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The City University of New York

New York City, United States
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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

When people think about spinal cord injuries, thoughts generally turn toward Christopher Reeve who was thrown from his horse during trial events for an equestrian competition in 1995, and Steven McDonald, who was shot three times in 1986 after serving two years as an officer with the New York Police Department. Reeve’s and McDonald’s heroic and visible survival stories brought the severity of spinal cord injuries into the international dialogue. Today at the College of Staten Island (CSI), Maria Knikou, PhD, is holding clinical trials of her breakthrough research designed to develop effective rehabilitation strategies to improve the walking ability of persons with spinal cord injuries that have affected the function of the central nervous system. During her ongoing trials, she has recently worked with eight people with spinal cord injuries, including a 20-year-old who fell out of a golf cart and broke his neck nine months ago, and a Midwestern woman who broke her neck. These people, who have been diagnosed with tetraplegia (a spinal cord injury above the first thoracic vertebra or within cervical sections Cervical 1-8) and severe paralysis of the legs, came to CSI to participate in the research trials. After completing four to six weeks of therapy with Dr. Knikou, the patients saw motor function improve, with increased control and reduced spasticity. According to spinalcord.com, “The spinal cord carries nerve fibers traveling both from the brain to the rest of the body and from the body back to the brain. Those coming from the brain are responsible for voluntary control of muscles. Those traveling toward the brain carry sensation.” Dr. Knikou’s non-invasive therapy focuses on assessing the signal transfer from the brain to the legs in order to strengthen and enhance that pathway and provide gains in motor function. Patients who undergo the phase one therapy may be eligible for the phase two Robotic Gait Training, designed to further stimulate brain, spinal, and muscular health on a pathway for improved mobility. People who participate in the trials are provided a stipend, and certain expenses may be covered. Persons who are interested in learning if they are eligible candidates for this unique therapeutic approach should contact Dr. Knikou, Professor of Human Neurophysiology in the Physical Therapy Department of the School of Health Sciences at 718.982.3316 or maria.knikou(at)csi.cuny.edu. All trials are conducted on the Willowbrook campus of the College of Staten Island in New York City. "Dr Knikou's forward-thinking and expertise in human neurophysiology have enabled her to be extremely successful, with ongoing grant support from New York State and other private foundations," commented Dean Maureen Becker, PhD. "She is one of the leading researchers in the School of Health Sciences at the College of Staten Island and her work, one day, will impact the lives of millions of individuals with spinal cord injury." Dr. Knikou’s research project is funded by the New York State Department of Health, Spinal Cord Injury Research Board, under the Project to Accelerate Research Translation (PART) award. She mentors high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral research fellows and junior faculty. Dr. Knikou serves on several editorial boards and has published her research work in high-ranking, peer-reviewed scientific journals. For more information about the College of Staten Island School of Health Sciences visit http://www.csi.cuny.edu/schoolofhealthsciences. About the College of Staten Island The College of Staten Island is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY) offering Doctoral programs, Advanced Certificate programs, and Master’s programs, as well as Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees. CSI is ranked 3rd in New York State by MONEY magazine for Best Colleges and 6th in the nation on CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index. CSI is also a “Top Master’s University,” as ranked by Washington Monthly; in the Top 15% for Alumni Salary Potential according to Payscale; and has been named a Military Friendly School for seven consecutive years by GI Jobs magazine. The CUNY Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the New York City region, handles big-data analysis for faculty researchers and their student research teams, as well as researchers nationwide. The 204-acre park-like campus of CSI, the largest in NYC, is fully accessible and contains an advanced, networked infrastructure to support technology-based teaching, learning, and research. Dolphin Cove Resident Halls, the college’s new apartment-style luxury suites, celebrates its third year at full occupancy housing students from across NYC, the United States, and the world.


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

If you are raised by other species, then how do you know who you are? Although heterospecific foster parents rear brood parasitic brown-headed cowbird chicks, juvenile cowbirds readily recognize and affiliate with other cowbirds. That's because they have a secret handshake or password. Specifically, the "password" hypothesis helps explain this paradox of species recognition: Social recognition processes in brood parasites are initiated by exposure to a password: in the case of cowbirds, a specific chatter call. A new study appearing in the Journal of Experimental Biology describes the neural basis for password-based species recognition in cowbirds. Roughly 1% of bird species are obligate brood parasites. Female obligate brood parasites shirk parental care duties by laying their eggs in the nests of other females. This breeding strategy is extremely successful for the female parasite but raises questions, particularly with respect to species recognition. For instance, how does a juvenile bird that is not raised by familial members come to recognize its own species and avoid imprinting on the host species that cared for it from the day it hatched? One possibility is that young brood parasites use a password to identify conspecifics, and learning about species-specific signals occurs only after the password is used to find conspecifics. Researchers have now demonstrated the neural basis for password-based species recognition in an obligate brood parasite. They showed that the auditory forebrain regions in cowbirds, which respond selectively to learned vocalizations, such as songs, also respond selectively to non-learned chatter. However, if the password is not used to locate other cowbirds, the young brood parasite will mis-imprint on its host species -- a process manifested in the brain by elevated gene induction in response to the host's song. "Our study reveals a neural basis for this password as well as a neural signature of mis-imprinting in young brood parasites that have prolonged exposure to host species songs," said Dr. Kathleen Lynch, lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Biology at Hofstra University. Dr. Mark Hauber, Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), who co-authored the article, first carried out behavioral experiments to find evidence for password-based species recognition. Dr. Hauber said, "After our discovery of the password as a behavioral mechanism in parasitic cowbirds over 15 years ago as a graduate student, it is rewarding for me to be working on an NSF [National Science Foundation] grant to identify the neural basis of this behavior as a professor." Unlike parental male songbirds, which usually learn to sing at a very young age by mimicking their fathers, parasitic cowbirds learn song in their second year and delay song production until their third year. "This study is interesting because the particular life history of brood parasitic songbirds such as the brown-headed cowbird requires song learning to proceed differently in this species than in most others," said Dr. Jill Soha, Associate Scholar at Duke University, who was not affiliated with the study. "Understanding the neural mechanisms that guide this type of song learning advances our knowledge not only of brood parasite ontogeny and evolution but also, through comparative study, our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying song learning in general." Dr. Lynch and her colleagues have revealed novel insights into the neural basis of species recognition in cowbirds, which dovetail with known behavioral responses and advance our understanding of social recognition in brood parasites. Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 11,000 full- and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, applied science, communication, education, health sciences and human services, honors studies, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. For more information, please contact: Shante Booker and or visit http://www.


The opening ceremony was held on May 17th at 10 am at CUNY on the Concourse, 2501 Grand Concourse BRONX, NY--(Marketwired - May 17, 2017) - EON Reality Inc., the world leader in Virtual Reality based knowledge transfer for industry and education, and Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban public higher education system in the United States, announce the official opening of Lehman College's new Virtual Training Academy and Development Lab. The opening ceremony was held on May 17th at 10 am at CUNY on the Concourse, 2501 Grand Concourse. The new Academy and Lab will focus on training students to become AR and VR developers and for developing new AR and VR knowledge transfer applications. These efforts will directly benefit Lehman's students as the focus of the Academy will be on core areas of interest for Lehman College. Students from the Academy will also leverage EON Reality's AVR Platform developing content for the Virtual Trainer, AR Knowledge Injection, and EON Creator AVR. "We're honored to partner with Lehman College to establish an AR and VR training and development center," said Dan Lejerskar, Chairman of EON Reality. "By bringing our experience in development and training together with Lehman College's subject matter expertise in continuing education, we hope that together we can help prepare students, new and old, for their dream careers. While initially focused on the needs of Lehman College's students, we intend for the applications developed here to help students in the CUNY system and in the greater region." "This vital partnership with EON Reality is a great example of how Lehman is cementing its place as the most important, mission-critical senior college of The City University of New York," said José Luis Cruz, President of Lehman College. "This effort will provide our students with invaluable, state-of-the-art experiential training and position them for career opportunities in the burgeoning VR/AR industry." As established industries continue to be disrupted by technological advances, workers who have been displaced will need retraining to find a new trade. This, along with the increasing amount of knowledge needed and shrinking budgets, necessitates a faster knowledge transfer solution, such as VR and AR, to teach more with less time and less money. The Virtual and Augmented Reality industries are quickly growing and require an infusion of talent to meet the market's demands, which some project to be around $150 billion by 2020. The non-credit course will be held on nights and weekends at Lehman's School of Continuing and Professional Studies to maximize participation. Tuition will be $499 for CUNY students and employees, and $599 for non-CUNY applicants and will be linked to employment opportunities in the fast-growing fields of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). About Lehman College: As CUNY's only senior college in the Bronx, Lehman College enrolls over 13,000 students and offers over 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Lehman is home to 12 CUNY doctoral programs (most in conjunction with the CUNY Graduate Center) and has a long-standing collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden. Lehman is a Hispanic-Serving Institution where 91 languages are spoken and students hail from 142 different ancestries; nearly 40 percent of students hold two passports. In recent years Lehman students have won Fulbrights scholarships, National Science Foundation awards, and fellowships from the George P. Soros and Jeannette K. Watson foundations, as well as the Organization of American States. In 2015, Washington Monthly selected Lehman as the No. 3 "Best Bang for the Buck" college in the Northeast. Its tree-lined, 37-acre campus once housed the United Nations Security Council, where in 1946 diplomats drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. About EON Reality: EON Reality is the world leader in in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) based knowledge transfer for industry and education. EON Reality's success is tied to its belief that knowledge is a human right and should be available, accessible, and affordable for every human on the planet. To carry this out, EON Reality, since 1999, has developed the de-facto standard for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality based knowledge transfer software that supports devices from mobile phones to large immersive domes. EON Reality's global app development network, with twenty-two locations worldwide, has created the world's leading AR and VR library for knowledge transfer with over 7,000 applications. Over 36 million people worldwide have downloaded these applications. For further information, visit www.eonreality.com.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Fluid erosion has carved river networks in at least three bodies in our solar system in the form of water on Earth and Mars and liquid hydrocarbons on Titan. A new report in Science examines the global drainage patterns of these worlds to shed light on their geologic past. Titan's landscapes look similar to Earth's in many ways. But is this similarity only superficial? Scientists from CUNY, MIT, and other institutions have found that the origins of topography on Titan - and Mars - are quite different from on Earth. River networks give us a window into the history of each world. Most topography on Earth is the result of plate tectonics, which builds mountain ranges that jut up and shunt aside rivers as they flow towards the oceans. No one knows for sure what built the topography on Titan, but the scientists discovered that the rivers there have not suffered similar diversions as on Earth. This provides evidence that the history of topography on Titan is more like that of Mars, which did not have plate tectonics, and where the largest scale topography was set very early after Mars' formation. Dr. Benjamin Black, lead author and Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at City College and of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), and his team used mapping, analysis of spacecraft data, and numerical modeling to glean clues from river networks. "What we can see of Titan's surface looks tantalizingly familiar, at least at first glance. But we know very little about Titan's past," said Dr. Black. "On Earth, the upheaval of plate tectonics diverts rivers. When we compared river patterns on Earth with those on Mars and Titan, we found substantial differences, suggesting Mars and Titan grow their topography in distinctly un-Earth-like fashion. You could say that the history of each world is written in its rivers." Since the validation of plate-tectonic theory in the 1960s, researchers have wondered what Earth's surface would look like if our planet did not have plate tectonics. "One of the exciting things about this study is that it provides evidence that Earth's topography is quantitatively different from that of Mars and Titan, two planetary bodies without plate tectonics," said Dr. Ken Ferrier, Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. "This evidence is encoded in river channel networks, which the authors suggest harbor a heretofore unrecognized signature of plate tectonics." Dr. Black and his colleagues suggest that the river networks of Earth, Mars, and Titan could serve as a Rosetta stone to help scientists decode the impact of tectonics on topography. The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adults, continuing and professional education students. For more information, please contact Shante Booker (shante.booker@cuny.edu) or visit http://www.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Invasive parasites are a biological oxymoron. And yet, they are in our backyards! This study analyzes the case of a brood parasitic bird, the pin-tailed whydah (Vidua macroura) and its recent spread into the Americas! Biodiversity hotspots--or places with large numbers of species found nowhere else on earth--also tend to make suitable habitats for invasive species that can, in turn, destabilize ecosystems and supplant indigenous biota. A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications predicts where the pin-tailed whydah, a songbird native to sub-Saharan Africa that has expanded its natural range thanks to the pet trade, may next spread in North America and Hawaii. The pin-tailed whydah is a brood parasitic bird that lays its eggs in other bird species, typically small African finches, and has been introduced from Africa to Puerto Rico and southern California. In this study, researchers used species distribution models to predict where the whydah may continue to spread in the continental U.S., Hawaii, and the Antilles. To determine the whydah's potential distribution, they used sightings of this species reported to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The investigators then identified suitable whydah habitat by finding correlations between locations where these finches have been seen and global climate data. As brood parasites, whydahs need hosts to complete their life cycle, so the researchers also used the presence of six known host species that have been co-introduced in the whydah's new range to predict suitable habitat. Their species distribution model indicated high habitat suitability in areas of high biodiversity where whydahs do not currently live, including the West Coast of the U.S., Hawaii, and most islands of the Antilles. Robert Crystal-Ornelas, lead author and PhD student in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said, "We identified key areas in the continental U.S., Hawaii, and the Antilles, that have not yet experienced pin-tailed whydah invasion, but which contain suitable climate and host species for this parasitic bird to potentially spread." Dr. Mark Hauber, the senior author of the study and Professor in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), said, "our work has now shown how parasitic birds, including common cuckoos from Eurasia and pin-tailed whydahs from Africa are likely to invade increasingly novel and expansive regions in the Western Hemisphere." The pin-tailed whydah is a host generalist--it can parasitize novel species that share no co-evolutionary history with it and that, therefore, have developed no defenses to mitigate the reproductive costs of parasitism. To create their model, the researchers took into consideration five known historical hosts and one known novel host--all exotic species to North America and Hawaii. The presence of these hosts in a suitable habitat could enable introduced whydahs to establish a bridgehead population, providing an opportunity for the birds to utilize indigenous hosts and to increase their population and range. "This study shows how humans are not just transplanting individual species but entire ecological networks, where here an invasive bird species will likely be able to expand in the Americas due to a previous introduction of its host species," said Dr. James Russell, a conservation biologist at the University of Auckland, who was not affiliated with the study. "Worryingly, the study predicts the introduced species will most strongly invade already vulnerable island ecosystems, where it could potentially begin parasitizing native bird species, which would be a very novel form of invasive species impact." The map that Rob Crystal-Ornelas and his colleagues have created will help scientist to prioritize monitoring and research efforts, which fully gauge the risk of additional whydah populations in North America. The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. Rutgers University-New Brunswick is where Rutgers began 250 years ago. Rutgers' flagship is a leading public research institution, a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, home to internationally acclaimed faculty, and the big Ten Conference's most diverse university. Among the top 25 public universities, as ranked by US News & World Report, Rutgers-New Brunswick serves 40, 720 full- and part-time students in 18 schools and colleges. For more information, please contact Mark Hauber or visit http://www.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

TechnoVax, Inc., a biotechnology developer of novel vaccines, announced preclinical results showing its Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine, which is developed using the company’s proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) technology, demonstrated in a small animal model the elicitation of high titers of neutralizing antibodies against different strains of Zika virus. The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and an online version can be accessed at: Researchers at TechnoVax and collaborators at The City University of New York concluded that the VLP vaccine formulations tested in animals not only were highly efficacious in eliciting protective antibodies with neutralizing activity equivalent to or higher than the activity present in the serum of a patient who recovered from Zika infection, but also they were well tolerated and safe. “The ZIKA VLP vaccine offers an effective and safe strategy to create a prophylactic vaccine that protects against Zika infection, as well as its serious effects such as microcephaly,” said Dr. Jose M. Galarza, TechnoVax CEO. The VLP vaccine technology allows for the assembly of structures that are morphologically and on surface composition identical to the native Zika virus, but lack the genetic material required for both replication and infection.  VLP-based vaccines, therefore, do not require chemical inactivation or attenuation, as do some of the currently utilized vaccine development approaches. These features together with the particulate display of multiple viral antigens make VLP vaccines not only very safe but also highly immunogenic. Furthermore, our Zika VLP vaccine is manufactured in suspension culture of mammalian cells using standard fermentation systems suitable for rapid scale-up production. For more information, visit: www.technovax.com or contact:


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Professor Eleanore Wurtzel of the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehman College and a doctoral faculty member of the PhD Program in Biology (Plant Sciences and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental subprograms) and PhD Program in Biochemistry of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) has been named a 2017 Fellow of the International Carotenoid Society (ICS) during this inaugural year for Fellow selection. The ICS recognizes members whose consistent contributions to the Society, the scientific community, and the general public demonstrate a commitment to excellence, leadership, and sound ethics. The 2017 ICS Fellows will be formally announced at the 18th International Symposium on Carotenoids to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland from July 9 - 14, 2017. Dr. Wurtzel will also present a plenary lecture on "A novel gate-keeper of carotenoid biosynthesis in plants" on Wednesday, July 12 at 9:15 a.m. in Lucerne Hall. Dr. Wurtzel was elected as an ICS Fellow for significant career-long contributions to research on provitamin A carotenoid biosynthesis, which is enabling sustainable solutions to global vitamin A deficiency. Her interdisciplinary research integrates molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, bioinformatics, and systems biology. For example, Dr. Wurtzel and her team took advantage of natural genetic diversity to elucidate pathway control points and to develop molecular markers for breeding high-provitamin A maize, identifying gene families and their roles in controlling carotenoid accumulation. Most recently, the Wurtzel laboratory discovered Z-ISO, a new carotenoid enzyme, which is essential for biosynthesis of all plant carotenoids, including provitamin A carotenoids. This breakthrough led to the discovery of a new prototype function for heme proteins, uncovered a novel means for regulating carotenoid biosynthesis in plants, and redefined the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in plants. Upon learning of this honor, Dr. Wurtzel described herself as very much surprised. "My career has been devoted to making a difference in global health which was its own reward," Dr. Wurtzel said. "I am humbled and grateful for this unexpected recognition." Since its establishment in 1996 at the 11th International Symposium on Carotenoids in Leiden, The Netherlands, the ICS has supported and encouraged all areas of carotenoid science--pure and applied, academic and commercial, research and educational. The ICS endeavors to facilitate contacts and multi-disciplinary cooperation between carotenoid workers in different parts of the world and different areas of the carotenoid field; to promote education, communication, and the exchange of ideas and expertise; and to provide help and advice to new and younger researchers entering the carotenoid field and to those in poorer countries. As a truly international and independent organization, the ICS seeks to increase public awareness of the carotenoid field and of exciting new advances, and to provide reasoned, authoritative statements on controversial matters. The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. For more information, please contact Shante Booker (shante.booker@cuny.edu) or visit http://www.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Leading neuroscience researchers and scholars from across New York will gather for the inaugural SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum on Thursday, February 23, 2017, from 9:30 A.M. to 4:15 P.M. The forum will be held in the D'Ambra Auditorium at the Life Sciences Research Building on the Uptown Campus at the University at Albany. The State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) are home to leading public research universities deeply committed to work that addresses state and global challenges. In service of this mission, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum, a brainchild of Drs. James Dias, Vice President for Research at UAlbany and Mark Hauber, Interim Vice Provost for Research at CUNY Central, seeks to foster faculty collaborations and research synergies across the state of New York, and to spur multi-investigator, large-scale, and multi-institutional extramural funding pursuits in neuroscience. Prof. Yasmin Hurd, a nationally acclaimed researcher on addiction and related psychiatric disorders from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will present the keynote address and discuss her pioneering new research on the transgenerational effects of cannabis on the developing brain. This keynote will be followed by break-out sessions moderated by SUNY and CUNY Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and Deans of Research and Science. Specifically, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum will convene interdisciplinary, thematically-based group discussions, afford opportunities to share research interest along with current and planned endeavors, enable networking and collaborative interactions, and conclude with a plenary session to summarize Forum activities and to discuss future collaborative opportunities in neuroscience research among SUNY, CUNY and other neuroscience colleagues. Alexander N. Cartwright, SUNY Provost, and Executive Vice Chancellor said, "This is such an important endeavor and my sincere thanks go to the SUNY, CUNY and state-wide participants. Together we can make life-changing advances in neuroscience research and discovery that go well beyond what one institution can do alone. This type of collaboration underscores New York State's capacity for leadership in the field." Mark Hauber, Interim Vice Provost for Research at CUNY noted: "Neuroscience by definition is an interdisciplinary field that needs to bring together researchers from diverse fields for success. Focusing on neuroscience as part of ongoing initiatives for SUNY-CUNY collaborations brings our diverse faculty and student talents together to increase extramural funding and high-impact productivity of research at New York State's public university systems." UAlbany Vice President for Research James A. Dias said, "Neuroscience in the 21st century is clearly in the midst of a seismic transformation with an unprecedented focus on multi-investigator, interdisciplinary collaborative research strategies aimed at overcoming some of today's most complex and perplexing scientific challenges. This is why I could not be more pleased that the University at Albany is hosting the first ever SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum bringing faculty scholars and scientists together to forge new research collaborations and spark novel extramural funding pursuits in search of the next scientific breakthrough to improve the health and well-being of society." Hosted on the UAlbany campus, one of the four distinguished SUNY University Centers, the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum will be held in the D'Ambra Auditorium of the 194,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Life Sciences Research Building - home to a number of UAlbany's top neuroscience researchers. The founding members of the SUNY-CUNY Neuroscience Research Forum include the State University of New York, the City University of New York Office of Research, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Optometry, and the University at Albany. Both Research Foundations of SUNY and CUNY are participating in this effort. Faculty and industry partners from more than 15 SUNY, CUNY and independent universities and colleges will be participating in the event. SUNY is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. In 2015-16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. For more information, please visit http://www. . The City University of New York is the nation's largest and leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional and graduate schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adults, continuing and professional education students. For more information, please visit: http://www. A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information on CUNY research, please contact Shante Booker (shante.booker@cuny.edu) or visit: http://www. For more information on SUNY Research, please contact Holly Liapis 518-320-1311 or visit: http://www.


News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

A pair of aquarium-held cichlids of the species Telegramma brichardi. Credit: Oliver Lucanus New DNA-based research provides compelling evidence that a group of strange-looking fish living near the mouth of the Congo River are evolving due to the intense hydraulics of the river's rapids and deep canyons. The study, led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, the City University of New York, and Fordham University, reveals that fishes in this part of the river live in "neighborhoods" that are separated from one another by the waters' turbulent flow. In some cases, the researchers found that fishes living less than a mile away from their relatives are actually exchanging very few genes. Many represent distinct species, according to the new study now out in the journal Molecular Ecology. "In this very short section of the Congo, we find a tremendous diversity of fishes," said Melanie Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Museum's Department of Ichthyology and an author on the study. "We also know that this part of the river is relatively young, originating only about 3 to 5 million years ago. So what is it about this system that makes it such a pump for species?" For the last 10 years, Stiassny and her colleagues, including hydrologists and geologists, have studied the lower Congo River—the final 200-mile stretch of the freshwater river before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Exceptional in depth, speed, and turbulence, the lower Congo is home to the world's most extreme rapids. The region is also remarkable for its biodiversity; scientists have identified more than 300 species of fish living there. That diversity has long seemed puzzling to scientists because the lower Congo appeared to lack physical barriers which, if difficult to traverse, are understood to drive speciation by preventing animals from either side from breeding. Over time, this causes each group to develop separately. The new study, which focuses on a group of freshwater, rock-dwelling cichlid fishes of the genus Teleogramma, adds weight to a theory long proposed by Stiassny and other experts: that the dynamic forces of the river itself are acting like barriers, generating diversity by isolating certain fishes from others for so long that their populations travel down different evolutionary paths. "The genetic separation between these fishes show that the rapids are working as strong barriers, keeping them apart," said lead author Elizabeth Alter, from The City University of New York's Graduate Center and York College. "What's particularly unique about the lower Congo is that this diversification is happening over extremely small spatial scales, over distances as small as 1.5 kilometers. There is no other river like it." The researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 50 individual fishes representing each of the different Teleogramma populations found in the lower Congo. They found that their species ranges correspond to geographic regions broadly separated by major hydrological and topographic barriers, indicating that these features are likely important drivers of diversification. The authors also note that there are important conservation implications to this work: about 25 percent of the fish in the lower Congo are endemic, or only found in this particular location. But the area is currently being proposed as a site for major dam development. "Activity like that would majorly interrupt the evolutionary potential of this system," Stiassny said. Jason Munshi-South, from Fordham University, was also an author on this paper. Explore further: Name of new weakly electric fish species reflects hope for peace in Central Africa More information: S. Elizabeth Alter et al, Genomewide SNP data reveal cryptic phylogeographic structure and microallopatric divergence in a rapids-adapted clade of cichlids from the Congo River, Molecular Ecology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/mec.13973


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

New DNA-based research provides compelling evidence that a group of strange-looking fish living near the mouth of the Congo River are evolving due to the intense hydraulics of the river's rapids and deep canyons. The study, led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, the City University of New York, and Fordham University, reveals that fishes in this part of the river live in "neighborhoods" that are separated from one another by the waters' turbulent flow. In some cases, the researchers found that fishes living less than a mile away from their relatives are actually exchanging very few genes. Many represent distinct species, according to the new study now out in the journal Molecular Ecology. "In this very short section of the Congo, we find a tremendous diversity of fishes," said Melanie Stiassny, Axelrod Research Curator in the Museum's Department of Ichthyology and an author on the study. "We also know that this part of the river is relatively young, originating only about 3 to 5 million years ago. So what is it about this system that makes it such a pump for species?" For the last 10 years, Stiassny and her colleagues, including hydrologists and geologists, have studied the lower Congo River -- the final 200-mile stretch of the freshwater river before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Exceptional in depth, speed, and turbulence, the lower Congo is home to the world's most extreme rapids. The region is also remarkable for its biodiversity; scientists have identified more than 300 species of fish living there. That diversity has long seemed puzzling to scientists because the lower Congo appeared to lack physical barriers which, if difficult to traverse, are understood to drive speciation by preventing animals from either side from breeding. Over time, this causes each group to develop separately. The new study, which focuses on a group of freshwater, rock-dwelling cichlid fishes of the genus Teleogramma, adds weight to a theory long proposed by Stiassny and other experts: that the dynamic forces of the river itself are acting like barriers, generating diversity by isolating certain fishes from others for so long that their populations travel down different evolutionary paths. "The genetic separation between these fishes show that the rapids are working as strong barriers, keeping them apart," said lead author Elizabeth Alter, from The City University of New York's Graduate Center and York College. "What's particularly unique about the lower Congo is that this diversification is happening over extremely small spatial scales, over distances as small as 1.5 kilometers. There is no other river like it." The researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 50 individual fishes representing each of the different Teleogramma populations found in the lower Congo. They found that their species ranges correspond to geographic regions broadly separated by major hydrological and topographic barriers, indicating that these features are likely important drivers of diversification. The authors also note that there are important conservation implications to this work: about 25 percent of the fish in the lower Congo are endemic, or only found in this particular location. But the area is currently being proposed as a site for major dam development. "Activity like that would majorly interrupt the evolutionary potential of this system," Stiassny said. Jason Munshi-South, from Fordham University, was also an author on this paper.

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