The Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University
News Article | May 10, 2017
Covenant Retirement Communities (CRC), a non-profit faith-based senior living organization headquartered in Skokie, announces the addition of Jody Holt as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Janine Wilson as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Jody Holt, a certified public accountant, brings more than 28 years of experience in both the public and private sectors and will work closely with CRC leadership on major strategic and operational issues while providing oversight on all financial and planning functions. Holt comes to CRC after serving as CFO for a leading global provider of high speed internet. In addition, she has served on the CRC board of directors. She holds a BS in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University. Janine Wilson brings more than 30 years of experience in operations, change management and resource development. As COO, she will oversee campus operations on CRC’s 12 senior living communities across the country, along with Lean Six Sigma, risk management and purchasing. She is a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma, a certified public accountant and certified project manager. Wilson has an MBA in strategic planning and a BS in business and engineering from the University of Toledo. “With the addition of Jody and Janine to the leadership team at CRC, we are poised to continue providing our 5,000 residents and 3,000 team members with solid operational excellence,” said Terri Cunliffe, CRC president. “Their breadth and depth of knowledge helps to round out our team as we provide day-to-day operations and strategically plan for the future with fiscal responsibility as a key focus.” ABOUT COVENANT RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES Chicago-based Covenant Retirement Communities (CRC) is the nation’s sixth largest, non-profit, senior services provider. It serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities in 10 states and offers independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, and rehabilitation. Through CRC’s LifeConnect® Wellness Partnership, residents can access resources and opportunities that are designed to enrich the mind, body, and spirit and complement each person’s unique journey. CRC is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church and has been serving seniors since 1886. For more information, visit http://www.covenantretirement.org, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
News Article | May 11, 2017
Electric vehicles have long been a promising option for sustainable transportation. They come with practical headaches like expensive, bulky batteries that often need recharging, however. Israel is tackling those hurdles by investing in roads that power electric buses—as they ride down the street. The government is collaborating with Israeli start-up ElectRoad to install a public bus route in Tel Aviv, using an under-the-pavement wireless technology that eliminates the need for plug-in recharging stations. Although still in its infancy, the technology could clear the three biggest hurdles—cost, weight and range—that have held back the widespread adoption of battery-powered vehicles for more than a century. First, though, ElectRoad will have to demonstrate that its “inductive charging” technology can be scaled up cheaply enough to be adopted on roadways worldwide. “It’s exciting because it’s charging without wires,” says Tim Cleary, director of BATTERY, an energy-storage research laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University, who is not involved in the project. “But unless it’s affordable and cost-effective it’s not going to take off.” ElectRoad is betting it will. Wireless charging means the electric buses can carry a light, inexpensive battery instead of a bulky, costly one—and never have to stop for recharging. And once a roadway is outfitted with the technology, it can continuously power properly equipped vehicles. “You only need to pave for the infrastructure one time, and that’s it. You can use it for all kinds of vehicles, so that’s a big advantage,” says Oren Ezer, chief executive and co-founder of the four-year-old company. So far, the firm’s only proving ground has been an 80-foot test route at its headquarters in Caesarea. But the technology performed well enough for the company to win a $120,000 grant from Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety and approval to outfit a portion of a Tel Aviv bus route with their technology, says Shay Soffer, chief scientist at the ministry. The route will be around half a mile long and is slated to open in 2018. If all goes well, the government plans to deploy the technology more widely, starting with an 11-mile shuttle between the city of Eilat and the Ramon International Airport. “Tel Aviv is the biggest city [in Israel], like New York on a small scale. If it will work in Tel Aviv, it will work anywhere,” Soffer says.“I think in 10 years you’ll see a lot of solutions like ElectRoad in our transportation.” ElectRoad’s Ezer declined to give the price of the Tel Aviv project but says the total cost of construction will be shared by the transport ministry, the city and the company. The cost per kilometer of roadway will be a crucial factor in future years as the company attempts to scale up. Israel joins a growing number of nations exploring the technology. South Korea, for example, already has several wireless bus routes around the country. The European Union is studying the feasibility of widespread wireless charging, too. ElectRoad’s technology is different, Ezer says, because the transformers are less expensive and the installation process is faster and more efficient. Inductive charging has been around since the 1890s, when inventor Nicola Tesla first discovered he could wirelessly power lightbulbs. Since then it has been used in an array of devices ranging from phones to toothbrushes—but only recently on the scale of a 13-ton bus. The buses are charged and propelled by power from the interaction of two electromagnetic fields. Inverters installed along the side of the road provide power to plates of copper embedded in the road. Similar copper plates are installed on the bus’s underside. As the vehicle passes over the charged roadway, the two fields interact and generate power. ElectRoad says it can install the technology in an existing road with minimal disruption, using two tractors that can fully equip one kilometer of roadway in a single night. Each bus still needs a small onboard battery for a couple of reasons: The first is to accelerate, because the jolt of energy required to propel a stationary bus is far more than the energy it needs to coast down the street. The second is to provide power on short stretches of road that are not fitted with the technology. ElectRoad’s buses can travel off the charging road for about three miles. The biggest advantages of wireless charging are that it allows for significantly smaller batteries or the ability to travel longer distances with a larger battery. Both are convenient, says Burak Ozpineci, who works on wireless technologies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. However, the cost of the infrastructure and materials, especially copper, will likely be expensive, he says. Currently, the metal costs about $2.60 per pound. In addition to costing more, wireless power might not be as straightforward as simply plugging into a socket—the bus could stray from the main strip, becoming misaligned and delivering less power, according to Penn State’s Cleary. In addition, the advantages of ElectRoad’s technology may become less important as electric vehicle batteries get cheaper, lighter and more efficient. Breakthroughs in engineering and chemistry have made batteries much more cost-efficient over the past 15 years, says Dustin Grace, director of battery engineering at Proterra, an electric bus company. A few years ago a typical electric vehicle battery cost about $1,000 per kilowatt hour. But now many companies are down to $200 to $300 per kilowatt hour, and a few, including Tesla, General Motors and Nissan, are even lower, according to Grace. “I’m in the camp where I see the cost of lithium ions and energy storage just plummeting,” Grace says. “What these auto manufacturers are finding when they’re getting into the $100-to-$200-per-kilowatt-hour range is these vehicles are really on parity with other vehicles. They’re no longer looking at batteries as this challenge that has to be solved.” Ezer acknowledges battery prices are falling but emphasizes ElectRoad’s solution is not for individual vehicles but for all-encompassing infrastructure that can eventually serve entire cities. That’s where the savings are, he says. And remember that small, light battery onboard? It is only used about 6 percent of the time the vehicle is running, and thus can last as long as 25 years, Ezer asserts. By contrast, conventional batteries in electric buses, like those made by Proterra, last around six years. Despite the challenges of scaling up, ElectRoad is optimistic about the growing synergies between its vehicles and electric grids that are transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, instead of fossil fuels. Eventually, the company even hopes to make wireless charging a two-way street: not only from road to bus but vice versa with the energy generated from braking, according to Ezer. And down the road, the start-up’s dreams are even bigger, Ezer says. “We plan to start with buses, of course, but we believe in revolutionizing the entirety of transportation.”
News Article | May 10, 2017
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HealthCare Royalty Partners (“HCR”), a global healthcare investment firm, today announced the appointment of life sciences industry veteran Julie McHugh to the firm’s Strategic Advisory Board. “ Julie has vast experience as a pharmaceutical executive, spanning from large multinational pharmaceutical companies to smaller venture backed companies. Julie’s insights and expertise in the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products will be invaluable in assisting our team’s evaluation of potential investments,” said Clarke B. Futch, Managing Partner at HCR. Ms. McHugh spent over a decade at Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) in various positions, including as Company Group Chairman, Global Virology Business Unit and as President of the Centocor division of J&J. More recently, Ms. McHugh served as the Chief Operating Officer of Endo Health Solutions and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Nora Therapeutics. Prior to Centocor, Ms. McHugh worked at Astra Merck and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals, after beginning her career at Smithkline. Ms. McHugh received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration in International Management from Saint Joseph’s University. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of New Xellia Group A/S, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Trevena, Inc., Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. Ms. McHugh is also a member of The Penn State Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors. “ I have been thoroughly impressed with the intellect and diligence capabilities of the team at HCR. I look forward to working with HCR as they seek to provide bespoke, non-dilutive financing to innovative companies that provide medically necessary products to patients around the world,” commented Ms. McHugh. HCR is a private investment firm that purchases royalties and uses debt-like structures to invest in commercial or near-commercial stage life science assets. HCR has $3.5 billion in cumulative capital commitments with offices in Stamford (CT), San Francisco, and Boston. Since 2003, HCR's senior professionals have completed more than 60 healthcare investments. For more information, visit www.healthcareroyalty.com.
News Article | May 11, 2017
Optomec, which makes additive manufacturing (AM) systems for 3D printed metals and 3D printed electronics, says that the results of a three-year study have validated the repeatability and transferability of its LENS metal additive manufacturing process. The study was performed on different LENS metal additive manufacturing systems at different locations using the same processing parameters and the printing results from each LENS system were consistent and repeatable, exhibiting tensile and fatigue properties equal to or better than wrought Titanium Ti-6-4 material, Optomec says. The ability to achieve repeatable machine to machine high quality printing results addresses current challenges faced by the U.S. Air Force, and provides a framework for the future adoption of metal additive manufacturing for repair and remanufacturing throughout the aircraft industry. The study, sponsored by AM institute America Makes, included participation by industry leaders GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Research Center and Rolls-Royce, as well as a group of technical experts serving as lead contributors, including Edison Welding Institute (EWI), Connecticut Center of Advanced Technology (CCAT), University of Connecticut, TechSolve, The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Lab (ARL) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation. The scope of the study evaluated over 200 process elements and corresponding results spanning the metal additive manufacturing process, from powder optimization, process development, process monitoring and controls, part measurement, non-destructive testing and post processing. According to Optomec, it demonstrated the benefits of LENS powder-fed directed energy deposition technology over traditional welding techniques for the repair and remanufacturing of aerospace components. ‘This effort has set a foundation the industry can build on to implement LENS processing for sustainment, as well as new production,’ said Henry Phelps, senior staff engineer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. ‘It established a set of feedstock requirements and build parameters for aerospace component repairs, as well as identifying areas for future capability enhancement.’ ‘This study is significant in that it reinforces the LENS additive manufacturing process as a viable alternative to conventional repair and remanufacturing methods,’ added Tom McDonald, Optomec program manager for the project. ‘This development sets the stage to significantly reduce the cost and cycle time of returning critical aerospace assets into service to support military and commercial applications.’ This story is reprinted from material from Optomec, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.
News Article | April 18, 2017
Gird your gourds. A deadly bacterium transmitted via beetle poop is threatening bright blossoms and bulbous vegetables in the U.S. By the time yellowing leaves and signs of wilting become apparent it is already too late. At that point infected pumpkins, melons, cucumbers or squash plants can only be isolated in hope of minimizing the damage. Crop yield losses can be as high as 80 percent. The killer, a bacterium called Erwinia tracheiphila, was first described in scientific literature some 120 years ago when it was reported in cucumber, melon and winter squash fields in Michigan. But now the increasing acreage of these plants, along with the practice of sowing more fields with one or a few crops—rather than a wide variety—appear to have helped the microbe gain traction. It is currently being blamed for tens of millions of dollars in losses each year. “To be honest, it’s in every field I go to in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, unless the plants are completely doused in pesticides,” says Lori Shapiro, an evolutionary ecologist who researches the involved bacterium at North Carolina State and Harvard universities. These virulent microbes have also taken out gourds and melons across Kentucky and Iowa. Agricultural experts remain concerned the bacterium might creep into new areas like the southeastern or southwestern U.S. as well as Mexico—and wonder if it already has. Such hazards are rekindling interest in studying this killer bacterium. And recent discoveries by Shapiro and colleagues are providing fresh insights into how these microbes hijack their hosts and manipulate insect behavior to help E. tracheiphila proliferate. Armed with this information, farmers and researchers hope they might be able to develop some new weapons against this stealthy scourge. In many ways the microbe’s rise is an exquisite evolutionary feat. These pernicious pests catch a ride to gourds and other hosts such as cantaloupe and honeydew melon, courtesy of beetle excrement. When beetles nibble on leaves and then deposit their feces there, the bacteria jump from poop to plant. They enter their victim via the fresh, bite-induced wounds produced by their grazing hosts. Then they hole up inside the plant’s veins, multiplying and forming a slimy mass that obstructs water from moving through its vasculature. The blockage desiccates and kills the gourd—much in the same way a blockage in a human vein might lead to heart failure or coronary heart disease, Shapiro explains. “If our arteries are clogged by plaque and blood can’t get through, you may die. Similarly, the xylem (veins) are blocked here so that the plant collapses and dies—although the time scales are a bit different. In both cases the vasculature no longer works.” The obstruction leaves the plants with an unquenchable thirst. No matter how much water a farmer might provide, once the bacteria have a foothold it will never be enough, says Mark Gleason, a plant pathologist at Iowa State University. “It’s pretty much a death sentence. No water can flow. Sometimes they recover at night and look better, but that’s just an intermediate stage,” he says. The victim will be dead within about two weeks, depending on the temperature. Right now, options to stop these microbial attackers are few: The bacteria do not survive on plant surfaces, so they cannot be targeted there. The only consistent defense is attacking the beetle carriers—preemptively applying neonicotinoid pesticides to plants to prevent beetles from feeding on them and depositing the bacteria. The catch is that these bug killers have also been shown to harm the bees that would otherwise help pollinate those same plants, says Andrew Stephenson, an evolutionary ecologist at The Pennsylvania State University. Using pesticides in a way that minimizes damage to bees remains challenging, Stephenson notes. Moreover, regularly applying such chemicals can be expensive—and is obviously not an option for organic farmers. (Many organic farmers use row covers to physically separate beetles from plants, but that is an expensive and cumbersome solution.) With pesticides, “I would say we are using a sledgehammer to defeat a fly, and we need something a bit more attuned and effective,” Gleason agrees. Bee harm is also at the heart of a current debate at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about restricting pesticide use during plant flowering to avoid inadvertently killing pollinators. The issue has fomented risk assessments along with some limited new policies, but environmental groups are hoping for more controls. “It seems unlikely that [such] regulation will be enacted in the next couple of years, but if it ever is, that would likely mean that chemical pesticides would be useless for controlling vector populations,” ecologist Shapiro says. In their search for solutions Shapiro and colleagues have in recent years turned to E. tracheiphila’s genome and the ways the bacterium influences beetle behavior. The researchers have already uncovered some surprising insights. In September 2012 Shapiro and researchers at Penn State found beetles actually preferred to sup on plants already infected with the bacterium. They discovered infected plants give off volatile compounds that apparently smell delicious to the bugs—attracting them to feed and forcing the plant to become a party to its own demise. The microbe has other tricks, too. To help ensure the beetles will stay, dine and deposit feces, the bacterium also degrades its host’s natural defenses—making the plant even more alluring for still more beetles. Infected gourds and melons apparently produce less of a gummy sap that would otherwise leave a beetle’s mouth feeling too sticky to keep eating. Scientists are unsure why there is less of the sticky stuff in infected plants, but one leading hypothesis is that the reduced water flow reduces that syrupy supply. Beyond breaking down beetle behavior, Shapiro and colleagues are also scouring the E. tracheiphila genome, looking for virulence genes that have helped make the microbe a better killer. Her team published findings last year that suggest the bacterium has only recently started consistently preying upon these crops. Writing in Genome Biology and Evolution, they pointed to the fact that more than 20 percent of the pathogen’s genome is composed of nonfunctioning genes—pseudogenes that do not appear to be doing important work. This suggests the microbe’s focus on these plants must have been relatively recent on the evolutionary scale because those nonfunctional genes would likely have been eliminated as negative pressure pushed them out over time, the authors wrote. The team hypothesizes the leap to these crops from a different ecological niche—and subsequent genomic changes—may have been influenced by the large-scale single-crop farming practices that have proliferated across the U.S. That, in combination with beetles being easily able to flit from one plant to its neighbor, may have lit the match for this threat, they suggest. But what can be done? One path may be trying to identify resistance genes, Gleason says. Researchers do not know why the blight has apparently not spread to (or at least not been detected) in Texas or California, even though there are available crops and possible bug carriers in those states. These factors suggest there may be some genetic resistance or other factors about potential beetle carriers that could be explored. For now, however, Shapiro and colleagues have put out a call to citizen scientists and farmers, asking them to send in sick gourd and melon plants (those that do not rebound after watering). More widespread E. tracheiphila samples, they hope, will allow them to better understand the full range of this bacterium and launch further genomic studies. Perhaps then, we can better prepare pumpkins and other plants for future attacks.
News Article | April 24, 2017
April 24, 2017 -- In newly updated clinical guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and other institutions in the U.S. and Canada, analyzed which integrative treatments are most effective and safe for patients with breast cancer. This systematic review adds to the growing literature on integrative therapies for patients with breast cancer and other cancer populations. The latest results are published online and in print in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a publication of the American Cancer Society. The researchers evaluated more than 80 different therapies and developed grades of evidence. Based on those findings, the Society for Integrative Oncology makes the following recommendations: "Studies show that up to 80 percent of people with a history of cancer use one or more complementary and integrative therapies, but until recently, evidence supporting the use of many of these therapies had been limited," said Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and past president of SIO. "Our goal is to provide clinicians and patients with practical information and tools to make informed decisions on whether and how to use a specific integrative therapy for a specific clinical application during and after breast cancer treatment," Greenlee continues. In their systematic evaluation of peer-reviewed randomized clinical trials, the researchers assigned letter grades to therapies based on the strength of evidence. A letter grade of "A" indicates that a specific therapy is recommended for a particular clinical indication, and there is high certainty of substantial benefit for the patient. Meditation had the strongest evidence supporting its use, and is recommended for reducing anxiety, treating symptoms of depression, and improving quality of life, based on results from five trials. Music therapy, yoga, and massage received a B grade for the same symptoms, as well as for providing benefits to breast cancer patients. Yoga received a B grade for improving quality of life based on two recent trials. Yoga and hypnosis received a C for fatigue. "The routine use of yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, and passive music therapy to address common mental health concerns among patients with breast cancer is supported by high levels of evidence," said Debu Tripathy, MD, chair of Breast Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a past president of SIO. "Given the indication of benefit coupled with the relatively low level of risk, , these therapies can be offered as a routine part of patient care, especially when symptoms are not well controlled." Acupressure and acupuncture received a B grade as an addition to drugs used for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In general, there was a lack of strong evidence supporting the use of ingested dietary supplements and botanical natural products as part of supportive cancer care and to manage treatment-related side effects. "Clinicians and patients need to be cautious about using therapies that received a grade of C or D and fully understand the potential risks of not using a conventional therapy that may effectively treat cancer or help manage side effects associated with cancer treatment," warned Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD, associate professor, College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Winnipeg, Canada, and president-elect of SIO. "Patients are using many forms of integrative therapies with little or no supporting evidence and that remain understudied," noted Dr. Greenlee. "This paper serves as a call for further research to support patients and healthcare providers in making more informed decisions that achieve meaningful clinical results and avoid harm." Additional co-authors: Melissa J. DuPont-Reyes, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Linda Carlson, Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; Misha Cohen, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at California Institute of Integral Studies, and Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, San Francisco; Gary Deng, Integrative Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Jillian A. Johnson, Department of Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Matthew Mumber, Department of Radiation Oncology,Harbin Clinic, Rome, GA; Dugald Seely, Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center, Ottawa, ON, and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, ON; Suzanna M. Zick, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, and Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Lindsay M. Boyce, Memorial Sloan Kettering Library, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City. Founded in 1922, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers including ICAP (formerly the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs) and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit http://www. .
News Article | February 20, 2017
Researchers developing technologies to improve therapeutic success among radiotherapy patients, prevent chest wall collapses in pre-term infants with respiratory distress, and assist surgeons with pre-operative planning for femur fracture alignments will receive a total of $600,000 in funding through the ninth round of the University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program. The program, started in 2009, funds novel university technologies with market potential, bridging the gap between academic research and product commercialization. The awardees were selected from a pool of 64 applicants from 15 academic and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The QED grants will support researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, Rowan University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Each team will receive $200,000; half of which will be contributed by the Science Center and half by the researchers’ institutions. Each project will also receive guidance from the Science Center’s experienced team of Business Advisors. Mohammad Abedin-Nasab, Ph.D. of Rowan University is improving patient outcomes with Robossis™, a robotic surgery device designed to assist surgeons with pre-operative planning and alignment of long bone fractures, leading to faster surgeries. David Cormode, D.Phil., M.Chem. of the University of Pennsylvania is revolutionizing cancer treatment options with a biodegradable gold nanoparticle-based technology that increases radiation absorption in tumors, creating improved therapeutic efficacy in cancer. Charles Palmer, MB, ChB, FCP, FAAP of Penn State College of Medicine is transforming neonatal care though a noninvasive assisted breathing device for pre-term infants with respiratory distress that uses negative pressure to prevent chest wall collapse. “Now in its ninth year, the QED program continues to highlight the treasure trove of technologies at our region’s universities. But as last year’s study into the impact of QED shows, the program’s value lies in its people,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “QED matches some of our region’s most accomplished scientists with Business Advisors and industry and investor professionals. This carefully facilitated connectivity and awareness among academic, entrepreneurial, and investor communities leads to more collaboration, research and commercialization throughout the region.” “The quality of proposals and teams coming through the QED program is a testament to the robust research coming out of Greater Philadelphia’s academic institutions” says QED Selection Team member, Jeannie Rojas, Ph.D., MBA, Portfolio Leader at Johnson & Johnson. “The powerful combination of innovative researchers matched with QED Business Advisors is bridging the gap between academic research and product commercialization – all with the potential to positively impact the region and the world.” Since the program’s inception in 2009, QED has screened 539 proposals from 21 participating academic and research institutions. Of the technologies screened, 105 projects have been accepted into the competitive program and paired with scientists and industry professionals. QED has awarded a total of $5.45 million to 31 projects, primarily in the therapeutic/biologic, device/diagnostic, and digital health sectors. Of these 31 projects, eight technologies have been licensed, while five have gone on to form startup companies. Projects awarded funding by the QED program have raised over $19 million in follow-on funding. A study of the impact of the program was completed by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia in 2016. QED has received support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, William Penn Foundation, and Wexford Science and Technology. About the Science Center Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, go to http://www.sciencecenter.org About the QED Program The QED Program was launched in April 2009. A common participation agreement that defines matching funds, indirect costs, and intellectual property management, has been signed by 21 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Delaware State University, Drexel University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Lehigh University, Monell Chemical Senses Center, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Widener University, and The Wistar Institute.
News Article | February 15, 2017
SAE International will honor two NASCAR safety experts with the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award. John Patalak, Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research and Development; and Tom Gideon, recently retired Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research Development and Safety, will be honored for their SAE International technical paper, “Development and Implementation of a Quasi-Static Test for Seat Integrated Seat Belt Restraint System Anchorages” (2015-01-0739). The two will receive their awards during the SAE 2017 Government/Industry Meeting, Jan. 25-27, in Washington, D.C. Patalak’s work at NASCAR includes researching, developing and approving driver and vehicle safety systems and investigating vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection issues. Prior to NASCAR, he worked for an engineering consulting firm specializing in vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection. A licensed Professional Engineer, Patalak graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and is currently a graduate student concentrating in biomechanics at the Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Gideon retired as Senior Director of Safety from NASCAR in 2016. Gideon joined NASCAR in 2009 as Director-Safety R&D; before that, he served as Safety Manager for GM Racing with General Motors. Gideon is a Professional Engineer with a BSME from The Ohio State University. He is the author/co-author of several SAE International papers on driver’s safety, and is also a Board Member of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences (ICMS). The SAE 2017 Go vernment/Industry Meeting provides a ttendees with the opportunity to connect directly with the key players driving advanced automotive, fuels technology and pending legislation. For the most up-to-date information about sessions, special events, and more, please visit the SAE 2017 Government/Industry Meeting website at http://www.sae.org/gim. SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.
News Article | February 22, 2017
In 1896 archaeologists excavating Pueblo Bonito, a 650-room, multistory brick edifice in northwestern New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, found the remains of 14 people in a burial crypt. Necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry made up of thousands of turquoise and shell beads accompanied the bones. The artifacts signaled that these individuals were elite members of the ancient Chaco society, one of the most important civilizations in the American Southwest. The excavations at Pueblo Bonito revealed the splendors of Chaco culture, which flourished between about A.D. 800 and 1250. The ancient Chacoans constructed at least a dozen great houses like Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon during its heyday, and dozens of other Chacoan settlements thrived in what is today the Four Corners region where the borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet. Soon after the excavations ended, archaeologists whisked these human remains off to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, where most of them have resided ever since. Every so often researchers take the skulls out of their cardboard storage boxes on the museum’s 5th floor and remove the rest of the bones from wooden drawers lining a nearby hallway, laying them out on long tables to study them. They want to know how these people were related to one another and what this elite group might say about how Chaco society was organized. But they have had only limited clues. Continuing excavations at Chaco over the years have suggested that most people lived in smaller adobe residences surrounding the great houses, leading the majority of archaeologists to conclude Chaco society was hierarchically structured: Elite groups had dominion over cultural, religious and political life and enjoyed special privileges. Now an analysis of DNA from the Pueblo Bonito remains is providing intimate new details about these elite groups and who belonged to them. In a paper published online this week in Nature Communications researchers report the remains belonged to a single maternal line—what the team calls a matrilineal “dynasty”—that lasted for centuries. Other scientists hailed the research as a technical tour de force that helps fulfill the promise of ancient DNA to reveal the lives of ancient peoples. But not everyone agrees with the team’s conclusions, and some experts have criticized their decision not to consult with indigenous groups before going ahead with the research. Archaeologists Douglas Kennett at The Pennsylvania State University, Stephen Plog of the University of Virginia and their colleagues took a multipronged approach to studying the Pueblo Bonito remains. They first obtained direct radiocarbon dates from 11 of the burials, which ranged from between A.D. 800 and 850 for the earliest to about 1130 for the latest. The dates established that the burials spanned a period of some 330 years. Next the team extracted so-called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the remains. Mitochondria are tiny subcellular bodies that serve as the power plants for living cells, and their DNA is only inherited via the mother. The researchers were able to sequence an average of 98 percent of the mtDNA from nine individuals spanning the entire 330-year chronological sequence. Remarkably, all nine sequences were identical, meaning that each generation descended from the same original maternal ancestor. Finally, in an effort to tease out specific family relationships, the team sequenced nuclear DNA—which is inherited from both the mother and father—from six of the burials. These sequences suggested that at least two pairs of individuals were very closely related and probably represented a mother–daughter and grandmother–grandson relationship. The authors argue this elite group, in which power and influence flowed from mothers to their children, ruled at Pueblo Bonito from the earliest days of its founding around A.D. 800. Plog says the group’s clout probably stemmed from its control of ritual practices at Pueblo Bonito, as evidence by the discovery of objects such as carved wooden flutes and ceremonial staffs in the burial crypt. The study provides “impressively high resolution” of these matrilineal family ties, says Johannes Krause, a paleogeneticist at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany. Jennifer Raff, an anthropologist at the University of Kansas, agrees. “Paleogenomics approaches like this one can give us insights into the lives of ancient peoples on a scale never before possible.” Neither were involved with the study. The team’s interpretation of the genetic results makes sense to a number of outside researchers. “This indicates that hereditary leadership was present at the time of Pueblo Bonito’s founding” rather than gradually developing later as some earlier studies had suggested, says Jill Neitzel, an archaeologist at the University of Delaware. “The data show a group of related women, and some men, who can be argued to have been the persistent leaders of Pueblo Bonito for more than 300 years,” says Paul Reed, an archaeologist with Tucson, Ariz.–based Archaeology Southwest. “This research provides some of the most important information about Chaco in many decades,” says Paul Minnis, an anthropologist at the University of Oklahoma. “While most every scholar recognizes that Chaco was centrally organized, the nature of that organization has remained maddeningly opaque.” Yet Minnis and others question whether the team is right to call this elite group a dynasty, a term that usually refers to kings and queens who exercise sole rule over vast territories and populations. The Pueblo Bonito group “was clearly an important one,” says Barbara Mills, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “But was it the only one?” In her view the findings do not prove their power and influence stretched beyond Pueblo Bonito itself, to include all of Chaco Canyon or even the wider “Chaco world.” Nevertheless, the authors argue their results may resolve another longstanding question. Today’s Pueblo peoples claim, on fairly firm archaeological grounds, to be the direct descendants of the Chacoans; so do the Navajo, on whose land Chaco Canyon now sits. In many modern Pueblo groups, including the Hopi and Zuni of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively, descent and inheritance are determined by one’s membership in a maternal clan. (A similar arrangement prevails among Orthodox and some Conservative Jews, for whom Jewish identity depends on having a Jewish mother.) Did they inherit this arrangement from their ancient Chacoan ancestors? Or, as archaeologist John Ware of the Amerind Foundation in Arizona has argued, did early kinship ties in Chaco society give way to rule by so-called “sodalities” based on shared ritual knowledge and practices, such as priests and brotherhoods, in which case some modern Pueblos may have developed their matrilineal organization independently? Kennett, Plog and their colleagues argue their findings support the hypothesis of direct continuity between Chacoan matrilines and those of many Pueblo groups today. Even as the work lends new support to the affinities between modern indigenous groups and ancient Chacoans, the researchers’ efforts have landed them in a minefield of research ethics. In 1990 Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which dictates human remains and other artifacts found on federal or tribal lands must be repatriated to tribal groups if they can successfully establish a direct cultural relationship to them. In some instances such as the famed controversy over the 8,500-year-old Kennewick Man from Washington State, Native Americans and researchers have fought bitterly over who had right of possession. In the case of the Chaco remains the AMNH decided the NAGPRA did not apply, meaning the researchers were not legally required to get approval from the tribes before conducting research on the remains. In a statement approved by the paper’s 14 authors, the team said that in deciding to not consult the tribes, it relied on the AMNH’s determination that “the cultural complexity of the region made it impossible to establish a clear ancestor–descendant relationship with specific modern communities based on existing data.” The AMNH, in a separate statement, said “the research had considerable scientific merit with little impact on the artifacts and human remains,” adding that it had contacted “potentially affiliated tribes” during the late 1990s but that “none came forward to claim affiliation.” But that decision does not sit well with some critics. “Despite the fact the authors’ work was technically legal, the ethics here are questionable,” says Chaco researcher Ruth Van Dyke of Binghamton University in New York State. “Studies using ancient indigenous DNA should not be done without tribal consultation.” Rebecca Tsosie, a law professor of Native American descent at the University of Arizona who specializes in tribal and U.S. Indian law, agrees. “I am dismayed that there was not an effort to engage contemporary tribal leaders prior to undertaking and publishing this study,” Tsosie says, adding that the research is a “prime example” of “a study by cultural outsiders to dictate the truth of the history and structure of governance of the cultural insiders, Pueblo Indian nations.” Team member George Perry, an ancient DNA expert at Penn State, says that whereas the researchers did not formally consult with tribal leaders nor seek their approval to carry out the study beforehand, he is now “working diligently to engage with multiple groups in the Southwest” to “present and discuss the results of the research.” Getting the blessing of indigenous groups may be key to further research because there are other burials at Pueblo Bonito and other Chacoan sites yet to be studied. Moreover, some archaeologists say, some indigenous people might eventually opt to have their own DNA sequenced to see how closely related they might be to ancient Chacoan ancestors—a step taken by at least one Washington State tribal group that turned out to have a close genetic affiliation with Kennewick Man. In that example the scientific evidence backed up tribal arguments for repatriation of what they call “The Ancient One,” and its remains were reinterred by Northwest tribes on February 18 in a secret location. Some archaeologists are hoping the new study will be just a first step toward a fuller and more detailed understanding of how the ancient Chacoans lived. “How this matriline functioned in the ritual, social and political life of the Chacoans demands more research,” Minnis says. Until other burials can be studied, “we cannot answer the question as to whether the Pueblo Bonito matriline was recognized only by that community or by Chaco as a whole.”
News Article | March 1, 2017
Organic farmers have to make hard choices between protecting soil from erosion and controlling weeds. For example, large-scale organic farming relies heavily on tillage. Tilling breaks up the soil to kill weeds and prepare for planting. But intense tillage can compact soil, cause erosion, and deplete nutrients. As a result, some organic farmers are turning to cover crops for weed control. Cover crops are planted after harvest as an in-between crop. Cover crops improve the soil with living roots that protect it from erosion and add nutrients. Cover crops are usually plowed down, but another option is flattening the cover crop to form a thick carpet, or mat. They do this with a roller crimper--a heavy, rolling drum attached to a tractor. The farmer then uses a no-till planter to plant seeds into the flattened mat for the next season. The new crop grows through the cover crop residue, which helps suppress weeds. This method--called cover crop-based organic rotational no-till--allows farmers to skip spring tillage and weeding. By simply flattening a cover crop, farmers don't have to disturb the soil for a new crop. The flattened cover crop suppresses weeds and retains soil moisture. However, like many farming practices, this method has trade-offs. For example, if you flatten it too late, the cover crop might produce seeds. The result is a volunteer, or weedy, cover crop competing with next season's cash crop. And if you flatten the cover crop too early, it may regrow. It's all in the timing, says crop scientist Clair Keene. Keene is a researcher at The Pennsylvania State University. Keene and her colleagues wanted to find that perfect timing. So they planted an experiment in three different states: Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. For three years, they planted cover crops like hairy vetch-triticale and cereal rye, followed by cash crops like corn and soybeans. The researchers flattened the cover crops at different stages of growth to find the right combination. Was it possible to have a cover crop that was big enough to suppress weeds, but not too big that it produced seeds? They found that generally, letting the cover crop grow longer produces the best, if not perfect, results. "There's always trade-offs," said Keene. "A bigger cover crop is better at suppressing weeds as a mulch, but that comes with the cost of letting that crop grow longer, restricting the growing season for the corn or soybean." Farmers want to plant their cash crop as early as possible, especially in northern states. If the cover crop is too small to be flattened, then they have to till it under, which defeats the purpose of improving soil quality. But if a cover crop reigns in a field for too long, it might start to produce seeds. Every cover crop is a little different. For instance, the group found that cereal rye needs to be rolled in the middle of grain fill so that it doesn't produce seed and show up when it isn't wanted. And although hairy vetch is great at adding nitrogen to the soil, it can survive the roller crimper and compete with cash crops. The researchers also found rolling the cover crops twice instead of once helped ensure the cover crops were killed. Despite the tricky timing, Keene says rolling cover crops to form a mat has a lot of potential. Without it, "you'd have to plow the field multiple times, harrow it, plant it, and do a lot of weeding," she warns. "That's a lot of time in the tractor and a lot of diesel fuel." Read the full results of their experiment in Agronomy Journal. Funding for the reduced-tillage organic systems experiment was provided by USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative.