Kingston, RI, United States

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI, United States

The University of Rhode Island is the principal public research as well as the land grant and sea grant university for the state of Rhode Island. Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston in southern Rhode Island. Additionally, smaller campuses include the Feinstein Campus in Providence, the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.The university offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in 79 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study through seven academic colleges. These colleges include Arts and science, Business Administration, Engineering, Human Science and Services, Environment and Life science, Nursing and Pharmacy. Another college, University College serves primarily as an advising college for all incoming undergraduates and follows them through their enrollment at URI.The University currently enrolls about 13,589 undergraduate and 2,900 graduate students. US News and World Report classifies URI as a tier 1 national university, ranking it 152nd overall. Wikipedia.

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Smith D.M.,University of Rhode Island
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2016

The purpose of this study was to provide a systematic review of action anticipation studies using functional neuroimaging or brain stimulation during a sport-specific anticipation task. A total of 15 studies from 2008 to 2014 were evaluated and are reported in four sections: expert-novice samples, action anticipation tasks, neuroimaging and stimulation techniques, and key findings. Investigators examined a wide range of action anticipation scenarios specific to eight different sports and utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalogram (EEG), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Expert-novice comparisons were commonly used to investigate differences in action anticipation performance and neurophysiology. Experts tended to outperform novices, and an extensive array of brain structures were reported to be involved differently for experts and novices during action anticipation. However, these neurophysiological findings were generally inconsistent across the studies reviewed. The discussion focuses on strengths and four key limitations. The conclusion posits remaining questions and recommendations for future research. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE—: Sex differences in recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (r-tPA) administration are present in some populations. It is unknown whether this is because of eligibility differences or the modifiable exclusion criterion of severe hypertension. Our aim was to investigate sex differences in r-tPA eligibility, in individual exclusion criteria, and in the modifiable exclusion criterion, hypertension.METHODS—: We included all ischemic stroke patients ≥18 years among residents of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region who presented to 16-area emergency departments in 2005. Eligibility for r-tPA and individual exclusion criteria were determined using 2013 American Heart Association (AHA) and European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study (ECASS) III guidelines.RESULTS—: Of 1837 ischemic strokes, 58% were women, 24% were black. Mean age in years was 72.2 for women and 66.1 for men. Eligibility for r-tPA was similar by sex (6.8% men and 6.1% women; P=0.55), even after adjusting for age (7.0% and 5.9%; P=0.32). Similar proportions of women and men arrived beyond 3- and 4.5-hour time windows, but more women had severe hypertension. There were no sex differences in blood pressure treatment rates among those with severe hypertension (14.6% women and 20.8% men; P=0.21). More women were >80 years and had National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) >25.CONCLUSIONS—: Within a large, biracial population, eligibility for r-tPA was similar by sex. Women were more likely to have the modifiable exclusion criterion of severe hypertension but were not more likely to be treated. Women were more likely to have 2 of the 5 ECASS III exclusion criteria. Undertreatment of hypertension in women is a potentially modifiable contributor to reported differences in r-tPA administration. © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.

Chu K.F.,University of Rhode Island | Dupuy D.E.,University of Rhode Island
Nature Reviews Cancer | Year: 2014

Minimally invasive thermal ablation of tumours has become common since the advent of modern imaging. From the ablation of small, unresectable tumours to experimental therapies, percutaneous radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, cryoablation and irreversible electroporation have an increasing role in the treatment of solid neoplasms. This Opinion article examines the mechanisms of tumour cell death that are induced by the most common thermoablative techniques and discusses the rapidly developing areas of research in the field, including combinatorial ablation and immunotherapy, synergy with conventional chemotherapy and radiation, and the development of a new ablation modality in irreversible electroporation. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Dupuy D.E.,University of Rhode Island
Radiology | Year: 2011

Primary and secondary lung malignancies are often treated with surgery. Many patients are poor surgical candidates owing to advanced age or medical comorbidities. Alternatives to surgery for localized disease include radiation therapy and the newer treatments known as image-guided thermal ablation. Image-guided thermal ablation involves the use of needlelike applicators that are placed directly into tumors by using imaging guidance. Tumors are destroyed by the application of either intense heat or cold. The specific ablative modalities of radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, laser ablation, and cryoablation are reviewed with respect to the various clinical indications for treatment of both primary and secondary lung malignancies. © RSNA, 2011.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 827.74K | Year: 2016

About half of photosynthesis on earth is generated by marine phytoplankton, single celled organisms that drift with tides and currents. Within the phytoplankton, the diatoms conduct nearly half of this photosynthesis, exerting profound control over global carbon cycling. Despite their importance, there are surprisingly fundamental gaps in understanding how diatoms function in their natural environment, in part because methods to assess in situ physiology are lacking. This project focuses on the application of a powerful new approach, called Quantitative Metabolic Fingerprinting (QMF), to address this knowledge gap and examine species-specific physiology in the field. The project will provide transformative insights into how ocean geochemistry controls the distribution of diatoms, the metabolic responses of individual diatom species, and how metabolic potential is partitioned between diatom species, thus providing new insights into the structure and function of marine systems. The overarching goal is to examine how diatom species respond to changes in biogeochemistry across marine provinces, from the coast to the open ocean, by following shifts in diatom physiology using QMF. This research is critical to understand future changes in oceanic phytoplankton in response to climate and environmental change. Furthermore, activities on this project will include supporting a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow and delivering the Artistic Oceanographer Program (AOP) to diverse middle school age children and teachers in the NYC metropolitan area and to middle-school girls in the Girl Scouts of RI, reaching an anticipated 60 children and 30 teachers annually. The programs will foster multidisciplinary hands-on learning and will directly impact STEM education at a critical point in the pipeline by targeting diverse middle-school aged groups in both NY and RI.

In laboratory studies with cultured isolates, there are profound differences among diatom species responses to nutrient limitation. Thus, it is likely that different species contribute differently to nutrient uptake, carbon flux and burial. However, marine ecosystem models often rely on physiological attributes drawn from just one species and apply those attributes globally (e.g. coastal species used to model open ocean dynamics) or choose a single average value to represent all species across the worlds oceans. In part, this is due to a relatively poor understanding of diatom physiological ecology and a limited tool set for assessing in situ diatom physiological ecology. This research project will address this specific challenge by explicitly tracking metabolic pathways, measuring their regulation and determining their taxonomic distribution in a suite of environmentally significant diatoms using a state of the art, species-specific approach. A research expedition is set in the North Atlantic, a system that plays a major role in carbon cycling. Starting with a New England coastal shelf site, samples will be collected from the coast where diatoms thrive, to the open ocean and a site of a long term ocean time series station (the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series) where diatom growth is muted by nutrient limitation. This research takes advantage of new ocean observatories initiative (OOI) and time series information. Through the research expedition and downstream laboratory experiments, the molecular pathways of nutrient metabolism and related gene expression in a suite of environmentally significant diatoms will be identified. Data will be combined to predict major limiting factors and potentially important substrates for diatoms across marine provinces. Importantly, this integrated approach takes advantage of new advances in molecular and bioinformatics tools to examine in situ physiological ecology at the species-specific level, a key knowledge gap in the field.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 318.00K | Year: 2017

Phytoplankton have an intimate connection to the hydrodynamic environment in which they live.
Previous studies have examined the role that turbulence and shear play in nutrient uptake, patch/layer formation, and predator-prey encounters, but the role of phytoplankton orientation to increase light capture (and ultimately primary production) has been largely overlooked. Compelling evidence of persistent horizontal orientation of chain-forming diatoms, obtained from novel in situ holographic imaging, has led to a hypothesis that in regions of strong stratification, shear flows will lead to systematic horizontal orientation of elongate phytoplankton forms that maximizes their cross-sectional area (and light capture) in the ambient downwelling light field. It has also been suggested that variations in phytoplankton size and shape are fundamental traits conferring selective competitive advantages in certain hydrodynamic environments, thus modifying/mediating community composition. The interdisciplinary research of this project crosses three scientific disciplines (biology, optics and fluid dynamics) and will advance our understanding of the function of diverse forms of phytoplankton, their interactions with fluid flows, and the resultant impacts on the optics of the environment. The project will support a number of undergraduate and graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers.

This project combines analysis of previously collected field data with laboratory experiments and modeling. For the field data analysis, phytoplankton orientation is quantified from in situ holographic images of the undisturbed water column along with concurrent high resolution measurements of critical physical (turbulence/shear/stratification) and optical parameters collected from a ship-based holographic bio-physics profiler. In the laboratory, the orientation response of different phytoplankton species and morphologies is evaluated in custom built shear tanks under controlled laminar and turbulent conditions to confirm that elongate forms can orient in certain hydrodynamic environments to maximize light capture. In addition, controlled growth/physiology experiments in various shear tank treatments will explore the effects of orientation on growth, photosynthetic parameters and productivity. Lastly, the project results will be incorporated into a global analysis of observed and modeled physical, bio-optical and ecologically-relevant parameters, to quantify the relevance of this phenomenon to primary production and the carbon cycle.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: OCEAN TECH & INTERDISC COORDIN | Award Amount: 738.84K | Year: 2016

This project will build an autonomous system that measures physical, chemical and biological properties and samples seawater throughout the full global range of ocean depths (0 to 11 km below sea level). Because this system will be deployable over this entire depth range, it will significantly advance understanding of deep-sea chemistry, watermass structure and planktonic ecosystems at all water depths. Because the system will profile and sample deep water autonomously, it will replace human-guided wire-based operations for oceanic profiling and water sampling at any depth. Consequently, it will significantly reduce the time and expense required for on-site operations by allowing shipboard science parties to undertake other deck operations simultaneously with water-column sampling and profiling. Most uniquely, the proposed system will make pervasive study of the very deep (6000-11000 mbsl) ocean feasible for the first time. At completion of this project, the system will be made available to the scientific community as a shared-use instrument.

This autonomous system will profile the physical and chemical properties of the entire water column during the trip from sea surface to seafloor and back again. During the return trip, it will take up to 24 water samples with modified Niskin bottles and pressure-retaining water samplers. Sampling strategies will be flexible and easily programmed to autonomously take samples at specific depth horizons (e.g., 10 depths spaced between 100 and 10000 meters) or adaptively based on transitions recorded and automatically identified in salinity, temperature, density or oxygen content. The system will be tested in the laboratory and at sea on two trial expeditions in the second project year. The trial expeditions for this system will provide field opportunities, samples and data for scientists and students to study deep-sea biological, chemical and physical processes in the western North Atlantic and a deep-sea trench (probably the Puerto Rico Trench). The expeditions will focus on creating opportunities for students from URI and minority-dominated institutions, especially in Puerto Rico, where the second expedition may begin and end. The project will introduce undergraduate and graduate students to design of oceanographic instruments and sea-going research through: (i) an Ocean Engineering design class based on the proposed instrument development, (ii) inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students on the expeditions, (iii) ship tours and presentations in the port region(s), (iv) study by other graduate students of samples and data from the expeditions. Finally, the project will provide a stipend and tuition for graduate student training in scientific instrument design and software development. These efforts will address NSF Broader Impact criteria in several ways, including participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 642.47K | Year: 2016

Photosynthetic marine microbes, phytoplankton, contribute half of global primary production, form the base of most aquatic food webs and are major players in global biogeochemical cycles. Understanding their community composition is important because it affects higher trophic levels, the cycling of energy and elements and is sensitive to global environmental change. This project will investigate how phytoplankton communities respond to two major global change stressors in aquatic systems: warming and changes in nutrient availability. The researchers will work in two marine systems with a long history of environmental monitoring, the temperate Narragansett Bay estuary in Rhode Island and a subtropical North Atlantic site near Bermuda. They will use field sampling and laboratory experiments with multiple species and varieties of phytoplankton to assess the diversity in their responses to different temperatures under high and low nutrient concentrations. If the diversity of responses is high within species, then that species may have a better chance to adapt to rising temperatures and persist in the future. Some species may already be able to grow at high temperatures; consequently, they may become more abundant as the ocean warms. The researchers will incorporate this response information in mathematical models to predict how phytoplankton assemblages would reorganize under future climate scenarios. Graduate students and postdoctoral associates will be trained in diverse scientific approaches and techniques such as shipboard sampling, laboratory experiments, genomic analyses and mathematical modeling. The results of the project will be incorporated into K-12 teaching, including an advanced placement environmental science class for underrepresented minorities in Los Angeles, data exercises for rural schools in Michigan and disseminated to the public through an environmental journalism institute based in Rhode Island.

Predicting how ecological communities will respond to a changing environment requires knowledge of genetic, phylogenetic and functional diversity within and across species. This project will investigate how the interaction of phylogenetic, genetic and functional diversity in thermal traits within and across a broad range of species determines the responses of marine phytoplankton communities to rising temperature and changing nutrient regimes. High genetic and functional diversity within a species may allow evolutionary adaptation of that species to warming. If the phylogenetic and functional diversity is higher across species, species sorting and ecological community reorganization is likely. Different marine sites may have a different balance of genetic and functional diversity within and across species and, thus, different contribution of evolutionary and ecological responses to changing climate. The research will be conducted at two long-term time series sites in the Atlantic Ocean, the Narragansett Bay Long-Term Plankton Time Series and the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS) station. The goal is to assess intra- and inter-specific genetic and functional diversity in thermal responses at contrasting nutrient concentrations for a representative range of species in communities at the two sites in different seasons, and use this information to parameterize eco-evolutionary models embedded into biogeochemical ocean models to predict responses of phytoplankton communities to projected rising temperatures under realistic nutrient conditions. Model predictions will be informed by and tested with field data, including the long-term data series available for both sites and in community temperature manipulation experiments. This project will provide novel information on existing intraspecific genetic and functional thermal diversity for many ecologically and biogeochemically important phytoplankton species, estimate generation of new genetic and functional diversity in evolution experiments, and develop and parameterize novel eco-evolutionary models interfaced with ocean biogeochemical models to predict future phytoplankton community structure. The project will also characterize the interaction of two major global change stressors, warming and changing nutrient concentrations, as they affect phytoplankton diversity at functional, genetic, and phylogenetic levels. In addition, the project will develop novel modeling methodology that will be broadly applicable to understanding how other types of complex ecological communities may adapt to a rapidly warming world.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Polar Special Initiatives | Award Amount: 1.70M | Year: 2016

The Northwest Passage Project (NPP) is a collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island (URI), Inner Space Center (ISC), Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), the film company David Clark Inc., and several other partners, including six Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and three informal science education institutions. The project centers on a research expedition into the Arctics Northwest Passage, which will engage intergenerational cohorts of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in hands-on research aboard the U.S. tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP). During the expedition, a professional film crew will produce a two-hour documentary focused on the NPPs innovative model of interdisciplinary informal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and highlight the expeditions research, participants, and the sociological issues related to the changing Arctic environment. Because the Canadian Arctic is remote and costly to access, the project will maximize NSFs investment by giving broad audiences access to the science and excitement of the expedition through the documentary. In addition, this informal science learning opportunity will not only engage students with scientists in authentic research, but also train the students to deliver daily live broadcasts from sea to three well-established U.S. informal science education institutions: the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), the Exploratorium, and the Alaska Sea Life Center (ASLC). The daily broadcasts will also reach the public in real time via the projects interactive website, providing the opportunity for people to post questions to the scientists and students onboard the ship. The NPP has great potential to benefit society by enhancing awareness of the changing Arctics ecosystems and increasing science literacy. The hands-on research experiences will enhance the college readiness of the participating high school students and encourage the undergraduate students from the six partner MSIs to consider a graduate course of study and/or pursue STEM careers. The graduate students will also be more career-ready, as they gain public communication and leadership skills necessary for 21st century scientists.

The Northwest Passage Project is designed to advance knowledge and understanding within the practice of informal science education, as well as in the field of Arctic science. The project goals include: increasing public awareness and understanding of the changing Arctic ecosystem; increase public understanding about Arctic research and the scientific process; increase the Informal Science Education (ISE) fields understanding of the publics learning process when engaged in live interactions with scientists and student science communicators; increase the ISE fields understanding of the value of immersive science experiences and impact on students from underserved and underrepresented populations; and to build or extend the capacity of ISE institutions to make connections between polar scientists, students, journalists and the public. The NPP is creative in that it combines the engagement of students in field-based scientific research, live broadcasts from sea to ISE institutions, and the production of a full-scale documentary for public audiences. A potentially transformative component to the ISE activities involves six Minority Serving Institution partners--Florida International University; University of Illinois, Chicago; California State University, Channel Islands; Texas State University; Virginia Commonwealth University and City College of New York--whose students will have the opportunity for a life-changing experience that may tip the scale toward their interest in STEM careers. Each of these students will develop news stories, host screenings of the film at their respective campuses, and share their experiences with peers, providing visual role models for other underrepresented students, who may never have thought themselves capable of becoming a scientist or science communicator. An additional project goal is to enhance the capacity and infrastructure of the three ISE partner institutions so that they may receive live broadcasts from the Inner Space Center in the future, beyond the funding period of the project. People, Places & Design Research will conduct the projects front-end and formative evaluation; MEM & Associates will conduct the summative evaluation. Some of the key evaluation questions will be:
* Have ISE and MSI institution public visitors, who view either the live broadcasts or the documentary film (or both), become more aware of the changing Arctic ecosystem and the importance of scientific research in the Arctic?
* What is the relative impact of the live broadcasts compared to the finished documentary, and the strengths and weakness of the respective media in translating the on-board experience?
* Does a real environmental and social context for scientific evidence stimulate audiences to become more interested in the role of science/STEM?
* Have students gained leadership skills and the ability to communicate science to their peers?
* Have students increased their motivation and interest in pursuing STEM careers?
This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ANTARCTIC ORGANISMS & ECOSYST | Award Amount: 790.44K | Year: 2016

The research will examine how diatoms (an important group of plankton in the Southern Ocean) adapt to environmental change. Diatoms will be sampled from different regions of the Southern Ocean, including the Drake Passage, the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea and examined to determine the range of genetic variation among diatoms in these regions. Experiments on a range of diatoms will be conducted in home laboratories and will be aimed at measuring shifts in physiological capacities over many generations in response to directional changes in the environment (temperature and pH). The information on the genetic diversity of field populations combined with information on potential rates of adaptability and genome changes will provide insight into ways in which polar marine diatoms populations may respond to environmental changes that may occur in surface oceans in the future or may have occurred during past climate conditions. Such information allows better modeling of biogeochemical cycles in the ocean as well as improves our abilities to interpret records of past ocean conditions. The project will support a doctoral student and a postdoctoral researcher as well as several undergraduate students. These scientists will learn the fundamentals of experimental evolution, a skill set that is being sought in the fields of biology and oceanography. The project also includes a collaboration with the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting that will design and facilitate a session focused on current research related to evolution and climate change to be held at the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW).

Both physiological and genetic variation are key parameters for understanding evolutionary processes in phytoplankton but they are essentially unknown for Southern Ocean diatoms. The extent to which these two factors determine plasticity and adaptability in field populations and the interaction between them will influence how and whether cold-adapted diatoms can respond to changing environments. This project includes a combination of field work to identify genetic diversity within diatoms using molecular approaches and experiments in the lab to assess the range of physiological variation in contemporary populations of diatoms and evolution experiments in the lab to assess how the combination of genetic diversity and physiological variation influence the evolutionary potential of diatoms under a changing environment. This research will uncover general relationships between physiological variation, genetic diversity, and evolutionary potential that may apply across microbial taxa and geographical regions, substantially improving efforts to predict shifts in marine ecosystems. Results from this study can be integrated into developing models that incorporate evolution to predict ecosystem changes under future climate change scenarios.

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