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News Article | November 18, 2015
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Governments worldwide hire artists to imagine how we may communicate in thousands of years—to help governments produce and post, today, signs that will warn our future selves about our buried plutonium piles, which have stunning half-lives of 20,000 years. The United Nations set up an entire creative department that officially spends its time conjuring up potential E.T.’s, so we will know what to say to them, should they ever materialize. The above appear to be plots of silly science fiction films. But they are very serious—and true— government endeavors that have become the subjects of recent science/art documentaries. They provide evidence that art and science are not just high-powered fraternal twins, dependent like no other fields of endeavor on a shared creativity, a shared ability to see beyond the field of vision. Science and art also need each other. This was the “theme behind the themes” of many films –including the above Containment co-directed by Harvard University physics professor Peter Galison, and the above The Visit by Finnish documentarian Michael Madsen—at the world’s top science film festival last month. Sponsored by Google, Rockefeller and Columbia universities, and the two most-cited of all the world’s 14,000 science journals, Science and Nature, the 8th annual Imagine Science Film Festival, which travels the globe, featured more films (140) from more nations (30) than ever before when it landed in New York City October 16 to 24. “Part of the reason for the festival is to take the pulse of what artists and scientists are doing together worldwide,” festival executive director Alexis Gambis, Ph.D., M.S., M.F.A., told Bioscience Technology. “Containment and Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes, for example, are very different films. But animated sequences are used in both to illustrate the invisible, the future, the impossible. This was the strongest program we've had. The barriers and archetypes between science and art are slowly falling apart.” As noted, many of the films pointed to the interwoven nature of science and art—the ways they need and aid each other. In addition to presenting scenarios by artists hired to imagine the future for nuclear-waste-riddled governments, the above Containment also featured an animation of an ancient, 1000-plus year old story, told over generations, warning the Japanese of tsunamis in the very area where the 2011 Fukushima tsunami hit: a natural example of art translating, and supporting, science. In Containment, cameras also linger on artistic monuments the Japanese built in recent centuries to warn of tsunami lines, on hills, below which villagers should not build (and below which Fukushima was tragically built.) There is a long tradition of "the Japanese trying to warn people in the future not to build their homes,” due to natural disasters, “which becomes, after as little as 30 years, art,” co-director Robb Moss, chair of Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, told a festival audience. The Containment filmmakers, themselves, used this Japanese tradition of using art to “warn,” he added, when they filmed one of the few remaining residents of the ghost towns bordering the still-radioactive Fukushima. “As he drives home for the 200th time, he turns on his blinker when he turns left,” Moss said. “He is warning nobody. There is nobody behind him for thousands of miles. But he does it anyway, because he has this imbedded impulse to let people know behind him what he is doing, so they will be safe.” By filming this scene and letting it quietly linger, the filmmakers were themselves using art to deliver a message about the power of nature and science. “Hopeless and beautiful,” Moss said. The festival also offered films using art, not to warn about science, but to celebrate it. The best of these may have been Cosmodrama, a movie by French director Philippe Fernandez, a multi-layered film that plays off many cultural, scientific, and philosophical genres and traditions, including the 60’s TV show Star Trek, Samuel Beckett’s existential play Waiting for Godot, and Christianity’s stations of the cross. Trapped on a spacecraft unable to remember who they are, polyester-clad characters wander spacecraft halls mulling over real astrophysics hypotheses, including “cosmological natural selection,” which posits that universes are driven by Darwinian principles to such a degree that life should be considered an adaptation, not an accident; that the “fittest” universe-swallowing black holes give birth to species-filled planets, not barren ones, and teem with life, not lifelessness. As the characters think their erudite thoughts—returning most often to the question of whether, on levels scientific to biblical, “the purpose of the universe is to give birth to man,” Fernandez told the crowd—they get drunk with their multi-verse doppelgangers, constantly change their minds on matters large and small, and trip through too-small, deliberately Star-Trek-cheap, auto-doors. “When I look at the sky at night, I now see that pricks of light I once thought were stars, are galaxies,” Fernandez said to the crowd. “This is the reason to do films.” Cosmodrama was selected for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, among others. The festival’s “48 Hour Competition” wove science and art together on the spot, pairing four sets of scientists and artists to produce films in two days. (The winners: Brooklyn filmmaker Lilian Mehrel and Stonybrook University molecular biology Ph.D. Candidate Jinelle Wint, who produced air (verb) here.) Gambis told Bioscience Technology the festival is seeing “many more docu-fiction films in which scientific data and documentary footage are mixed with fantasy and dramatic arcs, more ‘hybrid filmmaking,’ such as a scene where a face turns into a spider in Strange Eyes, or animated Japanese sequences in Containment. Both project us into the imaginary.” The fusion of art/science tends to happen first “at the level of students,” Gambis continued. “Art and science students are very like-minded and eager to work together. This is the goal of our 48hr competition: to pair up students in both film/art disciplines with Ph.D./postdoctoral students. We've heard from a few participants this was a ‘life-changing experience’ and they plan more work together. The four films made as part of the 48hr competition are mind-blowing. We plan to continue developing this aspect of the festival, and to provide more platforms as a film incubator. I would love to think we may have played a part in getting scientists and filmmakers to work together.  I myself am constantly learning, through this festival, about the intersect of art and science.” Gambis has a molecular biology and genetics Ph.D. from Rockefeller University, a New York University film M.F.A., and a University of Paris bioinformatics M.S. His own film, The Fly Room, offers a luminous look at genetics’ early days, and is making the rounds of over 40 global film festivals, museums, and institutes, including the Vib Center in Belgium (Nov. 19), University Aix-Marseilles in France (Nov. 26), Bogazici University in Turkey (Dec. 2), Kyoto University in Japan (Dec. 14), New York University Abu Dhabi (Dec. 9), Vienna Bioscience in Austria (March 17, 2016), and the Drosafrica Tour in Uganda and Nigeria, Africa (March 18-22, 2016). The Nature Scientific Merit Award, for the film that best exemplifies “science in narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible and inspiring manner,” went to The World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt). The runner up was As Soon As Weather Will Permit (Su Rynard). The Science/AAAS Scientist Award, for the film that “best depicts a scientist in an accurate and original way,” went to Invisible (Lia Giraud). The runner up was The Place (Julia Popławska). The Nanotronics Visual Science Award, for “the film that best depicts science in a visually-engaging manner,” went to Invisible (Giraud) and Ghost Cell (Antoine Delach). The runner up was Track (Takeshi Nagata and Kazue Monno). The Nature People’s Choice Award, given to "the film that receives the most audience votes during the festival,” went to As Soon As Weather Will Permit (Rynard). The runner up was The World of Tomorrow (Hertzfeldt). The Imagine Science Films Outstanding Feature Award, for “the feature film that best incorporates science into a unique and compelling long-form narrative, whether fictional or documentary,” went to The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes (Nancy Andrews). The runner up was Cosmodrama (Philippe Fernandez).


Cardinaud M.,University of Western Brittany | Dheilly N.M.,Stonybrook University | Huchette S.,France Haliotis | Moraga D.,University of Western Brittany | Paillard C.,University of Western Brittany
Developmental and Comparative Immunology | Year: 2015

Vibrio harveyi is a marine bacterial pathogen responsible for episodic abalone mortalities in France, Japan and Australia. In the European abalone, V. harveyi invades the circulatory system in a few hours after exposure and is lethal after 2 days of infection. In this study, we investigated the responses of European abalone immune cells over the first 24 h of infection. Results revealed an initial induction of immune gene expression including Rel/NF-kB, Mpeg and Clathrin. It is rapidly followed by a significant immuno-suppression characterized by reduced cellular hemocyte parameters, immune response gene expressions and enzymatic activities. Interestingly, Ferritin was overexpressed after 24 h of infection suggesting that abalone attempt to counter V. harveyi infection using soluble effectors. Immune function alteration was positively correlated with V. harveyi concentration. This study provides the evidence that V. harveyi has a hemolytic activity and an immuno-suppressive effect in the European abalone. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Stonybrook University, University of Western Brittany and France Haliotis
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Developmental and comparative immunology | Year: 2015

Vibrio harveyi is a marine bacterial pathogen responsible for episodic abalone mortalities in France, Japan and Australia. In the European abalone, V.harveyi invades the circulatory system in a few hours after exposure and is lethal after 2 days of infection. In this study, we investigated the responses of European abalone immune cells over the first 24h of infection. Results revealed an initial induction of immune gene expression including Rel/NF-kB, Mpeg and Clathrin. It is rapidly followed by a significant immuno-suppression characterized by reduced cellular hemocyte parameters, immune response gene expressions and enzymatic activities. Interestingly, Ferritin was overexpressed after 24h of infection suggesting that abalone attempt to counter V.harveyi infection using soluble effectors. Immune function alteration was positively correlated with V.harveyi concentration. This study provides the evidence that V.harveyi has a hemolytic activity and an immuno-suppressive effect in the European abalone.


Wu F.,University of Alberta | Ye X.,University of Alberta | Wang P.,University of Alberta | Jung K.,University of Alberta | And 7 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2013

Background: Sox2, an embryonic stem cell marker, is aberrantly expressed in a subset of breast cancer (BC). While the aberrant expression of Sox2 has been shown to significantly correlate with a number of clinicopathologic parameters in BC, its biological significance in BC is incompletely understood. Methods: In-vitro invasion assay was used to evaluate whether the expression of Sox2 is linked to the invasiveness of MCF7 and ZR751 cells. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and/or Western blots were used to assess if Sox2 modulates the expression of factors known to regulate epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), such as Twist1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) was used to assess the binding of Sox2 to the promoter region of Twist1. Results: We found that siRNA knockdown of Sox2 expression significantly increased the invasiveness of MCF7 and ZR751 cells. However, when MCF7 cells were separated into two distinct subsets based on their differential responsiveness to the Sox2 reporter, the Sox2-mediated effects on invasiveness was observed only in 'reporter un-responsive' cells (RU cells) but not 'reporter responsive' cells (RR cells). Correlating with these findings, siRNA knockdown of Sox2 in RU cells, but not RR cells, dramatically increased the expression of Twist1. Accordingly, using ChIP, we found evidence that Sox2 binds to the promoter region of Twist1 in RU cells only. Lastly, siRNA knockdown of Twist1 largely abrogated the regulatory effect of Sox2 on the invasiveness in RU cells, suggesting that the observed Sox2-mediated effects are Twist1-dependent. Conclusion: Sox2 regulates the invasiveness of BC cells via a mechanism that is dependent on Twist1 and the transcriptional status of Sox2. Our results have further highlighted a new level of biological complexity and heterogeneity of BC cells that may carry significant clinical implications. © 2013 Wu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Hui-Yuen J.S.,Stonybrook University | Imundo L.F.,Morgan Stanley | Avitabile C.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Kahn P.J.,New York University | And 2 more authors.
Lupus | Year: 2011

The objective of the study was to compare clinical features, treatment and disease outcome in patients with early versus later onset of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE). A retrospective matched cohort study of cSLE patients diagnosed between 1988 and 2008 and followed for a minimum of one year was conducted. Thirty-four pre-pubertal cSLE patients with disease onset prior to their 12th birthday were matched by ethnicity and year of diagnosis to 34 pubertal cSLE patients. The most common criteria at diagnosis in both groups were malar rash, arthritis, hematologic manifestations, and renal disease. After a mean follow-up of more than six years, a similar proportion of patients in the two groups were still prescribed corticosteroids (47% and 41%); patients in the early onset group required a significantly higher daily dose (0.6 mg/kg prednisone-equivalent versus 0.2 mg/kg, p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in organ involvement, disease activity and disease damage between the two groups, and severe complications occurred at similar rates. There were a greater number of admissions to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in the early onset group (18 versus 5, p = 0.01), with time-to-event analysis demonstrating a significantly shorter disease duration from diagnosis to first PICU admission in the early onset group (p < 0.001). While a similar proportion of patients in the early and later onset groups required treatment with cyclophosphamide, patients in the early onset group received treatment earlier in their disease course (mean 13.7 versus 19.9 months, p < 0.001). Early onset cSLE leads to earlier and more frequent PICU admission, earlier use of cyclophosphamide, and higher corticosteroid dose at long-term follow-up. © The Author(s), 2011.


Levine J.,Stonybrook University
Brain Research | Year: 2015

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) react rapidly to brain and spinal cord injuries. This reaction is characterized by the retraction of cell processes, cell body swelling and increased expression of the NG2 chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan. Reactive OPCs rapidly divide and accumulate surrounding the injury site where they become major cellular components of the glial scar. The glial reaction to injury is an attempt to restore normal homeostasis and re-establish the glia limitans but the exact role of reactive OPCs in these processes is not well understood. Traumatic injury results in extensive oligodendrocyte cell death and the proliferating OPCs generate the large number of precursor cells necessary for remyelination. Reactive OPCs, however, also are a source of axon-growth inhibitory proteoglycans and may interact with invading inflammatory cells in complex ways. Here, I discuss these and other properties of OPCs after spinal cord injury. Understanding the regulation of these disparate properties may lead to new therapeutic approaches to devastating injuries of the spinal cord. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:NG2-glia(Invited only). © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Lee S.K.,Korea University | Ryoo J.,Stonybrook University | Yoo S.,Korea University | Jung J.,Korea University | And 2 more authors.
International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Communications | Year: 2013

Programmable wireless devices which can perceive the current radio environment, decide available spectra, and dynamically change the radio access method, and networking protocols have been proposed to improve spectrum usage, interference mitigation, and connectivity. However, these transitions are currently lacking at upper layers. In this paper, we propose an upper layer cognitive system beyond channel sensing effectiveness and spectrum utilization achieved in adjusting PHY and MAC parameter settings. The proposed cognitive video streaming system achieves end-to-end goals at an upper video layer: quality of experience, service continuity, and survivability. Based on the link state of the receiver, the proposed system identifies areas of importance in the image stream, allocates higher bandwidth for the important areas compared to the other areas which is adjusted to use the less bandwidth with CoSA encoder and decoder, and receive the link state feedback from the receiver. To further understand the CoSA's benefit, we implemented two real test-beds for the cognitive video streaming system where the one uses conventional IEEE 802.11 networking technologies and the other employs a software defined radio platform, and performed a performance evaluation study in order to see the effectiveness of the proposed scheme. The results indicate that the proposed system can dynamically change actual data rates according to SINR feedback, which results in at least 180% improvement of transmission time compared to conventional method, while maintaining PSNR range between 30 to 40 dB with eminently reduced data size. © 2013 IEEE.


PubMed | University of Houston-Downtown, Stonybrook University, Texas Heart Institute and University of Houston
Type: | Journal: Data in brief | Year: 2016

Small RNAs from early neural (i.e., Noggin-expressing, or NOG) and epidermal (expressing a constitutively active BMP4 receptor, CABR) ectoderm in


PubMed | Stonybrook University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Brain research | Year: 2016

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) react rapidly to brain and spinal cord injuries. This reaction is characterized by the retraction of cell processes, cell body swelling and increased expression of the NG2 chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan. Reactive OPCs rapidly divide and accumulate surrounding the injury site where they become major cellular components of the glial scar. The glial reaction to injury is an attempt to restore normal homeostasis and re-establish the glia limitans but the exact role of reactive OPCs in these processes is not well understood. Traumatic injury results in extensive oligodendrocyte cell death and the proliferating OPCs generate the large number of precursor cells necessary for remyelination. Reactive OPCs, however, also are a source of axon-growth inhibitory proteoglycans and may interact with invading inflammatory cells in complex ways. Here, I discuss these and other properties of OPCs after spinal cord injury. Understanding the regulation of these disparate properties may lead to new therapeutic approaches to devastating injuries of the spinal cord. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:NG2-glia(Invited only).


PubMed | Stonybrook University, Yale University, Harvard University, Howard University and Lane College
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Royal Society open science | Year: 2015

The lineage leading to modern Crocodylia has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes in morphology, ecology and locomotion over the past 200+Myr. These functional innovations may be explained in part by morphological changes in the axial skeleton, which is an integral part of the vertebrate locomotor system. Our objective was to estimate changes in osteological range of motion (RoM) and intervertebral joint stiffness of thoracic and lumbar vertebrae with increasing aquatic adaptation in crocodylomorphs. Using three-dimensional virtual models and morphometrics, we compared the modern crocodile Crocodylus to five extinct crocodylomorphs: Terrestrisuchus, Protosuchus, Pelagosaurus, Steneosaurus and Metriorhynchus, which span the spectrum from terrestrial to fully aquatic. In Crocodylus, we also experimentally measured changes in trunk flexibility with sequential removal of osteoderms and soft tissues. Our results for the more aquatic species matched our predictions fairly well, but those for the more terrestrial early crocodylomorphs did not. A likely explanation for this lack of correspondence is the influence of other axial structures, particularly the rigid series of dorsal osteoderms in early crocodylomorphs. The most important structures for determining RoM and stiffness of the trunk in Crocodylus were different in dorsoventral versus mediolateral bending, suggesting that changes in osteoderm and rib morphology over crocodylomorph evolution would have affected movements in some directions more than others.

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