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News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Richard Burton, who has died aged 83, was a third of the architectural partnership of Ahrends, Burton & Koralek (ABK), alongside Peter Ahrends and Paul Koralek. It is not particularly rare that three architects should meet as students and go on to practise together, but most unusual that all three should be involved in design and should remain lifelong friends. The partnership survived controversy when its competition-winning extension to the National Gallery in London was dubbed a “monstrous carbuncle” by the Prince of Wales in 1984 and cancelled, and it became one of the few practices founded in the early 1960s to span the gulf between the public and private sectors. Of the partners, Burton was perhaps the least affected by the prince’s diatribe, for he had already forged an independent path in the design of low-rise housing, hospitals and energy efficiency, in the last of which he was a pioneer; he and the prince should have got on. Burton subsequently took charge of the firm’s design of the British embassy in Moscow, completed in 2000, after building a house for himself and his wife, Mireille, in Kentish Town, north London, which he opened to the public on Open House weekends. Burton was born in Kensington, central London. His mother was Vera Poliakoff, an actor and director (stage name Vera Lindsay), the daughter of a Russian engineer, and his father, Basil Burton, was half-Irish and ran the Academy cinema in Oxford Street before second world war service; he later also worked as an actor. Their marriage was short-lived, and as a child Richard stayed with his grandmother, Christabel Burton, a member of the Harmsworth newspaper dynasty and the client for one of Britain’s first modern movement houses, Torilla, outside Hatfield, Hertfordshire. An early interest in painting was directed towards architecture at Bryanston school, in Dorset, and furthered when in 1944 his mother married Gerald Barry, who became director general of the Festival of Britain. Barry recommended the Architectural Association (AA), where on entering in 1951 Burton quickly teamed up with Ahrends and Koralek, both émigrés. All shared a love of Frank Lloyd Wright, then still unfashionable, as well as of Le Corbusier. After he had spent 18 months at the London county council, which showed no interest in his designs, Burton’s fortune changed when he joined Powell & Moya, masters of modern architecture then designing Princess Margaret hospital in Swindon and exquisite extensions to Brasenose College, Oxford. When Burton left to set up ABK with Ahrends and Koralek in 1961, and the new practice needed work (despite Koralek winning an international competition for a library at Trinity College, Dublin), Philip Powell generously passed on two major commissions: a theological college in Chichester – a taut, brutalist composition – and a business school, which became Templeton College, at Kennington, Oxford, built in seven phases to provide comfortable accommodation for business people on short courses and which was both stylish and flexible. ABK’s interest in structure and light was immediately evident, but in the business school Burton integrated architecture and landscape, with the landscape architect James Hope, who became a regular collaborator. Burton’s mother introduced him to the art dealer John Kasmin, for whom he and Ahrends designed a Bond Street gallery in 1962-63, described by Forbes magazine as “London’s swingingest 60s art gallery”. It was in the realm of public housing and energy efficiency that Burton found a personal voice, while retaining the ABK “look” of blond brick and oddly pitched roofs. An estate at Chalvedon in Basildon, Essex, comprised a series of friendly courtyards, one and three storeys high. Burton employed a social psychologist to interview the first residents, whose feedback informed more distinctive entrances and cheaper heating in the later phases. A second development in Basildon, Felmore, commissioned in 1974, was the first major housing project in Britain to take account of energy conservation, incorporating high standards of insulation. Burton became the coordinator for the RIBA’s first energy initiative and chair of its low-energy group. At his next major building, St Mary’s hospital in the Isle of Wight, energy was recycled and steel cladding reflected heat on warm days, while bouncing light into the building. Again he worked with Hope, and incorporated artworks, imparting a sense of place despite having to follow a standardised National Health Service “nucleus” plan. He also designed two buildings at Hooke Park, Dorset (1983-90), where the Parnham Trust set up a training centre dedicated to the sustainable use of timber, and was instrumental in passing the estate to the AA in 2003, contributing generously to secure its future. Burton also took charge of the partnership’s last major commission, when ABK was invited in 1988 to design the British embassy in Moscow. This was an opportunity for public redemption after the National Gallery, and to connect with his Russian roots. He designed a series of separate pavilions housing residential and office accommodation linked by high-level bridges, rich in detail and with the ceremonial spaces filled by specially commissioned furniture and works of art. The firm closed its practice in 2012 when Ahrends and Koralek retired; Burton had left the partnership in 2002 because of illness. In the late 1980s Koralek had established an Irish office, and this practice continues. Burton’s own house, largely built by himself and his three sons between 1986 and 1988, and extended in 1991, explored similar ideas in a homespun way, a sequence of three large rooms set behind a conservatory that stored heat or sheltered the house from it according to the season, with a bedroom on top. Constructed mainly of timber and stuffed with treasured objects, this was an inclusive, all-embracing modernist building that was easy to live in. The public held the same view, forming long queues on Open House weekends to be stewarded around the house by Burton’s grandchildren and to chat to the architect for hours. An annexe added in 2002 was ostensibly for his daughter Kate and her family, but Burton seized the opportunity to explore ideas for low-cost student housing, so the unit is divided by a courtyard garden and works equally as bedsitter accommodation. Burton was an expansive, eloquent communicator and a generous friend. His last major project was a book about his own house, with James O Davies, which is suffused with love for his close-knit family and the craft of art and architecture. He is survived by Mireille, by their children, Mark, David (known as Bim), Jonathan and Kate, and by eight grandchildren.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Bioclinica®, a provider of specialized science and technology-enabled services supporting clinical trials, today announced three executive additions to its global Medical Imaging & Biomarkers leadership team. With global headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, Bioclinica’s Medical Imaging & Biomarkers business segment is the world clinical trial leader in medical imaging, providing cardiac safety monitoring services, specialized biochemical marker analysis, and clinical lab services in the Bioclinica molecular marker laboratory. Joining Bioclinica are Andrew Kraus, Chief Operating Officer; Souhil Zaim, MD, Head of Global Medical and Science Affairs; and Sara Levy, Vice President, Client Services. All three will report to David Herron, President, Medical Imaging & Biomarkers. “As the global leader in medical imaging and biomarkers, our teams are proud to have supported more than 3,000 clinical trials and 149 FDA approvals. An incomparable clinical trial track record spanning three decades attracts the world’s best in our domain,” commented David Herron, President Medical Imaging & Biomarkers. “I am very happy to have these three, multi-talented individuals join our incredible team, adding their expertise, experience and passion for creating value for patients, customers and the industry.” Kraus is a recognized clinical research industry senior executive with more than 24 years of technical and regulatory knowledge, and a track record of financial growth and operational delivery. Among his primary responsibilities Kraus will be pivotal in driving strategic planning, spearheading technology-enabled global operations, supporting Bioclinica’s tremendous growth, and driving superior outcomes for clients. Most recently, Kraus was chief operating officer and treasurer of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York City where he led a period of historical growth. Prior to this he was with ICON, plc. for ten years serving as executive vice president, Global Data Technologies after a tenure as executive vice president and chief technology officer of the Medical Imaging Division. Kraus has co-founded two successful businesses in the clinical trials services industry after beginning his long career at Bio-Imaging Technologies, which would later become Bioclinica. Kraus has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Zaim is a recognized medical imaging industry senior executive with more than 25 years of medical, scientific and industry experience and was most recently chief medical officer at Median Technologies. He will be responsible for ensuring the strategic and long-term medical, scientific and technical development of Bioclinica’s Medical and Science Affairs organization in concert with the Medical Imaging & Biomarkers’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael O’Neal, and Chief Science Officer, Dr. Thomas Fuerst. Dr. Zaim was previously with SYNARC (merged with Bioclinica in March 2014) for more than a decade in various leadership roles, including medical director, chief medical officer, vice president of radiology, and director of radiology services, Europe. In these roles, Dr. Zaim established and developed global medical and science affairs teams supporting an array of clinical trial indications. Dr. Zaim is regularly published in peer-reviewed journals, and has extensive central reading and adjudication experience encompassing thousands of patients in hundreds of clinical trials in Oncology, Arthritis, Osteoporosis and other areas. Prior to this he was assistant professor of Radiology at the University of California at San Francisco. He earned a medical degree from the University of Algiers and is board certified in Radiology with a certificate in Magnetic Resonance, both from the University of Paris. Dr. Zaim is a member of the Radiological Society of North America, the European Society of Radiology, Osteoarthritis Research Society International, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Levy is a proven clinical research operating executive with more than 18 years of client and clinical data management experience. She was most recently clinical practice director at Penobscot Community Health Center leading a health service delivery venture with athenahealth. She will provide executive leadership for Bioclinica’s clinical project management teams across the Medical Imaging & Biomarker business, supporting operations and delivery focused on consistency of service and customer satisfaction, and will play a pivotal role in the ongoing development of new client-service offerings. Levy is a graduate of Trinity College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Cognitive Science with a focus on the neurosciences. About Bioclinica Bioclinica is a specialty services provider that utilizes expertise and technology to create clarity in the clinical trial process. Bioclinica is organized by three business segments to deliver focused service supporting multifaceted technologies. The Medical Imaging and Biomarkers segment is the global clinical trial leader in medical imaging, providing cardiac safety monitoring services, specialized biochemical marker analysis and clinical lab services in the Bioclinica molecular marker laboratory. The eHealth Solutions segment comprises an eClinical technology platform and professional services along with safety and regulatory solutions. Under the Global Clinical Research segment, Bioclinica offers a network of research sites, patient recruitment-retention services, and a post-approval research division. The Company serves more than 400 pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device organizations – including all of the top 20 – through a network of offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Learn more about Bioclinica at http://www.bioclinica.com.


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

—Live birth: Most mammals do it, some lizards and snakes do it, but archosaurs – a reptilian group that includes crocodiles and birds – don't... or so biologists thought. When a long-necked, marine archosauromorph died some 245 million years ago in what is now China, she was pregnant, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. And now paleontologists are hailing this fossil as evidence that archosaurs might not have always been strict egg-layers. "We commonly think of these aspects of animal biology as static or 'fixed' throughout evolutionary time, and cases like this demonstrate just how labile the evolution of animal form and biology can be," Dr. Nathan Smith, an associate curator at the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study of this new specimen, writes in an email to The Christian Science Monitor. Egg-laying, or oviparity, is thought to be the ancestral reproductive strategy, with live birth, or viviparity, evolving later in some lineages. Viviparity isn't just the placenta-nourished embryonic development of mammals. It has also frequently evolved independently among lizards and snakes in a variety of forms, sometimes with babies hatching from eggs incubated inside their mothers. So viviparity was known in mammals and lepidosaurs (the vertebrate group including lizards and snakes), explains study co-author Michael Benton, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in Britain. But "nobody had ever discovered, in any of the living or fossil forms, any evidence that archosaurs could adopt live birth." When the new specimen was first discovered and the researchers saw the small bones preserved within the larger animal's ribcage, they didn't want to jump to any conclusions. After all, this could have simply been this animal's last meal. As the team examined the fossil, they realized that the two animals were indeed the same species. But it still could have been a case of cannibalism, Dr. Benton says in a phone interview with the Monitor. The researchers are pretty sure that Dinocephalosaurus, as this animal is called, fed on fish because it has a small mouth and a long, thin neck, perfect for gulping down the long, slippery bodies of fish. Swallowing a chunky baby of its own species would have been quite the feat. Not only that, but the little bones didn't display any evidence of acid digestion, as would be expected for such a meal. Furthermore, what Benton says is "quite strong evidence" against cannibalism is the position of the little animal within the bigger one. The big Dinocephalosaurus likely would have had to swallow the baby head first so it went down easily, but the little animal is oriented the wrong way. Finding a little version of the bigger animal in the abdominal region "is about as close as you can get in the fossil record to direct evidence of reproductive mode," Christian Sidor, a paleobiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research, says in a phone interview with the Monitor. Daniel Blackburn, a biologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., whose own research has focused on viviparity in reptiles, is convinced. "Based on the state of development of the embryo and its position in the body of the adult, it almost certainly is a developing fetus," he writes in an email to the Monitor. "Given the absence of any trace of an eggshell, as well as its advanced state of development, the embryo seems unlikely to be laid as an egg. Thus, the adult specimen is almost certainly a pregnant female with a developing fetus." "Viviparity has previously been documented in only a few groups of extinct reptiles, notably ichthyosaurs, the giant mosasauroid lizards, and plesiosaurs," Dr. Blackburn says. "The authors' analysis extends live-bearing habits to an entirely new reptilian group, one in which it had not previously been suspected." That may not be entirely true, says Xiao-chun Wu, a palaeobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature who was not involved in the new research. In 2010, Dr. Wu and colleagues reported evidence of viviparity in a choristoderan reptile. But there has been some debate around whether the choristoderans are lepidosauromorphs or archosauromorphs, he explains. And Wu asserts that these reptiles actually belong among the archosaurs. Still, Wu says, this finding is significant because it increases the diversity of reproductive patterns among this group of reptiles. And, Dr. Sidor says, even if choristoderan reptiles are viviparous archosaurs, Dinocephalosaurus is still the oldest example of live birth in an archosauromorph, as the choristoderans lived tens of millions of years later. This pregnant Dinocephalosaurus could help corroborate a dominant idea about what makes a reptile stop laying eggs and start birthing live young: that viviparity is an adaptation necessary for reptiles to move to a fully aquatic lifestyle. "Because eggs of reptiles (and birds) cannot be laid in water, aquatic reptiles have two choices: they either must come to land to lay their eggs (like sea turtles) or they must be viviparous (like ichthyosaurs and certain sea snakes)," Blackburn explains. "Dinocephalosaurus is highly specialized for aquatic life and probably could not come onto the land to lay its eggs." "It's nice to see that we've got a pattern developing," Sidor says. According to that pattern, it fits that Dinocephalosaurus gave birth to live young. "It's nice to see that the fossil record is giving us glimpses of what we expected," he says. And, Sidor adds, "it's nice to see a fossil like this come along that reminds us that evolution has developed this feature many times, and it's not something that is particularly special to [placental and marsupial] mammals." Benton expects this discovery of live birth in archosauromorphs to open up many broad questions about why some groups have evolved to lay eggs and others give birth to live young. This might even lead to questions like why don't humans lay eggs, he says with a laugh.


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

—Live birth: Most mammals do it, some lizards and snakes do it, but archosaurs – a reptilian group that includes crocodiles and birds – don't... or so biologists thought. When a long-necked, marine archosauromorph died some 245 million years ago in what is now China, she was pregnant, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. And now paleontologists are hailing this fossil as evidence that archosaurs might not have always been strict egg-layers. "We commonly think of these aspects of animal biology as static or 'fixed' throughout evolutionary time, and cases like this demonstrate just how labile the evolution of animal form and biology can be," Dr. Nathan Smith, an associate curator at the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study of this new specimen, writes in an email to The Christian Science Monitor. Egg-laying, or oviparity, is thought to be the ancestral reproductive strategy, with live birth, or viviparity, evolving later in some lineages. Viviparity isn't just the placenta-nourished embryonic development of mammals. It has also frequently evolved independently among lizards and snakes in a variety of forms, sometimes with babies hatching from eggs incubated inside their mothers. So viviparity was known in mammals and lepidosaurs (the vertebrate group including lizards and snakes), explains study co-author Michael Benton, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in Britain. But "nobody had ever discovered, in any of the living or fossil forms, any evidence that archosaurs could adopt live birth." When the new specimen was first discovered and the researchers saw the small bones preserved within the larger animal's ribcage, they didn't want to jump to any conclusions. After all, this could have simply been this animal's last meal. As the team examined the fossil, they realized that the two animals were indeed the same species. But it still could have been a case of cannibalism, Dr. Benton says in a phone interview with the Monitor. The researchers are pretty sure that Dinocephalosaurus, as this animal is called, fed on fish because it has a small mouth and a long, thin neck, perfect for gulping down the long, slippery bodies of fish. Swallowing a chunky baby of its own species would have been quite the feat. Not only that, but the little bones didn't display any evidence of acid digestion, as would be expected for such a meal. Furthermore, what Benton says is "quite strong evidence" against cannibalism is the position of the little animal within the bigger one. The big Dinocephalosaurus likely would have had to swallow the baby head first so it went down easily, but the little animal is oriented the wrong way. Finding a little version of the bigger animal in the abdominal region "is about as close as you can get in the fossil record to direct evidence of reproductive mode," Christian Sidor, a paleobiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research, says in a phone interview with the Monitor. Daniel Blackburn, a biologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., whose own research has focused on viviparity in reptiles, is convinced. "Based on the state of development of the embryo and its position in the body of the adult, it almost certainly is a developing fetus," he writes in an email to the Monitor. "Given the absence of any trace of an eggshell, as well as its advanced state of development, the embryo seems unlikely to be laid as an egg. Thus, the adult specimen is almost certainly a pregnant female with a developing fetus." "Viviparity has previously been documented in only a few groups of extinct reptiles, notably ichthyosaurs, the giant mosasauroid lizards, and plesiosaurs," Dr. Blackburn says. "The authors' analysis extends live-bearing habits to an entirely new reptilian group, one in which it had not previously been suspected." That may not be entirely true, says Xiao-chun Wu, a palaeobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature who was not involved in the new research. In 2010, Dr. Wu and colleagues reported evidence of viviparity in a choristoderan reptile. But there has been some debate around whether the choristoderans are lepidosauromorphs or archosauromorphs, he explains. And Wu asserts that these reptiles actually belong among the archosaurs. Still, Wu says, this finding is significant because it increases the diversity of reproductive patterns among this group of reptiles. And, Dr. Sidor says, even if choristoderan reptiles are viviparous archosaurs, Dinocephalosaurus is still the oldest example of live birth in an archosauromorph, as the choristoderans lived tens of millions of years later. This pregnant Dinocephalosaurus could help corroborate a dominant idea about what makes a reptile stop laying eggs and start birthing live young: that viviparity is an adaptation necessary for reptiles to move to a fully aquatic lifestyle. "Because eggs of reptiles (and birds) cannot be laid in water, aquatic reptiles have two choices: they either must come to land to lay their eggs (like sea turtles) or they must be viviparous (like ichthyosaurs and certain sea snakes)," Blackburn explains. "Dinocephalosaurus is highly specialized for aquatic life and probably could not come onto the land to lay its eggs." "It's nice to see that we've got a pattern developing," Sidor says. According to that pattern, it fits that Dinocephalosaurus gave birth to live young. "It's nice to see that the fossil record is giving us glimpses of what we expected," he says. And, Sidor adds, "it's nice to see a fossil like this come along that reminds us that evolution has developed this feature many times, and it's not something that is particularly special to [placental and marsupial] mammals." Benton expects this discovery of live birth in archosauromorphs to open up many broad questions about why some groups have evolved to lay eggs and others give birth to live young. This might even lead to questions like why don't humans lay eggs, he says with a laugh.


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

—Live birth: Most mammals do it, some lizards and snakes do it, but archosaurs – a reptilian group that includes crocodiles and birds – don't... or so biologists thought. When a long-necked, marine archosauromorph died some 245 million years ago in what is now China, she was pregnant, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. And now paleontologists are hailing this fossil as evidence that archosaurs might not have always been strict egg-layers. "We commonly think of these aspects of animal biology as static or 'fixed' throughout evolutionary time, and cases like this demonstrate just how labile the evolution of animal form and biology can be," Dr. Nathan Smith, an associate curator at the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study of this new specimen, writes in an email to The Christian Science Monitor. Egg-laying, or oviparity, is thought to be the ancestral reproductive strategy, with live birth, or viviparity, evolving later in some lineages. Viviparity isn't just the placenta-nourished embryonic development of mammals. It has also frequently evolved independently among lizards and snakes in a variety of forms, sometimes with babies hatching from eggs incubated inside their mothers. So viviparity was known in mammals and lepidosaurs (the vertebrate group including lizards and snakes), explains study co-author Michael Benton, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in Britain. But "nobody had ever discovered, in any of the living or fossil forms, any evidence that archosaurs could adopt live birth." When the new specimen was first discovered and the researchers saw the small bones preserved within the larger animal's ribcage, they didn't want to jump to any conclusions. After all, this could have simply been this animal's last meal. As the team examined the fossil, they realized that the two animals were indeed the same species. But it still could have been a case of cannibalism, Dr. Benton says in a phone interview with the Monitor. The researchers are pretty sure that Dinocephalosaurus, as this animal is called, fed on fish because it has a small mouth and a long, thin neck, perfect for gulping down the long, slippery bodies of fish. Swallowing a chunky baby of its own species would have been quite the feat. Not only that, but the little bones didn't display any evidence of acid digestion, as would be expected for such a meal. Furthermore, what Benton says is "quite strong evidence" against cannibalism is the position of the little animal within the bigger one. The big Dinocephalosaurus likely would have had to swallow the baby head first so it went down easily, but the little animal is oriented the wrong way. Finding a little version of the bigger animal in the abdominal region "is about as close as you can get in the fossil record to direct evidence of reproductive mode," Christian Sidor, a paleobiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research, says in a phone interview with the Monitor. Daniel Blackburn, a biologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., whose own research has focused on viviparity in reptiles, is convinced. "Based on the state of development of the embryo and its position in the body of the adult, it almost certainly is a developing fetus," he writes in an email to the Monitor. "Given the absence of any trace of an eggshell, as well as its advanced state of development, the embryo seems unlikely to be laid as an egg. Thus, the adult specimen is almost certainly a pregnant female with a developing fetus." "Viviparity has previously been documented in only a few groups of extinct reptiles, notably ichthyosaurs, the giant mosasauroid lizards, and plesiosaurs," Dr. Blackburn says. "The authors' analysis extends live-bearing habits to an entirely new reptilian group, one in which it had not previously been suspected." That may not be entirely true, says Xiao-chun Wu, a palaeobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature who was not involved in the new research. In 2010, Dr. Wu and colleagues reported evidence of viviparity in a choristoderan reptile. But there has been some debate around whether the choristoderans are lepidosauromorphs or archosauromorphs, he explains. And Wu asserts that these reptiles actually belong among the archosaurs. Still, Wu says, this finding is significant because it increases the diversity of reproductive patterns among this group of reptiles. And, Dr. Sidor says, even if choristoderan reptiles are viviparous archosaurs, Dinocephalosaurus is still the oldest example of live birth in an archosauromorph, as the choristoderans lived tens of millions of years later. This pregnant Dinocephalosaurus could help corroborate a dominant idea about what makes a reptile stop laying eggs and start birthing live young: that viviparity is an adaptation necessary for reptiles to move to a fully aquatic lifestyle. "Because eggs of reptiles (and birds) cannot be laid in water, aquatic reptiles have two choices: they either must come to land to lay their eggs (like sea turtles) or they must be viviparous (like ichthyosaurs and certain sea snakes)," Blackburn explains. "Dinocephalosaurus is highly specialized for aquatic life and probably could not come onto the land to lay its eggs." "It's nice to see that we've got a pattern developing," Sidor says. According to that pattern, it fits that Dinocephalosaurus gave birth to live young. "It's nice to see that the fossil record is giving us glimpses of what we expected," he says. And, Sidor adds, "it's nice to see a fossil like this come along that reminds us that evolution has developed this feature many times, and it's not something that is particularly special to [placental and marsupial] mammals." Benton expects this discovery of live birth in archosauromorphs to open up many broad questions about why some groups have evolved to lay eggs and others give birth to live young. This might even lead to questions like why don't humans lay eggs, he says with a laugh.


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

—Live birth: Most mammals do it, some lizards and snakes do it, but archosaurs – a reptilian group that includes crocodiles and birds – don't... or so biologists thought. When a long-necked, marine archosauromorph died some 245 million years ago in what is now China, she was pregnant, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. And now paleontologists are hailing this fossil as evidence that archosaurs might not have always been strict egg-layers. "We commonly think of these aspects of animal biology as static or 'fixed' throughout evolutionary time, and cases like this demonstrate just how labile the evolution of animal form and biology can be," Dr. Nathan Smith, an associate curator at the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study of this new specimen, writes in an email to The Christian Science Monitor. Egg-laying, or oviparity, is thought to be the ancestral reproductive strategy, with live birth, or viviparity, evolving later in some lineages. Viviparity isn't just the placenta-nourished embryonic development of mammals. It has also frequently evolved independently among lizards and snakes in a variety of forms, sometimes with babies hatching from eggs incubated inside their mothers. So viviparity was known in mammals and lepidosaurs (the vertebrate group including lizards and snakes), explains study co-author Michael Benton, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in Britain. But "nobody had ever discovered, in any of the living or fossil forms, any evidence that archosaurs could adopt live birth." When the new specimen was first discovered and the researchers saw the small bones preserved within the larger animal's ribcage, they didn't want to jump to any conclusions. After all, this could have simply been this animal's last meal. As the team examined the fossil, they realized that the two animals were indeed the same species. But it still could have been a case of cannibalism, Dr. Benton says in a phone interview with the Monitor. The researchers are pretty sure that Dinocephalosaurus, as this animal is called, fed on fish because it has a small mouth and a long, thin neck, perfect for gulping down the long, slippery bodies of fish. Swallowing a chunky baby of its own species would have been quite the feat. Not only that, but the little bones didn't display any evidence of acid digestion, as would be expected for such a meal. Furthermore, what Benton says is "quite strong evidence" against cannibalism is the position of the little animal within the bigger one. The big Dinocephalosaurus likely would have had to swallow the baby head first so it went down easily, but the little animal is oriented the wrong way. Finding a little version of the bigger animal in the abdominal region "is about as close as you can get in the fossil record to direct evidence of reproductive mode," Christian Sidor, a paleobiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research, says in a phone interview with the Monitor. Daniel Blackburn, a biologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., whose own research has focused on viviparity in reptiles, is convinced. "Based on the state of development of the embryo and its position in the body of the adult, it almost certainly is a developing fetus," he writes in an email to the Monitor. "Given the absence of any trace of an eggshell, as well as its advanced state of development, the embryo seems unlikely to be laid as an egg. Thus, the adult specimen is almost certainly a pregnant female with a developing fetus." "Viviparity has previously been documented in only a few groups of extinct reptiles, notably ichthyosaurs, the giant mosasauroid lizards, and plesiosaurs," Dr. Blackburn says. "The authors' analysis extends live-bearing habits to an entirely new reptilian group, one in which it had not previously been suspected." That may not be entirely true, says Xiao-chun Wu, a palaeobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature who was not involved in the new research. In 2010, Dr. Wu and colleagues reported evidence of viviparity in a choristoderan reptile. But there has been some debate around whether the choristoderans are lepidosauromorphs or archosauromorphs, he explains. And Wu asserts that these reptiles actually belong among the archosaurs. Still, Wu says, this finding is significant because it increases the diversity of reproductive patterns among this group of reptiles. And, Dr. Sidor says, even if choristoderan reptiles are viviparous archosaurs, Dinocephalosaurus is still the oldest example of live birth in an archosauromorph, as the choristoderans lived tens of millions of years later. This pregnant Dinocephalosaurus could help corroborate a dominant idea about what makes a reptile stop laying eggs and start birthing live young: that viviparity is an adaptation necessary for reptiles to move to a fully aquatic lifestyle. "Because eggs of reptiles (and birds) cannot be laid in water, aquatic reptiles have two choices: they either must come to land to lay their eggs (like sea turtles) or they must be viviparous (like ichthyosaurs and certain sea snakes)," Blackburn explains. "Dinocephalosaurus is highly specialized for aquatic life and probably could not come onto the land to lay its eggs." "It's nice to see that we've got a pattern developing," Sidor says. According to that pattern, it fits that Dinocephalosaurus gave birth to live young. "It's nice to see that the fossil record is giving us glimpses of what we expected," he says. And, Sidor adds, "it's nice to see a fossil like this come along that reminds us that evolution has developed this feature many times, and it's not something that is particularly special to [placental and marsupial] mammals." Benton expects this discovery of live birth in archosauromorphs to open up many broad questions about why some groups have evolved to lay eggs and others give birth to live young. This might even lead to questions like why don't humans lay eggs, he says with a laugh.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has ranked the best schools with online programs in the state of Florida for 2017. A total of 45 schools received honors for their online education offerings, with University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida State University, University of South Florida-Main Campus, Jacksonville University, Tallahassee Community College and Florida Keys Community College earning top spots overall. More than a dozen unique data points were evaluated to determine each school’s score. “The schools on our Best Online Schools list for Florida all meet high standards of excellence for students who want to succeed outside of a brick-and-mortar classroom,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. Colleges and universities on the Best Online Schools list must meet specific base requirements to be included. Qualifications include being institutionally accredited and holding public or private not-for-profit status. Each college was also scored based on additional criteria that includes the student/teacher ratio, graduation rate, employment services and financial aid availability. For more details on where each school falls in the rankings and the data and methodology used to determine the lists, visit: Florida’s Best Online Schools for 2017 include the following: Adventist University of Health Sciences Ave Maria University Barry University Bethune-Cookman University Broward College City College-Fort Lauderdale Daytona State College Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Everglades University Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Florida Atlantic University Florida Gulf Coast University Florida Institute of Technology Florida International University Florida Keys Community College Florida SouthWestern State College Florida State College at Jacksonville Florida State University Hobe Sound Bible College Hodges University Indian River State College Jacksonville University Johnson & Wales University-North Miami Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale Lynn University Nova Southeastern University Palm Beach Atlantic University Saint Leo University South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary Southeastern University St. Petersburg College St. Thomas University State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota Stetson University Tallahassee Community College The Baptist College of Florida The University of West Florida Trinity College of Florida University of Central Florida University of Florida University of Miami University of North Florida University of South Florida-Main Campus Warner University Webber International University ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success.


Industry and Academic Luminaries from BlackRock, Carnegie Mellon, Stripe and Others Help Pepperdata Define its Next Generation of Big Data Products CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 21, 2017) - Pepperdata, the Big Data performance company, today announced the formation of its Technology Advisory Board to help the company develop advanced performance products for modern Big Data architectures. Leading experts and influencers from technology, industry and academia -- with backgrounds at BlackRock, Carnegie Mellon University, Stripe, VMware and more -- will provide focused input and advice to guide product strategy as Pepperdata brings new innovation to Big Data. As enterprise use of large production Hadoop and Spark continues to grow, the need to run at scale, with high performance, continues to increase. Pepperdata has a proven track record of helping Fortune 500 customers ensure performance in production Big Data applications and will be collaborating with these expert advisors to chart the future direction of the company's technology. "Enterprise Big Data application performance is more important than ever," said Ash Munshi, CEO of Pepperdata. "Performance means the difference between business critical or business useless. Our new Technology Advisory Board members not only understand Big Data, but also know how to build systems at scale. As a result of their guidance, as well as feedback from our customers, we will be bringing exciting new products to market in the coming months." David Andersen is an associate professor in the Computer Science department at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from MIT, and received B.S. degrees in Computer Science and Biology from the University of Utah. Before joining MIT, he was a co-founder and CTO of an Internet Service Provider in Salt Lake City. His research is focused on computer systems in the networked environment. Andersen's research and published talks can be accessed through Carnegie Mellon and Google Scholar. Thomas S. Bain, CGEIT, CISM, CRISC, is an information technology professional with more than three decades of financial services experience. Currently, he is a managing director at BlackRock and is Chief Administrative Officer for BlackRock's Aladdin Product Group. Previously at BlackRock, Bain managed the technology and corporate services departments and founded the business continuity, information security, internal audit, and technology risk management departments. Before joining BlackRock in 1994, Bain was employed in technology roles at CS First Boston, Goldman, Sachs & Co., and ITT Avionics. Ian O'Connell is an accomplished software engineer with a decade of experience in Silicon Valley. His unique expertise in monitoring, performance and scalability is derived from leading projects for several successful companies. He currently works at Stripe, driving mission-critical projects including the architecture and design of the underlying infrastructure that processes billions of dollars a year. Previously, Ian was at Twitter, where he led development on several data-processing-related open source libraries, including Scalding, Bijection and Summingbird. He holds a MSc degree in computer science from Trinity College in Dublin. Carl Waldspurger has a long record of innovation in systems software and resource management. As a consultant and technical advisor, he works closely with engineering and research teams on a range of topics including resource management, performance analytics, storage caching, security and hardware support for processor-level QoS. While at VMware, Waldspurger led the design and implementation of processor scheduling and memory management for the ESX hypervisor, and was the architect for the VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT, for which he received the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award. Supporting Quotes "The team at Pepperdata is tackling hard technical problems that are of interest to everyone doing Big Data. I'll bring my experience with projects designing and building systems at extreme scale, which lends a deep understanding of performance and its implications in production environments to the work Pepperdata is undertaking." - David Andersen "I am delighted to sit on the Technology Advisory Board and look forward to working closely with Ash and his team. With more than three decades of IT infrastructure and management experience at BlackRock and Credit Suisse, I understand firsthand the impact of underlying infrastructure and software systems on business performance and success." - Tom Bain "The importance of performance when building systems at scale has never been more critical. Pepperdata is addressing the needs of large production Hadoop and Spark, where guaranteed performance throughout the application lifecycle is key." - Ian O'Connell "I enjoy working with the talented Pepperdata team on challenging problems related to improving the performance and predictability of modern Big Data systems. Providing value to users requires a deep end-to-end understanding of the entire Big Data stack, from processor hardware to application-level issues. Pepperdata is in the right place at the right time, delivering practical, innovative solutions with a Big Data focus." - Carl Waldspurger Tweet This: All-Star Technology Advisory Board to guide future innovation and growth for @Pepperdata http://bit.ly/2kHGyqi #bigdata #startups About Pepperdata Pepperdata is the Big Data performance company. Leading companies such as Comcast, Philips Wellcentive, and Zillow depend on Pepperdata to manage and improve the performance of Hadoop and Spark. Enterprise customers use Pepperdata products and services to troubleshoot performance problems in production, increase cluster utilization, and enforce policies to support multi-tenancy. Pepperdata products and services work with customer Big Data systems both on-premise and in the cloud. Founded in 2012, Pepperdata has raised $20M from investors including Citi Ventures, Signia Venture Partners and Wing Venture Capital, and attracted senior engineering talent from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Netflix. Pepperdata is headquartered in Cupertino, California. For more information, visit www.pepperdata.com. Pepperdata and the Pepperdata logo are registered trademarks of Pepperdata, Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Needham & Company, LLC is pleased to announce the addition of key research, sales and sales trading professionals in Health Care Services Research; Boston Equity Sales; Corporate Access Origination & Client Strategy; Event-Driven, Special Situations & Merger Arbitrage Sales; and Sales Trading. These professionals highlight the Firm’s commitment to growing a differentiated institutional equities franchise. Kevin Caliendo, Managing Director, recently joined the Firm. He brings 20 years of Wall Street experience, primarily on the buy-side, analyzing and investing in the health care industry. Kevin spent the past two years at Deimos Asset Management as a portfolio manager. Prior to that, Kevin was a health care portfolio manager at SAC Capital, FrontPoint Partners, and Clearbridge Advisors. He earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism from Boston University in 1993, and sits on the Dean of the College of Communication’s Advisory Board. Patrick “Pat” Malloy, Managing Director, has joined to lead the Boston equity sales effort. Pat spent the past seven years at UBS as a senior producer, and nearly four years previously at Cowen and Company. Prior to that, Pat spent two years as an equities trader at Longwood Investments. Pat received his BA from Trinity College in History, and he was Captain of the school’s National Championship Squash Team in 2004. Erika Olsen, Principal, recently joined to lead the Firm’s Corporate Access efforts. Erika has nearly a decade of corporate access experience at Sterne Agee CRT, Open Exchange, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs. Erika received her BA from Arizona State University in Mass Communications & Journalism, with a Minor in Sociology. Ryan Vaughan, Principal, joined the Firm as a Senior Analyst focusing on event-driven, special situations, distressed & post-reorganization equities. Recently, Ryan was at Third Avenue Management, and spent most of his career at Lombard Odier Asset Management. While at Lombard Odier, Ryan invested across the capital structure, focusing on the Media, Telecom, Consumer, Energy, Industrials & Power sectors. Prior to Lombard Odier, Ryan was a senior analyst in event-driven, special situations, distressed & post-reorganization equities at 3V Capital and Libertas Partners in Greenwich, CT. Ryan received his BS from Cornell University in Applied Economics & Management. Greg Seaman, Vice President, recently joined the Firm from Jefferies, where he provided sales trading coverage for a diverse set of clients in the New York and Connecticut regions. Prior to Jefferies, Greg spent five years as a sales trader for CapRok Capital, where he worked primarily on structured debt products. Greg received his AB from Princeton University in Politics. Kevin Caliendo is based in New York and reports to Tom Maloney, Managing Director & Director of Research. Pat Malloy, based in Boston, and Erika Olsen, Ryan Vaughan and Greg Seaman, based in New York, report to Greg Giannakopoulos, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Sales & Sales Trading. Needham & Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Needham Group, Inc., is a privately held, full-service investment bank that has focused exclusively on growth companies since its founding 32 years ago. It provides its clients with the resources to achieve their financing and strategic objectives. The Firm has capital raising expertise in IPOs, follow-on public equity offerings, confidentially marketed equity offerings, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate and venture services (including share repurchases). In addition to investment banking, Needham & Company LLC’s activities include institutional sales and trading, and asset management. To serve its institutional clients, Needham & Company, LLC produces comprehensive equity research on more than 300 companies in communications and enterprise infrastructure; healthcare; industrial technology; Internet, entertainment and consumer; semiconductors and semiconductor equipment; and software and services; and makes a market in over 600 stocks. The Firm is headquartered in New York City with offices in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Menlo Park, CA; and San Francisco, CA. Needham & Company, LLC is a member of FINRA & SIPC. For more information, please visit www.needhamco.com.


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

Mars has a new hot spot for exploration, according to a team of researchers who’ve identified a region that shows signs it was once flooded with water. The region may offer a prime spot to explore  for signs of past life on the red planet. “The site on Mars that we have examined is located on the floor of a small valley that was eroded by flowing water,” Mary Bourke, a Trinity College, Dublin researcher who co-led the team that made the discovery, told Digital Trends. Along with her colleague, Heather Viles, from the University of Oxford, Bourke published a paper detailing her findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters this week. More: Spiders on Mars? Citizen scientists help NASA spot the strange formations “For the topic of our paper, there is an additional geomorphological signature, and that is the layers of sediments on that valley floor that are visible between the aeolian (windblown) dunes that now occupy the valley,” Bourke said. “Those sediments are arranged in such a way that they suggest they are traces of dunes that have migrated down the valley. There are only a limited number of ways in which those sediments could be present, and they all involve the presence of water.” To make these observations, the researchers used high -esolution satellite data, which allowed them to identify small-scale landforms that resembled features seen in satellite images of Namibia here on Earth. “We were able to visit the site in Namibia to help us test our theory about the Martian features,” Bourke said. “We are interested in this in terms of the aeolian geomorphology,” Bourke said, “but perhaps also as a potential new site for those planning Mars missions, where habitable conditions were met on Mars.” Moving forward, Bourke and Viles will continue to research how water helped construct Martian landforms while studying analogous sites in Namibia, Antarctica, and Australia.

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