The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts
News Article | May 11, 2017
These microbes don’t respond to many common antibiotics, and no new drug active against Gram-negative bacteria has been approved in nearly a half-century. Part of the difficulty in developing such antibiotics is that molecules have a hard time slipping inside Gram-negative bacteria. The bacteria have two cell membranes, and compounds must also navigate porin protein channels to enter. A new study outlines a systematic approach to ferreting out properties compounds must have to penetrate and accumulate in Gram-negative bacteria. The authors demonstrated the power of the approach by converting an antibiotic that previously couldn’t enter Gram-negative bacteria into one that can. Paul J. Hergenrother and coworkers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign used liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry to assess the ability of compounds to enter and remain in E. coli (Nature 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nature22308). The researchers analyzed the accumulation of more than 180 compounds from a library of modified natural products they had synthesized. A computational analysis of common properties of compounds that accumulated determined that the molecules must have an unhindered amine group and should be rigid and flattish, instead of floppy and spherical. The properties of some existing Gram-negative medications are consistent with these findings. The team demonstrated the power of the findings by linking an amine group to a ring-expanded analog of deoxynybomycin, a rigid and flat antibacterial agent. This simple addition converted the molecule from a Gram-positive-only agent to one that also shows efficacy against Gram-negative bacteria. Kim Lewis, director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University, comments that additional work is still needed to determine a complete list of properties. But the study “is a genuine breakthrough,” he says. “It opens up a new field—the search for comprehensive rules of compound accumulation in Gram-negative bacteria.” Until now, Lewis says, researchers have debated whether such rules even existed, although simpler parameters favoring accumulation, such as low molecular weight and high polarity, were known from previous studies. The new findings come at a time when scientists have been focusing intently on Gram-negative drug discovery. The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases held a conference on the problem in February, and the National Institutes of Health has a call out for grant proposals on tools to advance the discovery of therapeutics for antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Derek Tan of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, whose group previously developed a related technique to identify structural properties conducive to bacterial entry, comments that the new study extends this type of strategy to a higher level. “It’s a major advance and just the beginning,” he says. “There is much more to be done in this field.” For example, the aminated deoxynybomycin was not active in P. aeruginosa—suggesting the importance of further expanding the approach by analyzing traits controlling the ability of more molecules to accumulate in multiple Gram-negative species, Tan says.
News Article | May 23, 2017
The Pew Charitable Trusts has praised the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)'s announcement that Japan has ratified the port state measures agreement, an international treaty designed to curb illegal fishing. Japan represents one of the largest markets for fish imports, behind only the European Union and the United States. The ratification of the agreement signifies a critical step in Japan’s efforts to close its ports to illegal fishers, according to Pew. The agreement, which has been ratified also by 47 other countries and the European Union, was adopted by FAO in 2009. It is a vital tool in the global fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which accounts for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood every year, said Pew. “Illegal fishing undermines social, environmental, and economic security around the world, especially for developing countries whose economies rely heavily on seafood. Each year, up to 26 million [metric] tons of fish are stolen from our seas, or one in every five wild fish sold," Tony Long, director of Pew’s ending illegal fishing project, said. Japanese fishery production has been on the decline for the past few decades, making it more dependent on imports. Given Japan’s importance as both a fishing nation and consumer of seafood, its accession to the port state measures agreement is an important step toward eliminating it both as a market and opportunity to land seafood that has been caught illegally, Long also said. Japan imports about half of the seafood it consumes. This ratification can give Japanese consumers additional assurance that the government is committed to ensuring that the fish they buy has been caught legally—and help protect the country’s domestic fisheries, Long added.
News Article | May 24, 2017
LA JOLLA, CA - May 24, 2017- With mosquito season looming in the Northern Hemisphere, doctors and researchers are poised to take on a new round of Zika virus infections. Now a new study by a large group of international researchers led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) explains how Zika virus entered the United States via Florida in 2016 -- and how it might re-enter the country this year. By sequencing the virus's genome at different points in the outbreak, the researchers created a family tree showing where cases originated and how quickly they spread. They discovered that transmission of Zika virus began in Florida at least four -- and potentially up to forty -- times last year. The researchers also traced most of the Zika lineages back to strains of the virus in the Caribbean. "Without these genomes, we wouldn't be able to reconstruct the history of how the virus moved around," said TSRI infectious disease researcher and senior author of the study, Kristian G. Andersen, who also serves as director of infectious disease genomics at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI). "Rapid viral genome sequencing during ongoing outbreaks is a new development that has only been made possible over the last couple of years." The research was published May 24, 2017, in the journal Nature. This was one of three related studies, published simultaneously in Nature journals, exploring the transmission and evolution of Zika virus. A fourth study was also published in Nature Protocols providing details of the technologies used by the researchers. By sequencing Zika virus genomes from humans and mosquitoes -- and analyzing travel and mosquito abundance data -- the researchers found that several factors created what TSRI Research Associate Nathan D. Grubaugh called a "perfect storm" for the spread of Zika virus in Miami. "This study shows why Miami is special," said Grubaugh, the lead author of the study. First, Grubaugh explained, Miami is home to year-round populations of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the main species that transmits Zika virus. The area is also a significant travel hub, bringing in more international air and sea traffic than any other city in the continental United States in 2016. Finally, Miami is an especially popular destination for travelers who have visited Zika-afflicted areas. The researchers found that travel from the Caribbean Islands may have significantly contributed to cases of Zika reaching the city. Of the 5.7 million international travelers entering Miami by flights and cruise ships between January and June of 2016, more than half arrived from the Caribbean. The researchers believe Zika virus may have started transmission in Miami up to 40 times, but most travel-related cases did not lead to any secondary infections locally. The virus was more likely to reach a dead end than keep spreading. The researchers found that one reason for the dead-ends was a direct connection between mosquito control efforts and disease prevention. "We show that if you decrease the mosquito population in an area, the number of Zika infections goes down proportionally," said Andersen. "This means we can significantly limit the risk of Zika virus by focusing on mosquito control. This is not too surprising, but it's important to show that there is an almost perfect correlation between the number of mosquitos and the number of human infections." Based on data from the outbreak, Andersen sees potential in stopping the virus through mosquito control efforts in both Florida and other infected countries, instead of, for example, through travel restrictions. "Given how many times the introductions happened, trying to restrict traffic or movement of people obviously isn't a solution. Focusing on disease prevention and mosquito control in endemic areas is likely to be a much more successful strategy," he said. When the virus did spread, the researchers found that splitting Miami into designated Zika zones -- often done by neighborhood or city block -- didn't accurately represent how the virus was moving. Within each Zika zone, the researchers discovered a mixing of multiple Zika lineages, suggesting the virus wasn't well-confined, likely moving around with infected people. Andersen and Grubaugh hope these lessons from the 2016 epidemic will help scientists and health officials respond even faster to prevent Zika's spread in 2017. Understanding Zika's timeline required a large international team of scientists and partnerships with several health agencies. In fact, the study was a collaboration of more than 60 researchers from nearly 20 institutions, including study co-leaders at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Oxford, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Florida Department of Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The scientists also designed a new method of genomic sequencing just to study the virus. Because Zika virus is hard to collect in the blood of those infected, it was a challenge for the researchers to isolate enough of its genetic material for sequencing. To solve this problem, the team, together with Joshua Quick and Nick Loman at the University of Birmingham in the UK, developed two different protocols to break apart the genetic material they could find and reassemble it in a useful way for analysis. With these new protocols, the researchers sequenced the virus from 28 of the reported 256 Zika cases in Florida, as well as seven mosquito pools, to model what happened in the larger patient group. As they worked, the scientists released their data immediately publicly to help other scientists. They hope to release more data -- and analysis -- in real time as cases mount in 2017. The new study was published with three companion papers, also in Nature journals, that explore Zika's spread in other parts of the Americas (see sidebar). The new study, "Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States," also included authors from the University of Miami, the University of Birmingham, Colorado State University, St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto), the University of Toronto, the University of Washington, Tulane University, Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control, the University of Florida, the University of Edinburgh and the National Institutes of Health. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants 5T32AI007244-33, U54-GM088491, R35 GM119774-01, 4R01AI099210-04, UL1TR001114 and HHSN272201400048C), The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Ray Thomas Foundation, a Mahan Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Computational Biology Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant U01CK000510), the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013, grant agreements 278433-PREDEMICS, 260864, 643476-COMPARE, FP7/2007-2013 and 614725-PATHPHYLODYN), the United States Agency for International Development Emerging Pandemic Threats Program-2 PREDICT-2 (cooperative agreement AID-OAA-A-14-00102) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists--including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine--work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see http://www. .
News Article | April 25, 2017
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pew Charitable Trusts called today on the 25 member governments of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to continue their efforts to establish a network of marine protected areas (MPAs)...
News Article | April 19, 2017
WHO: Peggy Lillis Foundation, the preeminent organization working to combat Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections through education and advocacy. Founded in 2010 in memory of a single-parent mom and kindergarten teacher who lost her life to a C. diff infection, the foundation has become the most-consulted source for patient-focused information on C. diff infections in the nation. WHAT: The 2017 C. diff Advocates Summit & National Strategy Meeting, which will feature panel discussions on strategies to minimize the harm caused by C. diff. Topics include C. diff Advocacy Across Sectors, Antibiotic Stewardship Across The Healthcare Spectrum, and C. diff and Patient Rights. The discussion will draw from the expertise of speakers and panelists from various public health, healthcare, and infection control-focused organizations, including: WHY: The Summit will bring C. diff survivors and caregivers together with leaders in C. diff prevention and treatment, healthcare policy, patient advocacy, and grassroots organizing to examine one of our nation’s most urgent public health threats and identify ways to increase awareness of and minimize harm caused by C. diff. CONTACT: For more information about the Summit or to register to attend, please contact Christian John Lillis at 917.364.4658 or christian(at)peggyfoundation(dot)org The Summit is generously sponsored by Cepheid, Crestovo, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Sanofi Pasteur.
News Article | May 3, 2017
Top Thought Leaders Will Discuss the Most Pressing Issues of the Moment Including Climate Change, Refugee Crisis, Criminal Justice Reform and Mental Illness -- and How Private Philanthropists Can Make the Most Impact; #TandCPhilanthropy NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 03, 2017) - Town & Country announced Michael Bloomberg, John Legend, Glenn Close and more will participate in its fourth annual Philanthropy Summit on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Taking place at Hearst Tower, this invitation-only event will tackle hot-topic issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform, mental health, the global refugee crisis and the importance of philanthropy as a family value. The 2017 Summit coincides with the magazine's June/July T&C 50 Philanthropy issue (on sale nationwide May 16), which will feature Michael Bloomberg, John Legend and Cate Blanchett on three separate covers. The issue highlights a venerable group of 50 academics, business tycoons, entertainers, political leaders and tech giants who are currently shifting the philanthropic landscape. "Now in its fourth year, this is our most ambitious and exciting Philanthropy Summit to date," said Stellene Volandes, editor in chief of Town & Country. "I can't think of a better time in our nation's history to highlight a group of individuals dedicated to helping others, and we hope that both the Summit audience and our readers can be moved to realize that we all can make a difference." Michael Bloomberg will kick off the day with a keynote address on climate change and the responsibility to improve the world around us. NBC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden will moderate a discussion on The Case for Arts Philanthropy with Sarah Jones, Oskar Eustis and Elaine Wynn, followed by a live interview with the grandchildren of Elizabeth Taylor, together for a rare public appearance, to share how they are continuing their grandmother's philanthropic legacy. Jerry Storch, chief executive officer of Hudson's Bay Company, and president of HBC Foundation, will introduce a panel on mental illness featuring Glenn Close. ABC News Anchor David Muir will lead a panel discussion on the global refugee crisis that includes David Miliband and Zosia Mamet. Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, a champion of Wellness in the Schools, is catering the lunch, which will feature John Legend in conversation on criminal justice reform with former White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett. The T&C Philanthropy Summit is presented by U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management (Title Sponsor), HBC Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Frédérique Constant and The TreadRight Foundation. "Town & Country's Philanthropy Summit celebrates thoughtful leaders across varied fields upholding a deep commitment to giving back," said Jennifer Levene Bruno, Town & Country VP/publisher and chief revenue officer. "We are grateful to our sponsors who help underscore our annual event highlighting the importance of philanthropy in our world today." Attendees of the Philanthropy Summit will also have the opportunity to experience the Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Reality (VR) Arcade with a special viewing of The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger's Shoes, a new virtual reality short film from director Kathryn Bigelow and VR creator Imraan Ismail. The eight-minute film highlights the African elephants' race toward extinction at the hands of ivory-seeking poachers. For more information on the summit, visit TownandCountrymag.com and follow along at #TandCPhilanthropy Town & Country (www.townandcountrymag.com) has chronicled American life since 1846, always putting an emphasis on people of style and accomplishment who give something back to the world, whether in service, philanthropy or creative endeavor. Combining the highest level of reporting with the very best photography, Town & Country is an acute observer of the broader social landscape, documenting notable weddings and parties, chronicling the pastimes and passions of leading figures and families everywhere, and casting an anthropological eye on the lives of the rich and powerful. The magazine is a trusted source of privileged information, taste and unpretentious fun -- in short, an irreplaceable guide to the very best that the world has to offer. Follow Town & Country on Twitter at @TandCMag. Hearst Magazines is a unit of Hearst (www.hearst.com), one of the nation's largest diversified media and information companies. With 21 titles in the U.S., Hearst is the leading publisher of monthly magazines in terms of total paid circulation, reaching 78 million readers and 80 million site visitors each month (comScore), with a social media following of 88 million. In addition, the company publishes close to 300 editions and 200 websites around the world. Hearst Magazines Digital Media includes 21 websites for brands such as Cosmopolitan, ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Seventeen and Delish.com. The company also includes iCrossing, a global, full-service digital marketing agency. ABOUT U.S. TRUST, BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management is a leading private wealth management organization providing vast resources and customized solutions to help meet clients' wealth structuring, investment management, banking and credit needs. Clients are served by teams of experienced advisors offering a range of financial services, including investment management, financial and succession planning, philanthropic and specialty asset management, family office services, custom credit solutions, financial administration and family trust stewardship. U.S. Trust is part of the Global Wealth and Investment Management unit of Bank of America, N.A., which is a global leader in wealth management, private banking and retail brokerage. U.S. Trust employs more than 4,000 professionals and maintains 93 offices in 31 states. As part of Bank of America, U.S. Trust can provide access to a broad range of banking solutions for individuals and businesses, and an extensive retail banking platform. Established in Canada in 2005 and in the U.S. in 2017, the HBC Foundation is the North American charitable arm of Hudson's Bay Company, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world. The foundation is a Canadian registered charity and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the U.S. dedicated to improving lives by enhancing physical and mental health through education, access, research, and empowerment. By channeling the collective power of HBC's banners in North America, including Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH and Gilt.com, the foundation helps to transform the mental health landscape. The Pew Charitable Trusts works with philanthropists to make long-lasting, powerful, positive change -- always based on solid research and tangible goals. As a global nonprofit, we find the facts and use them to inform the public, improve public policy, and invigorate civic life. For nearly seven decades, we have produced measurable results addressing the most pressing challenges of the day across the United States and around the world. If you are interested in exploring how facts can drive innovation and improve people's lives in tangible ways around the globe, we invite you to learn more at www.pewtrusts.org/invest. Frédérique Constant is a watch manufacturer based in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland. The company is involved in all stages of watch production, from initial design, to final assembly and quality control. Frédérique Constant develops, manufactures, and assembles in-house calibers, 21 different versions since 2004. In 2015 Frédérique Constant introduced the first Swiss made Horological Smartwatch, powered by MMT SwissConnect and entirely displayed with an analog dial, thereby creating an entirely new watch category in the Swiss watch industry. Frédérique Constant watches are defined by their high quality and differentiation and precision in design and manufacturing. Their perceived value, through quality of design, materials, and manufacture, is a key component of their success. Each watch is assembled by hand, with the latest equipment and extensive controls, to ensure maximum quality and durability. The company embraces innovation to offer creativity and exceptional value. Its 32,000 square foot facility in Geneva is ultra-modern and offers the best environment for its passionate watchmakers. For more information, please visit www.frederiqueconstant.com. Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation's (TTC) family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain for generations to come. Founded by Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer, TTC, to date TreadRight has supported more than 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. As an official Diamond Sponsor of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, TTC is dedicated to bringing the industry together with a shared goal of benefitting local communities and the environment. To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, please visit us at www.treadright.org.
News Article | February 22, 2017
UW's Kristin Laidre awarded Pew marine fellowship to study effects of climate change, subsistence hunting on polar bears Polar bears depend on sea ice for essential tasks like hunting and breeding. As Arctic sea ice disappears due to climate change, bears across the species' 19 subpopulations are feeling the strain. But even as scientists try to quantify just how much melting sea ice is affecting polar bears, another group that depends on the iconic mammal for subsistence also is at risk of losing an important nutritional and economic resource. Indigenous people throughout the Arctic harvest polar bears each year. How that activity ? combined with climate change over the long term ? will impact bear populations in the future requires more science and monitoring. A new, two-part University of Washington project aims to explore the interacting effects of climate change and subsistence hunting on polar bears, while also illuminating the cultural value of the species to indigenous peoples and the role they play in conservation. Led by Kristin Laidre, a marine biologist at the UW's Polar Science Center and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, the three-year project will include a public art-science exhibition that combines photography, storytelling and science focused on polar bears, climate change and local Inuit communities in Greenland. "Broadly, people know polar bears are negatively affected by loss of sea ice, so they are understandably upset to hear polar bears are also being hunted," Laidre said. "The reality is, the reason for the projected decline of polar bears is a much bigger, global problem related to human-caused climate change and is largely unrelated to harvest. Managing and conserving polar bears in a changing climate has to include working closely with local Arctic communities and respecting subsistence needs." Laidre's project is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which today awarded her and 10 other international researchers prestigious fellowships for marine conservation. Pew chooses fellows based on their past contributions to marine science and their projects' potential to protect ocean environments. In the first half of the project, Laidre will work with researchers and agencies in four Arctic nations to compare data across all studied polar bear subpopulations and compile the most comprehensive assessment to date of population status. Specifically, she will look at generation length ? or the average age of females with new cubs ? as a metric for monitoring how each population is faring under climate change and subsistence hunting. Laidre will also examine for the first time the potential this metric has for assessing population status. Good data exist for bears in about half of the 19 subpopulations, but this information is rarely shared among agencies to broadly forecast changes for the entire species. Laidre's analysis will combine these data for the first time, and resulting models will help inform researchers on the status of less-studied subpopulations. For the project's artistic component, Laidre will partner with Finnish photographer Tiina Itkonen and Seattle-based writer Susan McGrath to document in photos and stories the lives of indigenous people in Greenland who rely on subsistence hunting of polar bears. Laidre will conduct a series of interviews in remote subsistence communities to gather perspectives on the importance of polar bears harvests, observed changes in the bear population and climate and reflections on their lives as hunters, considering the large changes occurring in the Arctic. The exhibition, paired with Itkonen's intimate portraits of polar bear hunters, will be on display in Seattle, then travel to Finland and Greenland. "Part of the goal of this project is setting polar bears in the context of not just being calendar icons, but also resources for others," Laidre said. "We are trying to clarify misinformation about polar bear hunting by capturing sensitive images and stories largely focused on the polar bear hunters themselves." Each Pew fellow receives $150,000 for a three-year project designed to address ocean conservation issues. Other projects in 2017 include collecting information on African manatees, and investigating mass bleaching and mortality of corals due to warmer ocean temperatures. Since 1996, the Pew Marine Fellows Program has recognized 156 marine experts in 37 countries. For more information, contact Laidre at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @KristinLaidre Contact Elizabeth Striano at Pew for information about the fellowship: email@example.com or 202-540-6837.
News Article | February 22, 2017
It's not every day that you're congratulated in a full-page ad in The New York Times. That's a special recognition University of Delaware professor Catherine Leimkuhler Grimes received on Tuesday, Feb. 21, when she and other selected scientists were announced as Sloan Research Fellowship winners. The prestigious two-year, $60,000 fellowship is awarded annually to 126 early-career scholars from the U.S. and Canada whose accomplishments mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders. "The Sloan Research Fellows are the rising stars of the academic community," said Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Through their achievements and ambition, these young scholars are transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons. We are proud to support them at this crucial stage of their careers." Grimes, assistant professor in UD's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will use her fellowship to investigate how chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and Crohn's disease, arise. Her work focuses on organisms you can't see and can't live without -- bacteria. Each of us carts around about three pounds of bacteria, in our stomachs and intestines, on our skin and lots of other places. Most are beneficial, helping with myriad functions, from digesting lunch to healing a bruise. Some are harmful, causing infections and disease. Bacteria naturally shed tiny fragments of their cell wall as they grow, like lint from a jacket. If these fragments come from harmful bacteria, your immune system responds accordingly by waging war on the nasty invaders. Sometimes, however, a case of mistaken identity occurs -- the cell wall fragments may have been sloughed by beneficial bacteria, but the immune system misreads them and winds up attacking healthy tissue. That scenario has been implicated in Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer. Grimes hypothesizes that these diseases erupt from a discrete set of bacterial cell wall fragments and that the body has mechanisms to sense such molecules. To test this hypothesis, she and her laboratory group are enlisting a full-court press of scientific techniques, from synthetic organic chemistry, to molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry and microbiology. "I feel extremely lucky to have such a diverse group of research students who are just as dedicated to these projects as I am," Grimes said. "Together we are unveiling how our immune systems keep track of both the good and bad bacteria." As a Sloan Research Fellow, Grimes is in prestigious company. In her own department at UD, she notes that her colleagues Joel Rosenthal, Doug Taber, Thomas Beebe and Klaus Theopold -- all past winners of the fellowship -- provide excellent examples of dynamic research programs. In the wider scientific community, past awardees include such towering figures as physicist Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann and game theorist John Nash. Forty-three former fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 16 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007. Grimes was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2014, won the Cottrell Scholar Award in 2015 and received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award in 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from Villanova University, earned her master's degree in chemistry from Princeton University and her doctorate in chemistry from Harvard. She joined the UD faculty in 2011. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of the General Motors Corp., the Sloan Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics. The foundation is based in New York City.
News Article | February 28, 2017
529 college savings plans stand out as popular and effective planning and saving tools that both encourage and enable American families across income levels to prepare for the costs of higher education. New research released by Strategic Insight, an independent financial research and data analysis organization, shows that a large majority of 529 users – 75% -- have household incomes of $150,000 or less. Most participants represent solidly middle-income families – and lower-income households also recognize the benefits and need for targeted college saving, with a full 17% of 529 families having household income of $50,000 or less. “529s are a valuable savings tool for all American families, from two-income households of teachers and firefighters, to families putting aside $25 a month for a first-generation college student,” said Richard Polimeni, Chair of the College Savings Foundation. “These new numbers show strength in 529 ownership in every income bracket from $25,000 to $150,000,” said Paul Curley, Director of College Savings Research at Strategic Insight. A recent national survey by SI indicated that 32% of 529 users have household incomes of less than $75,000, 49% have incomes below $100,000, and as stated before, 75% have incomes below $150,000. Not only are 529 plans embraced by families as affordable options, but they also are an efficient tax-advantaged vehicle for families. According to a recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, federal tax benefits for current expenses are much more costly than those which incentivize planning and saving, with 529 plans and other savings incentives coming in at less than one-tenth the cost of the largest tax incentive, the American Opportunity Tax Credit. http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/assets/2017/02/how-governments-support-higher-education-through-tax-code.pdf Only 529 plans involve a long-term commitment by families to plan for the future cost of higher education through saving and investing and future planning, vital factors in tackling the nation’s current $1.3-trillion in student loan debt. All college savings plans are sponsored by nonprofit state agencies which work with families on goal setting and financial education in addition to providing college savings investment options. “College and career planning are life decisions as well as financial ones,” Polimeni said. “Plan sponsors and advisors work with individuals and families over the course of many years as they aspire to higher education, learn about college funding strategies, and reduce dependence on crippling debt.” Demonstrating the current interest in college savings in Congress, U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Ron Kind (D-WI) recently introduced H.R. 529, known as the 529 and ABLE Account Improvement Act of 2017. It encourages more college savings by eliminating perceived barriers, encouraging more participation by employers and further enhancing program flexibility. On March 14-16, CSF will address innovations in college savings at its conference in Charleston, SC, “College Planning Challenges and the Role of 529 Plans.” President of Washington College Sheila Bair will present new initiatives she is advancing to encourage savings, reduce college debt, and free up students for brighter futures. Speakers will present tools to help families assess their child’s preferred higher education path - including affordable community college and vocational training programs through graduate school - and how to start early to build the strategies to fund their goals. The Strategic Insight data is based on a nationally representative survey of over 1,000 parents or legal guardians with children under the age of 18 earning over $25,000 fielded in February 2017. The data corroborates CSF’s findings from its annual State of College Savings survey of 800 parents across the country and income levels, which in 2016 found that 67% of all parents were saving for college and 32% of all parents owned a 529 plan. To learn more about CSF, see http://www.collegesavingsfoundation.org To learn more about Strategic Insight, see http://www.strategic-i.com
News Article | January 5, 2017
Big news is coming from Japan about the New Year tuna auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji market. The auction on Thursday saw a bluefin tuna sold for a mind-boggling 74.2 million yen ($642,310). The top bidder for the 212kg (467.38 pounds) fish was Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Corporation, which runs the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain. In the auction, Kimura outbid all rivals for the sixth year straight. The man-sized fish was caught off the coast of northern Japan's Aomori prefecture. The price is obviously quite high compared to the 14 million yen posted in 2016. Still, the current price is a dwarf compared to the record 155 million yen paid by the Kimura in 2013. After winning the bid, a jubilant Kimura posed with a big knife in front of the dark-silvery fish. He said that the bid was "a bit expensive, but I am happy that I was able to successfully win at auction a tuna of good shape and size." Thanks to the passion for costly tuna auctions, Kimura is known by the nickname "Tuna King". The Tsukiji market's first auction in the New Year is a big business as it draws hordes of restaurants which are keen to convert the publicity into a marketing opportunity. Even as big bucks are chasing bluefin tuna, the outlook on the fish, also known as the King of Sushi, is grim. "This tuna is being fished at rates up to three times higher than scientists say is sustainable," said Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts in a recent report. Many environmental groups including Pew have called for a two-year ban on commercial fishing of the bluefin tuna. Japan tops the charts as the biggest consumer of Pacific bluefin tuna, where 80 percent of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide is consumed. Data show bluefin tuna population has ebbed 97 percent from its historic levels because of overfishing. According to the International Scientific Committee for Tuna in the North Pacific Ocean, the current "unfished" population is just 2.6 percent, down from an already low 4.2 percent shown in a previous estimate. Bluefin tuna has many unique characteristics including a larger life span of 40 years. Moving across oceans, bluefin is a fast swimmer and can dive more than 4,000 feet. In terms of movement, bluefin tuna acts like torpedoes with retractable fins and sharp vision. They are huge predators and eat up schools of fish such as mackerel, eels, and herrings. There three kinds of bluefin tuna — Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern. The bulk of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is caught from the Mediterranean Sea. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.