems of EUR 688 million (USD 750 million) in 2015 in a marketplace teeming with new activity. Despite their entrepreneurial success, all three inventors continue to advance the state of the art in OCT technology. Fujimoto earned his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT in 1984 and still teaches at his alma mater. He is listed as inventor or co-inventor on 15 patent families worldwide, representing the first and most fundamental patents for the OCT technology. Fujimoto's contributions have been honored with international awards such as the Carl Zeiss Research Award (2011), the António Champalimaud Vision Award (2012), IEEE Photonics Award (2014), the Optical Society's Frederic Ives Medal (2015) and the National Academy of Engineering Russ Prize (2017). As a professor at MIT, Fujimoto is a principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He mentors many promising young scientists, some of whom have even gone on to create their own OCT start-ups. As words of encouragement, Fujimoto shared: "Young professionals in science can make these incredible contributions through their engineering, not only to research but to society overall." Swanson earned his Masters of Science in electrical engineering from MIT in 1984. Co-author of 81 journal articles, 142 conference presentations, and over 40 patents, he has been honored with numerous awards, including the Rank Prize in optoelectronics (2002), António Champalimaud Vision Award (2012) and the National Academy of Engineering Russ Prize (2017). Having earned his PhD at the Faculty of Physics of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) in 2002, Huber is currently developing an ultra-fast version of OCT with his company, Optores GmbH. It features Fourier domain mode locking (FDML), a technique that increases imaging speeds up to 100 times. The author of 100 peer-reviewed publications, Huber has been honored with the German Chemical Society's Albert-Weller-Preis (2003), the Rudolf-Kaiser Preis (2008) and the Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Preis (2013). Read more about the inventors Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is part of a sensitive class of inventions when it comes to patenting law. The European Patent Convention explicitly excludes from patentability methods for surgery, therapy or diagnosis administered on the human (or animal) body. However, a medical apparatus, product or device that is used for such a purpose may well be protected by a patent. For this reason, OCT is covered by several patents, and is to be considered in the same light as for instance the eye surgery technology patented by German inventor Josef Bille, winner of the 2012 European Inventor Award. Read more about patents on medical technologies.


News Article | March 29, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Loss of memory is the painful part of Alzheimer's disease. However, new research is throwing promising hints of methods that can rekindle memories after a successful experiment on mice that was conducted by doctoral student Dheeraj Roy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Deep-brain stimulation (DBS) has been used as a treatment method for Alzheimer's to help patients recover cognitive functions albeit temporarily. However, deep-brain stimulation mainly helps Parkinson's patients and it has been showing limited benefits to Alzheimer's affected. The turning point in the efforts at retrieving memory in Alzheimer's has been the success of scientists in activating the cells at the hippocampi of mice where memory is stored to fire neurons in the brain with lasers. In Roy's trials with the optogenetic laser method, the hippocampus of a seven-month-old mouse with early Alzheimer's was targeted. Roy targeted memory cells of the brain called engram cells with a gene as part of optogenetics. It was Channelrhodopsin gene that created pores in the neuron membranes and filled the cells with positively charged ions to fire the neurons. The circuitry, however, in the brains of older mice was different, as they are packed with the protein plaques and needed a new approach. By drilling a hole in the seven-month-old mouse's skull and inserting fibre-optic cable, Roy stimulated the engram cells with light pulses and bolstered the synaptic connections between neurons to reignite memories to re-form. "I think what deep-brain is doing is broadly strengthening many inputs to the hippocampus," Roy said. Roy is now working to address the challenge of finding out memory neurons to target and fire without any invasive fibre-optic cable. Mice in the early stages of Alzheimer's proved that it can add new memories and retrieve "forgotten" memories with a little help. This holds promise for millions of Alzheimer's patients worldwide and is a reminder that improving memory is possible beyond the modest gains coming from existing drugs. Roy's mice trials have now been appreciated. "I thought that the results were both remarkable and exciting," said Raymond Kelleher, assistant professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Kelleher said it stimulated interest in the neglected area of memory retrieval or recall. Meanwhile, the problem of Alzheimer's not showing any biological signal until it erupts fully is bothering neuroscientists. "Neurology researchers throughout the world are therefore on the hunt for a specific biomarker signal for Alzheimer's," said Peter Dal-Bianco, Alzheimer's expert from MedUni Vienna. Dal-Bianco said lack of biological markers to alert the onset of Alzheimer's treatment is affecting treatment and delays it until the disease manifests clinically. The disease lies suppressed in people who appear as healthy. He also said that the preventive solution is to screen people in risk groups from the mid-30s to diagnose the disease with 100 percent certainty or tell them that they face no risk. It has been found that Tau proteins play a crucial role in material transport within neurons. They are important reference points for assessing whether they are hyperphosphorylated, resulting in functional disturbances with cell death in tow. An immunotherapy for reducing harmful Tau proteins was tested under the Neurology Department in Graz and MedUni Vienna. The results have been promising and could lead to a vaccination against this Tau issue of Alzheimer's. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is now heading another company, Neuralink, which wants to connect human brains with computers. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed plans for his latest venture, Neuralink, which aims to connect human brains to a computer. Musk revealed the project in a recent interview with Wait But Why. Neuralink is working on linking the human brain with a machine interface by developing “micron-sized devices.” Musk said the company has a product target date of four years for those with injuries. “We are aiming to bring something to market that helps with certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital) in about four years,” Musk said. Read: Tesla To Start Taking Orders For Solar Roof Tiles In April, Elon Musk Tweets He confirmed in the interview he will be Neuralink’s CEO and will be part of the small team even though he has the least neuroscience technical knowledge in the group. Musk met with more than 1,000 people to assemble the small Neuralink group, which, including him, is made up of nine members. Team members hail from IBM, Duke, University of California-Berkeley, UC-San Francisco and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, there are hurdles for Musk’s latest venture, and it could take time for human brain implants to happen. The company’s plan is to advance neural implant technology while they wait for regulations that allow for brain implants. “I think we are about eight to 10 years away from this being usable by people with no disability,” Musk said in the interview. “It is important to note that this depends heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well our devices work on people with disabilities.” Neuralink hopes to accelerate communication with implants by uploading thoughts straight to someone else’s brain, instead of translating them into language. “If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy,” Musk said. “You wouldn’t need to verbalize unless you want to add a little flair to the conversation or something, but the conversation would be conceptual interaction on a level that’s difficult to conceive of right now.” Musk also addressed the scary idea of telepathy and assured all your thoughts won’t be heard by everyone. “People won’t be able to read your thoughts — you would have to will it. If you don’t will it, it doesn’t happen. Just like if you don’t will your mouth to talk, it doesn’t talk.” Neuralink is hiring too, according to its site, describing itself as a company “developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.”


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Though best known for their speed, cheetahs are also remarkably efficient runners, making them animals of interest for roboticists who want to replicate that energy efficiency in their machines. Five years ago, engineers in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Biomimetic Robotics Lab created a 70-pound robot that rivaled the energy-efficiency of the real thing. Now, an engineer from the University of Twente in the Netherlands has created a robot prototype that doesn’t quite look like a cheetah but exploits the animal’s running mechanics for increased efficiency. “I noticed that [the MIT roboticists], like BostonDynamics, took inspiration from the cheetah by copying its shape and then trying to make it run,” Geert Folkertsma, the robot’s creator, told Digital Trends. “They made two awesome robots but still I thought, ‘We’re actually trying to copy the way it runs — the speed, the energy-efficiency — and not the way it looks. To create his prototype, Folkertsma studied video footage and used software to pin down the nuances of cheetah movement. “I think the efficient, graceful motion of the cheetah is very inspirational,” he said. “Robots cannot yet come close to matching it. My goal was to study the dynamics of the cheetah locomotion, to understand how it runs so fast and efficiently, and then to transfer those dynamic principles to a robot.” Folkertsma confirmed that much of a cheetah’s efficiency comes from the flexibility of its spine, and he thinks he’s determined the properties that make its movement so seemingly effortless. “The effect of the spine turned out to be very important,” he said. “It can be modeled like a spring, which was already known to some researchers, but I found out that the specific geometric properties of the spring — where is it located, what is its stiffness — can in fact lead to locomotion, without doing any sort of complicated control on the motors. “The result is a robot that does not look like a cheetah very much, other than having four legs and a spine, but the way it runs, the dynamics, are in fact very similar,” he added. Folkertsma’s five-and-a-half-pound cheetah is still very much a work in progress. It’s current stop speed is less than one mile per hour and it still uses about 15 percent more energy than its living counterpart. However, the engineer thinks that his research presents a path forward for more energy-efficient robots. “There are more quadrupedal robots, some even with a spine, but it is usually placed quite arbitrarily somewhere between the front and rear part,” he said. “My study shows that, by placing it a bit more carefully, the control of the robot becomes much easier, and its efficiency and speed are likely increased as well. “As for robots without a spine,” he added, “well, they stand to gain a lot by adding one.”


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

A new 3D printing robot could be the key to building landing pads and Moon bases in outer space. The robot, built by a crew of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a bit like the Curiosity Mars rover crossed with the Canadarm. Their bot is solar powered, moves autonomously, and shoots building materials like foam and concrete from a printer head attached to a moveable arm. It's also pretty fast—in about 13 hours, it printed a nearly 15-metre-wide open dome. Although this isn't the largest structure ever printed by a robot, it's still pretty impressive, and is bound to improve. The project has been in the works since 2011. Thanks to its use of renewable energy, its autonomy, and an on-board bucket for picking up environmental materials like dirt and ice, the hope is that one day the bot could be sent to far-flung locations—like outer space—where it will build structures out of available materials and without human intervention. Read More: 3D Printing in Space Is Really Hard "If we're going to places like Mars, it'd be very difficult to accommodate the amount of construction material you'd need to ship out on a rocket," said Steven Keating, first author of a paper describing the robot, published on Wednesday in Science Robotics. "We definitely need to use local resources on the Moon and Mars to fabricate things like landing pads." There's a lot of work still to be done before we get there, however. For example, Keating said, the solar panels take a long time to charge the batteries, which only last for about eight hours right now. The robot also needs to get better at printing with materials like ice and dirt. And, although it can estimate ground height and work around it while printing out a structure, there's a long way to go before it'll be able to scope out a location and decide what the best place for a column is, for example. The MIT team has made experimental progress on all these fronts, Keating said. "Our whole concept is around a mobile-system that's self-sufficient, which means it can get its own energy, its own materials, and can be autonomously controlled using environmental data," he explained. In the meantime, the printer robot is designed to fit into current construction processes, which means it can be implemented immediately here on Earth, Keating said. While other 3D printing robots aim to print entire buildings in one go, or close to it, that's not such a stellar sell for most construction companies right now. Instead, Keating and his colleagues designed the robot to take over a stage of the construction process called concrete formwork, which fills a fabricated foam structure in with concrete. "We have a system using construction materials that are already widely trusted, and a technique that integrates into existing construction workloads," Keating said. First, we take the construction site, and then we take the Moon. Subscribe to Science Solved It , Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.renewableenergyworld.com

This week, the largest renewable energy project built in the U.S. through an alliance of diverse buyers reached commercial operation. The development of the 60-MW Summit Farms Solar project was driven by demand from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Medical Center, and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation.  


News Article | April 29, 2017
Site: www.latimes.com

The future of construction just got a little bit more real. Researchers at MIT have created a mobile robot that can 3-D-print an entire building in a matter of hours — a technology that could be used in disaster zones, on inhospitable planets or even in our proverbial backyards. Though the platform described in the journal Science Robotics is still in early stages, it could offer a revolutionary tool for the construction industry and inspire more architects to rethink the relationship of buildings to people and the environment. Current construction practices typically involve bricklaying, wood framing and concrete casting – technologies that have been around for decades in some cases, and centuries in others. Homes and office buildings are often built in the same boxy, cookie-cutter-like templates, even though the environment from one area to another may change dramatically. “The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) sector tends to be risk-averse: Most project fabrication data nowadays have been digitally produced, but the manufacturing and construction processes are mostly done with manual methods and conventional materials adopted a century ago,” Imperial College London researcher Guang-Zhong Yang, the journal’s editor, wrote in an editorial on the paper. In recent years, scientists and engineers have begun to explore the idea that buildings could instead be built through additive manufacturing – that is, 3-D printing. A home could be customized to its local environment, it could use buildings resources more efficiently, and it could deploy materials in more sophisticated ways. “Right now, the way we manufacture things is we go to the mine, we dig out minerals and materials, we ship them to a factory, the factory makes a bunch of mass-made parts, usually out of a single material, and then they’re assembled — screwed together, glued together and shipped back to consumers,” said lead author Steven Keating, a mechanical engineer who did the research as a graduate student under Neri Oxman’s group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the group’s many projects, he added, revolved around this question: How do we actually fabricate in a way that is more consistent with how biology works? Keating pointed to the tree as one example of a natural builder. Trees can self-repair, operate with self-sufficiency, build onsite with locally sourced materials, and adapt to their environment. “These are the kinds of principles that we’ve looked at for a lot of the projects in the group,” he said. While several groups around the world have been working on large-scale 3-D printing techniques, there have been challenges in this process, Keating said. “A lot of other research projects that are looking at digital construction often don’t create something of an architectural scale — and if they do, they’re not using a process that could be easily integrated into a construction site,” Keating said. “They’re not using materials or a process that can be easily code-certified. And what we wanted to make sure could happen is we could actually break into the construction industry, because it’s a very slow and conservative industry.” Keating and his colleagues’ robot, called the Digital Construction Platform, looks to address those issues. It features hydraulic and electric robotic arms and can be loaded with all kinds of sensors to measure its environment, including lasers and a radiation-detecting Geiger counter. In less than 13.5 hours, the robot was able to zip round and round, printing a 14.6-meter-wide, 3.7-meter-tall open dome structure out of a foam used as insulated formwork. Strange as it looks, this formwork could be filled with concrete. Since this is essentially what already happens in traditional construction, this 3-D printing process could be integrated into current construction techniques. (In both the traditional and 3-D-printed scenarios, the formwork ends up as the building’s insulation.) This process has a number of advantages, many of which allow the robot to design and build more in the way that living systems in nature do, Keating said. Three-dimensional printing uses fewer materials more efficiently. It can also create useful gradients, such as reducing wall thickness from the bottom of a wall toward the top. (Nature does this too: Think of a tree’s trunk at the base versus near the top, or the way a squid beak goes from hard at the tip to soft at the base.) This process can create and work with curves, which are usually more costly for traditional building methods. The formwork also cures so quickly (within about 30 seconds) that the robot can build horizontally without needing structural support the way traditional construction methods do. Rather than trying to design the perfect structure beforehand, a 3-D-printing robot could produce a building that’s completely in tune with its environmental factors – soil moisture, temperature, wind direction and radiation levels, among others. This is how scientists think animals such as termites build their homes — by modifying the structure in response to the environment. Since it’s solar-powered, this robot can be self-sufficient. And like living things, it could potentially create building materials out of stuff in the local ecosystem: The authors showed that the robot was able to take scoops of dirt and turn the compressed earth into building material. The researchers were even able to print with ice. “I know it sounds silly — why would you want to print with ice? — but if you actually look, NASA’s very seriously thinking about using ice as a fabrication material for places in space such as Mars, because ice actually absorbs a lot of cosmic radiation,” Keating said. Printing with ice from the environment would be much more sensible than lugging all your building materials all the way to the Red Planet, he noted. Follow @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook. Lamb fetuses can now grow in artificial wombs. Will humans be next? When people work together, they’re literally on the same wavelength, brain waves show


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

Ronald (Ron) Drever was a hands-on physicist with a child-like joy for experimentation. He co-invented several important techniques to directly detect gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created by accelerating masses. He co-founded the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which announced the first direct detection of those long-sought waves in 2016. Drever, who died aged 85 in Scotland on 7 March, was an intuitive and imaginative physicist who thought primarily in pictures. Those pictures — of concepts or devices — gave him an elegant way to circumvent a lot of analytical reasoning, and provided a way to think about problems that often resulted in an invention. As a child in Scotland, guided by an engineer uncle, Drever assembled a television receiver from parts left over from the Second World War. He did not do well in preparatory school, but came into his own at the University of Glasgow, UK. There he studied nuclear physics, including particle detectors and their electronics. His 1958 PhD thesis was on radiation counters for nuclear decay. As a lecturer at Glasgow, Drever tested an idea newly proposed by theorists. This was that objects on Earth might have one inertial mass when travelling in the plane of the Milky Way, and another when travelling perpendicular to it, owing to the uneven distribution of the Galaxy's mass. He and a scientist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, independently checked the motions of nuclei in lithium atoms to see whether they were affected by the orientation of the nuclei relative to the Galactic plane. Drever did his experiment in his parents' back garden, away from the magnetic disturbances of the university, using equipment borrowed from the teaching labs. Neither saw any effect, thereby establishing the uniformity of space to an unprecedented precision. It was a landmark result. The work took Drever into cosmology and astrophysics. When pulsars were discovered in 1967, he searched for γ-rays that might accompany the radio-wave pulsations. After researchers announced in 1969 that they had detected gravitational waves coming from the Galactic Centre (a result later found to be spurious), Drever hunted for radio pulses coming from the same location. And he began a new research programme at Glasgow for the detection of gravitational waves. First, Drever devised a more-sensitive and broader-band version of the 'acoustic bar' gravitational-wave detector that others were using at the time to try to replicate the 1969 result. But in the early 1970s, several groups were exploring a technique that involved laser interferometers. The idea was to measure the distortions of space-time caused by gravitational waves by timing how long laser light took to travel between mirrors in an interferometer. Drever, as well as experimenters in Germany, showed that scattered laser light made noise that restricted the sensitivity of the interferometer. One solution was to stabilize the frequency of the laser. On a sabbatical to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1979, Drever learned about a method devised during the Second World War to stabilize the frequencies of microwaves for radar by reflecting them with a resonant cavity. Drever and his colleagues adapted the technique for lasers and optical cavities, creating what is now called Pound–Drever–Hall cavity stabilization. That has become a central technique in precision optical systems, including LIGO. Other ideas further improved laser interferometer detectors in the 1970s. Drever, with colleagues in Germany and Glasgow, came up with systems for power and signal recycling to increase the sensitivity of the interferometer and to adjust its response. Both systems involved adding more partially reflecting mirrors to the input and output components of the instrument. By this time, Drever was working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, having been invited by US theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. There, he initiated plans for a 40-metre prototype gravitational-wave detector. Meanwhile, a German group started up a 30-metre prototype, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge also began a study of the science, concept and cost of a device. In 1983, the Caltech and MIT research groups joined forces to build and operate a full-scale device: LIGO. The collaboration was initially directed by a committee of Drever, Thorne and myself. But we had different visions and were unable to make decisions. In 1987, the project moved forward under a single director, Rochus Vogt, who helped us to write a definitive proposal that attracted the funds to design and construct the initial detector. The project — the largest ever funded by the US National Science Foundation — consisted of two L-shaped detectors, each with arms 4 kilometres long, in Washington state and Louisiana. Drever was a strong contributor to the conceptualization of LIGO. But he struggled to move from the freedom of table-top science to the rigorous schedule and firm decision-making necessary to pin down a large-scale project. In such projects, thorough engineering practice and careful analysis take priority over intuition and pictorial reasoning. In 1994, LIGO's then-director Barry Barish supported a decision made at Caltech to give Drever a separate laboratory, where he could develop new ideas and techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors. LIGO started collecting data in 2002, and detected gravitational waves from a pair of colliding black holes in 2015. This led to many prizes and awards for Drever and his colleagues. It is well known that Drever and I had different views about the direction for technical development for LIGO. I disagreed with him about the use of optical cavities; it turned out he was right. I held out for a solid-state laser while he insisted on a green argon one; Drever was wrong on that one. But we always respected each other's views, and as LIGO's construction progressed we became close colleagues and friends.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

There is growing concern that many of the algorithms that make decisions about our lives - from what we see on the internet to how likely we are to become victims or instigators of crime - are trained on data sets that do not include a diverse range of people. The result can be that the decision-making becomes inherently biased, albeit accidentally. Try searching online for an image of "hands" or "babies" using any of the big search engines and you are likely to find largely white results. In 2015, graphic designer Johanna Burai created the World White Web project after searching for an image of human hands and finding exclusively white hands in the top image results on Google. Her website offers "alternative" hand pictures that can be used by content creators online to redress the balance and thus be picked up by the search engine. Google says its image search results are "a reflection of content from across the web, including the frequency with which types of images appear and the way they're described online" and are not connected to its "values". Ms Burai, who no longer maintains her website, believes things have improved. "I think it's getting better... people see the problem," she said. "When I started the project people were shocked. Now there's much more awareness." The Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) was launched by Joy Buolamwini, a postgraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in November 2016. She was trying to use facial recognition software for a project but it could not process her face - Ms Buolamwini has dark skin. "I found that wearing a white mask, because I have very dark skin, made it easier for the system to work," she says. "It was the reduction of a face to a model that a computer could more easily read." It was not the first time she had encountered the problem. Five years earlier, she had had to ask a lighter-skinned room-mate to help her. "I had mixed feelings. I was frustrated because this was a problem I'd seen five years earlier was still persisting," she said. "And I was amused that the white mask worked so well." Ms Buolamwini describes the reaction to the AJL as "immense and intense". This ranges from teachers wanting to show her work to their students, and researchers wanting her to check their own algorithms for signs of bias, to people reporting their own experiences. And there seem to be quite a few. One researcher wanted to check that an algorithm being built to identify skin melanomas (skin cancer) would work on dark skin. "I'm now starting to think, are we testing to make sure these systems work on older people who aren't as well represented in the tech space?" Ms Buolamwini says. "Are we also looking to make sure these systems work on people who might be overweight, because of some of the people who have reported it? It is definitely hitting a chord." Ms Buolamwini thinks the situation has arisen partly because of the well-documented lack of diversity within the tech industry itself. Every year the tech giants release diversity reports and they make for grim reading. You get the picture. But what has that got to do with algorithms? "If you test your system on people who look like you and it works fine then you're never going to know that there's a problem," Joy Buolamwini argues. Of the 44 winners of a beauty contest last year judged by algorithms, and based on some 6,000 uploaded selfies from 100 different countries, only one was non-white and a handful were Asian. Alex Zhavoronkov, Beauty.AI's chief science officer, told the Guardian the result was flawed because the data set used to train the AI (artifical intelligence) had not been diverse enough. "If you have not that many people of colour within the data set, then you might actually have biased results," he said at the time. On a more serious note, AI software used in the US to predict which convicted criminals might reoffend, was found to be more likely to incorrectly identify black offenders as high risk and white offenders as low risk, according to a study by the website Propublica (the software firm disputed these findings). Suresh Venkatasubramanian, an associate professor at the University of Utah school of computing, says creators of AI need to act now while the problem is still visible. "The worst that can happen is that things will change and we won't realise it," he told the BBC. "In other words the concern has been that the bias, or skew, in decision-making will shift from things we recognise as human prejudice to things we no longer recognise and therefore cannot detect - because we will take the decision-making for granted." He is however optimistic about tech's progress. "To say all algorithms have racist manifestations doesn't make sense to me," he says. "Not because it's impossible but because that's not how it's actually working. "In the last three to four years what's picked up is the discussion around the problems and possible solutions," he adds. He offers a number of these: Ms Buolamwini says she is hopeful that the situation will improve if people are more aware of the potential problems. "Any technology that we create is going to reflect both our aspirations and our limitations," she says. "If we are limited when it comes to being inclusive that's going to be reflected in the robots we develop or the tech that's incorporated within the robots."


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

A team of researchers created a novel wireless power source that could potentially produce the next-generation of ingestible health devices. Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital made a battery cell that can safely power machines that could either monitor conditions in the gastrointestinal tract or releases small reservoirs of drugs over a certain period of time. The battery works through a process called midfield transmission, which is a technique that enables power transfer across longer distances with the help of an antenna. The team sought to test this power source’s efficacy on a group of pigs by giving the animals one of the medical prototypes they have made. “Right now we have no way of measuring things like core body temperature or concentration of micronutrients over an extended period of time, and with these devices you could start to do that kind of thing,” said a former MIT graduate student and first author of this study Abubakar Abid, said in a statement. An external antenna was able to safely deliver 100 to 200 microwatts of power from distances ranging between 2 to 10 centimeters to an internal antenna built into the device moving through the digestive tract. No electrodes were needed. “We’re able to efficiently send power from the transmitter antennas outside the body to antennas inside the body, and do it in a way that minimizes the radiation being absorbed by the tissue itself,” said Abid. Ultimately, this technique produces enough energy to power sensors for monitoring heart rates and temperatures. “This work, combined with exciting advancements in subthreshold electronics, low-power systems-on-a-chip, and novel packaging miniaturization, can enable many sensing, monitoring, and even stimulation or actuation applications,” said co-author and Draper Laboratory researcher Brian Smith, in the announcement. However, the team acknowledged they need to continue examining this system’s capabilities before transitioning into human trials. These findings were described in the journal Scientific Reports.


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

The gelatinous jaw of a sea worm, which becomes hard or flexible depending on the environment around it, has inspired researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a new material that can be applied to soft robotics. Despite having the texture of a gel, this compound is endowed with great mechanical resistance and consistency, and is able to adapt to changing environments. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have looked at a sea worm called Nereis virens in order to create a changing material, which has the ability to be flexible or rigid at convenience. The jaw of this worm has a texture similar to gelatin, but if the environment varies, the material may adopt the hardness of dentin or human bones. Chemical engineer Francisco Martín-Martínez, a Spanish researcher at the MIT Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics and co-author of the paper, explained to SINC, "the jaw of Nereis virens is composed of a protein that contains large amounts of histidine, an amino acid that interacts with the ions of the environment and makes it more or less flexible depending on the environment in which it finds itself." The material, described in a study published in the journal 'ACS Nano', has been developed in collaboration with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)."It's a hydrogel made from a synthesized protein, similar to the one that makes up the jaw of this worm and which gives it structural stability and impressive mechanical performance," says Martín-Martínez, who adds: "When we change the ions of the environment and the salt concentration, the material expands or contracts." The team found that at the molecular level, the structure of protein material is strengthened when the environment contains zinc ions and certain pH indexes. The Zinc ions create chemical bonds with the structure of the compound. These bonds are reversible, and can form or break at convenience, making the material more dynamic and flexible. In addition, the researchers at MIT have created a model which is capable of predicting how the substance operates and have conducted a theoretical study that explains the molecular mechanism responsible for that behaviour. In this way, the researchers have been able to simulate, using supercomputers, how the compound behaves, in order to improve it and to design its molecular structure before taking it to the laboratory. As the AFRL is involved in its development, "the details of the synthesis are not in the public domain," says the co-author. The new material could have different applications, as Martín-Martínez explains: "Its ability to contract and expand makes it especially suited to creating devices that work as muscles for so-called soft robots, which are made of polymers. It could also be used in the development of sensors that do not need to use external power supplies and control devices for complex electronic systems." In this project, Martín-Martínez, originally from Granada (Spain), has been in charge of the theoretical study that explains the mechanism by which histidine interacts differently with different ions and causes the material to expand and contract. "Thanks to that, we understand what is happening and we can control it and improve it," he emphasizes. Martín Martínez, who has been at MIT for three years and has specialized in the design and modelling of materials, believes that most of the problems that are being addressed with technology "have already been solved by nature, almost always in a much better way than we humans can develop, so for us it is a great source of inspiration," he concludes. Chia-Ching Chou, Francisco J. Martin-Martinez, Zhao Qin, Patrick B. Dennis, Maneesh K. Gupta, Rajesh R. Naik, Markus J. Buehler. "Ion Effect and Metal-Coordinated Cross-Linking for Multiscale Design of Nereis Jaw Inspired Mechanomutable Materials". ACS Nano (2017).


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new robot, which can print the basic structure of a building in 3D within 14 hours. Inventors of this technology reveal that the 3D printing robot can be used for faster and cheaper construction of buildings. MIT researchers assert that their robotic system can construct a building much faster, when compared to the conventional constructional methods. The robotic system is flexible and can customize a building design in tandem with the needs of a particular site, or the maker's wishes. Moreover, the 3D printing robot can also alter the building's internal structure according to the requirement. Different materials can be integrated into the printing system and one can also alter the material density for different amounts of insulation, strength, and other properties. Researchers have dubbed the MIT manufactured robotic system Digital Construction Platform or DCP. The robot's makers explain it is an automated construction system, which is competent to construct structures using 3D printing techniques. "Digital Construction Platform (DCP), an automated construction system capable of customized on-site fabrication of architectural-scale structures using real-time environmental data for process control," the authors wrote in the research paper. The system consists of a compound arm made of electric and hydraulic robotic arms, on top of a tracked mobile platform. For the construction of the insulated architectural formwork, the researchers at MIT developed and incorporated an additive into the 3D printing robot system. The big industrial robotic arm atop the mobile platform has a smaller robotic arm attached to it at the end for precise movement. This robotic arm is quite convenient to handle and can be easily used to move any construction nozzle for spraying insulation material or pouring concrete. The newly-developed 3D robotic system can construct an object of any size unlike normal 3D printing systems, which use a fixed structure to encase the nozzles. To prove that the new 3D system can build an object of any size, the researchers deployed the robot to build a 12-foot-high dome. This dome's diameter was 50 feet. The system successfully constructed the dome in less than 14 hours, with an exact fabrication time of less than 13.5 hours. The 3D printing robot used polyurethane foam to make the molds. The gap between two molds was filled with concrete. Researchers are now aiming to develop the technology and make it advanced enough to send it to Mars or moon for constructional purposes. "The ultimate vision is in the future, to have something totally autonomous, that you could send to the moon or Mars or Antarctica, and it would just go out and make these buildings for years," Steven Keating, the lead author of the paper expressed. The finding of the study have been published in journal Science Robotics, on Wednesday, April 26. Watch the below video to see how the DCP constructs primary structures. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

An Earth-sized planet orbiting a dim star 39 light years away has a hazy atmosphere that could indicate the presence of a “water world”. It is one of the first times astronomers have been able to detect an atmosphere surrounding a small rocky planet. Similar observations using the next generation of powerful telescopes could be used to look for life outside the solar system. Until now, scientists have mostly been able to spot the atmospheres of giant “hot Jupiter” exoplanets that are very unlikely to support life. The super-Earth planet GJ 1132b was observed as it passed in front of a cool red dwarf star, blocking out some of the star’s light. By measuring the slight drop in the star’s brightness, astronomers were able to work out that the planet was 1.4 times the size of Earth. They also found that in one light wavelength band, the planet looked slightly bigger. This could be explained by an atmosphere that was opaque to some light wavelengths, but transparent to others. “While this is not the detection of life on another planet, it’s an important step in the right direction,” says John Southworth at the University of Keele, who led the team. The detection of an atmosphere around GJ 1132b marks the first time that an atmosphere has been detected around a planet less than twice the size of Earth. Previously, we had seen a waterless atmosphere around the planet 55 Cancri e, which is between 6 and 8 times Earth’s mass. “With this research, we have taken the first tentative step into studying the atmospheres of smaller, Earth-like planets,” Southworth says. The team simulated a range of possible atmospheres for the planet, and finding that those rich in water and/or methane would explain the observations. The planet is significantly hotter and a bit larger than Earth, so one possibility is that it is a ‘water world’ with an atmosphere of hot steam, the team says. Analysing the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres could in future yield tell-tale signs of life. Ozone, derived from oxygen released by plants, is one atmospheric life marker. Methane is another, although it can also be generated by volcanic activity. Sara Seager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has compiled a list of 14,000 different molecules that could provide biosignatures of life on alien worlds. NASA’s planned James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), due to launch next year as a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, will be powerful enough to begin studying the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets. There are also proposals for an even bigger High Definition Space Telescope (HDST), with a 12-metre-wide mirror twice as large as the one carried by the JWST. It would directly image planets in nearby star systems and search for the fingerprints of life in their atmospheres. The HDST, likely to be a multibillion-pound international project, is not expected to be launched until the 2030s.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Imagers, gastric pacemakers and other diagnostic and therapeutic tools could someday transform the way diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are measured and treated. But in order for these electronic devices to work, they need a power source. Traditional power sources, such as batteries, can be incompatible with the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract and have a limited lifespan within the body. A more promising possibility is to power electronic devices from outside the body. In a new study published in Scientific Reports, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory report that an ingestible electronic capsule, complete with a capsule-sized antenna capable of receiving a radio signal wirelessly, can safely power a device in the gastrointestinal tract in preclinical models. The new work makes wireless medical electronics for treating the gastrointestinal tract one step closer to reality. "Electronic devices that can be placed in the gastrointestinal tract for prolonged periods of time have the potential to transform how we evaluate and treat patients. This work describes the first example of remote, wireless transfer of power to a system in the stomach in a large preclinical animal model -- a critical step toward bringing these devices into the clinic," said co-corresponding author Carlo "Gio" Traverso, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at BWH. Other medical devices -- such as cochlear implants or neural probes - use a well-established technique known as near-field coupling to deliver power wirelessly. But ingestible devices must be small enough to be swallowed and, moreover, lie a significant distance from the surface of the body, making this technique unattainable for most gastrointestinal electronics. A new technique known as mid-field coupling provides an alternative way to deliver power to deeply implanted devices. Mid-field coupling operates at higher frequencies to deliver power two to three times more efficiently. To test whether mid-field coupling could help deliver power from outside the body into the gastrointestinal tract, the research team designed antennas capable of operating efficiently in tissue. They then placed one antenna outside of the body and the other in the esophagus, stomach and colon of a swine model. They were able to transmit power levels of 37.5 uW, 123 uW and 173 uW, respectively, all of which are sufficient to wirelessly power a range of medical devices from outside of the body. "We are very excited about this work which we feel can someday offer many new opportunities for oral drug delivery of different molecules," said co-corresponding author Robert Langer, Institute Professor from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. "In further work, we would like to expand on these measurements by characterizing the effects of animal size, antenna depth, orientation and more on transmission efficiency, and focus on propagating fields - or the way power travels - to make transmission even more efficient," said Traverso. This work was made possible in part through funding from the National Institutes of Health and a Draper Fellowship. The authors declare no competing financial interests or other interests that might be perceived to influence the results and/or discussion reported in this article.


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Your friends really do influence your exercise habits, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed information from more than 1 million people worldwide who tracked their exercise sessions with fitness trackers for more than five years, and shared their activity with friends over a social network. Collectively, the participants ran more than 350 million kilometers (215 million miles) over the study period. To figure out how much people are influenced by their friends, the researchers also included a look at the weather: The idea was that friends who live in different cities experience different weather, and bad weather in one city would be expected to influence only the activity of the friend who lived there. So if a Chicagoan skips her run on a rainy day in Boston, this suggests the Chicago friend is influenced by the running habits of friends in Boston. The researchers found that every extra 10 minutes that a person's friends ran on a given day caused that person to run for an extra 3 minutes that day. What's more, every additional kilometer run by a person's friends influenced that person to run an additional 0.3 kilometers. "We found that exercise is socially contagious," the researchers wrote in the April 18 issue of the journal Nature Communications. The findings suggest that public health efforts could be improved by tapping into this "friend effect," the researchers said. [7 Ways Friendships Are Great for Your Health] "New interventions that take into account the fact that there is social influence in 'healthy' behaviors like exercise can be more effective than other ones that do not," said study co-author Christos Nicolaides, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. For example, campaigns trying to promote exercise could be designed to include engagement in a social network, he said. Previous studies have suggested that certain behaviors are socially contagious, meaning that they spread from one person to others within their social circle. For example, studies have found that when a person becomes obese, his or her friends have an increased risk of becoming obese as well. However, because so many factors influence people's behavior, it is hard to prove that one person's behavior directly causes a change in a friend's behavior, the researchers said. For example, it could be that two people become obese around the same time because of an outside factor that influences both people in that social network, or because the two friends are already very similar in their behaviors. In the new study, the researchers addressed this issue of causality by taking advantage of changes in weather to set up a natural experiment, Nicolaides said. "In our mind, we have the pseudo question, 'Is a rainy day in Chicago [affecting the] running of your friends [in] Boston?' If yes, that means that there is causal influence of the running behavior of Chicagoans [on] the running behavior of their friends in Boston," Nicolaides told Live Science in an email. The researchers found that, indeed, the running activity of a person's friends did have a causal effect on the person's activity. The researchers also found that less-active runners tended to influence more-active runners, rather than the other way around. This could be because, when more-active runners compare themselves to less- active runners, they become competitive and want to "protect their superiority" over the less-active runners, the researchers said. In addition, men were strongly influenced by the running activity of other men, and were moderately influenced by the activity of women. However, women were influenced only by the activity of their female friends. The researchers noted that, because their study involved only people who use fitness trackers, the results may not necessarily apply to the average person who doesn't use a tracker. In addition, although the researchers saw that people shared their data, they did not know if or when other runners saw the data that people had shared. It could be that some runners check their friends' activity much more often and are more influenced by their friends compared with others, the researchers said. The researchers used data from a global exercise company that allows people to track their activity and follow their friends' activity. But because of confidentially agreements, the researchers cannot release the name of the company that provided the data, Nicolaides said.


News Article | March 27, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

NASA has chosen an airborne observatory led by the University of Arizona (UA) over eight other proposed missions vying for NASA's Explorer category. With a target launch date of Dec. 15, 2021, the Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO) mission with its airborne observatory will fly across Antarctica at an elevation around 110,000 and 120,000 feet, or 17 miles above a typical commercial flight's cruising altitude. Basically, the Ultralong-Duration Balloon (ULDB) has a telescope with carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen emission line detectors mounted to a gondola. With a science payload of almost 2 tons, GUSTO will run on about 1 kilowatt of electrical power produced by solar panels. "NASA has a great history of launching observatories in the Astrophysics Explorers Program with new and unique observational capabilities. GUSTO continues that tradition," Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director in the Science Mission Directorate in Washington, stated. After launching from McMurdo, Antarctica, GUSTO is expected to stay up in the air up 170 days, depending on weather conditions. The total project cost is approximately $40 million dollars, including expenses for the balloon launch, post-launch operations, and data analysis. GUSTO will measure emissions from interstellar mediums, helping scientists get a clearer picture of the life cycle of interstellar gas in the Milky Way galaxy and the birth and death of star-forming clouds. According to experts, the interstellar medium is the material "from which most of the observable universe is made: stars, planets, rocks, oceans, and all living creatures." According to principal investigator Christopher Walker, a professor of astronomy at the UA's Steward Observatory, understanding the interstellar medium is key to understanding where we came from, "because 4.6 billion years ago, we were interstellar medium." Aside from the Milky Way, GUSTO will also map the Large Magellanic Cloud, which according to Walker, is a hallmark of a galaxy more commonly found in the early universe. Walker and his team will use cutting-edge superconducting detectors and other instruments that will enable them to listen in at very high frequencies. Walker said that with the measurements from the GUSTO mission, experts can have enough data to develop a model for earlier galaxies and our home galaxy, the Milky Way, which are the two "bookends" of evolution through cosmic time. As a prelude to the GUSTO mission, Walker's team triumphantly launched a balloon with a smaller telescope — the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory, or STO — above South Pole back in December 2016. Johns Hopkins University is reportedly in charge for the GUSTO balloon's gondola. Other participating organizations in the GUSTO mission include NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, and the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.fastcompany.com

Nationally, nearly half of all inmates released from prison return there after committing another crime. But the recidivism rate among those who’ve earned college degrees through the Bard Prison Initiative , an adjunct program operated by liberal arts school Bard College inside six medium and maximum security prisons in New York, is far lower: Since the program began in 2001, more than 400 convicts have graduated and eventually been released. Just 2% end up back behind bars. Most also have no trouble finding work. “It’s not that they just don’t return to prison,” says BPI founder and executive director Max Kenner. “It’s that they become independent middle-class taxpaying citizens, neighbors, and pals. They’re engaged in their communities and all kinds civic and positive and educational ways.” The program is structured to resemble a classic college curriculum for associate and bachelor level degrees. BPI has roughly 60 classes overall, which span the liberal arts spectrum from advanced calculus to genetics, and Mandarin Chinese. Students are encouraged to take a full load—about four to five classes per semester—to complete their degrees within the same timeframe as those might outside the walls. Common majors include mathematics, humanities, and social studies, which include a senior thesis that must be defended in front of an academic committee. It’s not a zero-sum commitment: Other inmates can join basic courses in public health, computer science, and food systems, which could help them get hired after their release. Overall, Bard has 90 teachers spread between their six sites. Many are from Bard, but also Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, and Columbia, the latter of which for example, has renowned faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health, who help anchor similar studies. Access to quality higher education can make a serious difference someone’s future potential, particularly those in need of second chances. (BPI students would happily argue this fact; their debate team made headlines in 2015 for beating Harvard.) From a fiscal standpoint, though, the reason that the program works is because BPI is frugal. It can’t charge prisoners tuition, but uses their building and supplies as a remote campus. As Kenner puts it, “another institution is picking up the overhead.” Such thinking has led other universities and colleges in at least 15 states try similar programs. To that end, Bard has developed the Consortium for Liberal Arts in Prison, which allows places like University of Notre Dame, University of Vermont, and Wesleyan to share what they’re learning create a strategic planning blueprint that others can follow in hopes of keeping their programs effective and sustainable. But a couple years ago, Kenner realized there was no need to keep the model prison specific. To counter the “crises of cost and access in American education” Bard could expand their model to places like social services centers or even libraries, which could do the same thing on a community level.


News Article | April 23, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The Middle East has an outsize impact on energy here on Earth. One analyst thinks some regional powerhouses may leverage that role into the development of natural resources in space. Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are developing space programs and investing in nascent private space commodity initiatives, said Tom James, a partner at energy consultant Navitas Resources. Doing so could give them a foothold in building extraterrestrial reserves of water -- a substance likely to fuel travel within space -- and other resources that could be used for in-space manufacturing. “Water is the new oil of space,” James said in Singapore. “Middle East investment in space is growing as it works to shift from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy.” Prospecting satellites can be built for tens of millions of U.S. dollars each and an asteroid-harvesting spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion, in line with mining operations on Earth, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Noah Poponak said in an April 4 research note. Most resources would be processed and used in space although it may be economic to ship some commodities, such as platinum, back to Earth, according to James and Goldman. “Space mining is still a long way from commercial viability, but it has the potential to further ease access to space,” Poponak wrote. “Water and platinum group metals that are abundant on asteroids are highly disruptive from a technological and economic standpoint.” Navitas expects companies to launch satellites searching for rare gases and metals in asteroids within five years, with actual mining happening within eight. A single asteroid might contain 175 times more platinum than the Earth mines in a year, Goldman said, citing a project associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That much platinum could be worth $25 billion to $50 billion, although it would likely crater the market for the metal. “You could go massively short on platinum and then show up at settlement with an asteroid, but you probably could only do that once,” James said in an interview after a presentation at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. “I don’t think the counter-party would take that trade a second time.” Platinum futures for July delivery fell 0.6 percent to $972.10 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday. In the long term, most of the commodities mined in space will stay in space to power a low-orbit space economy built around satellites and space stations, James said. In that scenario, water accumulated in space would become valuable as it could be used for rocket fuel for interstellar voyages. The substance is too heavy and costly to transport from Earth. Water can be used as a propellant in space or split into hydrogen and oxygen, and then recombined and combusted. Deep Space Industries Inc., an asteroid mining company, has developed a thruster that heats water into a steam propellant, according to Goldman. The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia already have space programs, with the Saudis signing a pact with Russia in 2015 for cooperation on space exploration, according to a report from Arab News.  Abu Dhabi is an investor in Richard Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic. In addition to money, the Middle East also has geography on its side. See also: At $27 billion, mining in space could lost less than a gas plant The closer a country is to the equator, the more surface velocity there is from spinning around the Earth’s axis, meaning space ships need to burn less fuel to exit the atmosphere. That benefits some Middle Eastern countries as launch sites, James said. “The Middle East builds the tallest buildings, the biggest shopping complexes,” said James. “Certainly they’re having a big impact on the space and satellite industries as well.”


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive.


Last April, for example, Sichuan University scientists announced that they had used CRISPR to program T cells from the immune system of a person with lung cancer to kill tumor cells (Nature 2016, DOI: 10.1038/nature.2016.20988). And late last year, a UC Berkeley team reported harnessing the technology to correct the genetic mutation responsible for sickle cell anemia in stem cells from patients with the disease (Sci. Transl. Med. 2016, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf9336). Eventually, Doudna; Emmanuelle Charpentier, now the director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology; and coworkers discovered that CRISPRs help bacteria fight viral infection. Bacteria snag bits of an invading virus’s RNA and tuck them into CRISPRs, the team found. If the virus strikes again, these modified CRISPRs bind to the pathogen’s DNA, signaling to the enzyme Cas9 to come and dice up the foreign genetic material. The researchers realized they could harness this machinery to cut and paste target DNA fragments at will, as long as they introduced the appropriate designer RNA sequences. What started as a small project “aimed at something seemingly unrelated … led to a very different direction,” Doudna said during the Kavli keynote address on April 3 at the ACS national meeting in San Francisco. C&EN caught up with Doudna at the meeting to discuss the importance of curiosity-driven basic research and her outlook for CRISPR. The convergence of chemistry with other disciplines to tackle interesting problems in science is exciting. More and more, I see chemists using gene editing to make precise changes to molecules, such as proteins. That allows them to connect discoveries made using purified biomolecules outside cells—enzymes reacting in lab vessels, for instance—to what you would find in a living organism. That’s really amazing. With better chemical understanding of the way these enzymes operate, it will be possible to use them in ways that they don’t seem to be deploying in nature. The ability to make changes to the DNA of plant cells also opens up opportunities both in research and in solving problems in agriculture. That includes helping plants defend themselves against infection, drought, and other climate-change-related issues from a chemical perspective. With CRISPR, you understand the precise changes that you’re making to DNA—at the level of individual base pairs—rather than randomly introducing changes by exposing plant seeds to chemicals that cause DNA mutations. In drug discovery, one of the big challenges for chemists is determining the targets of small molecules. Now, you can potentially very rapidly figure out the targets by using CRISPR to query cells on a genomewide scale. You can disrupt certain genes and then ask if cells are still susceptible to the small molecules. I’m excited about that as an important research application but also as a practical way of doing drug discovery. We can do gene editing on cells ex vivo—meaning outside the organism—and the edited cells can then be reintroduced to the body, which gets around the challenge of drug delivery. For clinical use, we’ll probably see treatments like this that involve immune cells in the blood first, since they can be collected outside the body. In agriculture, we’ve already begun seeing products that have been created using precision gene editing. That brings up a bunch of regulatory challenges. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided that plant products created using CRISPR that don’t introduce foreign DNA are not considered genetically modified, which has led to lots of discussion. In other countries, the regulation of GMO plants is different, so I think people are being pushed to reevaluate how these are defined based on the opportunities we now have with CRISPR. Where we’ll likely see advancements being made is in deploying CRISPR to do more specific kinds of things. One is using it not to cleave DNA directly but to make a direct chemical modification to DNA, whether it’s changing one nucleotide base into another one or adding a methyl group. CRISPR has made possible genetic changes in individual organisms and even made it possible to pass along changes to offspring. This raises ethical concerns, particularly regarding human embryo or germ-line editing that might lead to permanent changes in the DNA that can be passed on to future generations. I’ve been actively involved in discussing these issues. As scientists, we need to explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, not dictating how these discoveries and technologies should be used. We need to participate in those conversations with the public. This is important, especially now, when there’s a lot of questioning about scientific knowledge, the value of facts, and how scientific data are used to help governments make decisions about regulations and funding. In February, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office upheld patents awarded to the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University for the use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells. About a month later, the European Patent Office announced plans to award a patent to the University of California that covers a wide range of CRISPR uses. How do you see the patent battle playing out in the years ahead? Patents around important technologies typically are complicated. It takes a while to sort them out, and CRISPR is no different. Honestly, I think it will take a while before the patent situation is resolved in different countries. The exciting thing for me is that we’re seeing rapid deployment of the CRISPR technology both in academic settings and in companies. That’s leading to real advances for various diseases. There are exciting uses in agriculture and in fundamental research. None of that is being hampered by the current patent situation. CORRECTION: This Q&A was updated on April 21, 2017, to correct the affiliation of the team that used CRISPR to fix the genetic mutation responsible for sickle cell anemia in patients’ stem cells. It is UC Berkeley, not Stanford.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

The pollution coming out of your tailpipe could be recycled into high-quality ink according to a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their “KAALINK” device hooks onto the vehicle’s tailpipe and captures some of the air pollution produced by the combustion engine. This “soot” is then recycled into high-quality ink. This “soot” is really particulate matter air pollution that is produced by the vehicle’s engine. These tiny particles cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses, lung cancer and cardiopulmonary mortality. Globally, an estimated 2 million premature deaths result from people breathing in particulate matter air pollution. According to the developers of the KAALINK technology, about 45 minutes of driving will produce 30 milliliters (ml) of ink. A typical ballpoint pen holds about 0.25 milliliters of ink – meaning that one vehicle can produce almost 3 pens worth of ink per minute.


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.latimes.com

Now here’s a contagion that might not be so bad to encounter. A new analysis of the running habits of about 1.1 million people reveals that exercise is indeed contagious — though its communicability depends on who’s spreading it. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, also reveal that certain relationships are better at spreading the running bug than others — and could have implications for the study of other social contagions, such as obesity and smoking. In recent years, researchers in a wide range of fields — from economics and politics to medicine and computer science — have begun to investigate the ways in which many of our individual decisions affect the decisions of our peers, and how behavioral changes may spread through a social network. “If behavioural contagions exist,” the study authors wrote, “understanding how, when and to what extent they manifest in different behaviours will enable us to transition from independent intervention strategies to more effective interdependent interventions that incorporate individuals’ social contexts into their treatments.” Creating health and other interventions that effectively could harness the social network to maximize their benefit would be a real game-changer, researchers say. But it’s been difficult to draw conclusions from studies based on self-reporting surveys (where participants may not be fully honest or aware of their own behaviors) or laboratory experiments (which may not fully capture the real-life complexities of causal relationships within social networks). So for this paper, Sinan Aral and Christos Nicolaides of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used fitness tracker data to study the running and activity habits of around 1.1 million people in an actual global social network. The runners had formed about 3.4 million social network ties; the researchers analyzed the 2.1 million or so ties for which they could pinpoint geographic location and weather information for both users. Over five years, these social media users ran a collective 350 million kilometers — and their runs were all automatically posted online for their friends to see, reducing the issues that come with self-reporting. On the same day on average, an additional kilometer run by friends influences an individual to run an additional 0.3 kilometers. An additional kilometer per minute run by friends pushes a person to run an additional 0.3 kilometers per minute faster than usual. If those friends run an extra 10 minutes, that person is likely to run about three minutes longer than they would have. If those friends burn an extra 10 calories, that person will end up burning 3.5 more calories. The effect is strongest on the same day and appears to diminish with time, the authors wrote. So the scientists found that a runner’s peers did influence him or her to run more — but they also discovered that not all users influenced their buddies equally. Individuals were more likely to be prodded to up their game by less-active peers than by more active ones. Men were influenced by the activity of both men and women, but women were influenced only by other women. Inconsistent runners influenced consistent runners far more than the other way around. “Social comparisons may provide an explanation for these results,” the study authors wrote. Social comparison theory, they added, “proposes that we self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others.” But do we make upward comparisons to peers performing better than us, or downward comparisons to those performing worse? That’s been a subject of debate, the researchers said. “Comparisons to those ahead of us may motivate our own self-improvement, while comparisons to those behind us may create ‘competitive behaviour to protect one’s superiority,’ ” they explained. “Our findings are consistent with both arguments, but the effects are much larger for downward comparisons than for upward comparisons.” So people who we think are our closest fitness “peers” — particularly those who we think are slightly lower on the totem pole relative to ourselves — are most likely to get us to push our limits. There are possible explanations in the scientific literature for the gender divide too, the scientists added. “For example, men report receiving and being more influenced by social support in their decision to adopt exercise behaviours, while women report being more motivated by self-regulation and individual planning,” the study authors wrote. “Moreover, men may be more competitive and specifically more competitive with each other. Experimental evidence suggests that women perform less well in mixed gender competition than men, even though they perform equally well in non-competitive or single sex competitive settings.” The findings reveal how effective monitoring these real-time networks may be to help scientists design all kinds of interventions to minimize the spread of social ills and maximize the spread of social benefits. “The granularity and precision with which fitness tracking devices record real-world health behaviours portends a sea change in our understanding of human behaviour and social influence at scale,” the study authors wrote. “Compared with prior studies, which relied on imprecise and frequently inaccurate self-reports, the potential for these kinds of data to extend our understanding of social behaviour in real-world settings is difficult to overstate.” It also highlights the fact that looking at “average” social influence may not be the most helpful indicator, especially when — as this study showed — influence on any given branch of a social network is not necessarily a two-way street. “Different subsegments of the population react differently to social influence,” the authors said. “Such differences suggest that policies tailored for different types of people in different subpopulations will be more effective than policies constructed with only average treatment effects in mind.” Follow @aminawrite on Twitter for more science news and "like" Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook. Why doctors are being urged to join the March for Science on Saturday What would make a computer biased? Learning a language spoken by humans


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

As the Environmental Protection Agency proceeds with a large-scale update of its website, its climate change site has been taken down, pending review. But several climate scientists contacted by The Post argue that this is unnecessary. “If any errors were present, they could have been fixed with minor editing,” said atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in an emailed comment, who also noted that he’s never heard of any climate scientist objecting to any information on the website. “There was no cause for a wholesale review of the site’s materials.” The climate change site, which has existed since the 1990s, contained a wealth of information on the scientific causes of global warming, its consequences and ways for communities to mitigate or adapt. An archived version of the site clearly states that “humans are largely responsible for recent climate change” and also includes data on the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, reports on the observable effects of climate change, fact sheets about its threat to human health and numerous other resources. As of April 27, however, the site redirects to a page claiming that the agency is “currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, for his part, has publicly stated that he does not agree that human activity is a “primary contributor” to current climate change. The EPA does direct readers who may happen on the redirect to the archived version of the climate change site, which it called a “January 19 snapshot,” indicating that this was the state of the page before President Trump’s inauguration. The agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, J. P. Freire, noted in a Friday statement that the review — which has affected other parts of the website, including a site dedicated to information about the Clean Power Plan — was intended to make sure the agency’s website will “reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” and would include the elimination of “outdated language.” However, some scientists are challenging the idea that the climate change site is in need of reviewing or updating at all — or at least, that it warranted being taken down during the review process. “[E]very administration has the right and indeed responsibility to review, update and improve the policies and websites of agencies under their purview, so there is nothing inherently wrong with the EPA website being revised,” said Matthew Huber, a climate scientist at Purdue University, by email. “It does strike me as unusual and irresponsible to take the entire climate change website down at once and not conduct a rolling review and update. This is akin to removing all emergency exit signs from a movie theater while a movie is showing because the upper management has decided they might need to improve their disaster plans.” According to Huber, the previous climate site contained valuable information related to the safety of human communities, such as a report aimed at helping citizens protect their health against extreme heat in the future. “So the administration has removed a well executed, scientifically valid guide to protecting health — information needed right now not just in the distant future,” he said. “This seems to be a direct abrogation of the EPA’s mission ‘to protect human health and the environment.’” And other experts added that the information housed on the website was already accurate in its previous form. “In particular, it was careful to describe the uncertainties associated with climate risks, such as rising sea level and changing incidence of extreme weather and climate events,” said Kerry Emanuel, a meteorologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It presented the current understanding of the science and possible solutions in a fair and balanced way. I am sorry to see it go.” And Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, previously told The Post, regarding the EPA website, that “it’s hard to understand why facts require revision.” The EPA did not respond to a request for comment. These website changes may have been planned for months now. In January, EPA staff members reported that the Trump administration was planning to scrub climate change information from the agency’s site — a plan that Trump administration officials backed away from shortly thereafter. What the final product will look like, after revisions and updates, remains to be seen. But in the meantime, the climate science world is watching closely.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fastcompany.com

In Western history, the concept of the password can be traced as far back as the so-called “ shibboleth incident ” in the 12th chapter of the biblical Book of Judges. In the chaos of battle between the tribes of Gilead and Ephraim, Gileadite soldiers used the word “shibboleth” to detect their enemies, knowing that the Ephraimites pronounced it slightly differently in their dialect. The stakes were life and death, we’re told, in a confrontation between Gileadites and a possible Ephraimite fugitive : “Then said they unto him, ‘Say now Shibboleth’; and he said ‘Sibboleth’; for he could not frame to pronounce it right; then they laid hold on him, and slew him at the fords of the Jordan.” The literary history of the password also includes the classic tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” invented in the 18th century by the French Orientalist Antoine Galland. Used in the tale to open a magically sealed cave, the invocation “Open, Sesame!” enjoys broad currency as a catchphrase today, not only in other literary, cinematic, and television adaptations of the tale itself, but in many other contexts as well. Password security was introduced to computing in the Compatible Time-Sharing System and Unics (Unix) systems developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bell Laboratories in the 1960s. Today we use passwords to restrict access to our personal computers and computing devices, and to access remote computing services of all kinds. But a password is not a physical barrier or obstacle, like a lock on a gate. Rather, it is a unit of text: that is to say, written language. As an important part of the linguistic history of computers, password security links my research in the history of writing to my interest in the early history of computing. But it is an episode in that history that may now be coming to an end. In the earliest civilizations, writing was used to record financial and other administrative transactions, ensuring that records could be consulted in the case of disputes over debt, land ownership, or taxation. Soon, there was another use for writing: what we now call mail. Writing made it possible to communicate without being physically present, because a written message could stand in the writer’s place. When I use a password, it also stands in my place. The password represents me within a virtual or nonphysical system, regardless of whether I am physically present, entering a passcode on a smartphone or a PIN code at an ATM, or physically absent, connecting remotely to my bank with a web browser. Anyone else who knows my password can also use it this way. Related story: Everything You Know About Passwords Is Wrong


Patent
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Date: 2017-03-15

A method of improving performance of a photovoltaic device can include modifying a surface energy level of a nanocrystal through ligand exchange. A photovoltaic device can include a layer that includes a nanocrystal with a surface energy modified through ligand exchange.


News Article | April 10, 2017
Site: compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com

A group of students from the Masters of Architecture Options Studio at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has designed a structure that assembles itself in mid-air and can be dropped into disaster zones. “This project targets construction scenarios where it is difficult to build, hard to get people, materials or equipment, time consuming, energy intensive, expensive, or dangerous,” MIT explained. “Structures could be dropped from a plane or helicopter and self-assemble as they float down to the earth for disaster relief, military applications or other extreme construction scenarios.” The prototype structure, dubbed “Fast, Cheap and Out of the Box,” relies on a fiberglass hoop that can fold into two smaller rings similar to pop-up tents. This design leaves a lot of potential energy available to help the structure expand upon release. Thanks to the fixed joint structure, the pop-up can automatically move back into its original form, too. Throughout the semester, the students designed, prototyped, tested and finally fabricated the various elements to make the pop-up structure from fiberglass; and then to the folding sequence, self-deployment and parachutes. At Autodesk’s BUILD Space in Boston, the students built many prototypes and thoroughly tested their successes/failure by dropping them from various heights. The fiberglass spline geometry was designed through small wire models and then successively larger fiberglass models to ensure the ease of folding as well as the quick-release of the pop-up structure without tangling. The parachutes were developed both digitally and through physical prototypes, ultimately being drop-tested to ensure they successful landing. MIT says the parachute was used to provide the activation force to initiate the pop-up process, as well as to slow the descent to the ground and ultimately provide a safe landing. A number of parachute geometries were explored to provide as much lifting force as possible while accounting for the vertical and horizontal wind conditions. The final test was conducted with a 100-foot crane on MIT’s Briggs field. The crane was on-site throughout the day and many drop-tests were conducted to explore the folding process, the parachute design and the release mechanism. All of these factors could either hinder or promote the success pop-up and graceful descent of the structure. To watch the drop, click on the video below:


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

On a research dive in 2011 off the Aegean Sea coast of the fishing village Çeşmealtı, Turkey, a lucky pair of graduate students bore accidental witness to a phenomenon scientists have otherwise only ever seen in the lab: the theater and violence of male cuttlefish competing for a mate. Equipped with video cameras to record data for a study of camouflage, the team captured the combat, analyzed it and have now published the results in the American Naturalist to share the science and the spectacle with the world. “This male just kind of appeared right next to my left side and rested next to a clump of algae on the sea floor,” recalled Justine Allen, who went on to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown and is now an adjunct instructor in the University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “The female was a few meters in front. Out of nowhere he just swam up, grabbed her, and they mated in the head-to-head position.” The video she shot with co-author Derya Akkaynak, now at the University of Haifa in Israel, shows a dramatic sequence of events. The female and her newfound male consort finished mating and started to swim off together — a male common European cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, will “guard” his mate to make it more likely that it’s his sperm that she’ll use to fertilize her eggs when she lays them. But a little more than three minutes later, a second male disrupted the new couple’s harmony. To announce his intrusive intentions, he brandished two of the many peculiar gestures cuttlefish employ to show aggression: He extended his fourth arm toward the consort male and dilated the pupil of the eye that faced his foe. “They have a whole repertoire of behaviors that they use to signal to each other, and we’re just barely starting to understand some of them,” said Allen, who is also the training grant manager in Brown’s Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “A lot of their fighting is done through visual signals. Most of these battles are actually these beautiful, stunning skin displays. It’s a vicious war of colors.” But sometimes, as the study documents, they’ll attack physically. In the paper, the authors analyze the emergence and progression of these behaviors, recorded for the first time ever in the wild, in the context of game theory. Scientists since Aristotle have been curious about the courtship and sexual selection behaviors of cuttlefish. In any species, Allen points out, the way mating takes place has everything to do with their survival as a species. The height of those stakes are why things then proceeded to get nasty. The intruder’s pupil dilation and arm extension began the first of three brief bouts over the course of about four minutes, each with escalating levels of aggression. The consort male met the initial insult with his own arm extension and — as only color-changing animals like cuttlefish can do — a darkening of his face. Then both males flashed brightly contrasting zebra-like bands on their skin, heightening the war of displays further. Bout number one would go to the intruder as the consort became alarmed, darkened his whole body, squirted a cloud of ink in the intruder's face and jetted away. For more than a minute, the intruder male tried to guard and cozy up to the female, but the consort male returned to try to reclaim his position with a newly darkened face and zebra banding. He inked and jetted around the pair to find an angle to intervene, but the intruder fended him off with more aggressive gestures including swiping at him with that fourth arm. Bout number two again went to the intruder. He grabbed the female and tried to position her body to engage in head-to-head mating, but she didn't exhibit much interest, Allen said. The intruder’s act brought the consort male charging back into the fray with the greatest aggression yet. He grabbed the intruder and twisted him around in a barrel roll three times, the most aggressive gesture in the cuttlefish arsenal. He also bit the other male. The female, meanwhile, swam out of the fracas. The intruder fled, chased off by the victorious consort male. Study co-author Roger Hanlon, Brown University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., moments later observed and filmed the consort swimming with the female. Allen was affiliated with the Brown-MBL Joint Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences while Akkaynak was studying in a joint Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute graduate program. “Male 1 wins the whole thing because we saw him with the female later, and that’s really what matters,” Allen said. “It’s who ends up with her in the end.” Though more violent than most of the interactions scientists have documented in lab tanks, the field observation appears to back up the scientific community’s working hypothesis of male cuttlefish rivalry: It suggests a “mutual assessment” model of game theory in which the combatants base their actions on how they judge their ability to prevail relative to their opponent’s ability. That model predicts, for example, that the cuttlefish will escalate the fight at the same rate, as if to feel each other out. It also predicts that the fight will end when one has gained a clear upper hand over the other. Both of these predictions appeared to play out in the three escalating bouts and their conclusion. The alternative models, where the combatants don’t factor in their opponent’s strength, make different predictions that were not as evident in the way this particular fight proceeded. Study co-author Alexandra Schnell of Normandie University in France led this analysis. Of course, exciting as it was, the episode amounts to only one observation, Allen acknowledged. Many more observations and carefully designed experiments are needed to truly understand cuttlefish reproductive behavior. That speaks to the value of getting out of the lab and away from the computer. “A lot of science, especially animal behavior, needs to be done outside, in the field, with wild animals,” Allen said. “You have to be lucky enough to catch them on film to analyze what they are doing, but science is happening outside all around us, all the time.”


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

In what could be the country’s most aggressive plan to tackle its chronic shortage in drinking water supply, the United Arab Emirates just might drag icebergs from Antarctica and park them off the nation’s coast. The environmental company National Advisor Bureau Limited seeks to provide a novel freshwater source for the region by towing an Antarctic iceberg over 9,000 kilometers (5.592 miles) across the Indian Ocean to the eastern emirate Fujairah’s coast. Mining icebergs for drinking water appears to be a rather radical approach to drinking water issues such as those of the UAE’s. But an average iceberg actually contains more than 20 billion gallons of water, enough to supply 1 million people for five years, revealed the firm’s managing director Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi. The iceberg could produce micro-climates and bathe the arid landscape in rain, Shehi added. A strong advocate of harvesting icebergs since he was tasked by Saudi royals in the 1970s to explore the idea, Shehi teamed up with Georges Mougin, a French engineer, to present the rather weird solution to the UAE government. “We plan to tow icebergs located north of Antarctica, some 9,200 km to the shores of Fujairah,” he expressed. The gulf state is among the most arid nations in the world, with only 78 millimeters (3 inches) of rain falling each year as the World Bank noted. It then depends on groundwater reserves and seawater desalination — the former a shrinking supply, and the latter a costly procedure consuming hefty amounts of energy and pumping brine back into the sea. Icebergs usually take long to melt, because about 80 percent of their mass stays underwater. The white ice exposed on top, on the other hand, reflects sunlight and heat, decreasing the water amount that evaporates. The project, planned to begin in early 2018, initially seeks to transport an iceberg and then return for more once the first phase proves successful. The company predicts that it could take up to a year to tow an iceberg to the country, specifically to Fujairah where the water is deep enough to accommodate the floating island. The ice would be insulated using a special cover. The company has reportedly run three-dimensional computer simulations, expecting to lose 30 percent of the target iceberg along the way. Shehi speculated, too, that the floating icebergs could draw in more tourists. What’s in store for the UAE’s drinking water then? The icebergs could hold up to 750 billion liters of fresh water, Shehi said, adding that the government has found the plan sound and is now seeking funds for it. National Advisor Bureau Limited will then start processing the water once the iceberg arrives offshore. Blocks of ice will be taken above the waterline and crushed into water before they will be stored in massive tanks and professionally filtered. It’s the purest water on Earth, the executive claimed. Back in April, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported creating an innovative device using solar energy to harvest water out of thin air, even in dry or desert surroundings. A separate team from the United Kingdom also invented a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater, a development that could help millions across Earth who do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A resurrected gene, brought back from the dead in the lab, is allowing molecular biologists to travel billions of years into the past to study one of the most significant transitions in Earth’s history. About 2.5 billion years ago, oxygen began to build up in Earth’s previously anoxic atmosphere as a result of photosynthesis by cyanobacteria and other microbes. This Great Oxygenation Event must have caused an ecological upheaval, because oxygen is such a reactive molecule. To understand more about this key point in evolution, evolutionary biologist Betül Kacar at Harvard University decided to reconstruct the ancient form of rubisco, the key enzyme in photosynthesis that converts carbon dioxide into the precursors of sugars. Rubisco has been called the most abundant protein on Earth, and its history dates back to the dawn of photosynthesis more than 3 billion years ago. Kacar and her team compared rubisco gene sequences from modern organisms to infer what the sequence must have been in their common ancestor. By doing that repeatedly, she says, “we can walk back down the branches of the evolutionary tree”. Rubisco changed much more quickly around the time of the Great Oxygenation than it did either before or after it, Kacar said last week at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Mesa, Arizona. This rapid change must have been driven by the need to adapt to the presence of oxygen, she suggests. The modern rubisco molecule has to be selective because it encounters both oxygen and carbon dioxide, but even so it sometimes goes after the wrong gas. Rubisco from before the Great Oxygenation might have been more lax because it encountered oxygen so infrequently. Kacar’s team has now synthesised the gene sequences to make the ancient rubisco and is using CRISPR gene-editing technology to insert them into cyanobacteria. The modified bacteria, they hope, will then produce a form of rubisco molecule not seen on Earth for billions of years. “Earth’s past is alive, in a way,” says Kacar. The team can then compare the functions of the ancient proteins and their modern relatives, to see whether the enzyme did indeed become more selective during the Great Oxygenation Event. The technique adds a new dimension to studies of the past that cannot be gleaned from the geological record, says Kacar. “What makes Betül’s work really exciting is that she’s actually using these sequences to reconstruct the protein in the laboratory,” says Roger Summons, a geobiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The biggest insights, Summons adds, may come from features of the ancient protein that come as a surprise. “It’s about what you might learn that you can’t even anticipate at this point,” he says.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: scienceblogs.com

I was reading this account of an encounter between three cuttlefish — a consort male escorting a female, who is challenged by an intruder — and the story was weirdly familiar. The intruder’s pupil dilation and arm extension began the first of three brief bouts over the course of about four minutes, each with escalating levels of aggression. The consort male met the initial insult with his own arm extension and — as only color-changing animals like cuttlefish can do — a darkening of his face. Then both males flashed brightly contrasting zebra-like bands on their skin, heightening the war of displays further. Bout number one would go to the intruder as the consort became alarmed, darkened his whole body, squirted a cloud of ink in the intruder’s face and jetted away. For more than a minute, the intruder male tried to guard and cozy up to the female, but the consort male returned to try to reclaim his position with a newly darkened face and zebra banding. He inked and jetted around the pair to find an angle to intervene, but the intruder fended him off with more aggressive gestures including swiping at him with that fourth arm. Bout number two again went to the intruder. He grabbed the female and tried to position her body to engage in head-to-head mating, but she didn’t exhibit much interest, Allen said. The intruder’s act brought the consort male charging back into the fray with the greatest aggression yet. He grabbed the intruder and twisted him around in a barrel roll three times, the most aggressive gesture in the cuttlefish arsenal. He also bit the other male. The female, meanwhile, swam out of the fracas. The intruder fled, chased off by the victorious consort male. Study co-author Roger Hanlon, Brown University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., moments later observed and filmed the consort swimming with the female. Allen was affiliated with the Brown-MBL Joint Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences while Akkaynak was studying in a joint Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute graduate program. “Male 1 wins the whole thing because we saw him with the female later, and that’s really what matters,” Allen said. “It’s who ends up with her in the end.”


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: phys.org

But the new virtual money could face a tough battle integrating into the wider financial system. After debuting on currency trading platforms in October, Zcash took off, hitting an exchange rate of $1,000 per unit, putting it in league with the much better established Bitcoin, the virtual currency pioneer created in 2009. While its value has since come down to earth, Zcash is attracting the interest of Russian, Chinese, Venezuelan and, as of May 4, South African consumers. Brazilians now use Zcash to pay taxes and electricity bills and make purchases. To make its mark in the world of virtual currencies, Zcash boasts that it protects user privacy. But because of that guarantee it does not offer the transparency demanded by authorities who want to prevent these new tender from being used in money laundering, financing terrorism, evading taxes or fraud. Zcash was developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and Tel Aviv University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel. Only five of the six people who developed the cryptography have been publicly identified. It is based on a technology dubbed zk-Snark, which allows untraceable transactions. The resulting data are encrypted but users are free to identify themselves. Other cryptocurrencies such as Dash and Monero offer a level of privacy, but Zcash goes further, even obscuring the origin of a payment. This is the opposite of Bitcoin, which uses blockchain technology that publicly records transaction details including the unique alphanumeric strings that identify buyers and sellers. "You don't expose all of your communications or all of your transactions to random people on the internet you barely know," said Zooko Wilcox, CEO of Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, which manages Zcash. Virtual currencies are produced, or "mined," by banks of computers solving complex algorythms, an operation that can be expensive. Wilcox told AFP he hoped the expanded privacy protection could overcome businesses' reluctance to adopt Zcash as a trustworthy alternative to traditional state-controlled currencies. But Jonathan Levin, co-founder of Chainalysis, a start-up that helps banks and authorities trace the origins and destinations of virtual currency payments, doubts Zcash will find its place in the wider financial system. "It is hard for existing financial institutions to integrate these types of crypto currencies as information on the origin of funds is very hard to ascertain," he said. Financial institutions began to take an interest in Bitcoin, and in particular in its blockchain technology, once the darknet marketplace known as Silk Road was closed in 2013. Silk Road facilitated Bitcoin transactions but was also platform for the sale of illegal drugs. "Nobody has ever used Zcash for any kind of crime as far as anyone knows," Wilcox said, while conceding that "all technologies can be misused." Wilcox said he gave a presentation on Zcash to Canadian and US authorities in November and their attitude was "very pragmatic." Virtual currencies are not regulated by any central bank. In the United States, trading is authorized by individual states which issues license to exchanges, and so far there is no regulation at the federal level. Unlike central bank-issued demoninations, virtual currencies can be "mined" by anyone with sophisticated software skills to gather up the code. Nevertheless, despite Zcash's efforts to protect users, the currency itself may be vulnerable to hacking or counterfeiting. In a June attack against another cryptocurrency called ether, hackers reportedly made off with 3.6 million units with a value of $50 million. Cryptography consultant Peter Todd said in a November blog that Zcash's encryption could be weak, allowing hackers to crack the code. "The threat here is that an attacker may be able to create fake zk-Snark proofs by breaking the crypto directly, even without having access to the trusted setup backdoor," he wrote. Wilcox said Zerocoin Electric was alert to such risks and pays hackers to test the currency's security. In total, Zerocoin Electric expects a maximum of 21 million Zcash units will be mined, or produced, of which 10 percent will go to Zcash Electric shareholders, including founders, employees and investors. Explore further: Towards equal access to digital coins


In December 2016, NASA began accepting bids for its next New Frontiers competition, a chance to mount a $1 billion mission to solar system destinations such as the moon, Venus, or Saturn's moon Titan. It is a careermaking opportunity, and scientists devoured the rules in the announcement. In the second paragraph, they read something new: a sentence stating that "NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive" communities and "fully expects that such values will be reflected in the composition of all proposal teams." Many scientists hope the language will help NASA get out of a rut. Over the past 15 years, women have made up just 15% of planetary mission science teams, even though at least a quarter of planetary scientists are women. The disparity is even worse for ethnic minorities: Blacks and Hispanics make up 13% and 16% of the country, respectively, but each group makes up just 1% of the nation's planetary scientists. (Firm numbers for specific missions are not available.) The New Frontiers deadline arrived last week, and although the proposals are not public, observers say that women lead at least four of the dozen or so NASA received. "I suspect teams that come in will be significantly more diverse than previous rounds," says Louise Prockter, director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. NASA's move was spurred by scientists like Julie Rathbun, an expert on jovian moons at the Planetary Science Institute in Claremont, California, who has tried to quantify NASA's diversity problem. She and her peers dug up press releases and records to count the women on 26 missions. The lack of women on the 78-person science team for the Viking probes, sent to Mars in 1975, may not have been so surprising. But Rathbun expected women to be better represented on a newer generation of missions, and she was shocked to see no improvement in the past 15 years. "It hasn't happened yet," she says. Rathbun presented her analysis at meetings over the past 2 years, and the message eventually reached Curt Niebur, NASA's program scientist for New Frontiers in Washington, D.C. He says that pushing for more diversity is in NASA's interest. "The research now shows the best teams are those that take advantage of the diverse skills, knowledge, and viewpoints that are available," he says. Planetary science is not unique in its diversity problem. Many scientific disciplines, even those fed by academic pipelines that are majority female, such as biology, still have a disproportionate number of men in leadership roles. Janet Vertesi, a sociologist at Princeton University who studies planetary missions, says researchers have found that female and minority scientists can suffer even in the absence of conscious bias from majority scientists. Through the Matilda effect, for example, readers tend to assign more credit to male co-authors than female ones. And when minorities of any sort make up less than a third of a team, they face pressure to show that they were not selected because of their identity, which can cause conflicts. Some defenders of the status quo have claimed that it simply reflects merit. But Vertesi says that, without explicit criteria for "merit," people look for candidates from their existing social networks and exclude outsiders. As a federal agency, NASA won't impose sex- or race-based quotas in judging the New Frontiers proposals. And including demographic information on the mission proposals is still technically optional. But the change in the application language is a start, says Maria Zuber, vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and the first woman to be a principal investigator for a NASA planetary mission. "If NASA gives it sufficient airplay, I think it will at least make people think." When it comes time to evaluate the mission proposals, Niebur says, he will require review panelists to perform exercises to raise awareness of unconscious biases they may have. NASA can take other tangible steps to boost diversity. For example, the agency has provided money to add outside scientists to many in-progress missions, a move meant to add new expertise to their research teams. Such participating scientist programs, as they're known, tend to improve diversity as well, according to a report from NASA's scientific advisory groups that was led by Prockter and released this week. She says she thinks that such programs should be mandatory for every mission. Other glimmers of progress are evident. Two years ago, women led four of the five proposals that were finalists in the competition for Discovery—a NASA line of missions with a $450 million limit. One of the two winners was led by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University in Tempe who, with her mission to a metallic asteroid, has now become the second woman to lead a competitive planetary science mission. Elkins-Tanton supports the new language, which could push the field one step closer toward a culture where all good ideas are heard. "We're trying to make it a meritocracy," she says.


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Published reports indicate that cable channel ESPN is preparing another round of cuts to its on-air talent, as parent company Walt Disney Co (ticker: DIS) continues to try to right the ship at the popular network. Traditional cable TV viewers have flocked to cheaper alternatives, and Disney is still trying to solve its ESPN problem. ESPN is expected to cut 40 jobs starting on May 1, including radio hosts, on-air personalities and writers. ESPN has made similar cuts in the past, laying off 300 employees in 2013 and another 300 employees in 2015. However, the next round of layoffs is expected to include familiar on-air talent. The cost-cutting efforts at ESPN come in response to plummeting ratings and subscriber numbers. For the past two years, ESPN has been losing an average of about 300,000 subscribers per month. From 2011 to 2015, ESPN lost a total of 7 million subscribers. "Today's fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize talent," Disney said in a statement. For Disney investors, plummeting viewership and rising content costs is a losing formula. "Given the sizable NBA rights fee step-up for ESPN in the current fiscal year, we are not surprised that ESPN would be offsetting this margin pressure with cost-cutting initiatives," Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente said in March. Disney shares dropped 2 percent in February following a mixed fourth-quarter earnings report. Revenue from Disney's media networks unit, which includes ESPN, declined 2 percent from last year. In 2016, Disney's media networks segment accounted for more than $23.6 billion of the company's $55.4 billion in total revenue. [See: 7 of the Best Stocks to Buy for 2017.] In addition to its cost-cutting initiative, Disney is also reportedly working on an over-the-top ESPN streaming service. Last year, Disney purchased BAM Tech, which has provided technology for popular streaming services such as Time Warner's ( TWX) HBO Now and World Wrestling Entertainment's ( WWE) WWE Network. Despite the weakness at ESPN, Wall Street analysts remains bullish on Disney stock. "Our analysis of Disney's upcoming distributor renewal cycle coupled with increased conviction in new streaming bundles suggests ESPN's distribution revenue growth rate could nearly double from fiscal year 2016 levels by fiscal year 2020, turning ESPN from overhang to earnings driver," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne says. [See: 8 Stocks to Buy For a Starter Portfolio.] Morgan Stanley maintains an "overweight" rating for Disney stock and Nomura maintains a "buy" rating. Wayne Duggan is a freelance investment strategy reporter with a focus on energy and emerging market stocks. He has a degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and specializes in the psychological challenges of investing. He is a senior financial market reporter for Benzinga and has contributed financial market analysis to Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha and InvestorPlace. He is also the author of the book "Beating Wall Street With Common Sense," which focuses on the practical strategies he has used to outperform the stock market. You can follow him on Twitter @DugganSense, check out his latest content at tradingcommonsense.com or email him at wpd@tradingcommonsense.com.


News Article | April 7, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

A worker climbs stairs among some of the 2,000 pressure vessels that will be used to convert seawater into fresh water through reverse osmosis in the western hemisphere's largest desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. —In recent decades, arid regions around the world have turned to the seas for drinking water. Desalination – removing salt from seawater – offers dry places from the Middle East to the American Southwest an alternative to scarce rainfall and groundwater. With 1.8 billion people projected to live “in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity” by 2025, the demand for solutions to water-supply challenges looks set to grow in coming years, according to the United Nations. Better filtration membranes could make desalination more viable as one of these solutions. Most modern plants use reverse osmosis, an energy-intensive process of pumping seawater through membranes to filter out the salt. Since the 1960s, these membranes have almost always been made of polymers. But recent research has aimed to reduce the pumping energy by instead making them from “nanomaterials.” On Monday, British researchers at the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute in England announced that they had developed a membrane from one such material: graphene oxide. Their new membrane marks a step forward for desalination technology. But it still faces a challenging road to the world’s seawater treatment plants, suggesting that the search for solutions to humanity’s thirst is far from over. “The big cost is the energy cost of desalination and the reliability of the membranes, how long they last,” explains Peter Gleick, co-founder and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif. “I think that the current research results are a great step forward for both of those issues … but in the end, it's really going to depend on our ability to commercialize this process.” For more than three decades, Dr. Gleick has researched and worked to raise awareness of water availability issues. During that time, some cities have seen the cost per cubic meter of desalinated water drop by half, from $1.50 to 75 cents. But in a phone interview, Gleick tells the Monitor that most gains have come as “incremental improvements,” with membrane costs dropping and lifetimes extending. In many locales, these gains haven’t been enough to justify the costs of desalination. In 2015, “a thousand gallons of freshwater from a desalination plant costs the average US consumer $2.50 to $5 ... compared to $2 for conventional freshwater,” reported Public Radio International. “There hasn't been what I would describe as a revolutionary breakthrough,” Gleick says. In recent years, graphene – a crystalline layer of carbon just one atom thick – seemed to promise such a breakthrough. Computer models by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., “showed that graphene membranes could cut the energy used in reverse osmosis by 15 to 46 percent. Even better, the high permeability could mean that far less surface area is needed to get the job done, so the entire [desalination] plant could be half the size,” reports David Talbot for MIT Technology Review. However, “It has been difficult to produce large quantities of single-layer graphene using existing methods,” says Jijo Abraham, a research scholar at the University of Manchester and co-author on the new study in an email to the Monitor. He adds that “current production routes are also quite costly.” Just four square centimeters of the substance, available on Graphenea.com, will set you back $146. “However,” he continues, “graphene oxide,” which consists of a graphene-like lattice of carbon atoms, studded with oxygen groups, “can be produced by the simple oxidation of the parent material graphite (a naturally available material) and is very cheap to produce industrially.” The researchers used this material to develop their membranes, explains materials scientist Ram Devanathan, who wrote a companion commentary accompanying the study in Nature Nanotechnology. Currently the acting division director of the Earth Systems Science Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Dr. Devanathan stresses in an email that the team demonstrated ways to “control layer spacing,” keeping the graphene oxide layers from drifting apart when immersed in water. That’s crucial for desalination: A membrane’s pores need to be large enough to let water molecules through, but small enough to keep salt’s potassium and chloride ions out. To understand how the new membrane accomplishes this goal, he suggests: “Think of a stack of papers, except the individual sheets are not flat but have ripples. Now apply epoxy layers to the top and bottom of the stack to keep the stack from changing size. In this analogy, the graphene oxide layers are the individual sheets of paper.” Mr. Abraham, currently pursuing his PhD in physics, says that the methods they tested “are quite effective for desalination in a lab scale.” But crops and consumers need water on more than just a lab scale. While Gleick of the Pacific Institute says he’s “as hopeful as the next person that there will be a big breakthrough,” he’s also clear-eyed about the challenges that such giant leaps face. For the graphene oxide membranes to see use in treatment plants, “they have to be able to produce very large volume membranes that are very reliable in the long run.” He also cautions that any new technology will generate salty, sea-life-threatening brine as waste. Meanwhile, desalination may be reaching the limits of its efficiency. The laws of thermodynamics set a “theoretical limit to how much energy is required to basically take salt out of water … current technology is pretty close to that.” Can graphene oxide still do better? Abraham acknowledges that “more studies are needed to make it practically possible on an industrial scale,” adding that the team still lacks data on the membranes’ long-term performance. “Achieving a defect-free, large area membrane will be a major challenge for us,” he continues. “We are expecting collaboration with other membrane manufacturers to tackle this issue and take this technology from the lab scale to the pilot scale in a few years’ time.” “In principle, we do not see any major challenges” for large-scale production, he says, “but we need support from the industry.” But in many corners of the world, utilities may see less high-tech methods as the best way to meet their customers’ needs. In California, for example, “a dollar spent on conservation or efficiency, or advanced wastewater treatment and reuse, gives you more than a dollar spent on desalination,” says Gleick. So far, the presence or lack of other options has determined the degree to which different places desalinate. While the first reverse-osmosis plant was built in California, the Golden State’s once-abundant rivers and snowmelt discouraged investment in the technology, the Monitor’s Christa Case Bryant explained in 2015. Instead, it was Israeli firms, trying to sustain farms in the parched Middle East, who honed the method. Now, drier climates may be making desalination a more cost-effective option, with Israeli firms bringing their expertise to California and elsewhere. This trend could give the new graphene oxide membrane a home in future treatment plants. But Gleick predicts that different places will still need different tools for navigating a drier future. "Wherever you are," he advises, "think carefully about the economics of your options, and the environmental and social and political factors also are important. And that will determine where you want to spend money."


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Bank of America Corp. (ticker: BAC) is making the most of an improving environment for big U.S. banks. On Tuesday morning, the company reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped consensus Wall Street expectations. Bank of America reported revenue of $22.2 billion compared to consensus analyst expectations for $21.6 billion. The company's earnings per share of 41 cents also beat consensus estimates, which called for EPS of 35 cents. Net income of $4.9 billion was up 40 percent from a year ago, and revenue was up 7 percent compared to Q1 2016. "The U.S. economy continues to show consumer and business optimism, and our results reflect that," CEO Brian Moynihan says. [See: The 7 Best Bank Stocks to Buy for 2017.] Large U.S. banks have experienced a number of positive headlines in recent months starting with President Donald Trump's election in November. Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to cut corporate taxes and eliminate federal regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, the Federal Reserve has delivered two interest rate hikes since December. Higher interest rates allow banks more flexibility with net interest margin -- the spread between the rate the bank charges on loans and the rate it pays to depositors. In Q1, Bank of America reported a net interest margin of 2.39 percent, up from 2.23 percent last quarter. Bank of America's investment banking revenue was up 37 percent in Q1, while consumer banking income climbed 7 percent. "We grew loans and deposits, while remaining within our risk framework," CFO Paul Donofrio says. Bank of America continued the trend of strong bank earnings so far this quarter. Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM), Citigroup ( C), and Wells Fargo & Co. ( WFC) all reported their own Q1 earnings beats. Back in January, Wells Fargo named Bank of America its top bank stock pick for 2017. "We see up to 26 percent EPS upside potential for the banks in 2018," analyst Matthew Burnell says. Bank of America investors are hoping the bank's strong showing in Q1 will break the stock's negative momentum. After rising 48.5 percent in the first four months after the election, Bank of America shares were down 7.2 percent in the month prior to Tuesday's earnings report. Despite the sector's strong performance in Q1, bank investors are growing uncertain about Trump's legislative priorities and effectiveness after Republicans have struggled to tackle healthcare reform. Bank of America stock was up 1.3 percent in pre-market trading on Tuesday following the company's earnings beat. Wayne Duggan is a freelance investment strategy reporter with a focus on energy and emerging market stocks. He has a degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and specializes in the psychological challenges of investing. He is a senior financial market reporter for Benzinga and has contributed financial market analysis to Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha and InvestorPlace. He is also the author of the book "Beating Wall Street With Common Sense," which focuses on the practical strategies he has used to outperform the stock market. You can follow him on Twitter @DugganSense, check out his latest content at tradingcommonsense.com or email him at wpd@tradingcommonsense.com.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Twitter Inc (ticker: TWTR) may have delivered some much-needed user growth in the first quarter, but the stock remains a risky bet for long-term investors. According to a new report by Aegis Capital analyst Victor Anthony, Twitter's road to success is getting narrower by the day in the face of growing competition from Facebook ( FB) Alphabet ( GOOG, GOOGL) and Snap ( SNAP). Twitter's growth struggles are common knowledge among investors, but Aegis' user growth checks suggest Twitter will report incrementally positive growth user in the most recent quarter. Anthony says Twitter's first-quarter user growth offers "a glimmer of hope" but is "not significant enough to warrant a shift back in ad spend by advertisers." Twitter stock is down 64 percent in the past three years and is trading near all-time lows. Despite the sell-off, Anthony says Twitter stock still isn't a bargain. "While we believe the product itself has improved with better Tweet relevance, personalization, video and artificial intelligence, we still see no clear reason to own the equity and see more downside risks to the stock due to the ad struggles," Anthony says. Twitter is still struggling to address the fundamental problem that advertisers are simply getting a better return on their investment by buying ads on other social media platforms. Not surprisingly, Twitter has been losing market share to its competitors, a trend that Aegis expects will continue. Twitter investors are growing used to trends heading in the wrong direction. In addition to declining market share and share price, Piper Jaffray recently reported that Twitter's popularity among teen users has declined for the second consecutive year. The firm's bi-annual teen survey revealed the percentage of teens that consider Twitter their favorite social media platform has fallen from 21 percent in 2015 to only 11 percent in 2017. Snapchat (39 percent) and Facebook's Instagram (23 percent) remain the top social media picks among teens. [See: 6 Things to Know About Mark Zuckerberg's Manifesto.] Until Twitter demonstrates that it can compete among the next generation of social media platforms, Anthony expects the stock to continue heading south. Aegis maintains a sell rating on Twitter and a $12 price target for the stock. Wayne Duggan is a freelance investment strategy reporter with a focus on energy and emerging market stocks. He has a degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and specializes in the psychological challenges of investing. He is a senior financial market reporter for Benzinga and has contributed financial market analysis to Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha and InvestorPlace. He is also the author of the book "Beating Wall Street With Common Sense," which focuses on the practical strategies he has used to outperform the stock market. You can follow him on Twitter @DugganSense, check out his latest content at tradingcommonsense.com or email him at wpd@tradingcommonsense.com.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

Increasing diversity within academic science has been a priority for France Córdova since she became director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014. Within a year she had launched an initiative, called INCLUDES, that challenges universities to do a better job of attracting women and minorities into the field. Now, Córdova has turned her attention inward in hopes of improving the dismal track record of NSF’s most prestigious award for young scientists. Only five women have won NSF’s annual Alan T. Waterman Award in its 41-year history, and no woman of color has ever been selected. The 2017 winners announced this month mark the 13th year in a row that the $1 million research prize has gone to a man (two, actually, including the second black scientist ever chosen.) For decades, NSF rules required candidates to be either 35 or younger, or within 7 years of having received their doctoral degree. Those ceilings made sense when the typical academic scientist was someone who “went straight through school with no debt and no family commitments, and who could focus on research in their late 20s and early 30s without distractions,” says Karan Watson, provost of Texas A&M University in College Station and chair of the Waterman selection committee. But Watson says those caps penalize anyone whose career has been slowed or interrupted by family, finances, or physical challenges—a group likely to be disproportionately female and members of underrepresented minority groups. So Córdova pushed to raise the ceilings to age 40 and 10 years post-Ph.D. “We hope it will level the playing field,” says Maria Zuber, chair of the National Science Board in Arlington, Virginia, NSF’s oversight body, which approved the change at its November 2016 meeting. (The change, announced last week, applies to the 2018 competition deadlines arriving this fall.) Zuber, an astrophysicist and vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, compared it to “stop-the-clock” policies at MIT and other universities that give faculty members more time to build the research record needed to win tenure. If only it were that easy, says Kim Cobb, a paleoclimate researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and one of six university ADVANCE professors with a remit to improve gender equity. Cobb, who has spent the past several years championing women for awards handed out by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), cites “the deep pool of issues” that female academics must deal with. “There’s explicit bias—the idea that women don’t belong in science,” she begins. “Then there’s structural bias—only women have babies, for example. And then there’s the implicit bias that every one of us carries around without even being aware of its effect on our decisions.” Those biases affect much more than a quest for professional recognition, of course. But prizes are important to academics, and those responsible for handing them out often aren’t aware of the baggage that they may be bringing to the selection committee. “I think that [prize] committees genuinely want to do the right thing,” says Joan Strassmann, a sociobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri, a vocal campaigner against gender bias in science. “And they honestly think they are doing a good job.” But she says the Matilda effect—a phrase coined by Margaret Rossiter in the 1990s to describe how the scientific achievements of women are so often credited to men, or simply ignored—demonstrates that good intentions aren’t nearly enough. Strassmann cited research showing that individuals have a hard time choosing the best candidate from a large pool of highly qualified applicants to make the case for diversity. “Scientists pride themselves on being able to spot talent,” says Strassmann, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “If we had more humility, we might feel free to use other criteria” that would address gender inequity more directly. What is the nature of the current imbalance? In response to a request from Insider, NSF analyzed the last 15 years of the Waterman prize. NSF receives an average of 59 nominees a year—from a high of 86 last year to a low of 42 and 43 in 2005 and 2006. Roughly one-quarter of the pool is deemed worthy of closer scrutiny. And women make up 26% of those finalists, called top performers. (NSF doesn’t ask applicants about gender, but officials did a manual search to determine the gender of the top performers.) The actual percentage can vary considerably from one year to the next year—women made up as few as 10% of the top performers in 2007 and 12% in 2015, and as many as 40% last year. But regardless of the percentage, only a tiny number of women—one and two in 2007 and 2015, for example—make the short list of top performers. Several years ago, AGU identified a similar problem with its prestigious early career award. So in 2011, AGU removed the age limit, then 36, and replaced it with a 10-year post-Ph.D. ceiling. The new rules also allow applicants to describe “special circumstances” that would warrant removing the ceiling altogether. “We know women may take time off to have children,” says Beth Paredes, assistant AGU director for honors and science affiliations in Washington, D.C. “And it can also apply to men, for example, in countries with required military service.” The exemption is rarely invoked, Paredes acknowledges. “But we wanted to be as inclusive as possible,” she says. An uneven distribution of Waterman applicants across disciplines also works against women. Last year, for example, 30 of the 86 nominees were engineers, a field in which women are badly underrepresented. In contrast, the committee received only eight applications from researchers in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Watson says the committee would like to see more applicants from the social sciences. Only two have won the prize, and sociologist Dalton Conley of Princeton University, a 2005 Waterman winner and current committee member, says that his colleagues face a Catch-22 situation. “Due to a lack of extant winners, the award is not as known in the social sciences,” Conley says. “And among those who are aware of it, they may figure that there is not much of a shot of winning. Hence fewer apply.” Bumping up those numbers will take more than simply beating the bushes for strong candidates, however. Both Cobb and Strassmann say that the skills needed to succeed in winning prizes—from identifying a heavyweight advocate to rounding up the necessary supporting letters and filling out all the paperwork—aren’t taught in graduate school. Instead, they are learned through the same old boys’ network that for so long has excluded women and minorities. “I didn’t even know the Waterman existed until 6 or 7 years ago,” says Cobb, adding that she became familiar with the award only after she and a small group of women within AGU began their advocacy efforts. And modesty would have ruled it out. “I would never have dared to aspire to such an award,” says Cobb, who was named a chaired professor last year at the age of 41. Changing that culture will require some arm-twisting, Strassmann acknowledges. “I realize everybody is inundated with other tasks,” she says. “But I’ve resolved to nominate 10 people a year, and to urge others to do the same. And why not? I know how to do it. And it feels good.” Though nominating more women and minorities is a necessary first step, nobody expects it will be enough to make the problem disappear. “The old excuse—that there are none who are good enough—is no longer valid,” Watson says. “But maybe we were clipping their wings too soon. The new rules will give them more time to build up their record.” Data from AGU show a surprising gender distribution in its James B. Macelwane Medal for early-career scientists. After being an almost exclusively male prize in its first 2 decades (36 of 37 winners from 1962 to 1983), women received 17% of the awards in the next 2 decades and actually reached parity in the 5 years preceding the rule change. Since 2012, however, men have captured 70% of the 24 medals.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

On a research dive in 2011 off the Aegean Sea coast of the fishing village Çeşmealtı, Turkey, a lucky pair of graduate students bore accidental witness to a phenomenon scientists have otherwise only ever seen in the lab: the theater and violence of male cuttlefish competing for a mate. Equipped with video cameras to record data for a study of camouflage, the team captured the combat, analyzed it and have now published the results in the American Naturalist to share the science and the spectacle with the world. “This male just kind of appeared right next to my left side and rested next to a clump of algae on the sea floor,” recalled Justine Allen, who went on to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown and is now an adjunct instructor in the University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “The female was a few meters in front. Out of nowhere he just swam up, grabbed her, and they mated in the head-to-head position.” The video she shot with co-author Derya Akkaynak, now at the University of Haifa in Israel, shows a dramatic sequence of events. The female and her newfound male consort finished mating and started to swim off together — a male common European cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, will “guard” his mate to make it more likely that it’s his sperm that she’ll use to fertilize her eggs when she lays them. But a little more than three minutes later, a second male disrupted the new couple’s harmony. To announce his intrusive intentions, he brandished two of the many peculiar gestures cuttlefish employ to show aggression: He extended his fourth arm toward the consort male and dilated the pupil of the eye that faced his foe. “They have a whole repertoire of behaviors that they use to signal to each other, and we’re just barely starting to understand some of them,” said Allen, who is also the training grant manager in Brown’s Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “A lot of their fighting is done through visual signals. Most of these battles are actually these beautiful, stunning skin displays. It’s a vicious war of colors.” But sometimes, as the study documents, they’ll attack physically. In the paper, the authors analyze the emergence and progression of these behaviors, recorded for the first time ever in the wild, in the context of game theory. Scientists since Aristotle have been curious about the courtship and sexual selection behaviors of cuttlefish. In any species, Allen points out, the way mating takes place has everything to do with their survival as a species. The height of those stakes are why things then proceeded to get nasty. The intruder’s pupil dilation and arm extension began the first of three brief bouts over the course of about four minutes, each with escalating levels of aggression. The consort male met the initial insult with his own arm extension and — as only color-changing animals like cuttlefish can do — a darkening of his face. Then both males flashed brightly contrasting zebra-like bands on their skin, heightening the war of displays further. Bout number one would go to the intruder as the consort became alarmed, darkened his whole body, squirted a cloud of ink in the intruder's face and jetted away. For more than a minute, the intruder male tried to guard and cozy up to the female, but the consort male returned to try to reclaim his position with a newly darkened face and zebra banding. He inked and jetted around the pair to find an angle to intervene, but the intruder fended him off with more aggressive gestures including swiping at him with that fourth arm. Bout number two again went to the intruder. He grabbed the female and tried to position her body to engage in head-to-head mating, but she didn't exhibit much interest, Allen said. The intruder’s act brought the consort male charging back into the fray with the greatest aggression yet. He grabbed the intruder and twisted him around in a barrel roll three times, the most aggressive gesture in the cuttlefish arsenal. He also bit the other male. The female, meanwhile, swam out of the fracas. The intruder fled, chased off by the victorious consort male. Study co-author Roger Hanlon, Brown University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., moments later observed and filmed the consort swimming with the female. Allen was affiliated with the Brown-MBL Joint Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences while Akkaynak was studying in a joint Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute graduate program. “Male 1 wins the whole thing because we saw him with the female later, and that’s really what matters,” Allen said. “It’s who ends up with her in the end.” Though more violent than most of the interactions scientists have documented in lab tanks, the field observation appears to back up the scientific community’s working hypothesis of male cuttlefish rivalry: It suggests a “mutual assessment” model of game theory in which the combatants base their actions on how they judge their ability to prevail relative to their opponent’s ability. That model predicts, for example, that the cuttlefish will escalate the fight at the same rate, as if to feel each other out. It also predicts that the fight will end when one has gained a clear upper hand over the other. Both of these predictions appeared to play out in the three escalating bouts and their conclusion. The alternative models, where the combatants don’t factor in their opponent’s strength, make different predictions that were not as evident in the way this particular fight proceeded. Study co-author Alexandra Schnell of Normandie University in France led this analysis. Of course, exciting as it was, the episode amounts to only one observation, Allen acknowledged. Many more observations and carefully designed experiments are needed to truly understand cuttlefish reproductive behavior. That speaks to the value of getting out of the lab and away from the computer. “A lot of science, especially animal behavior, needs to be done outside, in the field, with wild animals,” Allen said. “You have to be lucky enough to catch them on film to analyze what they are doing, but science is happening outside all around us, all the time.”


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

(Entertainment Industry Foundation) SU2C awarded $250k to each of four teams of SU2C-affiliated scientists who have not previously worked together: René Bernards, Ph.D., Netherlands Cancer Institute, and Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, M.D., Ph.D., UCLA; Matthew Levy, Ph.D., Albert Einstein CoM and Cassian Yee, M.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center; David T. Ting, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Shelley Berger, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; and Matthew Vander Heiden, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Melissa Skala, Ph.D., Morgridge Institute for Research.


Equipped with video cameras to record data for a study of camouflage, the team captured the combat, analyzed it and have now published the results in the American Naturalist to share the science and the spectacle with the world. "This male just kind of appeared right next to my left side and rested next to a clump of algae on the sea floor," recalled Justine Allen, who went on to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown and is now an adjunct instructor in the University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "The female was a few meters in front. Out of nowhere he just swam up, grabbed her, and they mated in the head-to-head position." The video she shot with co-author Derya Akkaynak, now at the University of Haifa in Israel, shows a dramatic sequence of events. The female and her newfound male consort finished mating and started to swim off together—a male common European cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, will "guard" his mate to make it more likely that it's his sperm that she'll use to fertilize her eggs when she lays them. But a little more than three minutes later, a second male disrupted the new couple's harmony. To announce his intrusive intentions, he brandished two of the many peculiar gestures cuttlefish employ to show aggression: He extended his fourth arm toward the consort male and dilated the pupil of the eye that faced his foe. "They have a whole repertoire of behaviors that they use to signal to each other, and we're just barely starting to understand some of them," said Allen, who is also the training grant manager in Brown's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. "A lot of their fighting is done through visual signals. Most of these battles are actually these beautiful, stunning skin displays. It's a vicious war of colors." But sometimes, as the study documents, they'll attack physically. In the paper, the authors analyze the emergence and progression of these behaviors, recorded for the first time ever in the wild, in the context of game theory. Scientists since Aristotle have been curious about the courtship and sexual selection behaviors of cuttlefish. In any species, Allen points out, the way mating takes place has everything to do with their survival as a species. The height of those stakes are why things then proceeded to get nasty. The intruder's pupil dilation and arm extension began the first of three brief bouts over the course of about four minutes, each with escalating levels of aggression. The consort male met the initial insult with his own arm extension and—as only color-changing animals like cuttlefish can do—a darkening of his face. Then both males flashed brightly contrasting zebra-like bands on their skin, heightening the war of displays further. Bout number one would go to the intruder as the consort became alarmed, darkened his whole body, squirted a cloud of ink in the intruder's face and jetted away. For more than a minute, the intruder male tried to guard and cozy up to the female, but the consort male returned to try to reclaim his position with a newly darkened face and zebra banding. He inked and jetted around the pair to find an angle to intervene, but the intruder fended him off with more aggressive gestures including swiping at him with that fourth arm. Bout number two again went to the intruder. He grabbed the female and tried to position her body to engage in head-to-head mating, but she didn't exhibit much interest, Allen said. The intruder's act brought the consort male charging back into the fray with the greatest aggression yet. He grabbed the intruder and twisted him around in a barrel roll three times, the most aggressive gesture in the cuttlefish arsenal. He also bit the other male. The female, meanwhile, swam out of the fracas. The intruder fled, chased off by the victorious consort male. Study co-author Roger Hanlon, Brown University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., moments later observed and filmed the consort swimming with the female. Allen was affiliated with the Brown-MBL Joint Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences while Akkaynak was studying in a joint Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute graduate program. "Male 1 wins the whole thing because we saw him with the female later, and that's really what matters," Allen said. "It's who ends up with her in the end." Though more violent than most of the interactions scientists have documented in lab tanks, the field observation appears to back up the scientific community's working hypothesis of male cuttlefish rivalry: It suggests a "mutual assessment" model of game theory in which the combatants base their actions on how they judge their ability to prevail relative to their opponent's ability. That model predicts, for example, that the cuttlefish will escalate the fight at the same rate, as if to feel each other out. It also predicts that the fight will end when one has gained a clear upper hand over the other. Both of these predictions appeared to play out in the three escalating bouts and their conclusion. The alternative models, where the combatants don't factor in their opponent's strength, make different predictions that were not as evident in the way this particular fight proceeded. Study co-author Alexandra Schnell of Normandie University in France led this analysis. Of course, exciting as it was, the episode amounts to only one observation, Allen acknowledged. Many more observations and carefully designed experiments are needed to truly understand cuttlefish reproductive behavior. That speaks to the value of getting out of the lab and away from the computer. "A lot of science, especially animal behavior, needs to be done outside, in the field, with wild animals," Allen said. "You have to be lucky enough to catch them on film to analyze what they are doing, but science is happening outside all around us, all the time." More information: Justine J. Allen et al, Dramatic Fighting by Male Cuttlefish for a Female Mate, The American Naturalist (2017). DOI: 10.1086/692009


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

MIDLAND, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Department of Labor has formally recognized The Dow Chemical Company’s (NYSE: DOW) U.S. Apprenticeship Program as having approved National Standards of Apprenticeship. As an industry leader in the apprenticeship space, with over 40 years of successful apprenticeship programs across Europe, it has been Dow’s intent to obtain the U.S. Department of Labor registration for its U.S. program. “ We are honored to receive this U.S. Department of Labor recognition, further evidence that our Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program is successfully advancing Dow’s vision of increasing the availability of highly skilled technical workers to support business growth and advance skill development in manufacturing and engineering,” said Andrew Liveris, chairman, and chief executive officer of Dow, who was appointed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to lead the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, which has the goal of increasing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. “ With Dow’s vast experience and leadership in workforce training we’re sharing these ideas with the Trump Administration and demonstrating the opportunity we have to scale national programs to create a 21st century workforce. This focus on workforce training is essential to creating a growing and vibrant U.S. manufacturing sector.” Launched in 2015, the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program offers a pathway to manufacturing careers through both formal education and on-the job training. This program is among a portfolio of apprenticeship programs within Dow which support STEM education and Dow’s STEM career pathways. The program has already grown to just under 100 apprentices at seven sites across four states - Michigan, California, Texas, and Louisiana - with projections of reaching 130 by the end of 2017 with continued expansion expected. The journey to today’s implementation of the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship program began in 2013 with the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0 Steering Team. Dow’s Liveris co-chaired this team along with Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within one year, the team produced the Employer’s Playbook for Building an Apprenticeship Program, co-authored by Dow, Alcoa and Siemens. This same year, Dow piloted the U.S. Apprenticeship program, with the first wave of apprentices hired in 2015. Also in 2015, Dow began to participate in ApprenticeshipUSA activities. ApprenticeshipUSA is a Department of Labor initiative focused on doubling the number of registered apprenticeship programs by 2019. “Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for the public and private sectors to partner in a meaningful way and to prepare the next generation of Americans for tomorrow’s high-skilled, high-paying advanced manufacturing careers. Through the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program, we are building our workforce of tomorrow and strengthening our global competitiveness,” said Johanna Soderstrom, chief Human Resource officer, corporate vice president Human Resources and Aviation. In order for the country to meet its workforce needs and to help U.S. companies maintain a competitive advantage in the global economy, the U.S. Department of Labor is committed to expanding the availability of apprenticeships to more businesses and workers across the country. By achieving this milestone, Dow is recognized as having met all of the requirements of an apprenticeship program. Additionally, all apprentices that complete the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship program will now receive a Certification of Completion from the U.S. Department of Labor. “ Apprenticeships are a tried and true workforce development strategy,” said Liveris. “ Employers that utilize apprentices report higher productivity, higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment. The program supports Dow’s growth in the U.S. by building a talent pipeline in difficult-to fill technical roles.” Through partnerships between Dow, local community colleges and veterans groups, the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program is targeted towards people interested in pursuing a career as an instrument electrical technician, process technician or millwright. Apprentices experience three or more years of world-class training and on-the-job experience. During this time they have their tuition funded by Dow and receive a competitive salary that increases incrementally over their tenure in the program. Apprentices who successfully complete the program obtain an associate’s degree in process technology, instrument technology, or industrial maintenance and will be evaluated for employment opportunities at Dow. The program also builds Dow’s reputation on a national level as a thought leader on U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, STEM skills development and job creation - making the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program good for Dow, the apprentices, and the economy. Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from material, polymer, chemical and biological science to help address many of the world's most challenging problems, such as the need for fresh food, safer and more sustainable transportation, clean water, energy efficiency, more durable infrastructure, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's integrated, market-driven portfolio delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in 175 countries and in high-growth sectors such as packaging, infrastructure, transportation, consumer care, electronics, and agriculture. In 2016, Dow had annual sales of $48 billion and employed approximately 56,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 7,000 product families are manufactured at 189 sites in 34 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com. ®TM Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

In this March 6, 2017 image, a posting from President Donald Trump's Twitter account, @POTUS. They are the 140-character bursts that have helped define the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. But they seem to be losing some of their impact.President Donald Trump’s traction on his medium choice has slipped, as his tone and button-pushing tendencies have cooled. (AP Photo) WASHINGTON (AP) — His "FAKE NEWS" tweets don't rocket like they once did. His exclamation points (!) don't excite quite the same old way. Donald Trump's 140-character volleys helped define the first 100 days of his presidency. But the traction on his medium of choice has slipped a bit as his tone and button-pushing tendencies have cooled. The number of people engaging with Trump on Twitter — through likes, retweets, quotes and replies — has gradually declined, according to an Associated Press analysis of his feed and the users who read, react and propel his words throughout the Twittersphere. The analysis, conducted in partnership with the media analytics nonprofit Cortico, found other clear trends: Men are more likely than women to retweet Trump. Left-leaning users are more likely than right-leaning ones to reply — often with commentary. Even with the recent tapering off, bursts with exclamation points or capital letters get more favorites and retweets. Tweets mentioning "Russia" or "fake news" spark far more interaction than those that don't. "It is an incredible way for him to communicate directly with the American people, and the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week, right from his fingertips," says Dan Scavino, Trump's social media director. The analysis looked at the 495 tweets from Trump's personal account — @realDonaldTrump — from his first 100 days in office. Cortico, launched from the Laboratory for Social Machines at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, used information pulled from Twitter users' profiles, networks and tweets to assess their political leaning, age and gender. The group has developed algorithms to determine a representative sample of users and how they engage with the president. The tweet that prompted the most responses — including likes, retweets, quotes with comment and replies — illustrates one truism of Trump's twitter account: Capital letters get attention. "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE," he tweeted on Feb. 9, after a federal court blocked his travel ban executive order. That tweet was liked more than 238,000 times and retweeted without comment 67,000 times, typically signaling support. Users replied — a response more likely to suggest disagreement — roughly 146,000 times. For all the talk about his tweeting, his numbers are hardly staggering. Trump's most retweeted post as president does not come close to matching Barack Obama's. On Jan. 22, amid broad post-inauguration protests, Trump tweeted, "Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views." It was retweeted more than 82,000 times. Obama's 2012 election night post of "Four More Years" was retweeted 940,000 times. Other Trump tweets near the top in engagement include "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" and "We must keep 'evil' out of our country!" Accuracy has little to do with attention. Trump's unfounded allegation that President Obama tapped his phone received the second most engagement. Another instant controversy was a tweet following up on his assertion that Sweden had a crime problem, which drew 26,000 retweets from all Twitter users. Though many of Trump's most provocative tweets have come in the early morning hours, his overall output is fairly evenly divided between morning, afternoon and evening, the numbers show. His most tweeted word is "great" followed by a version of "America" or "American" with "news" or "media" third, ahead of "jobs," according to data provided by Twitter on Thursday. His most commonly tweeted hashtag is #MAGA, the abbreviation for his campaign slogan "Make American Great Again." Trump's official @POTUS account is mostly run by Trump's social media director, Scavino, and largely operates as a politician's standard account, predominantly putting out news releases and talking points. But his long-time @realdonaldtrump account is largely controlled by the president himself. Aides, during the campaign and since he took office, have had varying degrees of success in controlling what he tweets. There are some signs they've had success in toning Trump down. Before his 50th day in office, a little over 32 percent of his tweets averaged around 60,000 engagements including retweets, replies, and quote tweets. But after day 50, no day has reached that level of engagement. Before then, 60 percent of the days' tweets got over 50,000 engagements. After, only 3 have — 9 percent. Some of it may be due to Trump's recent show of restraint on Twitter, while some may simply be because the novelty of the celebrity businessman in office has faded a bit. Since the midpoint of the 100 days, Trump's tweets have featured fewer of his trademark exclamation points and all capital letters. Topics like fake news, mentioned 23 times before day 50, have been mentioned just over 10 times since. Trump says he prefers Twitter because he wants to work around the mainstream media's filter. "When the media takes my message, knows what my message is and then writes it purposely so it doesn't sound good, I'd rather do Twitter," he said a few days after taking office. But Twitter appears to have its own partisan filter. Reaction to Trump's tweets break down sharply along partisan lines, with conservatives more likely to retweet without commentary while liberals are for more likely to respond to a tweet and, presumably, disagree. About 96 percent of those who simply retweet the president's words are right-leaning, according to the analysis, while about 54 percent of his replies come from left-leaning users. Verified accounts — often journalists, celebrities, politicians or other public figures — are 70% more likely to weigh in on Trump's tweets by quoting them, interjecting their own voices to the discussion. Follow Lemire on Twitter at http//twitter.com/@JonLemire and Linke at https://twitter.com/maureenlinke


The Advisory Council is led by Swamy Kotagiri, Magna Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and consists of some of the most recognized and respected experts in the global automotive and tech industries. The council brings a wider circle of insight, knowledge and experience from various industries that ultimately helps accelerate the execution of Magna's technology and business objectives. "The pace of innovation in the automotive industry is like nothing we have ever seen before, creating even more challenges and opportunities," said Kotagiri.  "At Magna, we welcome the challenge and aim to seize the opportunities by continuing to leverage our culture of innovation, while embracing a new level of innovation outreach.  We are excited to have such a distinguished group of individuals bringing their vision and insights to our company." Advisory Council members will provide high-level strategic planning insights and experience in the areas of advanced driver assistance systems, environmental and automotive safety, overall industry trends, and next-generation technologies. Chaired by Kotagiri, the Advisory Council is comprised of six members who are recognized leaders in their respective fields, several of whom have significant experience in product innovation and the implementation of new technologies. "Magna's deep vehicle systems knowledge and electronics capabilities, combined with its global engineering and manufacturing expertise, are remarkable," said Tony Fadell. "They are in a great position to help drive change in the auto industry and I am excited to be working with such an innovative company." "Magna is a company committed to helping define the future of mobility and I am delighted to be a part of such a distinguished group of individuals who collectively can bring new opportunities to Magna and the industry," said Dr. Ian Hunter. Swamy Kotagiri is globally responsible for managing Magna's innovation and new product strategy and development.  As CTO, Kotagiri helps Magna's product groups bring innovative ideas to the market, which allows the company to move the automotive industry forward. Mei-Wei Cheng is a member of the Board of Directors of Seagate Technology PLC and recently served as non-executive Chairman of Pactera.  He was the former CEO and President for the Chinese subsidiaries of AT&T, Siemens Ford Motor Company and General Electric. He holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering/operations research from Cornell University and an MBA from Rutgers University. Tony Fadell is the inventor of the iPod, an inventor of the iPhone, and founder of Nest, the company that pioneered the "Internet of things".  He is an active investor and entrepreneur with a 25-year history of founding companies and designing products that improve people's lives. Fadell has authored more than 300 patents.  In May 2016, TIME named Nest Thermostat, the iPod and iPhone as three of the "50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time." Dr. Ian Hunter is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and runs the BioInstrumentation Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Hunter has filed over 150 patents, produced more than 500 scientific and engineering publications, and has founded and/or co-founded 25 companies. He received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Auckland and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the department of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University in Canada. John Maddox is the CEO of the American Center for Mobility. He began his career as a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company and has held positions such as Associate Administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Compliance Officer at Volkswagen North America. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Detroit Mercy. Paul Mascarenas is a member of the Board of Directors at ON Semiconductor and the United States Steel Corporation.  He previously held a number of senior leadership positions at Ford Motor Company, most recently serving as Chief Technical Officer.  Paul holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of London, King's College in England and holds an honorary doctorate degree from Chongqing University in China. ABOUT MAGNA We are a leading global automotive supplier with 317 manufacturing operations and 102 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. We have over 155,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative products and processes, and world class manufacturing. We have complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing expertise, as well as product capabilities which include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, active driver assistance, vision, closure and roof systems. We also have electronic and software capabilities across many of these areas.  Our common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA). For further information about Magna, visit our website at www.magna.com. THIS RELEASE MAY CONTAIN STATEMENTS WHICH CONSTITUTE "FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS" UNDER APPLICABLE SECURITIES LEGISLATION AND ARE SUBJECT TO, AND EXPRESSLY QUALIFIED BY, THE CAUTIONARY DISCLAIMERS THAT ARE SET OUT IN MAGNA'S REGULATORY FILINGS. PLEASE REFER TO MAGNA'S MOST CURRENT MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF RESULTS OF OPERATIONS AND FINANCIAL POSITION, ANNUAL INFORMATION FORM AND ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 40-F, AS REPLACED OR UPDATED BY ANY OF MAGNA'S SUBSEQUENT REGULATORY FILINGS, WHICH SET OUT THE CAUTIONARY DISCLAIMERS, INCLUDING THE RISK FACTORS THAT COULD CAUSE ACTUAL EVENTS TO DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM THOSE INDICATED BY SUCH FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS. THESE DOCUMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW ON MAGNA'S WEBSITE AT WWW.MAGNA.COM.


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (NVIV) today provided a clinical update, an update on patients in the INSPIRE study of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold™, and reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Mark Perrin, InVivo’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, said, “In the first quarter, we continued to make significant progress at InVivo and with the INSPIRE study. By early April, we had enrolled four new patients into the INSPIRE study, with three patients enrolled within 30 days of each other. We also announced four new clinical sites for the INSPIRE study. In addition to progress with INSPIRE enrollment and sites, we achieved several regulatory milestones. Health Canada approved the company’s Investigational Testing Authorization application to commence a clinical study of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold in patients with acute, complete (AIS A) cervical (C5-T1) spinal cord injuries (SCIs), and we announced the opening of our first site for the cervical study, Toronto Western Hospital. We also announced the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval of the company’s Clinical Trial Authorization Application to commence the INSPIRE study in the United Kingdom. Finally, we submitted the first module of our Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) application to the FDA. Looking forward, we anticipate completing enrollment in the INSPIRE study in the third quarter and filing an HDE application for marketing approval of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold in early 2018.” There are currently 14 INSPIRE patients in follow-up, and eight have reached the six-month primary endpoint. Of these eight patients, five had an AIS grade improvement (compared to baseline) and three did not have an AIS grade improvement at 6 months post-injury (a 62.5% conversion rate at 6 months). The INSPIRE AIS improvement rate remains considerably higher than rates observed in a range of SCI natural history databases. InVivo announced in January 2017 that a patient enrolled into INSPIRE in December 2016 had improved from a complete AIS A spinal cord injury to an incomplete AIS B spinal cord injury at the one-month evaluation. At a recent follow-up visit (the first since January), the patient was assessed to have reverted back to a complete AIS A spinal cord injury. Separately, in March 2017 InVivo announced that a patient enrolled in January 2017 had improved from a complete AIS A spinal cord injury to an incomplete AIS B spinal cord injury at the two-month evaluation. At the recent three-month follow-up evaluation, the patient was assessed to have reverted back to a complete AIS A spinal cord injury. There are previously published examples of patients with baseline AIS A spinal cord injury that are assessed to have an AIS grade improvement followed by a return to complete AIS A status within the first year after injury. In a 2009 article, 12.5% (2/16) of baseline AIS A spinal cord injury patients (cervical and thoracic) who experienced an AIS grade improvement were later assessed to return to complete AIS A status within the first year after injury. Of those two patients, one patient improved back to an incomplete AIS grade within the same year.* “The AIS grade improvement rate observed thus far in the INSPIRE study compares favorably to the natural history of spinal cord injury,” CEO and Chairman Mark Perrin said. “We look forward to monitoring these patients’ progress as they reach the primary endpoint at six months post-injury and as we work towards completing enrollment of INSPIRE.” For the three-month period ended March 31, 2017, the Company reported a net loss of approximately $6.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $6.6 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the three-month period ended March 31, 2016. The results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 were unfavorably impacted by increases in operating expenses of $816,000 in research and development and $286,000 in general and administrative, partially offset by a non-cash gain on the derivative warrant liability of $241,000 reflecting changes in the fair market value of the derivative warrant liability. The results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2016 were unfavorably impacted by a non-cash loss on the derivative warrant liability of $1.0 million. Excluding the impact of the derivative warrant liability, adjusted net loss for the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 was $6.6 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net loss of $5.6 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the three-month period ended March 31, 2016. The Company ended the quarter with $26.8 million of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. Adjusted net loss and adjusted net loss per share are non-GAAP financial measures that exclude the impact of the derivative warrant liability. A reconciliation of these measures to the comparable GAAP measure is included with the tables contained in this release. The Company believes a presentation of these non-GAAP measures provides useful information to investors to better understand the Company's operations, on a period-to-period comparable basis, with financial amounts both including and excluding the identified items. * Spiess et al. Conversion in ASIA Impairment Scale during the First Year after Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma 26: 2027-2036 (November 2009). The INSPIRE Study: InVivo Study of Probable Benefit of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold™ for Safety and Neurologic Recovery in Subjects with Complete Thoracic AIS A Spinal Cord Injury, is designed to demonstrate the safety and probable benefit of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold™ for the treatment of complete T2-T12/L1 spinal cord injury in support of a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) application for approval. The FDA has recommended that InVivo include a control arm in the study as part of a Study Design Consideration. We are in discussions with the FDA on this recommendation, and we continue to believe that our current study design is sufficient to demonstrate safety and probable benefit in support of an HDE application for marketing approval. For more information, refer to https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT02138110. Following acute spinal cord injury, surgical implantation of the biodegradable Neuro-Spinal Scaffold within the decompressed and debrided injury epicenter is intended to support appositional healing, thereby reducing post-traumatic cavity formation, sparing white matter, and allowing neural regeneration across the healed wound epicenter. The Neuro-Spinal Scaffold, an investigational device, has received a Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) designation and currently is being evaluated in The INSPIRE Study for the treatment of patients with acute, complete (AIS A), thoracic traumatic spinal cord injury and a pilot study for acute, complete (AIS A), cervical (C5-T1) traumatic spinal cord injury. For more information on the cervical study, refer to https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT03105882. InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. is a research and clinical-stage biomaterials and biotechnology company with a focus on treatment of spinal cord injuries. The company was founded in 2005 with proprietary technology co-invented by Robert Langer, Sc.D., Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Joseph P. Vacanti, M.D., who then was at Boston Children’s Hospital and who now is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2011, the company earned the David S. Apple Award from the American Spinal Injury Association for its outstanding contribution to spinal cord injury medicine. In 2015, the company’s investigational Neuro-Spinal Scaffold received the 2015 Becker’s Healthcare Spine Device Award. The publicly-traded company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more details, visit www.invivotherapeutics.com. Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements can be identified by words such as "believe," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "will," "may," "should," "expect," “designed to,” “potentially,” and similar expressions, and include statements regarding the safety and effectiveness of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold and the progress of the clinical program. Any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on current expectations, and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the company’s ability to successfully open additional clinical sites for enrollment and to enroll additional patients; the timing of the Institutional Review Board process; the company's ability to complete The INSPIRE Study, submit an HDE application, and receive regulatory approval for the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold, the company’s ability to commercialize its products; the company’s ability to develop, market and sell products based on its technology; the expected benefits and efficacy of the company’s products and technology in connection with the treatment of spinal cord injuries; the availability of substantial additional funding for the company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, clinical studies and future product commercialization; and other risks associated with the company’s business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies identified and described in more detail in the company’s Quarterly Report of the three months ended March 31, 2017, and its other filings with the SEC, including the company’s Form 10-Qs and current reports on Form 8-K. The company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC), an initiative dedicated to the creation of publicly-available cloud computing resources for running big data workloads, has standardized on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for its open, scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure. Combined with Red Hat Consulting and Red Hat Training services, MOC now has the highly-available, open architecture it required to drive innovation in big data along with the skills and knowledge to continue evolving their offering. As a non-profit organization formed by a consortium of private and public institutions (including Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts), MOC’s mission has been to develop a common, cloud-based infrastructure to provide researchers and businesses with the tools to gain insight from rapidly growing volumes of data. This meant turning the model for traditional public clouds on its head by developing an open, collaborative infrastructure rather than one controlled by a single entity in a closed environment. Additionally, scale and flexibility have been key technology concerns for MOC, along with keeping costs down by using industry standard hardware. MOC leaders quickly established that they wanted to base their infrastructure on the OpenStack cloud framework given its open source nature and the technology’s broad community of contributors. To help ensure that their infrastructure had the necessary levels of support, MOC selected Red Hat OpenStack Platform, given Red Hat’s technical expertise and leading position within the OpenStack community. To help manage the massive volumes of data that MOC’s workloads would generate, with the flexibility and component services support required by OpenStack, they also selected Red Hat Ceph Storage as their cloud storage tier. Red Hat is an OpenStack leader - both in contributions to the upstream OpenStack community and its ability to deliver a production-ready OpenStack platform to enterprise customers. Red Hat OpenStack Platform, a highly scalable, production-ready Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution, has emerged as an open source cloud platform of choice for a growing number of global organizations. Co-engineered with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and backed by Red Hat's support lifecycle, Red Hat OpenStack Platform offers an open foundation for cloud deployments. Similarly, Red Hat Ceph Storage is an open, massively scalable, software-defined storage solution. It is used within the OpenStack community, offering a single efficient platform designed to support the varied and demanding storage needs of cloud architectures. With assistance from Red Hat Consulting and a dedicated Red Hat Technical Account Manager, MOC deployed three storage clusters built on Red Hat Ceph Storage in support of Red Hat OpenStack Platform, spanning more than 700 terabytes of data across production, R&D, and testing environments. All of this was done with only three full-time dedicated staff members on standard hardware, further reducing operational costs. Thanks to the open cloud infrastructure built on Red Hat technologies and expertise, MOC has gained: The future of MOC is all about growth and scale, as MOC is now discussing development of a 20 petabyte production storage cluster to power further big data innovation. They are also taking advantage of emerging technologies like Linux containers and container orchestration engines by deploying Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as a proof-of-concept to explore developing, hosting and scaling applications and the benefits of containers in simplifying storage resources. Supporting Quotes Chris Wright, vice president and chief technologist, Red Hat “Building a fully open, scalable and flexible public cloud is not a small endeavor, especially when the express purpose of the initiative is to tackle big data applications and analysis. MOC is an excellent example of how purpose-built cloud computing can work at scale without relying on proprietary technologies or specialized hardware, and we are pleased to continue to support the initiative as together we help to drive innovation in the big data world.” Piyanai Saowarattitada, director, Engineering, MOC “Red Hat Ceph Storage provides a solid, scalable platform for big data applications, letting our researchers focus on analytics and innovation instead of data collection and storage. We’re confident that Ceph can scale to meet our storage needs, no matter how large. Even with data-heavy applications like Hadoop and MapReduce, Red Hat Ceph Storage delivers everything we expected from a performance-focused storage platform.” Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to provide reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As a connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT. Learn more at http://www.redhat.com. Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: risks related to the ability of the Company to compete effectively; the ability to deliver and stimulate demand for new products and technological innovations on a timely basis; delays or reductions in information technology spending; the integration of acquisitions and the ability to market successfully acquired technologies and products; fluctuations in exchange rates; the effects of industry consolidation; uncertainty and adverse results in litigation and related settlements; the inability to adequately protect Company intellectual property and the potential for infringement or breach of license claims of or relating to third party intellectual property; risks related to data and information security vulnerabilities; changes in and a dependence on key personnel; the ability to meet financial and operational challenges encountered in our international operations; and ineffective management of, and control over, the Company's growth and international operations, as well as other factors contained in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K (copies of which may be accessed through the Securities and Exchange Commission's website at http://www.sec.gov), including those found therein under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic and political conditions, governmental and public policy changes and the impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, Ceph and OpenShift are trademarks or registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries. Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries. The OpenStack Word Mark is either a registered trademark/service mark or trademark/service mark of the OpenStack Foundation, in the United States and other countries, and is used with the OpenStack Foundation's permission. Red Hat is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the OpenStack Foundation, or the OpenStack community.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

In 2016, annual global semiconductor sales reached their highest-ever point: $339 billion. In that same year, the semiconductor industry spent about $7.2 billion worldwide on wafers that serve as the substrates for microelectronics components that can be turned into transistors, light-emitting diodes, and other electronic and photonic devices. A new technique developed by engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could vastly reduce the overall cost of wafer technology and permit devices made from more exotic, higher-performing semiconductor materials than conventional silicon. The new method, reported in a paper in Nature, uses graphene – single-atom-thin sheets of graphite – as a sort of ‘copy machine’ to transfer intricate crystalline patterns from an underlying semiconductor wafer to a top layer of identical material. The engineers worked out carefully controlled procedures for placing single sheets of graphene onto an expensive wafer, and then grew semiconducting material over the graphene layer. They found that graphene is thin enough to appear electrically invisible. This allows the top layer to see through the graphene to the underlying crystalline wafer, which can imprint its patterns into the top layer without being influenced by the graphene. Graphene is also rather ‘slippery’ and does not tend to stick to other materials easily, allowing the engineers to simply peel the top semiconducting layer from the wafer after its structures have been imprinted. In conventional semiconductor manufacturing, the wafer, once its crystalline pattern is transferred, is so strongly bonded to the semiconductor that it is almost impossible to separate without damaging both layers. "You end up having to sacrifice the wafer – it becomes part of the device," says Jeehwan Kim, assistant professor in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. With the group's new technique, Kim says manufacturers can now use graphene as an intermediate layer, allowing them to copy and paste the wafer, separate the copied film from the wafer, and reuse the wafer many times over. In addition to saving on the cost of wafers, this opens opportunities for exploring more exotic semiconductor materials. "The industry has been stuck on silicon, and even though we've known about better performing semiconductors, we haven't been able to use them, because of their cost," Kim says. "This gives the industry freedom in choosing semiconductor materials by performance and not cost." Since graphene's discovery in 2004, researchers have been investigating its exceptional electrical properties in hopes of improving the performance and cost of electronic devices. Graphene is an extremely good conductor of electricity, as electrons flow through it with virtually no friction. Researchers, therefore, have been intent on finding ways to adapt graphene as a cheap, high-performance semiconducting material. "People were so hopeful that we might make really fast electronic devices from graphene," Kim says. "But it turns out it's really hard to make a good graphene transistor." In order for a transistor to work, it must be able to turn a flow of electrons on and off, to generate a pattern of ones and zeros that instruct a device in how to carry out a set of computations. As it happens, it is very hard to stop the flow of electrons through graphene, making it an excellent conductor but a poor semiconductor. Kim's group took an entirely new approach to using graphene in semiconductors. Instead of focusing on graphene's electrical properties, the researchers looked at the material's mechanical features. "We've had a strong belief in graphene, because it is a very robust, ultrathin material and forms very strong covalent bonding between its atoms in the horizontal direction," Kim says. "Interestingly, it has very weak Van der Waals forces, meaning it doesn't react with anything vertically, which makes graphene's surface very slippery." The team now reports that graphene, with its ultrathin, Teflon-like properties, can be sandwiched between a wafer and its semiconducting layer, providing a barely perceptible, non-stick surface through which the semiconducting material's atoms can still rearrange in the pattern of the wafer's crystals. The material, once imprinted, can simply be peeled off the graphene surface, allowing manufacturers to reuse the original wafer. The team found that its technique, which they term ‘remote epitaxy’, was successful in copying and peeling off layers of semiconductors from the same semiconductor wafers. The researchers had success in applying their technique to some exotic wafer and semiconducting materials, including indium phosphide, gallium arsenenide and gallium phosphide – materials that are 50 to 100 times more expensive than silicon. Kim says that this new technique makes it possible for manufacturers to reuse wafers – of silicon and higher-performing materials – "conceptually, ad infinitum". The group's graphene-based peel-off technique may also advance the field of flexible electronics. In general, wafers are very rigid, making the devices they are fused to similarly inflexible. Kim says that with their new technique semiconductor devices such as LEDs and solar cells can be made to bend and twist. In fact, the group demonstrated this possibility by fabricating a flexible LED display, patterned in the MIT logo, using their technique. "Let's say you want to install solar cells on your car, which is not completely flat – the body has curves," Kim says. "Can you coat your semiconductor on top of it? It's impossible now, because it sticks to the thick wafer. Now, we can peel off, bend, and you can do conformal coating on cars, and even clothing." Going forward, the researchers plan to design a reusable ‘mother wafer’ with regions made from different exotic materials. Using graphene as an intermediary, they hope to create multifunctional, high-performance devices. They are also experimenting with mixing and matching various semiconductors and stacking them up as a multi-material structure. "Now, exotic materials can be popular to use," Kim says. "You don't have to worry about the cost of the wafer. Let us give you the copy machine. You can grow your semiconductor device, peel it off, and reuse the wafer." This story is adapted from material from MIT, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

From an electron's point of view, graphene must be a hair-raising thrill ride. For years, scientists have observed that electrons can blitz through graphene at velocities approaching the speed of light, far faster than they can travel through silicon and other semiconducting materials. Graphene, therefore, has been touted as a promising successor to silicon, potentially leading to faster, more efficient electronic and photonic devices. But manufacturing pristine graphene – a single, perfectly flat, ultrathin sheet of carbon atoms, precisely aligned and linked together like chicken-wire – is extremely difficult. Conventional fabrication processes often generate wrinkles, which can derail an electron's bullet-train journey, significantly limiting graphene's electrical performance. Now engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out those wrinkles that do still appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each sheet exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across the sheet, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that their techniques successfully produce wafer-scale ‘single-domain’ graphene – single layers of graphene that are uniform in both atomic arrangement and electronic performance. "For graphene to play as a main semiconductor material for industry, it has to be single-domain, so that if you make millions of devices on it, the performance of the devices is the same in any location," says Jeehwan Kim, assistant professor in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. "Now we can really produce single-domain graphene at wafer scale." Kim's co-authors include Sanghoon Bae, Samuel Cruz and Yunjo Kim from MIT, along with researchers from IBM, the University of California at Los Angeles and Kyungpook National University in South Korea. The most common way to make graphene involves chemical vapor deposition (CVD), a process in which carbon atoms are deposited onto a crystalline substrate such as copper foil. Once the copper foil is evenly coated with a single layer of carbon atoms, scientists submerge the entire thing in acid to etch away the copper. What remains is a single sheet of graphene, which researchers then pull out from the acid. Unfortunately, the CVD process can result in the formation of relatively large, macroscropic wrinkles in the graphene, due to the roughness of the underlying copper itself and the process of pulling the graphene out from the acid. The alignment of carbon atoms is not uniform across the graphene, creating a ‘polycrystalline’ state in which graphene resembles an uneven, patchwork terrain, preventing electrons from flowing at uniform rates. In 2013, while working at IBM, Kim and his colleagues developed a method for fabricating wafers of single-crystalline graphene, in which the orientation of the carbon atoms is exactly the same throughout a wafer. Rather than copper foil, his team produced single-crystalline graphene on a silicon carbide wafer with an atomically smooth surface, albeit with tiny, step-like wrinkles on the order of several nanometers. They then used a thin sheet of nickel to peel off the top-most graphene from the silicon carbide wafer and place it on a silicon wafer, in a process known as layer-resolved graphene transfer. In their new paper, Kim and his colleagues discovered that, with a slight modification, this layer-resolved graphene transfer process can iron out the steps and tiny wrinkles in silicon carbide-fabricated graphene. Before transferring the layer of graphene onto a silicon wafer, the team oxidized the silicon, creating a layer of silicon dioxide that naturally exhibits electrostatic charges. When the researchers then deposited the graphene, the silicon dioxide effectively pulled graphene's carbon atoms down onto the wafer, flattening out its steps and wrinkles. Kim says this ironing method would not work on CVD-fabricated graphene, as the wrinkles generated through CVD are much larger, on the order of several microns. "The CVD process creates wrinkles that are too high to be ironed out," Kim notes. "For silicon carbide graphene, the wrinkles are just a few nanometers high, short enough to be flattened out." To test whether the flattened, single-crystalline graphene wafers were single-domain, the researchers fabricated tiny transistors on multiple sites on each wafer, including across previously wrinkled regions. "We measured electron mobility throughout the wafers, and their performance was comparable," Kim says. "What's more, this mobility in ironed graphene is two times faster. So now we really have single-domain graphene, and its electrical quality is much higher [than graphene-attached silicon carbide]." Kim says that while there are still challenges to adapting graphene for use in electronics, the group's results give researchers a blueprint for how to reliably manufacture pristine, single-domain, wrinkle-free graphene at wafer scale. "If you want to make any electronic device using graphene, you need to work with single-domain graphene," Kim says. "There's still a long way to go to make an operational transistor out of graphene. But we can now show the community guidelines for how you can make single-crystalline, single-domain graphene." This story is adapted from material from MIT, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

For the chips in our computers and smartphones to get faster and faster, their components – the circuits and wires through which signals flow – have to get smaller and smaller. The miniaturization of these wires has already taken scientists on a journey almost to the atomic level, but now they have begun to address – and even surmount – certain barriers in physics that have prevented them from making even smaller wires. In a recent study, researchers from the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new way to create some of the world's thinnest wires. And they have done this with a process that could allow the mass manufacturing of these wires with standard types of equipment. They report their advance in a paper in Nature Nanotechnology. Templated assembly, or directed self-assembly, as it is known, represents an easier and more cost-effective way to make nanowires with widths below 10nm (about 100 atoms thick). In this study, the self-assembling materials are large molecules known as block copolymers, which are the two-headed beasts of the chemical world – one end is water-loving, the other end is water-hating. Upon heating, they spontaneously form highly uniform structures at the molecular scale. On their own, however, the block copolymers used in this study would form a pattern that looks like a fingerprint or a piece of brain coral – useless for the creation of functional nanowires. The key to changing that pattern into something more ordered is the use of chemically-patterned templates. Past approaches to making tiny ordered nanostructures used expensive specialized optics to direct extreme wavelengths of light or electron beams to etch patterns line-by-line. This new approach involves creating a chemical pattern as a template using these same tools at relatively low resolutions, and then filling in the template to fabricate high-resolution patterns using the self-assembling material. For very high-resolution block copolymer systems, a ‘topcoat’ can be added during the process. This topcoat constrains the way the block copolymers self-assemble, forcing them into a regular, ordered structure perpendicular to the surface they are grown on. "Think of it like baking a cake," said Argonne nanoscientist Leonidas Ocola, a co-author of the study. "Without a mold for the cake, it can bake in a shape you don't want it to bake. Having the mold gives it that shape that you want. The mold creates boundary conditions needed to define the shape you want." "The topcoat and underlying lithographic pattern work together to guide the formation of the nanostructure and provide the morphology we want," he added. Although self-assembling materials in nanomanufacturing have been known for quite a while, using block copolymers with the topcoat creates patterns that can produce dense arrays of tiny wires. "A systems-level understanding of the template, topcoat and self-assembling block copolymer is the key to the whole process – you need to find a way to induce the block copolymer film to assembly into desired architectures for manufacturing, and be able to transfer the pattern of the block copolymer into the actual device materials, such as semiconducting silicon wires or conducting copper wires," explained Paul Nealey, professor in molecular engineering at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and another author of the study. Because the topcoat polymer layer does not need to be removed prior to the pattern transfer steps, and additional layers can be patterned on top of the topcoat, the system can be used to build up many kinds of complex patterns, as would be needed for the interconnections of a microchip. Most microchip manufacturing facilities use existing lithographic methods, and the chemical vapor deposition process used to create the topcoat is itself a well-understood additional step that could be added relatively easily. Thus, implementing the new method could be much more straightforward than other proposed methods of making finer lines. With the new method, "you wouldn't need to change all those machines," said co-author Karen Gleason, MIT associate provost and professor of chemical engineering. "And everything that's involved are well-known materials." This story is adapted from material from Argonne National Laboratory, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 26, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Hong Kong based Nord Anglia Education, Inc. (NYSE: NORD) as the Company announced on April 25, 2017, that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Bach Finance Limited. Bach Finance is owned by a consortium of funds affiliated with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA). The transaction value of the deal is approximately $4.3 billion including debt. Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: One of Nord Anglia Education's competitors within the Education & Training Services space, Capella Education Co. (NASDAQ: CPLA), announced on April 25, 2017, its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. AWS will be initiating a research report on Capella Education in the coming days. Today, AWS is promoting its blog coverage on NORD; touching on CPLA. Get all of our free blog coverage and more by clicking on the link below: Nord Anglia is the world's leading premium school organization. It runs a network of 43 international schools, boarding schools, and private schools located in 15 countries across the world including China, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South East Asia. It caters to the education needs of more than 37,000 students who are in the age group of 2 years to 18 years. Nord Anglia has also collaborated with iconic institutions like The Juilliard School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Kings College London for post-secondary education. Commenting on the acquisition, Deborah Orida, Managing Director, Head of Private Equity Asia, CPPIB said: "This investment in Nord Anglia is an excellent fit with our strategy to build a diversified portfolio capable of delivering strong, sustainable returns to the Canada Pension Plan Fund over the long term. This is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in private education and through Nord Anglia we are able to gain both asset and geographical diversification." "BPEA is passionate about making education of the highest quality available to children all over the world, and we believe Nord Anglia is the ideal partner to achieve that goal. After nine years, we have developed a thorough understanding of the business and have high conviction that Nord Anglia's future is even more promising than its past." As per the agreement, the consortium would acquire all the outstanding shares of Nord Anglia at $32.50 in cash. The offer price represents a 18% premium of Nord Anglia's closing price of $27.62 on April 24, 2017, a day before the deal was announced. Nord Anglia's Board of Directors have already approved this deal. The transaction has a provision for a 30-day "go-shop" period wherein Nord Anglia can explore offers from other potential suitors. A Special Committee has been formed which consists of independent directors who are not affiliated to CPPIB or BPEA. This Special Committee will study each offer received in detail and will be authorized to negotiate and even enter into agreements with them. CPPIB and BPEA will be financing the deal using cash available with them and debt from financial institutions. There are no other financing conditions for the closing of the deal. The transaction is expected to close before August 31, 2017, which is the last day of the fiscal year for Nord Anglia. The deal is subject to approval from Nord Anglia's shareholders, and other closing conditions. BPEA is a majority shareholder in Nord Anglia via its affiliate Premier Education Holdings Ltd who holds 67% stake and has agreed to vote in favor of the merger transaction. On completion of the merger, Nord Anglia will delist from New York Stock Exchange and become a fully privately held entity. The privatization of Nord Anglia will allow it to continue to grow in the premium education sector globally. Especially as demand for quality education, in the kindergarten to grade 12 segment, rises globally. Also with the exposure and support from CPPIB and BPEA, Nord Anglia will be able to grow geographically and at the same time attract the best teaching talents. The deal will also open opportunities for collaboration with other premium education institutions, which will benefit the students and the brand tremendously. The education sector consists mostly of single-site operators, which gives a brand like Nord Anglia major opportunities to grow. Hong Kong based BPEA was founded in 1997 and has a total committed capital of over $10 billion. BPEA works closely with the portfolio Companies that it has invested in and helps them grow their business in the long run by way of capital for expansion, recapitalization, or strategic alternatives like acquisitions. It has invested in more than 70 Companies since its formation. It is predominantly active in Asia with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Jakarta. It is supported by a global team of over 140 professionals. BPEA had already made significant investment in Nord Anglia in 2008 via its affiliates. Toronto, Canada based, CPPIB is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not required for payment of benefits to the contributors of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It also has offices at Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo and Sydney. It invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. CPP had a fund of $298.1 billion as of December 31, 2016. Nord Anglia is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in the private education sector. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $32.82, surging 18.83% from its previous closing price of $27.62. A total volume of 7.92 million shares have exchanged hands, which was higher than the 3-month average volume of 130.45 thousand shares. Nord Anglia Education's stock price advanced 47.11% in the last three months, 49.52% in the past six months, and 53.22% in the previous twelve months. Shares of the company have a PE ratio of 62.99. At Tuesday's closing price, the stock's net capitalization stands at $3.43 billion. Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. One department produces non-sponsored analyst certified content generally in the form of press releases, articles and reports covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and the other produces sponsored content (in most cases not reviewed by a registered analyst), which typically consists of compensated investment newsletters, articles and reports covering listed stocks and micro-caps. Such sponsored content is outside the scope of procedures detailed below. AWS has not been compensated; directly or indirectly; for producing or publishing this document. The non-sponsored content contained herein has been prepared by a writer (the "Author") and is fact checked and reviewed by a third party research service company (the "Reviewer") represented by a credentialed financial analyst, for further information on analyst credentials, please email info@activewallst.com. Rohit Tuli, a CFA® charterholder (the "Sponsor"), provides necessary guidance in preparing the document templates. The Reviewer has reviewed and revised the content, as necessary, based on publicly available information which is believed to be reliable. Content is researched, written and reviewed on a reasonable-effort basis. The Reviewer has not performed any independent investigations or forensic audits to validate the information herein. The Reviewer has only independently reviewed the information provided by the Author according to the procedures outlined by AWS. AWS is not entitled to veto or interfere in the application of such procedures by the third-party research service company to the articles, documents or reports, as the case may be. Unless otherwise noted, any content outside of this document has no association with the Author or the Reviewer in any way. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer are not responsible for any error which may be occasioned at the time of printing of this document or any error, mistake or shortcoming. No liability is accepted whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of this document. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer expressly disclaim any fiduciary responsibility or liability for any consequences, financial or otherwise arising from any reliance placed on the information in this document. Additionally, AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer do not (1) guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or correct sequencing of the information, or (2) warrant any results from use of the information. The included information is subject to change without notice. This document is not intended as an offering, recommendation, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned or discussed, and is to be used for informational purposes only. Please read all associated disclosures and disclaimers in full before investing. Neither AWS nor any party affiliated with us is a registered investment adviser or broker-dealer with any agency or in any jurisdiction whatsoever. To download our report(s), read our disclosures, or for more information, visit http://www.activewallst.com/disclaimer/. For any questions, inquiries, or comments reach out to us directly. If you're a company we are covering and wish to no longer feature on our coverage list contact us via email and/or phone between 09:30 EDT to 16:00 EDT from Monday to Friday at: CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute. LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 26, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Hong Kong based Nord Anglia Education, Inc. (NYSE: NORD) as the Company announced on April 25, 2017, that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Bach Finance Limited. Bach Finance is owned by a consortium of funds affiliated with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA). The transaction value of the deal is approximately $4.3 billion including debt. Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: One of Nord Anglia Education's competitors within the Education & Training Services space, Capella Education Co. (NASDAQ: CPLA), announced on April 25, 2017, its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. AWS will be initiating a research report on Capella Education in the coming days. Today, AWS is promoting its blog coverage on NORD; touching on CPLA. Get all of our free blog coverage and more by clicking on the link below: Nord Anglia is the world's leading premium school organization. It runs a network of 43 international schools, boarding schools, and private schools located in 15 countries across the world including China, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South East Asia. It caters to the education needs of more than 37,000 students who are in the age group of 2 years to 18 years. Nord Anglia has also collaborated with iconic institutions like The Juilliard School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Kings College London for post-secondary education. Commenting on the acquisition, Deborah Orida, Managing Director, Head of Private Equity Asia, CPPIB said: "This investment in Nord Anglia is an excellent fit with our strategy to build a diversified portfolio capable of delivering strong, sustainable returns to the Canada Pension Plan Fund over the long term. This is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in private education and through Nord Anglia we are able to gain both asset and geographical diversification." "BPEA is passionate about making education of the highest quality available to children all over the world, and we believe Nord Anglia is the ideal partner to achieve that goal. After nine years, we have developed a thorough understanding of the business and have high conviction that Nord Anglia's future is even more promising than its past." As per the agreement, the consortium would acquire all the outstanding shares of Nord Anglia at $32.50 in cash. The offer price represents a 18% premium of Nord Anglia's closing price of $27.62 on April 24, 2017, a day before the deal was announced. Nord Anglia's Board of Directors have already approved this deal. The transaction has a provision for a 30-day "go-shop" period wherein Nord Anglia can explore offers from other potential suitors. A Special Committee has been formed which consists of independent directors who are not affiliated to CPPIB or BPEA. This Special Committee will study each offer received in detail and will be authorized to negotiate and even enter into agreements with them. CPPIB and BPEA will be financing the deal using cash available with them and debt from financial institutions. There are no other financing conditions for the closing of the deal. The transaction is expected to close before August 31, 2017, which is the last day of the fiscal year for Nord Anglia. The deal is subject to approval from Nord Anglia's shareholders, and other closing conditions. BPEA is a majority shareholder in Nord Anglia via its affiliate Premier Education Holdings Ltd who holds 67% stake and has agreed to vote in favor of the merger transaction. On completion of the merger, Nord Anglia will delist from New York Stock Exchange and become a fully privately held entity. The privatization of Nord Anglia will allow it to continue to grow in the premium education sector globally. Especially as demand for quality education, in the kindergarten to grade 12 segment, rises globally. Also with the exposure and support from CPPIB and BPEA, Nord Anglia will be able to grow geographically and at the same time attract the best teaching talents. The deal will also open opportunities for collaboration with other premium education institutions, which will benefit the students and the brand tremendously. The education sector consists mostly of single-site operators, which gives a brand like Nord Anglia major opportunities to grow. Hong Kong based BPEA was founded in 1997 and has a total committed capital of over $10 billion. BPEA works closely with the portfolio Companies that it has invested in and helps them grow their business in the long run by way of capital for expansion, recapitalization, or strategic alternatives like acquisitions. It has invested in more than 70 Companies since its formation. It is predominantly active in Asia with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Jakarta. It is supported by a global team of over 140 professionals. BPEA had already made significant investment in Nord Anglia in 2008 via its affiliates. Toronto, Canada based, CPPIB is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not required for payment of benefits to the contributors of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It also has offices at Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo and Sydney. It invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. CPP had a fund of $298.1 billion as of December 31, 2016. Nord Anglia is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in the private education sector. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $32.82, surging 18.83% from its previous closing price of $27.62. A total volume of 7.92 million shares have exchanged hands, which was higher than the 3-month average volume of 130.45 thousand shares. Nord Anglia Education's stock price advanced 47.11% in the last three months, 49.52% in the past six months, and 53.22% in the previous twelve months. Shares of the company have a PE ratio of 62.99. At Tuesday's closing price, the stock's net capitalization stands at $3.43 billion. Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. One department produces non-sponsored analyst certified content generally in the form of press releases, articles and reports covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and the other produces sponsored content (in most cases not reviewed by a registered analyst), which typically consists of compensated investment newsletters, articles and reports covering listed stocks and micro-caps. Such sponsored content is outside the scope of procedures detailed below. AWS has not been compensated; directly or indirectly; for producing or publishing this document. The non-sponsored content contained herein has been prepared by a writer (the "Author") and is fact checked and reviewed by a third party research service company (the "Reviewer") represented by a credentialed financial analyst, for further information on analyst credentials, please email info@activewallst.com. Rohit Tuli, a CFA® charterholder (the "Sponsor"), provides necessary guidance in preparing the document templates. The Reviewer has reviewed and revised the content, as necessary, based on publicly available information which is believed to be reliable. Content is researched, written and reviewed on a reasonable-effort basis. The Reviewer has not performed any independent investigations or forensic audits to validate the information herein. The Reviewer has only independently reviewed the information provided by the Author according to the procedures outlined by AWS. AWS is not entitled to veto or interfere in the application of such procedures by the third-party research service company to the articles, documents or reports, as the case may be. Unless otherwise noted, any content outside of this document has no association with the Author or the Reviewer in any way. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer are not responsible for any error which may be occasioned at the time of printing of this document or any error, mistake or shortcoming. No liability is accepted whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of this document. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer expressly disclaim any fiduciary responsibility or liability for any consequences, financial or otherwise arising from any reliance placed on the information in this document. Additionally, AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer do not (1) guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or correct sequencing of the information, or (2) warrant any results from use of the information. The included information is subject to change without notice. This document is not intended as an offering, recommendation, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned or discussed, and is to be used for informational purposes only. Please read all associated disclosures and disclaimers in full before investing. Neither AWS nor any party affiliated with us is a registered investment adviser or broker-dealer with any agency or in any jurisdiction whatsoever. To download our report(s), read our disclosures, or for more information, visit http://www.activewallst.com/disclaimer/. For any questions, inquiries, or comments reach out to us directly. If you're a company we are covering and wish to no longer feature on our coverage list contact us via email and/or phone between 09:30 EDT to 16:00 EDT from Monday to Friday at: CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.accesswire.com

LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / April 26, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Hong Kong based Nord Anglia Education, Inc. (NYSE: NORD) as the Company announced on April 25, 2017, that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Bach Finance Limited. Bach Finance is owned by a consortium of funds affiliated with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA). The transaction value of the deal is approximately $4.3 billion including debt. Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: One of Nord Anglia Education's competitors within the Education & Training Services space, Capella Education Co. (NASDAQ: CPLA), announced on April 25, 2017, its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. AWS will be initiating a research report on Capella Education in the coming days. Today, AWS is promoting its blog coverage on NORD; touching on CPLA. Get all of our free blog coverage and more by clicking on the link below: Nord Anglia is the world's leading premium school organization. It runs a network of 43 international schools, boarding schools, and private schools located in 15 countries across the world including China, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South East Asia. It caters to the education needs of more than 37,000 students who are in the age group of 2 years to 18 years. Nord Anglia has also collaborated with iconic institutions like The Juilliard School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Kings College London for post-secondary education. Commenting on the acquisition, Deborah Orida, Managing Director, Head of Private Equity Asia, CPPIB said: "This investment in Nord Anglia is an excellent fit with our strategy to build a diversified portfolio capable of delivering strong, sustainable returns to the Canada Pension Plan Fund over the long term. This is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in private education and through Nord Anglia we are able to gain both asset and geographical diversification." "BPEA is passionate about making education of the highest quality available to children all over the world, and we believe Nord Anglia is the ideal partner to achieve that goal. After nine years, we have developed a thorough understanding of the business and have high conviction that Nord Anglia's future is even more promising than its past." As per the agreement, the consortium would acquire all the outstanding shares of Nord Anglia at $32.50 in cash. The offer price represents a 18% premium of Nord Anglia's closing price of $27.62 on April 24, 2017, a day before the deal was announced. Nord Anglia's Board of Directors have already approved this deal. The transaction has a provision for a 30-day "go-shop" period wherein Nord Anglia can explore offers from other potential suitors. A Special Committee has been formed which consists of independent directors who are not affiliated to CPPIB or BPEA. This Special Committee will study each offer received in detail and will be authorized to negotiate and even enter into agreements with them. CPPIB and BPEA will be financing the deal using cash available with them and debt from financial institutions. There are no other financing conditions for the closing of the deal. The transaction is expected to close before August 31, 2017, which is the last day of the fiscal year for Nord Anglia. The deal is subject to approval from Nord Anglia's shareholders, and other closing conditions. BPEA is a majority shareholder in Nord Anglia via its affiliate Premier Education Holdings Ltd who holds 67% stake and has agreed to vote in favor of the merger transaction. On completion of the merger, Nord Anglia will delist from New York Stock Exchange and become a fully privately held entity. The privatization of Nord Anglia will allow it to continue to grow in the premium education sector globally. Especially as demand for quality education, in the kindergarten to grade 12 segment, rises globally. Also with the exposure and support from CPPIB and BPEA, Nord Anglia will be able to grow geographically and at the same time attract the best teaching talents. The deal will also open opportunities for collaboration with other premium education institutions, which will benefit the students and the brand tremendously. The education sector consists mostly of single-site operators, which gives a brand like Nord Anglia major opportunities to grow. Hong Kong based BPEA was founded in 1997 and has a total committed capital of over $10 billion. BPEA works closely with the portfolio Companies that it has invested in and helps them grow their business in the long run by way of capital for expansion, recapitalization, or strategic alternatives like acquisitions. It has invested in more than 70 Companies since its formation. It is predominantly active in Asia with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Jakarta. It is supported by a global team of over 140 professionals. BPEA had already made significant investment in Nord Anglia in 2008 via its affiliates. Toronto, Canada based, CPPIB is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not required for payment of benefits to the contributors of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It also has offices at Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo and Sydney. It invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. CPP had a fund of $298.1 billion as of December 31, 2016. Nord Anglia is CPPIB's first direct equity investment in the private education sector. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $32.82, surging 18.83% from its previous closing price of $27.62. A total volume of 7.92 million shares have exchanged hands, which was higher than the 3-month average volume of 130.45 thousand shares. Nord Anglia Education's stock price advanced 47.11% in the last three months, 49.52% in the past six months, and 53.22% in the previous twelve months. Shares of the company have a PE ratio of 62.99. At Tuesday's closing price, the stock's net capitalization stands at $3.43 billion. Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. 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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arconic (NYSE:ARNC) today announced its nomination of former Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer James “Jim” F. Albaugh and Air Force retired General Janet C. Wolfenbarger for election to Arconic’s Board of Directors at the Company’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Mr. Albaugh and General Wolfenbarger will stand for election with current directors David Hess, Amy Alving and Ulrich Schmidt. Ratan Tata, who has been a valued member of the Board, has resigned as a director to focus on other business interests. With his departure, the Board has nominated Mr. Albaugh and General Wolfenbarger to stand for election to fill the two vacancies on the Board. Arconic previously offered to appoint two Elliott Management nominees to the Board. Elliott and its nominees rejected the offer. Upon the election of Arconic’s candidates, nine directors of 13 will have joined the Board in the last 16 months, making it one of the shortest tenured Boards in the S&P 500. Arconic’s Board would continue to consist of 13 directors, 12 of whom are independent, and three of whom were nominated by Elliott last year. Together, Arconic’s director nominees for the 2017 Annual Meeting have decades of combined aerospace and defense experience. Their deep expertise spans aerospace structures, jet engines, defense, manufacturing and engineering, technology, finance and purchasing – all highly relevant to Arconic’s core business. About the New Arconic Nominees James “Jim” F. Albaugh is an internationally recognized aerospace executive who was the President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes until his retirement in 2012. Prior to that role, Mr. Albaugh was President and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and President of Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power. Mr. Albaugh is the Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association, past Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association and serves on the Boards of American Airlines and Harris Corporation. He holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Columbia University and is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. The aerospace segment represents close to half of Arconic’s overall revenue today and has significant prospects for the future. Mr. Albaugh brings a deep understanding of the aerospace segment’s needs. Janet C. Wolfenbarger is a retired four-star general who was responsible for procurement, science and technology, test and evaluation, logistics and supply chain for the U.S. Air Force; she oversaw an approximately $60 billion annual budget, including a large portion of the approximately $1 billion of business that Arconic does in the defense industry. In her last military role, General Wolfenbarger oversaw an organization of 80,000 people and led significant restructuring of the Air Force Materiel Command to improve efficiency. General Wolfenbarger was the first female four-star general in Air Force history. Among her many accomplishments, General Wolfenbarger holds a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. David Hess is a proven leader in the aerospace industry, with over 38 years of operating experience and deep knowledge of jet engine technology and manufacturing. Mr. Hess was President of Pratt & Whitney, a $15 billion global commercial and military aircraft engine company, and a major Arconic customer. He was most recently Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at United Technologies Corporation. Mr. Hess is currently Arconic’s Interim CEO. Amy Alving is a renowned expert on aerospace innovation and engineering, and cybersecurity. She is a former executive with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is a member of the Defense Science Board, a committee of civilian expert advisors to the U.S. Department of Defense on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Alving has a Ph.D in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton. She brings critical enterprise risk management expertise to Arconic and is Chair of the Company’s Cybersecurity Advisory Subcommittee. Ulrich Schmidt is the former Chief Financial Officer of Spirit Aerosystems Holdings, Inc. and Chief Financial Officer of Goodrich Corporation. Mr. Schmidt is a former director at Precision Castparts where he chaired the Audit Committee. Mr. Schmidt joined the Board in February 2016 after being nominated by Elliott. Mr. Schmidt currently serves as Chair of Arconic’s Audit Committee, in addition to serving on the Governance and Nominating Committee and Finance Committee. Arconic also announced today that its Annual Meeting will be held on May 25, 2017 at 9:00 AM EDT at the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, SUNY, 735 Anderson Hill Road, in Purchase, New York. Shareholders of record as of March 1, 2017 are eligible to vote. The Company will file supplemental proxy materials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which will also be available on www.arconic.com/annualmeeting. Letter to Arconic Shareholders and New Investor Presentation The Arconic Board of Directors today published an open letter to Arconic shareholders and a new investor presentation. The Arconic Board unanimously recommends that shareholders vote “FOR” all five of Arconic’s director nominees on the New WHITE proxy card today, and urges shareholders not to cede undue and excessive influence over the Company and the CEO search process to Elliott, one shareholder with a 13.2% stake. The letter can be viewed here. The investor presentation can be viewed here. Additional information, including the letter to shareholders and investor presentation are available at www.arconic.com/annualmeeting Arconic (NYSE: ARNC) creates breakthrough products that shape industries. Working in close partnership with our customers, we solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power. Through the ingenuity of our people and cutting-edge advanced manufacturing techniques, we deliver these products at a quality and efficiency that ensure customer success and shareholder value. For more information: www.arconic.com. Follow @arconic: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Arconic intends to make future announcements regarding Company developments and financial performance through its website at www.arconic.com. This communication contains statements that relate to future events and expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “guidance,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “outlook,” “plans,” “projects,” “seeks,” “sees,” “should,” “targets,” “will,” “would,” or other words of similar meaning. All statements that reflect Arconic’s expectations, assumptions or projections about the future, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, forecasts relating to the growth of end markets and potential share gains; statements and guidance regarding future financial results or operating performance; and statements about Arconic’s strategies, outlook, business and financial prospects. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and it is possible that actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements due to a variety of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to: (a) deterioration in global economic and financial market conditions generally; (b) unfavorable changes in the markets served by Arconic; (c) the inability to achieve the level of revenue growth, cash generation, cost savings, improvement in profitability and margins, fiscal discipline, or strengthening of competitiveness and operations anticipated from restructuring programs and productivity improvement, cash sustainability, technology advancements, and other initiatives; (d) changes in discount rates or investment returns on pension assets; (e) Arconic’s inability to realize expected benefits, in each case as planned and by targeted completion dates, from acquisitions, divestitures, facility closures, curtailments, expansions, or joint ventures; (f) the impact of cyber attacks and potential information technology or data security breaches; (g) political, economic, and regulatory risks in the countries in which Arconic operates or sells products; (h) the outcome of contingencies, including legal proceedings, government or regulatory investigations, and environmental remediation; and (i) the other risk factors discussed in Arconic’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, and other reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Arconic disclaims any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Market projections are subject to the risks discussed above and other risks in the market.


News Article | May 6, 2017
Site: www.24-7pressrelease.com

MARICOPA, AZ, May 06, 2017-- Avinash Chandra Singhal is a celebrated Marquis Who's Who biographee. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to name Dr. Singhal a Lifetime Achiever. An accomplished listee, Dr. Singhal celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field.An esteemed and lauded figure in his field, Dr. Singhal most recently served as a professor at Arizona State University, a position he held for nearly 30 years. Other roles he held include Director of the Central Building Research Institute, Project Engineer at Weidlinger Associates, Inc., Manager of Technological Services for Engineers India Ltd., Manager of General Electric in Philadelphia, PA Assistant Program Manager of TRW Inc. in Redondo Beach, CA, Professor at Universite Laval, and Research Engineer at Kaman Corporation, Burlington, MA.Dr. Signhal conducted research in computer modeling, research in blast effects on structures, research in lifeline engineering, research in earthquake strengthening of deteriorated dams, and research in steel and concrete buildings, bridges, materials and non-linear finite element dynamics.Sr. Singhal contributed to the following works: "Dynamic Analysis of Dams with Nonlinear Slip Joints" (1998), "Performance of Retrofit Arch Dams" (1998), "Arizona Emergency Center Retrofit" (1998), "Simulation of Blast Pressures on Flexible Panels" (1994), "System Flexibility and Reflected Pressures" (1993) and "Wood Substitute: A National Priority, India."In addition to his status as a Lifetime Achiever, Dr. Singhal has previously received the First Prize in Bridge Building from the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Merit Award from the Institution of Engineers India, and the Henry Adams Research Medal from the Structural Engineers London.Moreover, Dr. Singhal has been recognized as a fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, American Society of Civil Engineers, Royal Astronomical Society and Kobe University, as well as a Dennison Scholar of The Institution of Civil Engineers. Furthermore, Dr. Singhal has received grants from the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the Office of Naval Research, the United States Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Singhal has also been a featured listee in Who's Who in Finance and Business, Who's Who in Finance and Industry, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in the West and Who's Who in the World.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

One Day I Too Go Fly Inc, an independent production company creating films exploring new narratives about Africans and Africa in a globalized age, has released its first film NAIJA BETA. The documentary is now available worldwide on the VOD platforms VHX and Vimeo. The release comes after a year of film festival engagements in Europe, Africa and North America where NAIJA BETA garnered several awards. NAIJA BETA follows a team of Nigerian and Nigerian-American undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who launch and run Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA), a robotics camp for teenagers, in Lagos, Nigeria. Propelling its action through a competition drama set-up, the film explores youth entrepreneurship, STEM education, and African diasporan homecoming in present-day Nigeria. “This heart warming documentary often finds itself deviating from its mission and submerging itself in the complexities of human emotions that are unfolding around it. Fortunately, deviating from its simple set up is what makes NAIJA BETA a masterpiece in its own right. It is a documentary that examines the fears of children of Africa and what lies ahead for them and the ones rediscovering home even while they were not looking,” wrote Hafeez Oluwa, reviewing the film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Lagos for Sodas N Popcorn, the largest movie database in Nollywood. The film premiered at the 2016 Pan African International Film Festival in Cannes, France. Since then, it has won the following awards: Best Documentary Feature - Urban Mediamakers Film Festival 2016; Best Documentary Short - Roxbury International Film Festival 2016; Achievement in Documentary Film, Feature Length - Silicon Valley African Film Festival 2016; and the High Output Director Award - Arlington International Film Festival 2016. It was also nominated for Best Humanitarian Film at RapidLion: The South African International Film Festival 2017. NAIJA BETA is directed by Arthur Musah, an engineer turned filmmaker whose own journey from Ghana to MIT, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science, informs his films. After studying filmmaking as an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Musah returned to MIT to embark on a multi-year study of African youths coming of age at the iconic American college. NAIJA BETA marks his directorial debut, and is the first of two films resulting from the project. The second film, ONE DAY I TOO GO FLY, is in post-production. NAIJA BETA is produced by Arthur Musah and Brook Turner. “While the characters in NAIJA BETA are Nigerian, the film speaks more broadly to the current wave of Africans in the diaspora who are returning to figure out their place on the continent,” said Musah. “The film documents early efforts by ambitious young African entrepreneurs, and that resonates.” Since graduating from MIT, NAIJA BETA protagonist Obinna Ukwuani and his XRA cofounder Obinna Okwodu have moved to Nigeria to launch new businesses. Okwodu is making rental housing affordable for professionals in Nigeria with his new venture Fibre. Ukwuani continues to impact STEM education in Nigeria with his CNN-featured startup Makers Academy, which recently launched its New Economy Skills Accelerator (NESA) program. NAIJA BETA main character Jemima Osunde was eager to leave Nigeria as a high-school student learning to program robots at the XRA, but now studies at the University of Lagos’ College of Medicine and is a rising star of Nigerian television and film. The film has engaged audiences at community screenings such as Girls Day at the MIT Museum and Global Entrepreneurship Week at the African Leadership University. The Yale Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development will screen NAIJA BETA and host filmmaker Arthur Musah as a panelist at its conference April 14-15, 2017. NAIJA BETA continues its festival run, making its New York Premiere at the 24th New York African Film Festival. The screening will take place at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem on May 20th, 2017. For the latest news about NAIJA BETA, please visit http://pidgincinema.com/ or the film's Facebook page.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

" Leadership development begins with a support system, that helps all team members reach their potential, focusing on their gifts, talents and capabilities. The purpose is not exploitation, but functional benefit for the mission of the team. This requires a fine balance between the need for tunnel vision during execution of a mission and capabilities that support stability, health, happiness and prosperity in the bigger picture of life. Though paradoxical, the objective is a team of leaders."  -- Stephen M. Apatow. From "Living On The Edge" to being the "Cutting Edge" In 1994, a small nonprofit organization named Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI), was formed in Carson City, Nevada.  The mission was to address the cross section of needs defined during two national touch outreach projects, the first for substance abuse in 1990, and second for hunger, homelessness and poverty in 1993.  HRI's first project was named Focus On America.  Through the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSNBP), the mission was to take lessons learned, and "bridge unmet needs to untapped resources."   This project reached front-line programs and EFSNBP directors in over 3100 U.S. counties, all 50 states and territories.  In 1999, the successful completion of United States networks, led to the development the International Disaster Information Network (IDIN), to assist FEMA with remediation for the Year 2000 Conversion, and then complex emergencies in 193 UN member countries. Formation of the Humanitarian University Consortium in 2002, helped connect subject matter experts at colleges and universities, public, private and defense organizations in every UN member country.  Through this consortium initiative, the worlds top reference points in medicine, veterinary medicine and law helped HRI be a global reference point for health care, education, agricultural and economic development. Shortly thereafter, HRI was recognized as one of nine leading educational and research institutions by the National Academy of Sciences, with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Columbia University: Center for Public Health Preparedness, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Humanitarian Resource Institute, Johns Hopkins University: Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Center for International Studies, National Academy of Sciences, University of Maryland: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland,  University of Minnesota: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. -- See:  Biological Threats and Terrorism, Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities: Workshop Summary:  Forum on Emerging Infections, Board on Global Health. "Front Matter, " Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.   In 2009, HRI formed the United Nations Arts Initiative to promote "Arts Integration Into Education," connecting educators, artists and entertainment industry, who have the innovation, creativity and intimate connection with the grassroots level, to impact prioritized humanitarian emergencies and relief operations. The United Nations Arts Initiative helps both artist and grassroots leaders with strategic planning, critical analysis, expert think tank development for background discussions, peer reviewed data compilation and communications that engage decision makers and audiences in a target demographic. In 2011, H-II OPSEC Expeditionary Operations was developed to assist defense support for humanitarian and security emergencies, currently beyond the capabilities of governmental, UN, NGO and relief organizations. Though functioning outside of the mainstream spotlight for 23 years, Humanitarian Resource Institute has been the reference point for unconventional asymmetric strategic planning. Today, Stephen M. Apatow, President, Director of Research and Development for HRI, is focused on helping young leaders and executive leadership teams understand how to operate in complex environments and strategic areas viewed as critical to the CEO level of operations.  Lead from the Front: Development Programs help the CEO level break down walls and barriers, establishing a focus on optimization of the mission objective, through:


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

A new surface coating developed by Kripa Varanasi and his team causes water to bead up on the inner surface of a pipe rather than spreading out. This prevents the formation of ices that could lead to a clog in an oil pipeline or well. Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig suffered a catastrophic explosion and blowout on April 21, 2010, leading to the worst oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, the well's operators thought they would be able to block the leak within a few weeks. On May 9 they succeeded in lowering a 125-ton containment dome over the broken wellhead. If that measure had worked, it would have funneled the leaking oil into a pipe that carried it to a tanker ship above, thus preventing the ongoing leakage that made the spill so devastating. Why didn't the containment work as expected? The culprit was an icy mixture of frozen water and methane, called a methane clathrate. Because of the low temperatures and high pressure near the seafloor, the slushy mix built up inside the containment dome and blocked the outlet pipe, preventing it from redirecting the flow. If it hadn't been for that methane clathrate, the containment might have worked, and four months of unabated leakage and widespread ecological devastation might have been prevented. Now, a team of researchers at MIT has come up with a solution that might prevent such a disastrous outcome the next time such a leak occurs. It may also prevent blockages inside oil and gas pipelines that can lead to expensive shutdowns to clear a pipe, or worse, to pipeline rupture from a buildup of pressure. The new method of preventing the icy buildup is described in a paper in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, in a paper by associate professor of mechanical engineering Kripa Varanasi, postdoc Arindam Das, and recent graduates Taylor Farnham SB '14 SM '16 and Srinivas Bengaluru Subramanyam PhD '16. The key to the new system is coating the inside of the pipe with a layer of a material that promotes spreading of a water-barrier layer along the pipe's inner surface. This barrier layer, the team found, can effectively prevent the adhesion of any ice particles or water droplets to the wall and thus thwart the buildup of clathrates that could slow or block the flow. Unlike previous methods, such as heating of the pipe walls, depressurization, or using chemical additives, which can be expensive and potentially polluting, the new method is completely passive—that is, once in place it requires no further addition of energy or material. The coated surface attracts liquid hydrocarbons that are already present in the flowing petroleum, creating a thin surface layer that naturally repels water. This prevents the ices from ever attaching to the wall in the first place. Existing prevention measures, known as flow assurance measures, "are expensive or environmentally unfriendly," says Varanasi, and currently the use of those measures "runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars" every year. Without those measures, hydrates can build up so that they reduce the flow rate, which can reduce revenues, and if they create blockages then that "can lead to catastrophic failure," Varanasi says. "It's a major problem for the industry, for both safety and reliability." The problem could become even greater, says Das, the paper's lead author, because methane hydrates themselves, which are abundant in many locations such as continental shelves, are seen as a huge new potential fuel source, if methods can be devised to extract them. "The reserves themselves substantially overshadow all known reserves [of oil and natural gas] on land and in deep water," he says. But such deposits would be even more vulnerable to freezing and plug formation than existing oil and gas wells. Preventing these icy buildups depends critically on stopping the very first particles of clathrate from adhering to the pipe: "Once they attach, they attract other particles" of clathrate, and the buildup takes off rapidly, says Farnham. "We wanted to see how we could minimize the initial adhesion on the pipe walls." The approach is similar to that being used in a company Varanasi established to commercialize earlier work from his lab, which creates coatings for containers that prevent the contents—anything from ketchup or honey to paint and agrochemicals—from sticking to the container walls. That system involves two steps: first creating a textured coating on the container walls, and then adding a lubricant that gets trapped by the texture and prevents contents from adhering. The new pipeline system is similar to that, Varanasi explains, but in this case "we are using the liquid that's in the environment itself," rather than applying a lubricant to the surface. The key characteristic in clathrate formation is the presence of water, he says, so as long as the water can be kept away from the pipe wall, clathrate buildup can be stopped. And the liquid hydrocarbons present in the petroleum, as long as they cling to the wall thanks to a chemical affinity of the surface coating, can effectively keep that water away. "If the oil [in the pipeline] is made to spread more readily on the surface, then it forms a barrier film between the water and the wall," Varanasi says. In lab tests, which used a proxy chemical for the methane because the actual methane clathrates form under high-pressure conditions that are hard to reproduce in the lab, the system performed very effectively, the team says. "We didn't see any hydrates adhering to the substrates," Varanasi says. Explore further: New surface coatings could inhibit buildup of methane hydrates that can block deep-sea oil and gas wells More information: Arindam Das et al. Designing Ultra-Low Hydrate Adhesion Surfaces by Interfacial Spreading of Water-Immiscible Barrier Films, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b00223


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Juhan Sonin, an internationally-recognized innovator in the healthcare industry, will be a featured speaker at the BIOMEDevice Conference (http://biomedevice.mddionline.com/) on Wednesday, May 3. Mr. Sonin will be speaking about his revolutionary Healthroom concept, using sensor technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT), to transform our home bathrooms into a diagnostic healthcare environment. “It is speakers like Juhan Sonin, who articulate a vision that is at once inspiring and practical, that make our event a magnet for global healthcare leaders," said Jamie Hartford, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI). "The Healthroom is exactly the sort of solution that promises personal health benefits while also representing a substantial future business opportunity.” 4,000 engineers and executives will be attending BIOMEDevice, which focuses on the latest in product development, emerging sensor technology, and healthcare IoT. Previously, Mr. Sonin has shared his Healthroom concept at prestigious health conferences at venues such as Stanford University and New York City's renown New World Stages. It outlines the evolution of the analog bathroom into an interactive digital health room that serves as the focal point for the integrated personalized medicine of the future (http://www.goinvo.com/features/from-bathroom-to-healthroom/). Mr. Sonin's work has been recognized by the New York Times, Newsweek, BBC International, WIRED, and National Public Radio (NPR) and published in The Journal of Participatory Medicine and The Lancet. “When people think of healthcare devices they think of things like the FitBit,” said Mr. Sonin. “That is only the beginning. Biomedical devices are on the cusp of greatly increasing both the quality and length of our lives. While the Healthroom is one instantiation of that, there are a variety of marvelous and creative ways future device technology will improve our lives.” During his more than 15 years working in healthcare innovation, Mr. Sonin has provided award-winning solutions across the spectrum of hardware and software for companies like Johnson and Johnson, 3M, and Walgreens. He is a principal at Involution Studios (http://www.goinvo.com), an Arlington, Massachusetts-based healthcare innovation company while also serving as a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Additionally, a replay will be available via phone and in our investor relations website after the call. About Globant Globant (NYSE: GLOB) is a digitally native technology services company that creates digital journeys for its customers, which impact millions of consumers. Globant is the place where engineering, design, and innovation meet scale. Globant has more than 5,630 professionals in 12 countries working for companies like Google, LinkedIn, JWT, EA, and Coca Cola, among others. Globant was named a Worldwide Leader of Digital Strategy Consulting Services by IDC MarketScape Report (2016) and its client work has been featured as business case studies at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.  For more information visit www.globant.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/globant-to-announce-first-quarter-2017-financial-results-on-may-18th-300451147.html


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Discovered in 1999 in California Institute of Technology, 2D liquid crystals have been around for over a decade, and are commonly used in displays of televisions, smartphones, watches and so on. And led by physicists at Caltech, a team of researchers has now discovered a 3D version of liquid crystals, which can find applications in quantum computing. Liquid crystals are called such because they have properties of both solids and liquids. Molecules within the material flow freely like a liquid, but are all oriented in the same direction like is seen in solids. In a statement Thursday on the university’s website, John Harter, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech and lead author of a new paper on 3D liquid crystals, explained how 2D quantum liquid crystals behave in strange ways: “Electrons living in this flatland collectively decide to flow preferentially along the x-axis rather than the y-axis even though there's nothing to distinguish one direction from the other.” In a 3D liquid crystal, the electrons behave the way molecules do in 2D liquid crystals, giving the material very unusual magnetic properties. “Running an electrical current through these materials transforms them from nonmagnets into magnets, which is highly unusual. What’s more, in every direction that you can flow current, the magnetic strength and magnetic orientation changes. Physicists say that the electrons ‘break the symmetry’ of the lattice,” David Hsieh, principal investigator on the study and whose lab Harter is a part of, said in the statement. The discovery of the material by Harter was almost accidental. He was studying the atomic structure of a metal compound of the element rhenium, and the data his experiments revealed about its crystal structure made little sense to him. That is, till such time as he read about the concept of 3D liquid crystals, articulated in a 2015 paper by Liang Fu, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Then, everything made sense. This new material could help with quantum computing by being used to create a topological superconductor, which is integral to a technique called topological quantum computing. Developed by another Caltech professor, this technique can theoretically get around the inherent difficulty of quantum properties being very fragile and easily disrupted. The study, titled “A parity-breaking electronic nematic phase transition in the spin-orbit coupled metal Cd2Re2O7,” appeared Friday in the journal Science.


BASEL, Switzerland and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases today announced they have signed an exclusive license with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a family of Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) technologies developed in the lab of Dr. Daniel G. Anderson, a scientific founder and advisory board member of CRISPR Therapeutics. Under the terms of the license, CRISPR Therapeutics obtains the exclusive rights to use the LNP technologies in their therapeutic development programs focused on in vivo gene editing applications. MIT receives an upfront technology access fee, milestones, and royalties on licensed products that reach the market.   “We have been working to evaluate a panel of different LNP technologies for in vivo editing applications based on their potency and tolerability. These specific compounds from Dr. Anderson’s lab continue to perform well relative to others we have tested, and we are excited to sign this license with MIT. The primary focus here is liver indications, where we are continuing to optimize our platform for both gene disruption and correction, and have demonstrated very potent gene disruption in murine liver,” said Dr. Chad Cowan, Head of Research at CRISPR Therapeutics. Dr. Anderson is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.  He is a world-leader in the development of advanced drug delivery systems for non-viral gene delivery.  He was also one of the first to demonstrate the potential for in vivo gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9. “Our laboratory has worked to develop non-viral delivery vectors for nucleic acids, and we are finding that LNP technologies work very well for delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 system. In fact, gene editing applications may be particularly well-suited to LNP delivery given the potential for single dose efficacy. I am excited to see CRISPR-based in vivo therapies moving rapidly toward the clinic,” said Dr. Daniel Anderson. About CRISPR Therapeutics CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene-editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR / Cas9 gene-editing platform. CRISPR / Cas9 is a revolutionary technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The company's multi-disciplinary team of world-class researchers and drug developers is working to translate this technology into breakthrough human therapeutics in a number of serious diseases. Additionally, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop CRISPR-based therapeutics in diseases with high unmet need. The foundational CRISPR / Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic use was licensed from the company's scientific founder Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit http://www.crisprtx.com. CRISPR Forward-Looking Statement Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning: the therapeutic value, development, and commercial potential of CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing technologies and therapies and the intellectual property protection of our technology and therapies. You are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual performance and results may differ materially from those projected or suggested in the forward-looking statements due to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: uncertainties inherent in the initiation and completion of preclinical and clinical studies for the Company’s product candidates; uncertainties regarding the intellectual property protection for our technology and intellectual property belonging to third parties; availability and timing of results from preclinical and clinical studies; whether results from a preclinical trial will be predictive of future results of the future trials; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; and those risks and uncertainties described in Item 1A under the heading “Risk Factors” in the company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, and in any other subsequent filings made by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.


BASEL, Switzerland and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases today announced they have signed an exclusive license with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a family of Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) technologies developed in the lab of Dr. Daniel G. Anderson, a scientific founder and advisory board member of CRISPR Therapeutics. Under the terms of the license, CRISPR Therapeutics obtains the exclusive rights to use the LNP technologies in their therapeutic development programs focused on in vivo gene editing applications. MIT receives an upfront technology access fee, milestones, and royalties on licensed products that reach the market.   “We have been working to evaluate a panel of different LNP technologies for in vivo editing applications based on their potency and tolerability. These specific compounds from Dr. Anderson’s lab continue to perform well relative to others we have tested, and we are excited to sign this license with MIT. The primary focus here is liver indications, where we are continuing to optimize our platform for both gene disruption and correction, and have demonstrated very potent gene disruption in murine liver,” said Dr. Chad Cowan, Head of Research at CRISPR Therapeutics. Dr. Anderson is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.  He is a world-leader in the development of advanced drug delivery systems for non-viral gene delivery.  He was also one of the first to demonstrate the potential for in vivo gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9. “Our laboratory has worked to develop non-viral delivery vectors for nucleic acids, and we are finding that LNP technologies work very well for delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 system. In fact, gene editing applications may be particularly well-suited to LNP delivery given the potential for single dose efficacy. I am excited to see CRISPR-based in vivo therapies moving rapidly toward the clinic,” said Dr. Daniel Anderson. About CRISPR Therapeutics CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene-editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR / Cas9 gene-editing platform. CRISPR / Cas9 is a revolutionary technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The company's multi-disciplinary team of world-class researchers and drug developers is working to translate this technology into breakthrough human therapeutics in a number of serious diseases. Additionally, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop CRISPR-based therapeutics in diseases with high unmet need. The foundational CRISPR / Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic use was licensed from the company's scientific founder Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit http://www.crisprtx.com. CRISPR Forward-Looking Statement Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning: the therapeutic value, development, and commercial potential of CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing technologies and therapies and the intellectual property protection of our technology and therapies. You are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual performance and results may differ materially from those projected or suggested in the forward-looking statements due to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: uncertainties inherent in the initiation and completion of preclinical and clinical studies for the Company’s product candidates; uncertainties regarding the intellectual property protection for our technology and intellectual property belonging to third parties; availability and timing of results from preclinical and clinical studies; whether results from a preclinical trial will be predictive of future results of the future trials; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; and those risks and uncertainties described in Item 1A under the heading “Risk Factors” in the company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, and in any other subsequent filings made by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.


BASEL, Switzerland and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases today announced they have signed an exclusive license with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a family of Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) technologies developed in the lab of Dr. Daniel G. Anderson, a scientific founder and advisory board member of CRISPR Therapeutics. Under the terms of the license, CRISPR Therapeutics obtains the exclusive rights to use the LNP technologies in their therapeutic development programs focused on in vivo gene editing applications. MIT receives an upfront technology access fee, milestones, and royalties on licensed products that reach the market.   “We have been working to evaluate a panel of different LNP technologies for in vivo editing applications based on their potency and tolerability. These specific compounds from Dr. Anderson’s lab continue to perform well relative to others we have tested, and we are excited to sign this license with MIT. The primary focus here is liver indications, where we are continuing to optimize our platform for both gene disruption and correction, and have demonstrated very potent gene disruption in murine liver,” said Dr. Chad Cowan, Head of Research at CRISPR Therapeutics. Dr. Anderson is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.  He is a world-leader in the development of advanced drug delivery systems for non-viral gene delivery.  He was also one of the first to demonstrate the potential for in vivo gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9. “Our laboratory has worked to develop non-viral delivery vectors for nucleic acids, and we are finding that LNP technologies work very well for delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 system. In fact, gene editing applications may be particularly well-suited to LNP delivery given the potential for single dose efficacy. I am excited to see CRISPR-based in vivo therapies moving rapidly toward the clinic,” said Dr. Daniel Anderson. About CRISPR Therapeutics CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene-editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR / Cas9 gene-editing platform. CRISPR / Cas9 is a revolutionary technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The company's multi-disciplinary team of world-class researchers and drug developers is working to translate this technology into breakthrough human therapeutics in a number of serious diseases. Additionally, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop CRISPR-based therapeutics in diseases with high unmet need. The foundational CRISPR / Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic use was licensed from the company's scientific founder Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit http://www.crisprtx.com. CRISPR Forward-Looking Statement Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning: the therapeutic value, development, and commercial potential of CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing technologies and therapies and the intellectual property protection of our technology and therapies. You are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual performance and results may differ materially from those projected or suggested in the forward-looking statements due to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: uncertainties inherent in the initiation and completion of preclinical and clinical studies for the Company’s product candidates; uncertainties regarding the intellectual property protection for our technology and intellectual property belonging to third parties; availability and timing of results from preclinical and clinical studies; whether results from a preclinical trial will be predictive of future results of the future trials; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; and those risks and uncertainties described in Item 1A under the heading “Risk Factors” in the company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, and in any other subsequent filings made by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (NVIV) today announced that a new patient has been enrolled into The INSPIRE Study (InVivo Study of Probable Benefit of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold™ for Safety and Neurologic Recovery in Subjects with Complete Thoracic AIS A Spinal Cord Injury) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Jason J. Chang, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery and co-study investigator, performed the surgery and implantation approximately 77 hours after the injury occurred. Mark Perrin, InVivo’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, said, “We were pleased to hear that the procedure was a success and that the patient is doing well. We now have 15 patients enrolled and in follow up, and we look forward to completing enrollment in the INSPIRE study.” For more information on the INSPIRE study, please visit the company’s ClinicalTrials.gov registration site: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT02138110 Following acute spinal cord injury, surgical implantation of the biodegradable Neuro-Spinal Scaffold within the decompressed and debrided injury epicenter is intended to support appositional healing, thereby reducing post-traumatic cavity formation, sparing white matter, and allowing neural regeneration across the healed wound epicenter. The Neuro-Spinal Scaffold, an investigational device, has received a Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) designation and currently is being evaluated in The INSPIRE Study for the treatment of patients with acute, complete (AIS A), thoracic traumatic spinal cord injury and a pilot study for acute, complete (AIS A), cervical (C5-T1) traumatic spinal cord injury. For more information on the cervical study, refer to https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT03105882. InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. is a research and clinical-stage biomaterials and biotechnology company with a focus on treatment of spinal cord injuries. The company was founded in 2005 with proprietary technology co-invented by Robert Langer, Sc.D., Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Joseph P. Vacanti, M.D., who then was at Boston Children’s Hospital and who now is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2011, the company earned the David S. Apple Award from the American Spinal Injury Association for its outstanding contribution to spinal cord injury medicine. In 2015, the company’s investigational Neuro-Spinal Scaffold received the 2015 Becker’s Healthcare Spine Device Award. The publicly-traded company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more details, visit www.invivotherapeutics.com. Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements can be identified by words such as "believe," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "will," "may," "should," "expect," “designed to,” “potentially,” and similar expressions, and include statements regarding the safety and effectiveness of the Neuro-Spinal Scaffold and the progress of the clinical program. Any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on current expectations, and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the company’s ability to successfully open additional clinical sites for enrollment and to enroll additional patients; the timing of the Institutional Review Board process; the company’s ability to commercialize its products; the company’s ability to develop, market and sell products based on its technology; the expected benefits and efficacy of the company’s products and technology in connection with the treatment of spinal cord injuries; the availability of substantial additional funding for the company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, clinical studies and future product commercialization; and other risks associated with the company’s business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies identified and described in more detail in the company’s Quarterly Report of the three months ended March 31, 2017, and its other filings with the SEC, including the company’s Form 10-Qs and current reports on Form 8-K. The company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

With severe cuts proposed for US agencies that handle environ­mental and health research, it might seem that scientists can’t prioritize the possible dismantling of US foreign-aid programmes. But they should. President Trump’s proposed 37% budget cut to the state department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which manages foreign assistance, would wreck a burgeoning and successful example of evidence-based policymaking. US foreign aid has transformed significantly, so that it now involves fewer handouts and savvier science. In 2009, former president Barack Obama heralded a greater role for research in foreign policy when he used a speech in Cairo to argue that science and innovation provide the means to tackle climate change, hunger and epidemics. These problems foster poverty, which can in turn breed political instability, conflict and disease — all of which have ripple effects that don’t respect borders. Indeed, international aid has always been self-serving. Look no further than arguments from high-ranking officials against Trump’s proposed changes. Although the cuts to USAID and the state department are intended to offset a US$54-billion increase in defence spending, 121 retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress on 27 February, warning that a reduction in foreign assistance endangers national security. They wrote: “Many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone.” Many crises are best countered by viable science, technology and implementation strategies. And some USAID funds go into research that evaluates whether these interventions could be conducted more efficiently or with fewer unintended consequences. Take, for instance, the agency’s President’s Malaria Initiative, started by George W. Bush in 2005. The initiative supports parasitology laboratories in Mali that monitor whether subsidized malaria drugs currently given to healthy children are on track to avert an estimated 80,000 deaths per year in West Africa, as projected by clinical trials — and how rapidly those treatments are leading malaria parasites to become resistant to the drugs. One useful by-product is that, with funding, researchers and labs in poor countries become better equipped to monitor and manage diseases before they escalate to an unstoppable point, as the Ebola outbreak did in West Africa — costing US taxpayers $2.6 billion. As political positions harden, it’s worth pointing out that science at USAID is the applied variety that conservatives tend to favour. And that transparent analysis of methods and results allows inefficient programmes to be killed or adapted over time. Budget cuts that threaten this key part of aid will guarantee that wasteful programmes continue for too long. In this sphere, social and economic impacts are as important as technical and scientific success. This is demonstrated by projects funded by USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Labs, which sponsor partnerships between agricultural researchers at US universities and those in low- and middle-income countries. One team, led by plant pathologist Jagger Harvey at Kansas State University in Manhattan, is developing portable grain dryers that preserve harvested crops and keep them free from mould. A sign of the group’s success is that small-scale farmers in Bangladesh are buying the technology. That renders it less likely to go the way of so many aid projects — ditched by the side of the road because they are impractical or unwanted. Sustainability is also a key value of the agency’s Global Development Lab, which launched in 2014 as a hub for US scientists with ideas on how to confront specific pressing challenges, such as emerging pandemics and a growing need for fresh water. One of the lab’s grant winners, mechanical engineer Amos Winter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, installed a solar-powered desalination unit in southern India in January. From the perspective of both USAID and Tata Projects, an Indian infrastructure company that has invested in the technology, the system is attractive because it’s engineered to hit a price point. Specifically, Indian communities of roughly 3,000 people will be able use around 10,000 litres of fresh water per day, but they will not pay more than $11,000 for the system. Until now, most off-the-grid communities have found solar-powered desalination units too expensive. As a result, they drink brackish water and suffer the health consequences. Technologies such as Winter’s system — engineered to be inexpensive and off-grid as a matter of necessity — may one day end up in rich countries, as fresh water and other resources become increasingly scarce around the world. In other words, the United States also remains competitive by having a hand in the development of innovations abroad. On 27 January, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report recommending more science at USAID. As co-author Michael Clegg says: “We enhance people’s welfare around the world and we gain.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Today, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation announced a $12.5 million investment in cryogenic electron microscopes at five leading research universities throughout the United States. The investment underscores the Foundation’s mission of supporting research breakthroughs in chemistry and the life sciences, and will go toward installing state-of-the-art Cryo-EM instrumentation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Utah and University of Washington School of Medicine, which were selected based on their potential to accelerate fundamental research and discovery already underway. Cryo-EM microscopes have generated excitement in the field of structural biology because of their ability to reveal an unprecedented level of detail of molecules, better enabling scientists to conduct advanced research and address important biological issues. The Foundation is eager to support Cryo-EM initiatives at some of the nation’s foremost research universities and increase scientists’ access to these leading-edge instruments. “The Beckman Foundation recognizes that Cryo-EM has potential to transform the structural biology research community,” explained Dr. Anne Hultgren, Executive Director of the Beckman Foundation. “While the expense can make acquiring this technology via federal grants prohibitive, we as a private foundation are in a unique position to support major infrastructure investments to enable broader deployment of this new tool and increase access for young scientists to this exciting field of study.” The funds will be provided to the universities this spring, allowing for microscope installation by Fall 2018. About the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Located in Irvine, California, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation supports researchers and nonprofit research institutions in making the next generation of breakthroughs in chemistry and the life sciences. Founded in 1977 by 20th century scientific instrumentation pioneer Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, the Foundation supports institutions and young scientists whose creative, high-risk, and interdisciplinary research will lead to innovations and new tools and methods for scientific discovery. For more information, visit http://www.beckman-foundation.org/.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Raisa Ahmad was previously a summer associate with the firm, in which she conducted research and prepared memos for patent litigation cases involving software and security patents, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical devices.  In addition, she has experience preparing claim construction charts, invalidity contentions, and Lanham Act standing memos.  Prior to law school, she was a student engineer and conducted electric-cell substrate impedance sensing analysis for the Center for the Convergence of Physical and Cancer Biology.  Ahmad received her J.D. from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2016 where she was senior articles editor for the Arizona Law Review and received the Dean's Achievement Award Scholarship.  She received her B.S.E., magna cum laude, in biomedical engineering from Arizona State University in 2011.  She is admitted to practice in Texas. Brian Apel practices patent litigation, including post-grant proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  He has worked for clients in the mechanical, electrical, and chemical industries and has experience in pre-suit diligence including opinion work, discovery, damages, summary judgment, and appeals.  Apel also has experience in patent prosecution, employment discrimination, and First Amendment law.  Before law school, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.  Apel received his J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Michigan Law School in 2016 and his B.A., with honors, in chemistry from Northwestern University in 2008.  He is admitted to practice in Minnesota, the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Zoya Kovalenko Brooks focuses her practice on patent litigation, including working on teams for one of the largest high-tech cases in the country pertaining to data transmission and memory allocation technologies.  She was previously a summer associate and law clerk with the firm.  While in law school, she served as a legal extern at The Coca-Cola Company in the IP group.  Prior to attending law school, she was an investigator intern at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she investigated over 20 potential discrimination cases.  Brooks received her J.D., high honors, Order of the Coif, from Emory University School of Law in 2016 where she was articles editor for Emory Law Journal and her B.S., high honors, in applied mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013.  She is admitted to practice in Georgia. Holly Chamberlain focuses on patent prosecution in a variety of areas including the biomedical, mechanical, and electromechanical arts.  She was previously a summer associate with the firm.  She received her J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2016 where she was an editor of Intellectual Property and Technology Forum and her B.S. in biological engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013.  She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Thomas Chisena previously was a summer associate with the firm where he worked on patent, trade secret, and trademark litigation.  Prior to attending law school, he instructed in biology, environmental science, and anatomy & physiology.  Chisena received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2016 where he was executive editor of Penn Intellectual Property Group Online and University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 37.  He also received his Wharton Certificate in Business Management in December 2015.  He received his B.S. in biology from Pennsylvania State University in 2009.  He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Claire Collins was a legal intern for the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office during law school.  She has experience researching and drafting motions and legal memorandums.  Collins received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2016 where she was a Dillard Fellow, her M.A. from Texas A&M University in 2012, and her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 2006.  She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts. Ronald Golden, III previously served as a courtroom deputy to U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark and U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge.  He received his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 2012 where he was on the staff of Widener Law Review and was awarded "Best Overall Competitor" in the American Association for Justice Mock Trial.  He received his B.A. from Stockton University in political science and criminal justice in 2005.  He is admitted to practice in Delaware and New Jersey. Dr. Casey Kraning-Rush was previously a summer associate with the firm, where she focused primarily on patent litigation.  She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2016 where she was managing editor of Penn Intellectual Property Group Online and awarded "Best Advocate" and "Best Appellee Brief" at the Western Regional of the AIPLA Giles Rich Moot Court.  She earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Cornell University in 2013 and has extensive experience researching cellular and molecular medicine.  She received her M.S. in biomedical engineering from Cornell University in 2012 and her B.S., summa cum laude, in chemistry from Butler University in 2008.  She is admitted to practice in Delaware. Alana Mannigé was previously a summer associate with the firm and has worked on patent prosecution, patent litigation, trademark, and trade secret matters.  During law school, she served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  She also worked closely with biotech startup companies as part of her work at the UC Hastings Startup Legal Garage.  Prior to attending law school, Mannigé worked as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2016 where she was senior articles editor of Hastings Science & Technology Law Journal.  She received her M.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 2010 and her B.A., cum laude, in chemistry from Clark University in 2007.  She is admitted to practice in California and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Will Orlady was previously a summer associate with the firm, in which he collaborated to research and brief a matter on appeal to the Federal Circuit.  He also analyzed novel issues related to inter partes review proceedings, drafted memoranda on substantive patent law issues, and crafted infringement contentions.  During law school, Orlady was a research assistant to Professor Kristin Hickman, researching and writing on administrative law.  He received his J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2016 where he was lead articles editor of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology and his B.A. in neuroscience from the University of Southern California in 2012.  He is admitted to practice in Minnesota and the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. Jessica Perry previously was a summer associate and law clerk with the firm, where she worked on patent and trademark litigation.  During law school, she was an IP & licensing analyst, in which she assisted with drafting and tracking material transfer agreement and inter-institutional agreements.  She also worked with the Boston University Civil Litigation Clinic representing pro bono clients with unemployment, social security, housing, and family law matters.  Prior to law school, she was a senior mechanical design engineer for an aerospace company.  She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 2016 where she was articles editor of the Journal of Science and Technology Law, her M.Eng. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2009, and her B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2007.  She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Taufiq Ramji was previously a summer associate with the firm, in which he researched legal issues that related to ongoing litigation and drafted responses to discovery requests and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actions.  Prior to attending law school, Ramji worked as a software developer.  He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2016.  He is admitted to practice in California. Charles Reese has worked on matters before various federal district courts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  His litigation experience includes drafting dispositive, evidentiary, and procedural motions; arguing in federal district court; and participating in other stages of litigation including discovery, appeal, and settlement negotiation.  Previously, he was a summer associate with the firm.  He received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2016 where he was articles editor of Harvard Law Review, his A.M. in organic and organometallic chemistry from Harvard University in 2012, and his B.S., summa cum laude, in chemistry from Furman University in 2010.  He is admitted to practice in Georgia and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Ethan Rubin was previously a summer associate and law clerk with the firm.  During law school, he worked at a corporation's intellectual property department in which he prepared and prosecuted patents relating to data storage systems.  He also worked as a student attorney, advocating for local pro bono clients on various housing and family law matters.  Rubin received his J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School in 2016 where he was articles editor of Boston College Law Review, his M.S. in computer science from Boston University in 2013, and his B.A., magna cum laude, in criminal justice from George Washington University in 2011.  He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Pooya Shoghi focuses on patent prosecution, including portfolio management, application drafting, client counseling, and standard essential patent development.  Prior to joining the firm, he was a patent practitioner at a multinational technology company, where he was responsible for the filing and prosecution of U.S. patent applications.  During law school, he was a legal intern at a major computer networking technology company, where he focused on issues of intellectual property licensing in the software arena.  He received his J.D., with honors, from Emory University School of Law in 2014 where he was executive managing editor of Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review.  He received his B.S., summa cum laude, in computer science (2015) and his B.A., summa cum laude, in political science (2011) from Georgia State University.  He is admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Tucker Terhufen focuses his practice on patent litigation in federal district courts as well as before the International Trade Commission for clients in the medical devices, life sciences, chemical, and electronics industries.  Prior to joining Fish, he served as judicial extern to the Honorable David G. Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and to the Honorable Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He received his J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in 2016 where he was note and comment editor of Arizona State Law Journal and received a Certificate in Law, Science, and Technology with a specialization in Intellectual Property.  He received his B.S.E., summa cum laude, in chemical engineering from Arizona State University.  He is admitted to practice in California. Laura Whitworth was previously a summer associate with the firm.  During law school, she served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Jimmie V. Reyna of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  She received her J.D., cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law in 2016 where she was senior federal circuit editor of American University Law Review and senior patent editor of Intellectual Property Brief.  She received her B.S. in chemistry from the College of William & Mary in 2013.  She is admitted to practice in Virginia, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Jack Wilson was previously a summer associate with the firm.  During law school, he served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Mark Davis of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Prior to attending law school, he served in the United States Army.  He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from William & Mary Law School in 2016 where he was on the editorial staff of William & Mary Law Review and his B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Virginia in 2009.  He is admitted to practice in Virginia and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Fish & Richardson is a global patent prosecution, intellectual property litigation, and commercial litigation law firm with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists in the U.S. and Europe.  Our success is rooted in our creative and inclusive culture, which values the diversity of people, experiences, and perspectives.  Fish is the #1 U.S. patent litigation firm, handling nearly three times as many cases than its nearest competitor; a powerhouse patent prosecution firm; a top-tier trademark and copyright firm; and the #1 firm at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, with more cases than any other firm.  Since 1878, Fish attorneys have been winning cases worth billions in controversy – often by making new law – for the world's most innovative and influential technology leaders.  For more information, visit https://www.fr.com or follow us at @FishRichardson. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fish--richardson-announces-18-recent-associates-300447237.html


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,290 and the total number of foreign associates to 475. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States. Newly elected members and their affiliations at the time of election are: Bates, Frank S.; Regents Professor, department of chemical engineering and materials science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Beilinson, Alexander; David and Mary Winton Green University Professor, department of mathematics, The University of Chicago, Chicago Bell, Stephen P.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, department of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Bhatia, Sangeeta N.; John J. (1929) and Dorothy Wilson Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Buzsáki, György; professor, Neuroscience Institute, departments of physiology and neuroscience, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City Carroll, Dana; distinguished professor, department of biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City Cohen, Judith G.; Kate Van Nuys Page Professor of Astronomy, department of astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Crabtree, Robert H.; Conkey P. Whitehead Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Cronan, John E.; professor and head of microbiology, professor of biochemistry, and Microbiology Alumni Professor, department of microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Cummins, Christopher C.; Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Darensbourg, Marcetta Y.; distinguished professor of chemistry, department of chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station DeVore, Ronald A.; The Walter E. Koss Professor and distinguished professor, department of mathematics, Texas A&M University, College Station Diamond, Douglas W.; Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, The University of Chicago, Chicago Doe, Chris Q.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene Duflo, Esther; Co-founder and co-Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Edwards, Robert Haas; professor of neurology and physiology, University of California, San Francisco Firestone, Mary K.; professor and associate dean of instruction and student affairs, department of environmental science policy and management, University of California, Berkeley Fischhoff, Baruch; Howard Heinz University Professor, department of social and decision sciences and department of engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Ginty, David D.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Glass, Christopher K.; professor of cellular and molecular medicine and professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego Goldman, Yale E.; professor, department of physiology, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia González, Gabriela; spokesperson, LIGO Scientific Collaboration; and professor, department of physics and astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Hagan, John L.; John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law, department of sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Hatten, Mary E.; Frederick P. Rose Professor, laboratory of developmental neurobiology, The Rockefeller University, New York City Hebard, Arthur F.; distinguished professor of physics, department of physics, University of Florida, Gainesville Jensen, Klavs F.; Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Kahn, Barbara B.; vice chair for research strategy and George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Kinder, Donald R.; Philip E. Converse Collegiate Professor of Political Science and Psychology and research scientist, department of political science, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Lazar, Mitchell A.; Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, and director, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia Locksley, Richard M.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of medicine (infectious diseases), and Marion and Herbert Sandler Distinguished Professorship in Asthma Research, University of California, San Francisco Lozano, Guillermina; professor and chair, department of genetics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Mavalvala, Nergis; Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics and associate head, department of physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Moore, Jeffrey Scott; Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Moore, Melissa J.; chief scientific officer, mRNA Research Platform, Moderna Therapeutics, Cambridge, Mass.; and Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Nunnari, Jodi M.; professor, department of molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis O'Farrell, Patrick H.; professor of biochemistry and biophysics, department of biochemistry and biophysics, University of California, San Francisco Ort, Donald R.; research leader and Robert Emerson Professor, USDA/ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, departments of plant biology and crop sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Parker, Gary; professor, department of civil and environmental engineering and department of geology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Patapoutian, Ardem; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of molecular and cellular neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Pellegrini, Claudio; distinguished professor emeritus, department of physics and astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles Pikaard, Craig, S.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; and distinguished professor of biology and molecular and cellular biochemistry, department of biology, Indiana University, Bloomington Read, Nicholas; Henry Ford II Professor of Physics and professor of applied physics and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Roediger, Henry L.; James S. McDonnell Distinguished and University Professor of Psychology, department of psychology and brain sciences, Washington University, St. Louis Rosenzweig, Amy C.; Weinberg Family Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences, and professor, departments of molecular biosciences and of chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Seto, Karen C.; professor, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, Conn. Seyfarth, Robert M.; professor of psychology and member of the graduate groups in anthropology and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Sibley, L. David; Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor in Molecular Microbiology, department of molecular microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Spielman, Daniel A.; Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, departments of computer science and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Sudan, Madhu; Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Tishkoff, Sarah; David and Lyn Silfen University Professor, departments of genetics and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Van Essen, David C.; Alumni Professor of Neurobiology, department of anatomy and neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Vidale, John E.; professor, department of earth and space sciences, University of Washington, Seattle Wennberg, Paul O.; R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Wilson, Rachel I.; Martin Family Professor of Basic Research in the Field of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Zachos, James C.; professor, department of earth and planetary sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Newly elected foreign associates, their affiliations at the time of election, and their country of citizenship are: Addadi, Lia; professor and Dorothy and Patrick E. Gorman Chair of Biological Ultrastructure, department of structural science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (Israel/Italy) Folke, Carl; director and professor, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden (Sweden) Freeman, Kenneth C.; Duffield Professor of Astronomy, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Weston Creek (Australia) Lee, Sang Yup; distinguished professor, dean, and director, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea (South Korea) Levitzki, Alexander; professor of biochemistry, unit of cellular signaling, department of biological chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Israel) Peiris, Joseph Sriyal Malik; Tam Wah-Ching Professorship in Medical Science, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China (Sri Lanka) Robinson, Carol Vivien; Dr. Lee's Professor of Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, England (United Kingdom) Thesleff, Irma; academician of science, professor, and research director, developmental biology program, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki (Finland) Underdal, Arild; professor of political science, department of political science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (Norway) The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine -- provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

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