Pullman, WA, United States
Pullman, WA, United States

Washington State University is a public research university based in Pullman, Washington, in the Palouse region of the northwest United States.Founded 125 years ago in 1890, WSU is the state's only land-grant university. The university is well known for its programs in chemical engineering, veterinary medicine, agriculture, animal science, food science, plant science, architecture, neuroscience and communications. It is one of 96 public and private universities in America with "very high research activity," as determined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With an undergraduate enrollment of 25,092 and a total student enrollment of 27,642, it is the second largest institution of higher education in Washington state.The university also operates campuses across Washington known as WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities, and WSU Vancouver, all founded in 1989. In 2012, WSU launched an Internet-based Global Campus, which includes its online degree program, WSU Online. These campuses award primarily bachelor's and master's degrees. Freshmen and sophomores were first admitted to the Vancouver campus in 2006 and to the Tri-Cities campus in 2007. Total enrollment for the four campuses and WSU Online exceeds 25,900 students. In 2009, this included a record 1,447 international students, the highest since 1994 when there were 1,442.WSU's athletic teams are called the Cougars and the school colors are crimson and gray. The six men's and nine women's varsity teams compete in NCAA Division I in the Pacific-12 Conference. Wikipedia.


Time filter

Source Type

Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2016-11-01

A novel bio-based superabsorbent polymer material based on a proteinaceous natural polymer is introduced herein. There is further disclosed a method for the manufacture of such a bio-based crosslinked superabsorbent polymer material. The method includes, but not limited to, introducing polymerizable unsaturated groups onto the natural polymer or its derivative so as to yield a macromonomer. The macromonomer can be formed by covalently binding unsaturated carbon-carbon double bonds to a proteinaceous substrate through a reaction of a selected chemical compound and the amino group on the proteinaceous substrate. The macromonomer is then copolymerized with unsaturated co-monomer(s) to form a crosslinked superabsorbent material.


Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2016-08-13

Various embodiments of surface-modified devices, components, and associated methods of manufacturing are described herein. In one embodiment, an implantable device suitable for being implanted in a patient includes an implantable material having a utile shape and a surface and a modification material deposited on at least a portion of the surface of the implantable material. The modification material has a release rate in an implantation environment in the patient. The modification material at the release rate is effective as bactericidal without being cytotoxic to the patient


Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2015-08-07

Small molecule, peptidic hepatocyte growth factors mimics, which act as both mimetics and antagonists, have been generated. These molecules have been shown or predicted to have therapeutic potential for numerous pathologies including dementia, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, cancer, and defective wound healing.


Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2016-09-19

Microcin MccPDI and bacteria harboring the mcpM gene which encodes MccPDI limit growth of and/or kill pathogenic bacteria such as pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) and/or Shigella bacteria via proximity-dependent inhibition (PDI).


Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2014-04-16

In some examples, a circuit is described. The circuit may be included in a digital phase-locked loop (PLL) and may include a first delay cell, a second delay cell, and a delay controller. The first delay cell may include a first inverter circuit that includes first and second transistors and may be configured to receive and to delay a first signal. The delay of the first inverter circuit may be based on first and second voltages respectively provided to the first and second transistors. The second delay cell may include a second inverter circuit that includes third and fourth transistors and may be configured to receive and to delay a second signal. The delay of the second inverter circuit may be based on third and fourth voltages respectively provided to the third and fourth transistors. The delay controller may be configured to provide the first, second, third, and fourth voltages.


Patent
Washington State University | Date: 2016-07-30

Techniques to improve efficiencies of power amplifiers in wireless communication devices are described herein. In one embodiment, an envelope tracking supply modulator includes a pre-amplifier having an input coupled to an envelope signal and another input coupled to a threshold voltage signal, a de-multiplexer coupled to an output of the pre-amplifier, a pulse frequency modulator having an input coupled to an output of the de-multiplexer, and a pulse width modulator having an input coupled to the output of the de-multiplexer. The de-multiplexer is configured to allow the pulse frequency modulator to modulate a switching frequency to generate a switched signal according to a slew rate of the envelope signal or allow the pulse width modulator to provide the switched signal as a current source with a constant frequency, based on a comparison result between the envelope signal and the threshold voltage signal at the pre-amplifier.


The methods herein provide for analysis of ion populations. Certain aspects include: obtaining a first data set that includes: a first binary On-OFF frequency sweep across a range of frequencies resulting in a first raw data in the time domain and obtaining a second data set that includes: a second binary On-OFF frequency sweep 180 out of phase from the first binary On-OFF frequency sweep so as to result in a second raw data in the time domain from received ion current resulting from the second binary On-OFF frequency sweep. Thereafter the two data sets are combined to provide for raw mobility signals of the ion populations in the time domain for each m/z over a range of selected m/z values. Additional aspects include a hybrid system for performing the methods disclosed herein.


The transverse harvest knife, also commonly called the finger or finger-bladed knife, has been utilized by rice farmers in southeast Asia for many centuries. The finger knife persisted in many traditional cultures long after the introduction of the sickle, a tool which provided farmers with the means to execute a much faster harvest. Several theories in interpretative archaeology have attempted to account for this rejection of more modern technological innovations. These theories, which include community-based social organization ideas and practical reasons for the continued use of the finger knife, are presented in this paper. Here I suggest an alternate theory based on a re-interpretation of existing research and fusion of existing theories: the primary reason for the historical and continued use of the finger knife is for seed selection through a centuries old tradition of plant breeding. Though I accept the accuracy of the practical and community-based, socio-cultural reasons for the use of the finger knife put forth by other authors, I suggest that seed selection and genetic improvement was the driving factor in the use of the finger knife. Indeed, intricate planting and harvesting rituals, which both ensured and encouraged varietal conservation and improvement co-evolved with the use of the finger knife as the primary harvest tool due to its unique ability to aid the farmer in the art and science of seed selection. When combined with previous ideas, this interpretative theory, based on the connection between ethnoagronomy and material culture, may provide a more complete picture of the story around the persistence of the finger knife in traditional rice-growing cultures in southeast Asia. I focus my theory on the terrace-building Ifugao people in the mountainous Cordillera region of northcentral Philippines; however, to put the use of the finger into a wider regional context, I draw from examples of the use of the finger knife in other traditional cultures throughout the region of southeast Asia. © 2016 The Author(s).


Yang Q.,Washington State University
Cell Death and Differentiation | Year: 2017

Impairment in gut epithelial integrity and barrier function is associated with many diseases. The homeostasis of intestinal barrier is based on a delicate regulation of epithelial proliferation and differentiation. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of energy metabolism, and cellular metabolites are intrinsically involved in epigenetic modifications governing cell differentiation. We aimed to evaluate the regulatory role of AMPK on intestinal epithelial development and barrier function. In this study, AMPK activator (AICAR) improved the barrier function of Caco-2 cells as indicated by increased transepithelial electrical resistance and reduced paracellular FITC-dextran permeability; consistently, AICAR enhanced epithelial differentiation and tight junction formation. Transfection of Caco-2 cells with AMPK WT plasmid, which enhances AMPK activity, improved epithelial barrier function and epithelial differentiation, while K45R (AMPK dominant negative mutant) impaired; these changes were correlated with the expression of caudal type homeobox 2 (CDX2), the key transcription factor committing cells to intestinal epithelial lineage. CDX2 deficiency abolished intestinal differentiation promoted by AMPK activation. Mechanistically, AMPK inactivation was associated with polycomb repressive complex 2 regulated enrichment of H3K27me3, the inhibitory histone modification, and lysine-specific histone demethylase-1-mediated reduction of H3K4me3, a permissive histone modification. Those histone modifications provide a mechanistic link between AMPK and CDX2 expression. Consistently, epithelial AMPK knockout in vivo reduced CDX2 expression, impaired intestinal barrier function, integrity and ultrastructure of tight junction, and epithelial cell migration, promoted intestinal proliferation and exaggerated dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis. In summary, AMPK enhances intestinal barrier function and epithelial differentiation via promoting CDX2 expression, which is partially mediated by altered histone modifications in the Cdx2 promoter.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 24 February 2017; doi:10.1038/cdd.2017.14. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


Szymanski R.M.,Washington State University
Environmental Archaeology | Year: 2017

Fungal spores and other ‘non-pollen palynomorphs’ are an overlooked and valuable analytical resource available to palaeoecologists and archaeologists as part of a multi-proxy dataset. Both complementary and antagonistic data gleaned from these analyses are useful for making inferences concerning past human behaviour, as anthropic activity may have many microbotanical correlates. The use of fungal spores in palaeoecology and archaeology is reviewed, followed by analysis of pollen, fungal spores, and microcharcoal from a sediment core collected at Mtwapa Creek, Kenya. These proxies are analysed against palaeoclimatic data from the region in order to identify unexpected patterns and hypothesise as to possible scenarios which might have created them, and conclude with suggestions for further research. © Association for Environmental Archaeology 2017


Browning D.L.,Washington State University
Gene Therapy | Year: 2017

Retroviral vector-mediated stem cell gene therapy is a promising approach for the treatment of hematopoietic disorders. However, genotoxic side effects from integrated vector proviruses are a significant concern for the use of retroviral vectors in the clinic. Insulated foamy viral (FV) vectors are potentially safer retroviral vectors for hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy. We evaluated two newly identified human insulators, A1 and A2, for use in FV vectors. These insulators had moderate insulating capacity and higher titers than previously developed insulated FV vectors. The A1-insulated FV vector was chosen for comparison with the previously described 650cHS4-insulated FV vector in human cord blood CD34+ repopulating cells in an immunodeficient mouse model. To maximize the effects of the insulators on the safety of FV vectors, FV vectors containing a highly genotoxic spleen focus forming virus promoter were used to elicit differences in genotoxicity. In vivo, the A1-insulated FV vector showed an approximate 50% reduction in clonal dominance compared with either the 650cHS4-insulated or control FV vectors, although the transduction efficiency of the A1-insulated vector was higher. This data suggests that the A1-insulated FV vector is promising for future preclinical and clinical studies.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 2 February 2017; doi:10.1038/gt.2016.88. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


Guan Q.,Washington State University | Blume D.,Washington State University
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2017

It is shown that the single-particle spin-orbit coupling terms, which - in the cold atom context - are associated with synthetic gauge fields, can significantly and nontrivially modify the phase accumulation at small interparticle distances even if the length scale (kso)-1 associated with the spin-orbit coupling term is significantly larger than the van der Waals length rvdW that characterizes the two-body interaction potential. A theoretical framework, which utilizes a generalized local frame transformation and accounts for the phase accumulation analytically, is developed. Comparison with numerical coupled-channel calculations demonstrates that the phase accumulation can, to a very good approximation, be described over a wide range of energies by the free-space scattering phase shifts - evaluated at a scattering energy that depends on kso - and the spin-orbit coupling strength kso. © 2017 American Physical Society.


Yu Z.-G.,Washington State University
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2017

The small exciton binding energy Eb in hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) enables their extraordinary photovoltaic performance. The measured Eb in MAPbI3 (MA = CH3NH3), the most studied HOIP, is 50% smaller in the orthorhombic phase than estimated from the high-frequency dielectric constant and drops an additional 25% in the tetragonal phase. Here we show that these puzzling exciton behaviors can be quantitatively explained by incomplete screening arising from polar optical phonons (POPs) and randomly oriented MA ions. Emission/absorption of POPs introduces a virtual radius of electron (hole), within which the screening due to POPs is ineffective. Randomly oriented dipoles of MA ions in the tetragonal phase mediate an extra long-range coupling between the electron and hole. The exciton Hamiltonian is accurately solved by using variational hydrogenic wave functions as the basis set. Our results consistently account for the observed exciton properties and reveal the impact of polar coupling on excitons in HOIPs. (Graph Presented). © 2017 American Chemical Society.


OBJECTIVE: The Northern Plains (NP) and Southwest (SW) American Indian populations differ in their smoking patterns and lung cancer incidence. We aimed to compare CYP2A6 genetic variation and CYP2A6 enzyme activity (representative of the rate of nicotine metabolism) between the two tribal populations as these have previously been associated with differences in smoking, quitting, and lung cancer risk. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: American Indians (N=636) were recruited from two different tribal populations (NP in South Dakota, SW in Arizona) as part of a study carried out as part of the Collaborative to Improve Native Cancer Outcomes P50 Project. A questionnaire assessed smoking-related traits and demographics. Participants were genotyped for CYP2A6 genetic variants *1B, *2, *4, *7, *9, *12, *17, and *35. Plasma and/or saliva samples were used to measure nicotine’s metabolites cotinine and 3′-hydroxycotinine and determine CYP2A6 activity (3′-hydroxycotinine/cotinine, i.e. the nicotine metabolite ratio, NMR). RESULTS: The overall frequency of genetically reduced nicotine metabolizers, those with CYP2A6 decrease-of-function or loss-of-function alleles, was lower in the NP compared with the SW (P=0.0006). The CYP2A6 genotype was associated with NMR in both tribal groups (NP, P<0.0001; SW, P=0.04). Notably, the rate of nicotine metabolism was higher in NP compared with SW smokers (P=0.03), and in comparison with other ethnic groups in the USA. Of the variables studied, the CYP2A6 genotype was the only variable to significantly independently influence NMR among smokers in both tribal populations (NP, P<0.001; SW, P=0.05). CONCLUSION: Unique CYP2A6 allelic patterns and rates of nicotine metabolism among these American Indian populations suggest different risks for smoking, and tobacco-related disease. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Watson D.S.,Washington State University
Journal of Patient Safety | Year: 2017

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether bundled team training interventions for surgeons and office staff could effectively improve the accuracy of surgery scheduling, minimizing scheduling factors that may contribute to occurrence of wrong site surgery. METHODS: This quasiexperimental observational study used an interrupted time series design to explore surgery scheduling errors (SSEs) and implemented bundled team training interventions intended to reduce SSEs at a Pacific Northwest Regional Surgery Scheduling Department. Each preintervention and postintervention segment consisted of 16 weekly data points. The bundled team training interventions included disclosure of preintervention scheduling errors, a scheduling verification checklist, an updated surgery scheduling policy and procedure, and toolkit to improve office scheduling of surgeries. RESULTS: Improvements in SSEs were observed preintervention to postintervention, with decreased surgery SSE rate from 0.51% to 0.13% (P < 0.001). Reductions were observed in all SSE types. The segmented linear trend demonstrated an observed reduction of 42.70 SSE (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study conducted at a large healthcare system with a regional surgery scheduling department to demonstrate that statistically significant and clinically important reductions in SSEs can be achieved. The findings demonstrate that SSEs can be minimized and confirm that verification processes must begin in the surgeonʼs office once a decision has been reached to proceed with surgery. The study confirms the need for additional research targeted at understanding why SSEs occur at the time of scheduling. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Washington, DC - April 28, 2017 - Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague, can survive within the ubiquitous soil protozoan, the amoeba, by producing proteins that protect against the latter microbe's digestion. The research is published April 28th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The research is important because plague is a re-emerging disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 95 percent of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Modern antibiotics are effective, but without prompt treatment, plague can cause serious illness, or death. Y. pestis spreads from rodent to rodent, and sometimes to human, often via fleas It uses the protective niche of the amoeba to abide when conditions are unfavorable to its spread, that is, when rodents are scarce, said Viveka Vadyvaloo, PhD, Assistant Professor, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman. Amoebae are similar to certain human immune cells, the macrophages, in their ability to engulf bacteria, or other nourishing items of similar size.These are taken up within special compartments called vacuoles, which in both amoebae and humans are capable of digestion. (image: scanning electron micrograph of a mass of Yersinia pestis.) "With this in mind, graduate student Javier Benavides-Montaño separately cultured three distinct Y. pestis strains that have been associated with human epidemics, with a common laboratory strain of the free-living soil amoeba, Acanthamoeba castellanii, in a medium that supports the latter's growth," said Vadyvaloo. Benavides-Montaño then tested Y. pestis' ability to enter and survive within the amoeba. To do so, he killed any bacteria that were outside of the amoebae, and then gently lysed the latter, and then placed the lysed content on a medium that encourages Y. pestis to grow. They were able to culture Y. pestis only after the amoebae had been lysed. The investigators also used electron microscopy to peer inside intact amoebae, and found Y. pestis within the vacuoles. "To understand more about how Y. pestis might be surviving within amoebae we considered how Y. pestis survive in human macrophages," said Vadyvaloo. "Macrophages usually engulf bacterial pathogens and destroy them, but some bacterial pathogens are able to avoid being killed therein by producing proteins that block the digestion." Indeed, that is the key strategy for a number of human pathogens. Some such proteins are known. So the investigators used mutant Y. pestis that doesn't produce one of these proteins. Those mutants failed to survive within the amoebae. Vadyvaloo said that amoebae's longstanding reputation as Trojan horses for human pathogens led her to investigate the possibility that plague bacteria could abide within their vacuoles. The best known example of this phenomenon had been Legionnaires' Disease, a respiratory disease that was discovered in 1976 after an outbreak among attendees at a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. "This study serves as a proof of principle that amoebae can support prolonged survival of Y. pestis in the environment," said Vadyvaloo. It may encourage a search for this interaction within areas of Colorado and New Mexico where plague is endemic. And that, she said, could enable prediction of potential disease re-emergence, thereby reducing spread to humans. The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn't accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards. The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an "Editor's Suggestion." Hypothetically, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be either negative or positive. People rarely think in these terms, and our everyday world sees only the positive aspects of Isaac Newton's Second Law of Motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration, or F=ma. In other words, if you push an object, it will accelerate in the direction you're pushing it. Mass will accelerate in the direction of the force. "That's what most things that we're used to do," said Forbes, hinting at the bizarreness to come. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you." He and his colleagues created the conditions for negative mass by cooling rubidium atoms to just a hair above absolute zero, creating what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein, particles move extremely slowly and, following the principles of quantum mechanics, behave like waves. They also synchronize and move in unison as what is known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. Led by Peter Engels, WSU professor of physics and astronomy, researchers on the sixth floor of Webster Hall created these conditions by using lasers to slow the particles, making them colder, and allowing hot, high energy particles to escape like steam, cooling the material further. The lasers trapped the atoms as if they were in a bowl measuring less than a hundred microns across. At this point, the rubidium superfluid has regular mass. Breaking the bowl will allow the rubidium to rush out, expanding as the rubidium in the center pushes outward. To create negative mass, the researchers applied a second set of lasers that kicked the atoms back and forth and changed the way they spin. Now when the rubidium rushes out fast enough, if behaves as if it has negative mass. "Once you push, it accelerates backwards," said Forbes, who acted as a theorist analyzing the system. "It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall." The technique used by the WSU researchers avoids some of the underlying defects encountered in previous attempts to understand negative mass. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications" said Forbes. Their research clarifies, in terms of negative mass, similar behavior seen in other systems. This heightened control gives researchers a new tool to engineer experiments to study analogous physics in astrophysics, like neutron stars, and cosmological phenomena like black holes and dark energy, where experiments are impossible. "It provides another environment to study a fundamental phenomenon that is very peculiar," Forbes said.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

Physicists have created a fluid with "negative mass", which accelerates towards you when pushed. In the everyday world, when an object is pushed, it accelerates in the same direction as the force applied to it; this relationship is described by Isaac Newton's Second Law of Motion. But in theory, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be positive or negative. The phenomenon is described in Physical Review Letters journal. Prof Peter Engels, from Washington State University (WSU), and colleagues cooled rubidium atoms to just above the temperature of absolute zero (close to -273C), creating what's known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, particles move extremely slowly, and follow behaviour predicted by quantum mechanics, acting like waves. They also synchronise and move together in what's known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. To create the conditions for negative mass, the researchers used lasers to trap the rubidium atoms and to kick them back and forth, changing the way they spin. When the atoms were released from the laser trap, they expanded, with some displaying negative mass. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you," said co-author Michael Forbes, assistant professor of physics at WSU. He added: "It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall." The technique could be used to better understand the phenomenon, say the researchers. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications," said Dr Forbes. This heightened control also gives researchers a tool for exploring the possible relationships between negative mass and phenomena observed in the cosmos, such as neutron stars, black holes and dark energy. Sign-up to get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn't accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards. The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an "Editor's Suggestion." Hypothetically, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be either negative or positive. People rarely think in these terms, and our everyday world sees only the positive aspects of Isaac Newton's Second Law of Motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration, or F=ma. In other words, if you push an object, it will accelerate in the direction you're pushing it. Mass will accelerate in the direction of the force. "That's what most things that we're used to do," said Forbes, hinting at the bizarreness to come. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you." He and his colleagues created the conditions for negative mass by cooling rubidium atoms to just a hair above absolute zero, creating what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein, particles move extremely slowly and, following the principles of quantum mechanics, behave like waves. They also synchronize and move in unison as what is known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. Led by Peter Engels, WSU professor of physics and astronomy, researchers on the sixth floor of Webster Hall created these conditions by using lasers to slow the particles, making them colder, and allowing hot, high energy particles to escape like steam, cooling the material further. The lasers trapped the atoms as if they were in a bowl measuring less than a hundred microns across. At this point, the rubidium superfluid has regular mass. Breaking the bowl will allow the rubidium to rush out, expanding as the rubidium in the center pushes outward. To create negative mass, the researchers applied a second set of lasers that kicked the atoms back and forth and changed the way they spin. Now when the rubidium rushes out fast enough, if behaves as if it has negative mass. "Once you push, it accelerates backwards," said Forbes, who acted as a theorist analyzing the system. "It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall." The technique used by the WSU researchers avoids some of the underlying defects encountered in previous attempts to understand negative mass. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications" said Forbes. Their research clarifies, in terms of negative mass, similar behavior seen in other systems. This heightened control gives researchers a new tool to engineer experiments to study analogous physics in astrophysics, like neutron stars, and cosmological phenomena like black holes and dark energy, where experiments are impossible. "It provides another environment to study a fundamental phenomenon that is very peculiar," Forbes said.


Graphene - Here's What You Should Know Negative mass, a concept that mostly remained in the realm of speculative theories, has been physically observed by scientists from the Washington State University. The concept got traction by enthusiasts who argue that since electric charges can be positive or negative, then the matter can also take up positive or negative mass. Proponents of the existence of negative mass were using it as a tool for interpreting wormholes, which are cosmological tunnels supposed to exist between two points of the universe. The conceptual patronage for wormholes came from physicists such as Ludwig Flamm, Albert Einstein, and Nathan Rosen, who believed that black holes are stretchable and envisaged their inter-linkages with implications of negative mass properties for such transits. A wormhole has no observational evidence to back it. In theory, it is considered the medium of intergalactic travel. However, negative mass completely overturns the conventional laws of motion. The Newton's laws of motion state that when an object is pushed, acceleration works in the direction to which the object has been shoved. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you," said Michael Forbes, a physicist at Washington State University and co-author of the paper. That means an object with negative mass is defying laws of motion, which hold force as a product of mass multiplied by the acceleration (F=ma) of the object, and acting in the reverse direction. The concept of negative mass was fist propounded by physicist Hermann Bondi in a paper published in 1957. He argued that negative mass is a possibility given that there are negative electric charges. In creating the preliminary conditions required for observing negative mass, the team led by Peter Engels of Washington State University (WSU) cooled rubidium atoms just above the temperature of absolute zero, close to -273C for making the Bose-Einstein Condensate. In the BEC state, the particles will move slowly and act like waves in accordance with quantum mechanics. In the superfluid state, the flow will be without loss of energy. In the next step, the researchers used lasers to kick the rubidium atoms back and forth for making changes in the way they were spinning. The BEC, when agitated by lasers showed a tendency to rush out of the web with negative mass. "Once you push, it accelerates backward," said Forbes and noted the rubidium was behaving as if it was hitting an invisible wall. After releasing atoms from the laser trap, they were found expanding and displaying negative mass properties. In the experiment, the WSU researchers made sure that past defects did not constrain the experiment as in previous attempts while trying to understand negative mass. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications," said Forbes. The new research is expected to trigger more studies in astrophysics, neutron stars, dark energy, and black holes. Forbes said the experiment will provide the right guidance for environments in studying the peculiar phenomenon. The study has been published in the Physical Review Letters. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


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

Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn’t accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards. The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an “Editor’s Suggestion.” Hypothetically, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be either negative or positive. People rarely think in these terms, and our everyday world sees only the positive aspects of Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration, or F=ma. In other words, if you push an object, it will accelerate in the direction you’re pushing it. Mass will accelerate in the direction of the force. “That’s what most things that we’re used to do,” said Forbes, hinting at the bizarreness to come. “With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you.” He and his colleagues created the conditions for negative mass by cooling rubidium atoms to just a hair above absolute zero, creating what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein, particles move extremely slowly and, following the principles of quantum mechanics, behave like waves. They also synchronize and move in unison as what is known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. Led by Peter Engels, WSU professor of physics and astronomy, researchers on the sixth floor of Webster Hall created these conditions by using lasers to slow the particles, making them colder, and allowing hot, high energy particles to escape like steam, cooling the material further. The lasers trapped the atoms as if they were in a bowl measuring less than a hundred microns across. At this point, the rubidium superfluid has regular mass. Breaking the bowl will allow the rubidium to rush out, expanding as the rubidium in the center pushes outward. To create negative mass, the researchers applied a second set of lasers that kicked the atoms back and forth and changed the way they spin. Now when the rubidium rushes out fast enough, if behaves as if it has negative mass. “Once you push, it accelerates backwards,” said Forbes, who acted as a theorist analyzing the system. “It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall.” The technique used by the WSU researchers avoids some of the underlying defects encountered in previous attempts to understand negative mass. “What’s a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications” said Forbes.  Their research clarifies, in terms of negative mass, similar behavior seen in other systems. This heightened control gives researchers a new tool to engineer experiments to study analogous physics in astrophysics, like neutron stars, and cosmological phenomena like black holes and dark energy, where experiments are impossible. “It provides another environment to study a fundamental phenomenon that is very peculiar,” Forbes said. Forbes’ colleagues on the Physical Review Letters paper include WSU research assistants Mohammad Khamehchi, Khalid Hossain and Maren Mossman, as well as Thomas Busch in Japan and Yongping Zhang in China and Japan. The work was supported in part by a WSU New Faculty Seed Grant and the National Science Foundation.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: phys.org

The research is important because plague is a re-emerging disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 95 percent of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Modern antibiotics are effective, but without prompt treatment, plague can cause serious illness, or death. Y. pestis spreads from rodent to rodent, and sometimes to human, often via fleas It uses the protective niche of the amoeba to abide when conditions are unfavorable to its spread, that is, when rodents are scarce, said Viveka Vadyvaloo, PhD, Assistant Professor, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman. Amoebae are similar to certain human immune cells, the macrophages, in their ability to engulf bacteria, or other nourishing items of similar size.These are taken up within special compartments called vacuoles, which in both amoebae and humans are capable of digestion. (image: scanning electron micrograph of a mass of Yersinia pestis.) "With this in mind, graduate student Javier Benavides-Montaño separately cultured three distinct Y. pestis strains that have been associated with human epidemics, with a common laboratory strain of the free-living soil amoeba, Acanthamoeba castellanii, in a medium that supports the latter's growth," said Vadyvaloo. Benavides-Montaño then tested Y. pestis' ability to enter and survive within the amoeba. To do so, he killed any bacteria that were outside of the amoebae, and then gently lysed the latter, and then placed the lysed content on a medium that encourages Y. pestis to grow. They were able to culture Y. pestis only after the amoebae had been lysed. The investigators also used electron microscopy to peer inside intact amoebae, and found Y. pestis within the vacuoles. "To understand more about how Y. pestis might be surviving within amoebae we considered how Y. pestis survive in human macrophages," said Vadyvaloo. "Macrophages usually engulf bacterial pathogens and destroy them, but some bacterial pathogens are able to avoid being killed therein by producing proteins that block the digestion." Indeed, that is the key strategy for a number of human pathogens. Some such proteins are known. So the investigators used mutant Y. pestis that doesn't produce one of these proteins. Those mutants failed to survive within the amoebae. Vadyvaloo said that amoebae's longstanding reputation as Trojan horses for human pathogens led her to investigate the possibility that plague bacteria could abide within their vacuoles. The best known example of this phenomenon had been Legionnaires' Disease, a respiratory disease that was discovered in 1976 after an outbreak among attendees at a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. "This study serves as a proof of principle that amoebae can support prolonged survival of Y. pestis in the environment," said Vadyvaloo. It may encourage a search for this interaction within areas of Colorado and New Mexico where plague is endemic. And that, she said, could enable prediction of potential disease re-emergence, thereby reducing spread to humans. Explore further: How small genetic change in Yersinia pestis changed human history


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

WSU researchers see sperm swim with help from enzyme in female reproductive tract VIDEO:  WSU researchers have seen how an enzyme in the uterus can make semen more watery, making it easier for sperm like these to swim towards the egg. view more PULLMAN, Wash.--For a mammal's sperm to succeed, it must complete the swim of its life to reach and fertilize an egg. That's easier if it swims through water, not goo. It turns out that both the male and female have a role in making that happen. A Washington State University researcher has found that the uterus in female mice contains enzymes that can break down semen, making it less gel-like, more watery, and therefore easier to swim in. Scientists have previously thought semen is broken down by enzymes from the prostate gland. But writing this week in the journal PLOS Genetics, Wipawee Winuthayanon, an assistant professor in WSU's School of Molecular Biosciences, reports that female mice also produce the enzyme, using estrogen to induce the process. They also saw that when a female mouse lacked a gene to make this happen, semen failed to liquefy in its uterus. "Our studies provide the first evidence of how the interplay between semen and the female reproductive tract could impact fertility," the researchers write. The study highlights an underappreciated complication in the physical changes that semen undergoes and the relative roles of secretions in both the male and female reproductive tracts. "This information will advance research on semen liquefaction in the female reproductive tract, an area that has never been explored," said the researchers, "and could lead to the development of diagnostic tools for unexplained infertility cases and non-invasive contraception technologies." Winuthayanon's colleagues on the study are post-doctoral research associate Shuai Li, honors student Marleny Garcia and research assistant Rachel L. Gewiss.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.medicalnewstoday.com

For a mammal's sperm to succeed, it must complete the swim of its life to reach and fertilize an egg. That's easier if it swims through water, not goo. It turns out that both the male and female have a role in making that happen. A Washington State University researcher has found that the uterus in female mice contains enzymes that can break down semen, making it less gel-like, more watery, and therefore easier to swim in. Scientists have previously thought semen is broken down by enzymes from the prostate gland. But writing this week in the journal PLOS Genetics, Wipawee Winuthayanon, an assistant professor in WSU's School of Molecular Biosciences, reports that female mice also produce the enzyme, using estrogen to induce the process. They also saw that when a female mouse lacked a gene to make this happen, semen failed to liquefy in its uterus. "Our studies provide the first evidence of how the interplay between semen and the female reproductive tract could impact fertility," the researchers write. The study highlights an underappreciated complication in the physical changes that semen undergoes and the relative roles of secretions in both the male and female reproductive tracts. "This information will advance research on semen liquefaction in the female reproductive tract, an area that has never been explored," said the researchers, "and could lead to the development of diagnostic tools for unexplained infertility cases and non-invasive contraception technologies." Winuthayanon's colleagues on the study are post-doctoral research associate Shuai Li, honors student Marleny Garcia and research assistant Rachel L. Gewiss. Article: Crucial role of estrogen for the mammalian female in regulating semen coagulation and liquefaction in vivo, Shuai Li, Marleny Garcia, Rachel L. Gewiss, Wipawee Winuthayanon, PLOS Genetics, doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006743, published 17 April 2017.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

While it is already possible to recycle carbon fiber, the material is often simply ground up, or broken down using high temperatures and harsh chemicals – the latter of which are difficult to safely dispose of. Additionally, the carbon strands themselves may be damaged in the process, plus the polymer resin which is used to laminate them together can't be reclaimed. Scientists at Washington State University, however, have developed a process that they say doesn't have any of those drawbacks. Created by a team led by Prof. Jinwen Zhang, the technique involves immersing waste pieces of carbon fiber in a solution made up of "mild acids" and liquid ethanol. When heated to a relatively low temperature (200 ºC/392 ºF) , the ethanol causes the resin to expand. This allows the acids to get into it, breaking the carbon-nitrogen bonds that hold it solid. It breaks down into a liquid as a result, freeing up the carbon strands for reclamation and subsequent reuse. The resin can also be reclaimed and reused. The scientists have filed for a patent, and are now looking into commercializing the technique. A somewhat similar process is being developed at Georgia Tech. A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Polymer Degradation and Stability.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn't accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards. The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an "Editor's Suggestion." Hypothetically, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be either negative or positive. People rarely think in these terms, and our everyday world sees only the positive aspects of Isaac Newton's Second Law of Motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration, or F=ma. In other words, if you push an object, it will accelerate in the direction you're pushing it. Mass will accelerate in the direction of the force. "That's what most things that we're used to do," said Forbes, hinting at the bizarreness to come. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you." He and his colleagues created the conditions for negative mass by cooling rubidium atoms to just a hair above absolute zero, creating what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein, particles move extremely slowly and, following the principles of quantum mechanics, behave like waves. They also synchronize and move in unison as what is known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. Led by Peter Engels, WSU professor of physics and astronomy, researchers on the sixth floor of Webster Hall created these conditions by using lasers to slow the particles, making them colder, and allowing hot, high energy particles to escape like steam, cooling the material further. The lasers trapped the atoms as if they were in a bowl measuring less than a hundred microns across. At this point, the rubidium superfluid has regular mass. Breaking the bowl will allow the rubidium to rush out, expanding as the rubidium in the center pushes outward. To create negative mass, the researchers applied a second set of lasers that kicked the atoms back and forth and changed the way they spin. Now when the rubidium rushes out fast enough, if behaves as if it has negative mass. "Once you push, it accelerates backwards," said Forbes, who acted as a theorist analyzing the system. "It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall." The technique used by the WSU researchers avoids some of the underlying defects encountered in previous attempts to understand negative mass. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications" said Forbes. Their research clarifies, in terms of negative mass, similar behavior seen in other systems. This heightened control gives researchers a new tool to engineer experiments to study analogous physics in astrophysics, like neutron stars, and cosmological phenomena like black holes and dark energy, where experiments are impossible. "It provides another environment to study a fundamental phenomenon that is very peculiar," Forbes said. Forbes' colleagues on the Physical Review Letters paper include WSU research assistants Mohammad Khamehchi, Khalid Hossain and Maren Mossman, as well as Thomas Busch in Japan and Yongping Zhang in China and Japan. The work was supported in part by a WSU New Faculty Seed Grant and the National Science Foundation.


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

If you push an ordinary ball, it moves away from your hand. No surprise there. But if you pushed a ball with negative mass, it would actually accelerate backwards, moving towards you instead. It might be hard to picture how this could be possible, but according to Newtonian physics it should work in theory. Now, a team at Washington State University has demonstrated the phenomenon in practice, creating a fluid that has the properties of negative mass. Part of the difficulty we have in imagining an object with negative mass might come from our use of the word. In casual conversation, the word "mass" is often thrown around interchangeably with "weight," but there's a difference: mass essentially describes how much matter makes up an object, while weight is the amount of force (usually gravity) that's acting on that object. In regular use here on Earth the two are closely linked, but take an object with a mass of 1 kg to the Moon and it will weigh just one sixth of that, due to the weaker gravity. An object with a mass of -1 kg won't just float off the ground into space, but it will exhibit other strange behavior. Newton's Second Law of Motion says that a force on an object is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration (F = ma), so if that mass is a negative number, the force will also be negative. That's what causes the bizarre fluid to accelerate backwards and press itself up against whatever's pushing it, instead of moving in the direction of the force. "That's what most things that we're used to do," says Michael Forbes, an author of the study. "With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you." The Washington State researchers created the negative mass fluid using what's known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, a quirky state of matter that acts like a superfluid, where particles move in waves and can flow without losing energy. These condensates allow scientists to study quantum mechanics, and were recently used to create a previously-hypothesized form of matter known as a supersolid. The team made the Bose-Einstein condensate by slowing down rubidium atoms with lasers, which cools them to just slightly above absolute zero and keeps them confined to a bowl-shaped area of about 100 microns across. Next, the scientists hit those atoms with another set of lasers that changed how they spin, a phenomenon known as "spin orbit coupling." That gives the rubidium the properties of a substance with negative mass when it's allowed to flow out of the bowl shape, which, according to the researchers, makes it look like it's hitting an invisible wall. "What's a first here is the exquisite control we have over the nature of this negative mass, without any other complications," says Forbes. "It provides another environment to study a fundamental phenomenon that is very peculiar." The strange substance could allow scientists to study some of the most mysterious forces in the universe, like black holes and dark energy. The research was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.


News Article | April 29, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has determined which online colleges and universities in the U.S. have the most military-friendly programs and services. Of the 50 four-year schools that earned honors, Drexel University, University of Southern California, Duquesne University, Regis University and Harvard University were the top five. 50 two-year schools were also recognized; Laramie County Community College, Western Wyoming Community College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Mesa Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College ranked as the top five. A complete list of top schools is included below. “Veterans and active duty members of the military often face unique challenges when it comes to transitioning into college, from navigating the GI Bill to getting used to civilian life,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “These online schools not only offer military-friendly resources, they also offer an online format, allowing even the busiest members of our armed forces to earn a degree or certificate.” To be included on the “Most Military-Friendly Online Colleges” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also evaluated on additional data points such as the number and variety of degree programs offered, military tuition rates, employment services, post-college earnings of alumni and military-related academic resources. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Most Military-Friendly Online Colleges” list, visit: The Most Military-Friendly Online Four-Year Colleges in the U.S. for 2017 include: Arizona State University-Tempe Auburn University Azusa Pacific University Baker University Boston University Canisius College Carnegie Mellon University Columbia University in the City of New York Creighton University Dallas Baptist University Drexel University Duquesne University George Mason University Hampton University Harvard University Illinois Institute of Technology Iowa State University La Salle University Lawrence Technological University Lewis University Loyola University Chicago Miami University-Oxford Michigan Technological University Missouri University of Science and Technology North Carolina State University at Raleigh Norwich University Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Purdue University-Main Campus Regis University Rochester Institute of Technology Saint Leo University Southern Methodist University Syracuse University Texas A & M University-College Station University of Arizona University of Denver University of Florida University of Idaho University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Michigan-Ann Arbor University of Minnesota-Twin Cities University of Mississippi University of Missouri-Columbia University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus University of Southern California University of the Incarnate Word Washington State University Webster University The Most Military-Friendly Online Two-Year Colleges in the U.S. for 2017 include: Aims Community College Allen County Community College Amarillo College Barton County Community College Bunker Hill Community College Casper College Central Texas College Chandler-Gilbert Community College Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cochise College Columbus State Community College Cowley County Community College Craven Community College Dakota College at Bottineau East Mississippi Community College Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Edmonds Community College Fox Valley Technical College GateWay Community College Grayson College Hutchinson Community College Kansas City Kansas Community College Lake Region State College Laramie County Community College Lone Star College Mesa Community College Metropolitan Community College Mitchell Technical Institute Mount Wachusett Community College Navarro College Northeast Community College Norwalk Community College Ozarka College Phoenix College Prince George's Community College Quinsigamond Community College Rio Salado College Rose State College Sheridan College Shoreline Community College Sinclair College Southeast Community College Southwestern Oregon Community College State Fair Community College Truckee Meadows Community College Western Nebraska Community College Western Oklahoma State College Western Texas College Western Wyoming Community College Yavapai College ### About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Leading higher education information and resource provider AffordableCollegesOnline.org has announced its list of the best online colleges for veterans and military personnel for 2017. The ranking names the top 59 two- and four-year schools and the top 50 four-year schools in the nation based on service member-friendly benefits, affordability and program quality. The four-year schools with the best scores were University of Southern Mississippi, Webster University, Saint Leo University, University of Idaho and Murray State University. The top five two-year schools include Central Texas College, St. Philip’s College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Wake Technical Community College and Del Mar College. "Veterans and current members of the military face some unique challenges when it comes to earning a certificate or degree,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. “These schools have demonstrated a commitment to providing outstanding benefits and resources to service members who choose to pursue an online education, while also maintaining affordability and quality standards.” To qualify for a spot on AffordableCollegesOnline.org’s rankings, schools must meet several minimum requirements. Each college cited is institutionally accredited and holds public or private not-for-profit standing. Each is also scored based on a comparison of more than a dozen metrics including the availability and amount of financial aid, military tuition discounts, ROTC programs, veteran support services and graduation rates by school. AffordableCollegesOnline.org enforces strict affordability standards, requiring schools to offer in-state tuition rates below $20,000 per year for four-year schools, and below $5,000 per year for two-year schools. All eligible school scores are compared to determine the final “Best” list. For complete details on the data and methodology used to score each school and a full list of ranking colleges, visit: Top Four-Year Schools in the U.S. with Military-Friendly Online Programs for 2017: Arkansas State University-Main Campus Azusa Pacific University Ball State University Columbia College Dallas Baptist University Duquesne University East Carolina University Eastern Kentucky University Hampton University Hawaii Pacific University Iowa State University Kansas State University Lawrence Technological University Lewis University Mercy College Mississippi State University Missouri State University-Springfield Montana State University-Billings Murray State University New England College Niagara University Northern Arizona University Northern Kentucky University Norwich University Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Oral Roberts University Point Park University Regis University Saint Leo University Texas A & M University-College Station The College of Saint Scholastica The University of Alabama The University of Montana Tiffin University Troy University University of Arizona University of Cincinnati-Main Campus University of Idaho University of Mississippi University of Nebraska at Omaha University of North Carolina at Greensboro University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus University of South Florida-Main Campus University of Southern Mississippi University of the Incarnate Word University of Toledo Viterbo University Washington State University Webster University Western Kentucky University Top Two-Year Schools in the U.S. with Military-Friendly Online Programs for 2017: ### AffordableCollegesOnline.org began in 2011 to provide quality data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Our free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success. We have been featured by nearly 1,100 postsecondary institutions and nearly 120 government organizations.


News Article | April 22, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Over the weekend, Washington State University’s top 24 student venture teams displayed their innovative products and services at the 15th Annual Business Plan Competition hosted by the Carson College of Business. In a separate competition on Friday, five of the region’s best high school venture teams also competed. The top five college teams were awarded prize money, with Semplice winning first place and $15,000. Semplice creates an environmentally sustainable sports drink from the dairy bi-product of the Greek yogurt industry. The top four high school teams received prize money as well, with Illusory Gear Box from Riverpoint Academy winning first place and $5,000. Illusory Gear Box creates custom, wooden toy kits that children can assemble and interact with in a variety of ways. The teams’ creative ventures included audio devices that can provide e-commerce-level data collection and analytics for brick and mortar stores, solutions to improve muscle problems from repetitive use injuries in non-professional athletes and ideas to reduce the labor costs required by retailers to stock shelves. Teams also presented potentially world-changing ideas such as a new digital thermometer to help increase the amount of milk pasteurization done by migrant cow herders in the developing world. “I’ve always believed that a strong economy comes from the universities in that region,” said Chris Wood, founder of Dryland SA and TenX Strategies. “WSU’s Business Plan Competition embodies my belief by encouraging, facilitating and accelerating the startup environment. The university is working so hard today to help students bring research, innovation and ideas to the market place.” Student entrepreneurship gains momentum at WSU “It was a record year for the WSU Business Plan Competition,” said Marie Mayes, director of the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “We had 39 college venture teams and 27 high school teams enter the competition this year. I attribute this to our successful efforts at WSU to raise the profile of entrepreneurship. We want to be a university where every student with an interest in starting a venture, or being a part of something entrepreneurial, has an opportunity to pursue that during their time at WSU. I think the high level of entries reflect our positive momentum in that direction.” Three teams from WSU’s international partner institutions joined WSU competitors: Cèsar Ritz Colleges Switzerland in Brig, Switzerland; Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania; and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. A gala dinner Friday evening celebrated the high school track winners and included a key note address from Scott Maloney, chief executive officer and co-founder of Bowtie. In his presentation, Maloney addressed the importance of student startup competitions in asking big questions to solve big problems. “Competitions like this are absolutely critical to students being able to explore their passions and creative ideas” said Maloney. “Watching the teams compete head-to-head, it brings out the best in each of them.” Winning teams announced Academic and industry professionals judged teams on presentation, development of a solution for a customer problem, value proposition, competitive advantages, market and sales strategy, management, financials and investment analysis. The teams also were evaluated on the merit of their ideas and business plans. Winners were announced at Saturday’s awards luncheon. In addition to sponsoring the grand prizes, the Herbert B. Jones Foundation also sponsors merit awards worth $2,500 each for best written plan, best presentation, best technology venture and best social impact business. These merit awards were presented to student venture teams at Saturday’s awards luncheon. The winning teams are: College: 1. Semplice 2. Chimeric Designs 3. Kule 4. Restore Robotics 5. Sense Service 6. One Co.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has announced its list of the best colleges and universities in the state of Washington for 2017. Of the 19 four-year schools that made the list, Gonzaga University, University of Washington, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University were the top five institutions. Of the 21 two-year schools that were also included, Edmonds Community College, Shorelines Community College, Renton Technical College, Bates Technical College and Clark College took the top five. A list of all the winning schools is included below. “Washington state’s unemployment rate recently hit a nine-year low, which is great news for people interested in pursuing a college degree,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “Our analysis shows schools going the extra mile for students in terms of career preparation, by providing high-quality programs and resources that are translating into student success in the job market.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Washington” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also scored on additional data that includes annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering college, career services offered, availability of financial aid and such additional metrics as student/teacher ratios and graduation rates. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Washington” list, visit: Washington’s Best Four-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Bastyr University Central Washington University City University of Seattle Eastern Washington University Gonzaga University Heritage University Northwest University Pacific Lutheran University Saint Martin's University Seattle Pacific University Seattle University Trinity Lutheran College University of Puget Sound University of Washington-Seattle Campus Walla Walla University Washington State University Western Washington University Whitman College Whitworth University Washington’s Best Two-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Bates Technical College Bellingham Technical College Big Bend Community College Cascadia Community College Clark College Edmonds Community College Everett Community College Grays Harbor College Lower Columbia College Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom Pierce College at Puyallup Renton Technical College Seattle Vocational Institute Shoreline Community College South Puget Sound Community College Spokane Community College Spokane Falls Community College Tacoma Community College Walla Walla Community College Wenatchee Valley College Whatcom Community College About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

VIDEO:  Washington State University marine biologists for the first time have documented a wealth of fish in the "vastly underexplored " deep coral reefs off Hawaii Island. view more VANCOUVER, Wash. - Washington State University marine biologists for the first time have documented a wealth of fish in the "vastly underexplored" deep coral reefs off Hawaii Island. The study gives fishery managers a more complete picture of fish species and habitat around the Big Island, home to a thriving aquarium fish trade, as well as other deep waters around the globe, said Cori Kane, a doctoral student at WSU Vancouver. "These efforts show that deep coral reefs provide essential habitat for many shallow coral reef fishes," Kane said. "With shallow coral reefs around the world in jeopardy, these deep reefs might play important roles to conserve reef fish biodiversity." The research appears in the journal Coral Reefs. Kane's co-author is Brian Tissot, a WSU Vancouver adjunct faculty member and director of both the Humboldt State University Marine Laboratory and the Humboldt Marine and Coastal Science Institute. Kane and a host of student divers documented fish on reefs more than 100 feet below the surface, a depth known as mesophotic, as opposed to shallow. Less formally, it's called the "Twilight Zone." For decades, users of scuba gear were confined to relatively shallow depths, as diving below 100 feet risked exposing them to nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness. The adoption of trimix, a breathing gas of oxygen, nitrogen, and helium, in the late 1980s opened up deeper waters and the discovery of new species and ecosystems. Earlier mesophotic work by Kane and colleagues found that nearly half the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands reef fish are endemic, species found nowhere else. That's nearly twice as high as any other tropical region. Kane's new research is the first comprehensive study of mesophotic coral reefs on Hawaii island, and the first to document reefs below 65 feet around Hawaii's big islands, Kane said. The island has some of the healthiest reef systems in the Hawaiian archipelago, she said, drawing recreational divers from around the world. The island also accounts for most of Hawaii's aquarium fish exports. The new information will add to reef managers' knowledge of aquarium fish, filling gaps about the distributions and abundance of many heavily collected species. Fishes in the upper regions of the mesophotic reef system, between 100 and 165 feet, are largely the same as those fishes found in shallow waters, Kane said. "Reefs at these depths are vastly underexplored," she said, "and this study shows that these deep reefs provide additional critical habitat for shallow reef fishes." Researchers have seen similar distribution patterns of reef fish in the Atlantic Ocean and Red Sea, suggesting "universal trends where deep coral reefs provide extensive critical habitat for important shallow reef fish species, and may act as refuge space from human and environmental impacts that are decimating shallow coral reefs." One key difference of the deeper waters is that herbivorous fish critical to healthy coral reefs "are nearly absent in mesophotic reefs."


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

CleanTech Alliance announced that Steven Martin, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of GE Energy Connections, will keynote the CleanTech Innovation Showcase 2017 on June 26 in Seattle. Martin is the latest CleanTech Innovation Showcase keynote speaker to be announced, joining Dr. Mark Peters, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. The event is sponsored by Washington State University, The Boeing Company and Seattle City Light. GE Energy Connections designs and deploys leading technologies that transport, convert, automate and optimize energy to ensure safe, efficient and reliable electrical power. The company recently announced an effort to strengthen the electrical grid for half a billion people in India. The project will develop an 848 mile energy highway to address the country’s growing power needs. Initial transmission was completed in early 2017, delivering reliable energy to an estimated 46 percent of the country’s population. As Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Martin leads GE Energy Connections’ efforts to develop end-to-end software and cloud solutions to help customer digitization efforts. This includes the activation of product, service and solution roadmaps, and designing new customer experiences and business models. Prior to joining GE, Martin served as General Manager and Chief Data Scientist for Azure at Microsoft. Over his 20-year career, he has held leadership positions across engineering, product management, venture capital and strategy. Held June 26, 2017, at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, the CleanTech Innovation Showcase is the region’s premier one-day conference focused on technology and business innovation. The event convenes 500+ cleantech industry leaders, investors, policymakers and media. More than 75 companies were featured at last year’s event, including 24 presenting companies. “GE is continually named a global leader in energy innovation. Steven Martin’s presentation will demonstrate how clean technology innovations can improve quality of life across the globe while shaping our economy,” said J. Thomas Ranken, President and CEO of the CleanTech Alliance. “The topic aligns perfectly with the CleanTech Innovation Showcase as well as the overarching mission of the CleanTech Alliance.” The CleanTech Innovation Showcase spotlights industry leaders, emerging companies and research institutions. The Boeing Company, Seattle City Light and Washington State University are principal sponsors of the event. “Partnering with clean technology innovators is a critical part of Washington State University’s strategy for becoming a top 25 research university in the U.S.,” said Dr. Michael Wolcott, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Design and Acting Director for the Composite Materials and Engineering Center at Washington State University. “The CleanTech Innovation Showcase gathers these innovators into a single location to spotlight the future of clean energy and sustainable technologies. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet with current and future partners from across the U.S., Canada and beyond.” CleanTech Innovation Showcase registration is now open. Additional branding opportunities are available through several customizable sponsorship and exhibit packages. Contact Kate Kavuma at kate(at)cleantechalliance(dot)org or 206-389-7255 to build a package to meet your branding needs. About the CleanTech Alliance CleanTech Alliance represents more than 300 member companies and organizations across the Northwest region. Founded in 2007 by business leaders, the organization facilitates the generation and growth of cleantech companies, jobs, products and services to advance the cleantech economy. CleanTech Alliance offers a range of business services and benefits uniquely designed to help businesses gain visibility, access services at a lower cost and benefit from public policy. Learn more at http://www.CleanTechAlliance.org.


News Article | May 7, 2017
Site: grist.org

Bee populations have been in flux for the past decade. Colony collapse disorder was a crisis — until it wasn’t. And then, last year, bee die-offs were high again. There are a number of suspects, but one contributor to the decline is varroa mites — nasty parasites that suck bees’ blood, attack larvae, and spread disease, decimating hives. Researchers at Washington State University have been fighting back by treating hives with mushroom spores and extracts that are toxic to varroa mites. As a bonus, the mushroom’s antiviral properties keep bees healthy and living longer. Watch this video by Louie Schwartzberg for bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and sustainability, to learn more:


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com

A team of researchers from Washington State University (WSU) has developed a method to recycle carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites that strays from traditional approaches. The researchers’ method does what only a handful have been able to accomplish: recycling epoxy-based thermoset composites. As the researchers explain, thermoplastics are easily recycled, but thermosets are not due to their cured resin. For the research, Jinwen Zhang, a professor in the WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his team studied a chemical recycling method that used mild acids as catalysts in liquid ethanol at a relatively low temperature to break down the thermosets.  To break down cured materials effectively, the researchers raised the temperature of the material so that the catalyst-containing liquid could penetrate into the composite and break down the complex structure. The approach is similar to Hayward, Calif.-based company Connora Technologies’ approach, which also breaks down thermoset CFRP composites at the chemistry level. Zhang says the combination of chemicals is what makes the approach effective. The team used ethanol to make the resins expand and zinc chloride to break down critical carbon-nitrogen bonds. “It is critical to develop efficient catalytic systems that are capable of permeating into the cured resins and breaking down the chemical bonds of cured resins,” Zhang said. The work was funded by the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) in collaboration with Global Fiberglass Solutions. The state-funded JCATI works to support Washington’s aerospace industry by pursuing research that is relevant to aerospace companies and by providing industry-focused research opportunities. The ability to recycle carbon fiber is imperative to the growth of the state’s economy. According to a study by honor society Phi Kappa Phi, Boeing and Airbus each generate as much as a 1 million pounds of cured and uncured carbon fiber prepreg waste each year from Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 XWB production. In the state of Washington alone, 96 composites companies produce 2 million pounds of production waste carbon fiber each year that is sent to a landfill.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.theengineer.co.uk

Washington State University researchers have developed a method of recycling carbon fibre plastics that are used in modern aircraft and wind turbines. The work, reported in Polymer Degradation and Stability, is claimed to provide an efficient way to re-use the carbon fibre and other materials that make up the composite parts. Carbon fibre reinforced plastics are utilised in a number of industries because they are light and strong but they are also difficult to break down or recycle. Thermoplastics can be melted and re-used but most composites used in planes are thermosets that are cured and can’t easily be undone and returned to their original materials. To recycle the materials, researchers have so far tried grinding them down mechanically or breaking them down with very high temperatures or harsh chemicals to recover the carbon fibre. A problem with the latter process lies in the caustic chemicals that are hazardous and difficult to dispose of. They also destroy the matrix resin materials in the composites, creating a mixture of chemicals and an additional waste problem. In their project, Jinwen Zhang, a professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his team developed a new chemical recycling method that used mild acids as catalysts in liquid ethanol at a relatively low temperature to break down the thermosets. In particular, it was the combination of chemicals that proved effective, said Zhang. To break down cured materials effectively, the researchers raised the temperature of the material so that the catalyst-containing liquid can penetrate into the composite and break down the complex structure. Zhang used ethanol to make the resins expand and zinc chloride to break down critical carbon-nitrogen bonds. “It is critical to develop efficient catalytic systems that are capable of permeating into the cured resins and breaking down the chemical bonds of cured resins,” he said in a statement. The researchers were able to preserve the carbon fibres as well as the resin material in a useful form that could be easily re-used. They have filed for a patent and are working to commercialise their methods.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - May 4, 2017) - Phoenix Life Sciences, Inc. ("Phoenix Life"), a disruptive healthcare solutions company and biotech innovator, is pleased to announce that it has appointed James "Jamie" Baumgartner as Chief Executive Officer. Baumgartner's selection concludes Phoenix Life's exhaustive national search for a qualified CEO to lead the company to its next stage in growth. "I'm honored to be appointed as the CEO for Phoenix Life," said Baumgartner. "Learning about the company's vision, its deep-rooted focus on science, and seeing the caliber of talent at the company reinforced to me Phoenix Life's ability to succeed globally, and I look forward to helping Phoenix Life grow by launching innovative products and expanding its current IP portfolio through research, development, and licensing deals." Phoenix Life selected Baumgartner to drive advancement toward FDA, TGA, and EMA approval for new drugs derived from cannabis and to position Phoenix Life as the global leader in cannabis based therapeutics. Baumgartner holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Pharmacology from Washington State University. He is an innovative business leader who combines his acute business acumen with his broad scientific excellence. His expertise in drug discovery and development has led to him assisting over 700 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies reach unparalleled levels of success, especially in the area of advancing projects to IND filing. He adds over 20 years of drug discovery experience to Phoenix Life and reinforces the company's commitment to its foundation in scientific research and development in the healthcare and biotech industries. "As we continue to grow, I cannot imagine a better person to lead Phoenix Life," said Vince Coviello, Phoenix Life's President and Chairman. "Jamie is a proven leader with an impressive scientific background, notable business acumen, and the ability to execute above and beyond expectations. His vision for Phoenix Life's growth and scientific development will guide the company to its next level of product innovation and advancement." Phoenix Life Sciences, Inc. is a disruptive healthcare solutions company, whose vision is to create a future where the human body can repair, restore, and rejuvenate itself. By combining new and existing research with state of the art production, Phoenix Life plans to distribute products around the globe that are designed to target and treat the following seven major categories of medical conditions: pain, cancer, psychological, gastrointestinal, autoimmune, neurological, and sleep disorders. These categories include conditions that affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide. Phoenix Life intends to build an integrated healthcare organization by creating products and programs that use emerging biological products, such as cannabinoids and other plant extracts. Delivering these programs through managed agriculture, pharmaceutical production, and physician education and distribution networks. Information contained in this press release regarding Phoenix Life Sciences, Inc. (the "Company") may constitute forward-looking statements or statements which may be deemed or construed to be forward-looking statements. The words "plan", "forecast", "anticipates", "estimate", "project", "intend", "expect", "should", "believe," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve, and are subject to, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the Company's actual results, performance (financial or operating) or achievements to differ from the future results, performance (financial or operating) or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The risks, uncertainties, and other factors are more fully discussed in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements attributable to the Company herein are expressly qualified in their entirety by the above-mentioned cautionary statement. The Company disclaims any obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this press release, except as may be required by law.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.wineindustryadvisor.com

WAVE attendees said seminar topics were on target. SEATTLE (May 3, 2017) – The second annual Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE), a research-focused seminar sponsored by the Washington State Wine Commission and Washington State University, nearly doubled in size from its debut last year. Nearly all the attendees of grape growers and winemakers said the event provided research information useful to their operations and topics were “on target,” according to feedback from the event questionnaire. The WAVE seminar, held April 19 at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, featured in-depth presentations of current WSU research projects funded by the wine industry through the Washington State Wine Commission. In 2016, the sell-out event had 80 growers and vintners in attendance, compared to almost 150 industry members at this year’s conference. Research findings shared included topics of irrigation, vineyard nutrition, pest and disease management, impacts of grape maturity on wine color and sensory attributes and smoke taint in grapes and wine. “WAVE is a valuable venue to deliver research information to Washington’s wine industry,” said Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology Program. “It brings scientists and growers and winemakers together for dialogue, to share research outcomes and discuss future research.” Dick Boushey, chair of the Wine Commission’s Research Committee, agreed with Henick-Kling’s assessment.  “WAVE is a great show and tell,” he said. “It helps illustrate where the industry’s research dollars go and shows the depth and breadth of issues under study.” The industry-driven viticulture and enology research program in Washington has resulted in game-changing outcomes that have helped growers reduce pesticide and fungicide usage, conserve irrigation water and improve overall wine quality. Nearly 25-percent of the Wine Commission’s almost $6 million budget is spent on research, according to Boushey, an amount that includes the industry’s payment of its $7.4 million commitment to help build the Wine Science Center at WSU’s Richland campus. A record $1 million—up 20 percent from last year’s funding—will fund research projects in fiscal year 2018. The program combines funding from the Wine Commission, Auction of Washington Wines, WSU’s Agriculture Research Center and state taxes (1/4 cent per liter) collected on all wines sold in Washington. A condensed version of WAVE—dubbed WAVEx—is scheduled for July 11 and 13, 2017, in Walla Walla and Woodinville, respectively. The half-day WAVEx format, with a single topic of “Managing Phenolics from Grape to Barrel,” allows for a deep dive in the subject of tannin management from vineyard to fermentation to the barrel. WAVEx is designed for those involved in winemaking. Visit the WAVE website to view proceedings from the April 19 meeting and learn more about the upcoming WAVEx seminars. Washington State Wine represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the mission of the WSW is to raise positive awareness and demand for Washington State wine through marketing and education while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.  Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, the WSW is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.


News Article | April 24, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Gary Schwendiman, a visionary in the field of clean energy, examines a future urgently in need of answers for global warming and the energy crisis. “The Future of Clean Energy: Who Wins and Who Loses as the World Goes Green” (published by AuthorHouse) is an informative, insightful, and refreshingly entertaining book that will appeal as much to investors and political leaders as it will to the casual reader with an interest in how people are going to solve some of the world’s most difficult environmental and economic problems. “Three billion people on this planet still use wood and coal to heat their homes and cook their food. By 2030, the number of vehicles on the world’s roads will double from one billion to two billion.” The author examines these trends before answering the key question: “How are we going to turn the lights on for everyone and power all those new vehicles without further damaging the environment and the economy?” As the author points out, “propaganda dominates entirely too much of the conversation about clean energy solutions to this important question. If the planet’s leading economies are ever going to solve global warming and the energy crisis in an effective, feasible way, then the first step is dispelling the myths about some of the most logical solutions to the problem.” The first myths the book tackles involve nuclear energy, which is far cleaner, greener, and safer than most people think. Next up is ethanol, which the author believes is the only reasonable replacement for gasoline, given the technological limitations and stagnant market share for hybrid and electric engines. Schwendiman distills these complex concepts into an engaging, eye-opening book that compares existing and future energy sources to football teams, then pits them in a competition he calls the “Clean Energy Bowl.” In a crowded field of electricity and fuel sources, “only one will emerge victorious as the most positive contributor to the future environment and global economy.” “The Future of Clean Energy” By Gary Schwendiman Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 216 pages | ISBN 9781496940421 Softcover | 6 x 9in | 216 pages | ISBN 9781496940438 E-Book | 216 pages | ISBN 9781496940414 Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble About the Author Gary Schwendiman graduated with honors from Washington State University and earned his Master of Science and doctorate degrees from Brigham Young University. As cofounder of a private equity firm that invests in clean energy, he has given presentations on clean energy in 26 states and 10 foreign countries. He served for 17 years as the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska. As dean, he provided academic leadership for 70 doctorate faculty members, 3,000 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. He has served on the boards of directors of five corporations. He is the father of five children and grandfather of 14. He lives in Tucson. AuthorHouse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is a leading provider of book publishing, marketing, and bookselling services for authors around the globe and offers the industry’s only suite of Hollywood book-to-film services. Committed to providing the highest level of customer service, AuthorHouse assigns each author personal publishing and marketing consultants who provide guidance throughout the process. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, AuthorHouse celebrated 15 years of service to authors in Sept. 2011.For more information or to publish a book visit authorhouse.com or call 1-888-519-5121. For the latest, follow @authorhouse on Twitter.


News Article | April 29, 2017
Site: www.PR.com

Receive press releases from American Science and Technology: By Email AST and ECN Aim to Accelerate the Development of Lignin-Based Products American Science and Technology to send multiple shipments of organosolv lignin to Energy research Centre of the Netherlands. Wausau, WI, April 29, 2017 --( Led by Dr. Paul J. de Wild, the team of researchers at ECN will test the production of high-value functionalized aromatics via their pyrolysis-based LIBRA (Lignin Biorefinery Approach) technology. “Both AST and ECN share similar aspirations in transitioning society to more sustainable energy systems and advancing the bio-based economy,” said Dr. Ali Manesh, President of AST. “And like AST, ECN has many years of experience working with lignin. Since lignin valorization is a key step in achieving those shared goals, we believe that combining the expertise of these two companies is a definite step in the right direction.” Currently, AST’s Organosolv lignin is being used by several research teams at various universities, including University of Washington, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Washington State University, for various research projects. The team at University of Wisconsin-Platteville was recently able to successfully coextrud AST’s Organosolv lignin with other polymers to create new resins that were then used to produce polymeric parts via injection molding. American Science and Technology is a full service shared piloting facility available to industry, and is dedicated to helping its clients develop innovative biorefinery and chemical technologies to convert lignocellulosic biomass into high-value, bio-based chemicals and products. Operating from laboratory level to multi-ton scale, the AST facility provides a unique opportunity for collaboration to accelerate the advancement of the bio-based economy. During the past 10 years, AST scientists and engineers have also developed a patented Organosolv pulping process that has shown to increase the efficiency and profitability of pulp and paper production by converting virtually all of the incoming lignocellulosic biomass to high-value products. Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands. ECN develops new technology and conducts pioneering research in various ways into innovative solutions to facilitate the transition to sustainable energy management. With around 500 members of staff, ECN is active in projects both at domestically and abroad, in joint efforts with the industry, government authorities and research institutes. For more information on AST, please visit www.amsnt.com For more information on ECN, please visit www.ecn.nl Wausau, WI, April 29, 2017 --( PR.com )-- American Science and Technology (AST), a sustainable technology company, has agreed to begin sending shipments of its Organosolv lignin to the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN ). This is a continuation of AST’s ongoing efforts to speed up the development of advanced and innovative lignin-based products by sharing its Organosolv lignin with an increasing number of research institutions around the world.Led by Dr. Paul J. de Wild, the team of researchers at ECN will test the production of high-value functionalized aromatics via their pyrolysis-based LIBRA (Lignin Biorefinery Approach) technology.“Both AST and ECN share similar aspirations in transitioning society to more sustainable energy systems and advancing the bio-based economy,” said Dr. Ali Manesh, President of AST. “And like AST, ECN has many years of experience working with lignin. Since lignin valorization is a key step in achieving those shared goals, we believe that combining the expertise of these two companies is a definite step in the right direction.”Currently, AST’s Organosolv lignin is being used by several research teams at various universities, including University of Washington, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Washington State University, for various research projects. The team at University of Wisconsin-Platteville was recently able to successfully coextrud AST’s Organosolv lignin with other polymers to create new resins that were then used to produce polymeric parts via injection molding.American Science and Technology is a full service shared piloting facility available to industry, and is dedicated to helping its clients develop innovative biorefinery and chemical technologies to convert lignocellulosic biomass into high-value, bio-based chemicals and products. Operating from laboratory level to multi-ton scale, the AST facility provides a unique opportunity for collaboration to accelerate the advancement of the bio-based economy. During the past 10 years, AST scientists and engineers have also developed a patented Organosolv pulping process that has shown to increase the efficiency and profitability of pulp and paper production by converting virtually all of the incoming lignocellulosic biomass to high-value products.Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands. ECN develops new technology and conducts pioneering research in various ways into innovative solutions to facilitate the transition to sustainable energy management. With around 500 members of staff, ECN is active in projects both at domestically and abroad, in joint efforts with the industry, government authorities and research institutes.For more information on AST, please visit www.amsnt.comFor more information on ECN, please visit www.ecn.nl Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from American Science and Technology


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Balboa Capital, a leading provider of business loans and equipment financing programs in the United States, has opened a new office location in Spokane, Washington to better serve its existing and future customers in the Pacific Northwest. The Spokane office opened its doors on May 1st, 2017 as Balboa Capital’s fourth office location; the company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California and has additional offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and San Ramon, California. The new office is located in Kendall Yards, a new “urban by nature” concept in downtown Spokane. The office will be led by Michael Bivins, Director of Enterprise and Commercial Sales. “The decision to expand our presence in the Pacific Northwest is part of our company’s growth strategy,” said Phil Silva, President of Balboa Capital. “Our Spokane location will prove useful in anchoring our presence in this region and enable us to support area businesses with the same flexible financing solutions and outstanding customer service we are known for nationwide.” Mr. Silva also sees Balboa Capital’s new Spokane office as an opportunity to leverage the area’s talent pool. “This area is rich with talent from leading colleges and universities, and this presents us with the opportunity to hire highly skilled and qualified account managers and support staff members.” Balboa Capital implemented a well-defined strategy to recruit employees for its new Spokane office. Digital marketing and social media efforts helped attract potential candidates for the company’s executive recruiting team to evaluate. In addition, Balboa Capital was a featured exhibitor at the Spring 2017 FUSE Career Fair, which attracted students from Gonzaga University, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and Whitworth University. Members of Balboa Capital’s Spokane office met with current students and alumni to discuss the many career opportunities that are available at the new office location. “Our new employees are ready to kick-start their sales careers in a fast-paced, technology-driven work environment,” said Mr. Silva, adding, “We are really looking forward to welcoming our new team members to the Balboa Capital family.” Balboa Capital will continue its recruiting efforts for its Spokane office in the months to come. Interested candidates can visit the Balboa Capital careers page to apply online. Kendall Yards, the location of Balboa Capital’s new office, is a brand new, coveted community in the heart of Spokane, Washington. When evaluating potential office locations, Balboa Capital found Spokane to be a good fit for its employees based on its affordability index. The office is within walking distance of downtown Spokane, a city known for all it has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. With close to 200 nearby lakes and plenty of areas for outdoor recreational activities, Spokane is truly paradise for people who enjoy hiking, cycling, fishing, golfing, skiing, and more. “To attract workers in today’s competitive job market, we needed an appealing, amenity-filled office in a vibrant location, and Kendall Yards has it all,” said Mr. Silva. About Balboa Capital Balboa Capital is a technology-driven financing company that provides business owners with fast, hassle-free solutions to fuel their growth and success. The company specializes in small business loans, equipment financing, commercial financing, equipment vendor financing, and franchise financing. Balboa Capital developed an intuitive online platform that simplifies the entire financing process. Calculators provide instant estimates, applications can be completed and submitted in a matter of minutes, and sophisticated credit scoring technology provides instant decisions. To learn more, visit http://www.balboacapital.com.


Chopra I.S.,University of Texas at Dallas | Chaudhuri S.,Washington State University | Veyan J.F.,University of Texas at Dallas | Chabal Y.J.,University of Texas at Dallas
Nature Materials | Year: 2011

Activation of molecular hydrogen is the first step in producing many important industrial chemicals that have so far required expensive noble-metal catalysts and thermal activation. We demonstrate here that aluminium doped with very small amounts of titanium can activate molecular hydrogen at temperatures as low as 90K. Using an approach that uses CO as a probe molecule, we identify the atomistic arrangement of the catalytically active sites containing Ti on Al(111) surfaces, combining infrared reflection"absorption spectroscopy and first-principles modelling. CO molecules, selectively adsorbed on catalytically active sites, form a complex with activated hydrogen that is removed at remarkably low temperatures (115K; possibly as a molecule). These results provide the first direct evidence that Ti-doped Al can carry out the essential first step of molecular hydrogen activation under nearly barrierless conditions, thereby challenging the monopoly of noble metals in hydrogenactivation. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Celli J.,Washington State University | Tsolis R.M.,University of California at Davis
Nature Reviews Microbiology | Year: 2015

The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a cytoprotective response that is aimed at restoring cellular homeostasis following physiological stress exerted on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which also invokes innate immune signalling in response to invading microorganisms. Although it has been known for some time that the UPR is modulated by various viruses, recent evidence indicates that it also has multiple roles during bacterial infections. In this Review, we describe how bacteria interact with the ER, including how bacteria induce the UPR, how subversion of the UPR promotes bacterial proliferation and how the UPR contributes to innate immune responses against invading bacteria. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Bloom A.J.,University of California at Davis | Burger M.,University of California at Davis | Asensio J.S.R.,University of California at Davis | Cousins A.B.,Washington State University
Science | Year: 2010

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere may double by the end of the 21st century. The response of higher plants to a carbon dioxide doubling often includes a decline in their nitrogen status, but the reasons for this decline have been uncertain. We used five independent methods with wheat and Arabidopsis to show that atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment inhibited the assimilation of nitrate into organic nitrogen compounds. This inhibition may be largely responsible for carbon dioxide acclimation, the decrease in photosynthesis and growth of plants conducting C3 carbon fixation after long exposures (days to years) to carbon dioxide enrichment. These results suggest that the relative availability of soil ammonium and nitrate to most plants will become increasingly important in determining their productivity as well as their quality as food.


Patent
Cancer Targeted Technology, Llc and Washington State University | Date: 2014-03-14

Compounds of Marlush formula (I) described in the claims are useful in diagnostic methods for detecting and/or identifying cells presenting PSMA. Disclosed are also methods for preparing the compounds. Representative compounds according to the application are:


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2013.1.4-09 | Award Amount: 2.64M | Year: 2013

The continuous supply of services provided by agricultural systems is increasingly threatened by climate change in association with an estimated increase in the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves or heavy precipitation events. MODEXTREME has the overarching goal to help the European and non-European agriculture face extreme climatic events by improving the capability of biophysical models simulating vegetation responses to integrate climatic variability and extremes. To reach this goal, the project will achieve the following objectives: Scientific objectives: - Identify and integrate into simulation models, the responses of main crop and grassland systems to environmental conditions associated with extreme climatic events; - Improve yield monitoring and forecasting systems via multiple observational constraints to be assimilated into process-based models across different climate conditions; - Estimate possible trajectories of agricultural productivity in the short (during current season) to medium time horizons and associated uncertainties. This involves taking into account the genetic progress and its effects on responses to extreme environmental conditions. Technological objectives: - Build a consistent, multi-domain data repository for use in studying climate variability and extreme events relevant for agricultural production; - Develop generically reusable software units that implement libraries of models. This will allow (i) extending the vegetation response, as implemented in existing modelling solutions, to weather extremes, (ii) extending the multi-model platform for plant growth and development simulations of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (MARS: Monitoring Agricultural ResourceS); - Prototype alternate versions of the workflows for agricultural production monitoring and scenario analysis both using new modelling solutions composed in the project, and by focusing on extreme events.


« NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 platform to power world’s first robotic motor sports competition | Main | EIA: trends in downsized engine design leading to increased demand for higher-octane gasoline » Air Canada will participate in Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI), a three-year collaborative project with 14 stakeholder organizations to introduce 400,000 liters (106,000 gallons US) of sustainable aviation biofuel (biojet) into a shared fuel system at a yet-to-be-determined Canadian airport. Previous Air Canada biofuel flights used biojet that was segregated and loaded separately into an aircraft via tanker truck. By contrast, CBSCI’s objective is to start developing a more efficient operational framework that will introduce biojet into a multi-user, co-mingled airport fuel supply system. The CBSCI project is a first in Canada and is aimed at creating a sustainable Canadian supply chain of biojet using renewable feedstocks. Canada has abundant agricultural and forestry biomass resources, with globally recognized sustainable production and harvesting practices. The biojet used in this project will be sourced from commercially available, certifiably sustainable Canadian oleochemical feedstocks using the Hydroprocessed Esters and a Fatty Acids (HEFA) conversion process. The biojet will be blended with petroleum jet fuel to meet all technical quality specifications before being introduced into a shared fuel tank at a Canadian airport. Air Canada is expecting to introduce approximately 400,000 litres of blended biofuel. The CBSCI project will also identify and help solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian airports. CBSCI includes a strong research component with the participation of Queen's University, University of Toronto, and McGill University, who will be assisting in modeling feedstock availability, identifying and addressing barriers to biojet adoption in co-mingled fuel systems and implementing the IATA Sustainability Meta Standard. CBSCI. CBSCI is coordinated through BioFuelNet Canada’s Aviation Task Force and managed by Waterfall Group, with primary funding from the Green Aviation Research and Development Network, a non-profit organization funded by the Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence of the Government of Canada and the Canadian aerospace industry. Participants in CBSCI include: Air Canada; ASCENT (US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Centre of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels & Environment @Washington State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; BioFuelNet; Boeing; Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI); International Air Transport Association (IATA); McGill University; National Research Council; Queen’s University; SkyNRG; Transport Canada; University of Toronto; and Waterfall Group.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.greentechmedia.com

This GTM Squared insight has been unlocked for you by: Spokane, a city of some 210,000 people in the foothills of eastern Washington state, is not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks about cutting-edge smart city deployments, or the latest efforts in transactive energy. But utility Avista and smart metering giant Itron want it to earn its place on that map. At Itron Utility Week last month, Itron and Avista laid out some details of their participation in an urban renewal project, called Urbanova, which will use Itron’s meters and wireless networks as the foundation for a broader internet of things (IOT) rollout. Two years in the making, Urbanova’s plan was formalized in September with partners including the Spokane city government, engineering firm McKinstry, and Washington State University. The project in Spokane’s 770-acre University District will start with networked streetlights -- a fairly common and cost-effective smart city application. But it will eventually grow to include air quality sensors, medical devices, and distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar panels, behind-the-meter batteries, plug-in electric vehicles and energy-smart building control systems. It’s the first smart city project of its kind in Washington state, though only one of many being tested out around the world. It’s also a showcase for Itron’s next-generation technology platform, dubbed Riva. Finding ways to extend smart meter networks’ capabilities and business cases has long been a part of the Liberty Lake, Wash.-based company’s plans, along with those of competitors like Silver Spring Networks and Toshiba’s Landis+Gyr. In his opening speech at last month’s Itron Utility Week in Orlando, Fla., Itron CEO Philip Mezey laid out the business case for using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to connect customers outside the utility. “The systems we have built for you and with you to address the meter-to-cash cycle are a foundational basis for doing so much more -- for, really, the same price,” he said. “We need to advance our thinking in what we call the active network.” Urbanova will also take on a challenge facing utilities that are trying to incorporate DERs into their daily operations and long-term planning -- how to understand and monetize the value they offer the grid, both as individual units and together. This concept goes by different names, including transactive energy, or as the Avista project is called, the “shared energy economy.” For Avista technology strategist Curt Kirkeby, these separate but commonly networked deployments represent a natural extension of the utility’s existing smart grid infrastructure to the endpoints of the system -- and beyond. “We’ve been trying to model the grid since way back in the 1970s,” he said at last month’s Itron event. “Now we’re getting into the customer side of things.” Itron and Avista are well known to one another -- in fact, Itron was spun out of Avista in 1977. The two have been working on AMI since 2009, when Avista rolled out 13,000 Itron meters in Pullman, Wash. under a federal smart grid investment grant. In May, Avista picked Itron for a broader rollout across its 375,000-customer service territory over the next six years, featuring its OpenWay Riva technology, which is deployed with grid routers and networking technology from partner Cisco. While contracts are still being finalized and deployment schedules haven’t been set, the University District will be an early target. The benefits of AMI for Avista will start with the core meter-to-cash proposition, Kirkeby said. They’ll also use the meter data for revenue protection -- finding wasted or stolen electricity -- and pinpointing outages in its distribution network, which are common uses for a growing number of smart meter-equipped utilities today. In the meantime, Avista has rolled out some significant smart grid projects. Its largest, funded by a $20 million investment grant in 2009, is a distribution automation (DA) project that covers about one-third of its customers, featuring wireless networks from ABB’s Tropos and substation automation, smart switches and digital relays from grid vendor Efacec ACS. Beyond preventing and limiting outages, Avista has been using its DA system to do conservation voltage reduction (CVR), or fine-tuning voltages at different parts of the grid to save energy. Smart meters will be able to provide minute-by-minute data on energy, voltage and power quality at the endpoints of the grid, a critical piece of data for a system that must keep every customer within certain voltage limits. Next, Avista plans to extend the smart meter wireless network to non-grid devices, particularly those it doesn’t own, Kirkeby said. This is a realm where most AMI projects haven’t gone yet, since only the latest technologies, like Itron’s Riva or Silver Spring’s Starfish platform, support real-time, two-way communications across technology standards outside the utility realm. To test this capability, Avista is starting with streetlights. Last year, it embarked on a 28,000-streetlight LED replacement program, driven by the energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. These LEDs also come with digital controllers that offer a lot more flexibility than old-fashioned high-pressure sodium lights, making them useful targets for connecting to the network. They’re also distributed around the city, making them useful nodes for extending it to more devices. This is an important new market for Itron. Riva has supported streetlight connectivity since last year, but Itron hasn’t announced nearly as many deals on this front as has rival Silver Spring Networks, which bought vendor Streetlight.Vision in 2014 and has tens of thousands of lights networked in the U.S. and Europe. But there’s plenty of competition for traditional AMI vendors to contend with in this space, including giants like Verizon, which acquired LED networking startup Sensity Systems this fall, or GE’s Current, which bought Daintree Networks in April. Moving from energy assets to the broader world of IOT devices, Itron and Avista will start with air-quality sensors being deployed as part of a five-year, $1.5 million project with researchers from WSU’s Voiland College. WSU already runs one of the country’s most effective air-quality monitoring programs through its Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, and it’s a big partner in Avista’s Pullman microgrid projects. The goals of the Urbanova deployment combine both fields, to “monitor, predict and control energy and air quality in an urban environment and to record resulting health impacts” on people living and working in the University district. “Health monitoring is a core area where we’re leveraging the IOT platform” that Itron provides, Kirkeby said. Spokane’s University District is the home of three medical schools, and they’re going to be looking at the potential for using the Urbanova wireless network to connect different types of medical devices, he said. Beyond that, there’s a lot of room to add connectivity with Itron’s platform to the new construction being promoted for the district’s undeveloped parcels. These types of applications are still years out, though. While the Urbanova partners have signed a memorandum of understanding, they haven’t gotten to the nitty-gritty details of how they’ll share responsibility and ownership of the devices and data that will be part of this networked vision. In August, the Urbanova partners got a $7 million grant from the state’s Department of Commerce to launch the distributed energy portion of its project. It will start with a microgrid, planned to include 200 kilowatts of solar from two arrays and a combined 2.5 megawatt-hours of battery storage, and integration with the two buildings’ energy management systems. While eastern Washington isn’t the hottest spot for rooftop solar, Avista is the host of the state’s first community solar project, a 425-kilowatt array that will serve more than 500 residential and commercial customers. The utility also has a pressing need to manage the ups and downs of the state’s wind generation, which can reach up to 17 percent of overall supply at times, and can’t be curtailed even when it’s producing more power than is needed, Kirkeby said. Avista also has a fair share of experience with batteries. Since April 2015, it’s been operating a 1-megawatt, 3.2-megawatt-hour vanadium redox flow battery from UET, which is also working on the shared energy economy project, at a substation in Pullman, providing load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation. One of the biggest customers served by that substation is grid technology vendor Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), which is also providing the microgrid controls for the Urbanova project, he said. That will give Avista the tools to monitor and control each of its grid-connected energy assets, whether they’re controllable loads within buildings, or the inverters that connect the project’s solar arrays and batteries to the grid. In all of these use cases, “you need predictability, and you need dispatchability,” Kirkeby said. “We want to be monitoring state of charge, managing baseline schedules or active schedules, and revising it all on the fly. The Riva IOT platform is the perfect way to do that.” Beyond technically controlling these DER interactions, the shared energy economy project will be extending the work of the regional Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. This multi-year project, involving 11 utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration, connected 27 different “nodes” across the Pacific Northwest’s transmission grid to calculate current and predicted electricity demand and costs, and communicate those values to power plants, industrial demand response systems and behind-the-meter controllable loads like adjustable water heaters and batteries. The shared energy economy project will shrink this concept down to the scale of the local distribution grid. “We’re working on methodologies for valuing different DERs,” including solar PV, energy storage and natural-gas-fired turbines. Avista is studying the potential for battery power to support critical loads such as the area’s medical facilities during outages like the one caused by a freak windstorm last year, he said. But it will also be asking its batteries and controllable loads to perform valuable tasks when the grid isn’t down, from balancing out ups and downs in solar output to providing reactive power to help stabilize voltages, he said. This chart from a recent presentation on the project (PDF) shows how the system will be configured, with SEL’s microgrid controller receiving optimization data from the utility’s DMS, collecting the status and availability of its various DERs, and controlling them to serve a ranked series of grid needs. This kind of “transactive microgrid” architecture is on the cutting edge of microgrid technology, and is being tried out in a select set of pilot projects, including several being funded by ARPA-E's $33 million NODES program, as well as the U.S.-Canadian Transactive Energy project that’s linking microgrids in Maine, Nova Scotia and Toronto. This GTM Squared insight has been unlocked for you by:


News Article | November 2, 2015
Site: phys.org

In what DOE is calling a pioneering regional partnership for grid modernization, Washington will host a three-campus demonstration of transaction-based energy management. This is the first time researchers will test the use of transactive controls at this scale, involving multiple buildings and devices. The transactive concept combines financial signals and dynamic control techniques to shift the timing and quantity of energy usage in devices, buildings and campuses resulting in greater efficiency and reduced energy costs, while also providing significant flexibility for the power grid. DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington State University and the University of Washington are teaming on the effort, which builds on their involvement in the recently completed Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. "Washington is at the cutting edge of clean energy technologies," said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. "We are proud to see PNNL leading DOE's efforts around energy storage and transactive energy control, and our state's two largest research universities working with public and private electric utilities to demonstrate how these technologies will enable grid modernization on a large scale." The state is funding infrastructure for the project, to establish an enduring test bed that will enable other research projects after completion of the first DOE-funded study, which will concentrate on transactive energy management at scale. Once perfected, load flexibility available from smart buildings can help to better integrate non-traditional energy sources like wind and stationary battery power into the grid. "It will involve a lot of communication," said Srinivas Katipamula, PNNL principle investigator and technical leader of the project. "And not just between the partners. It means equipment talking to other equipment, buildings talking to buildings and acting upon signals from the power grid." The idea is that equipment will make decisions and automatically adjust energy loads based on pre-determined criteria related to energy prices, essential services, comfort levels, time of day, etc. The project is developing the mechanisms to make that happen with minimal human direction. Devices within buildings, and the buildings and campus operations will be automatically and continually monitored to see how they are using energy. The VOLTTRON platform that enables this coordination was developed by PNNL. It acts much like a cell phone operating system that allows 'apps' to perform both information sensing and control actions in order to implement agreed upon actions for each responsive building or energy resource within each campus. With this method, both WSU and UW will manage their onsite power generation. Through the test bed, WSU researchers in the Energy Systems Innovation Center will install photovoltaic modules on the Pullman campus for the first time and integrate them into Pullman's 'Smart City' test bed and WSU's micro grid system. Experiments will be designed to show campus power generation can power critical city infrastructure in the event of a power outage. WSU will also develop strategies for sharing energy between WSU's smart buildings and the solar modules. The test bed will involve the installation of multiple smart inverters at UW, to control the power production from solar panels, and eventually feed campus-produced photovoltaic power into the power grid. UW will also add a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to increase the flexibility of the power consumption across campus, and use expertise in data analytics to analyze data and develop strategies to make buildings responsive to transactive control signals. The test bed will allow researchers to understand how adjusting loads could help local and regional grids and, one day, benefit the campuses financially. Initially, there will be no literal financial exchanges and the pricing signals will be historic and not live data, although researchers hope to get to that point. Explore further: Power grid getting smarter with big battery


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

PsychologyDegree411.com, a leading career and education website focused on the field of psychology, has released its ranking of the 2016 Top Schools with Undergraduate Online Psychology Degree Programs. To be considered for inclusion, schools were screened for having an online undergraduate psychology program, not-for-profit status, and regional accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies in the U.S. recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The rankings were based on a broad set of data points measuring academic quality and the overall student experience. The ranking uses a unique methodology that takes into account multiple factors, including the average tuition cost per online credit hour, the percentage of students enrolled only in distance education courses, the overall graduation rate of enrolled students, and school rankings according to U.S. News & World Report in the regional, national, and online categories. Graduate program accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the percentage of tenured faculty at each school were also factors included in the ranking methodology. In addition, the online degrees from the regionally accredited schools on this list are the same degrees granted to traditional, on-campus students. “As technology advances and more students and schools embrace distance education, the number of online degree programs in psychology available in the U.S. has increased at a rapid pace,” said Rob Voce, founder of PsychologyDegree411.com. “We designed and released our rankings to help prospective students learn about online degree options and quickly find and compare programs based on markers of quality as well as value.” In total, 29 schools with online psychology programs met the screening criteria and ranked on this year’s list. As well as providing schools’ results on ranking factors, the 2016 Top Schools with Online Psychology Degree Programs ranking includes in-depth information on schools’ admissions statistics and requirements; tuition comparisons for in-state, out-of-state, and online students; and the services and support available to online students. Users can also view: -In-depth profiles of select online undergraduate psychology degree programs -Online faculty experience, including the percentage of faculty with terminal degrees -Foundational psychology courses for profiled programs -Financial aid statistics for undergraduates The top schools on this year’s list are: 1. University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Gainesville, FL) 2. Oregon State University School of Psychological Science (Corvallis, OR) 3. Fort Hays State University College of Arts and Sciences (Hays, KS) 4. Northeastern University College of Professional Studies (Boston, MA) 5. Pennsylvania State University World Campus and Penn State College of the Liberal Arts (State College, PA) 6. Colorado State University Division of Continuing Education (Fort Collins, CO) 7. University of Central Florida College of Sciences (Orlando, FL) 8. Eastern Oregon University Psychology Department (La Grande, OR) 9. Arizona State University New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (Tempe, AZ) 10. Washington State University College of Arts and Sciences (Pullman, WA) 11. University of Massachusetts - Lowell Division of Online and Continuing Education (Lowell, MA) 12. Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Tech Online (Klamath Falls, OR) 13. University of North Dakota College of Arts and Sciences (Grand Forks, ND) 14. Old Dominion University College of Sciences (Norfolk, VA) 15. Southern New Hampshire University School of Arts and Sciences (Hooksett, NH) 16. Eastern Kentucky University College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (Richmond, KY) 17. Fayetteville State University College of Arts and Sciences (Fayetteville, NC) 18. University of Maine - Presque Isle College of Arts and Sciences (Presque Isle, ME) 19. McKendree University College of Arts and Sciences (Lebanon, IL) 20. University of Minnesota - Duluth College of Education and Human Service Professions (Duluth, MN) 21. University of Memphis College of Arts and Sciences (Memphis, TN) 22. University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Houston, TX) 23. Brescia University Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Owensboro, KY) 24. DePaul University College of Science and Health (Chicago, IL) 25. Wilmington University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (New Castle, DE) 26. Central Washington University College of the Sciences (Ellensburg, WA) 27. University of Maryland University College Undergraduate School (College Park, MD) 28. Notre Dame College Division of Science and Mathematics (South Euclid, OH) 29. Indiana University East School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Richmond, IN) *See the full rankings and program details here: http://www.psychologydegree411.com/degrees/online/ About PsychologyDegree411.com: PsychologyDegree411.com is an informative resource on beginning or advancing a career in the field of psychology. PsychologyDegree411 provides information about education options in psychology from the associate’s to the doctoral level, including tools to help research online, campus, and hybrid school options, as well as career resources associated with each degree level.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

— The ranking took into account accreditation, costs, acceptance rate, student satisfaction, and other factors that accounting students look for in potential programs, such as salary outcomes of each program. University of Massachusetts Amherst took the top spot. The second and third spots went to, Northeastern University and Auburn University, respectively. Six of the sixteen schools in the ranking have achieved AACSB accreditation, which is highly prestigious and has only been given to 170 schools in the nation. Along with rankings, the report includes pertinent information about each ranked school and degree program. The complete list of schools can be seen below (listed alphabetically): Auburn University Bellevue University Indiana Wesleyan University Liberty University Northeastern University Penn State World Campus Regis University Saint Leo University Southern New Hampshire University Southern Oregon University University of Alabama Birmingham University of Maryland University College University of Massachusetts Amherst University of the Incarnate Word Washington State University Western Governors University The ranking placement and information about each school can be found at http://www.topaccounting.org/rankings/best-online-bachelors-degree-in-accounting/ According to managing editor of TopAccounting.org, Ivor Lee, “These schools stand out from among their peers not because of their size, or their reputation but because of their dedication to making education available to all students online. Online education is a field that is constantly changing and these schools have made the effort to stay relevant and agile--and in doing so have been able to help many students earn their accounting degrees.” Lee says, “Congratulations to these schools for maintaining high standards in their traditional and online programs and ensuring an equitable and educational experience for their students. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff and faculty at these schools.” Top Accounting is an independent and objective resource for current and prospective accounting students. We offer data-based rankings of on-campus and online accounting degree programs, as well as career and education advice. The site is regularly updated by a committed team of writers and researchers, who produce accounting school and program rankings and accounting resources. For more information, please visit http://www.topaccounting.org/


News Article | November 29, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

An in-depth analysis of college quality and cost by AffordableCollegesOnline.org has determined the Best Online Criminal Justice Programs in the U.S. for 2016-2017. The higher education information and resource provider compared hundreds of colleges and universities around the nation to determine the top 50 two-year and top 50 four-year schools with online criminal justice degree programs respectively, ranking Washburn University, Saint Leo University, Keiser University Fort Lauderdale, Siena Heights University and Tiffin University highest among four-year schools and East Mississippi Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Holmes Community College, Yavapai College and College of the Ouachitas highest among two-year schools. "A criminal justice degree provides students opportunities to work in a variety of legal or protective service careers,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. “Criminal justice students will not only find a flexible learning option in the schools on our list, but also exceptional overall value in terms of both cost and educational quality when it comes to earning a criminal justice degree online.” AffordableCollegesOnline.org requires schools to meet several minimum requirements to be eligible for placement on their rankings. Colleges must be accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions and must offer in-state tuition rates below $5,000 annually at two-year schools or below $25,000 annually at four-year schools. Qualifying schools are scored and ranked based on a comparison of more than a dozen qualitative and quantitative statistics, including financial aid offerings and graduation rates by school. More details on data and methodology used to rank each online criminal justice program and a complete list of schools and scores is available at: Two-year schools recognized as the Best for Online Criminal Justice in 2016-2017: Atlanta Technical College Barton County Community College Beaufort County Community College Central Georgia Technical College Central Texas College Clovis Community College Coastal Carolina Community College College of Southern Idaho College of the Ouachitas Craven Community College East Arkansas Community College East Mississippi Community College Eastern Arizona College Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Fayetteville Technical Community College Forsyth Technical Community College Genesee Community College Georgia Piedmont Technical College Guilford Technical Community College Haywood Community College Holmes Community College Hutchinson Community College Itawamba Community College Kansas City Kansas Community College Madisonville Community College Mesa Community College Mohave Community College Montgomery Community College Mountain Empire Community College Navarro College Northeast Community College Northwest Mississippi Community College Ozarka College Pamlico Community College Rio Salado College Southeastern Illinois College Southeastern Technical College Southwest Virginia Community College Southwestern Community College Stanly Community College Tallahassee Community College Trinity Valley Community College Truckee Meadows Community College Tyler Junior College Vance-Granville Community College Wayne Community College Western Piedmont Community College Western Wyoming Community College Wilson Community College Yavapai College Four-year schools recognized as the Best for Online Criminal Justice in 2016-2017: Amridge University Arkansas State University - Main Campus Arkansas Tech University Ashland University Baker College Bellevue University Bethel University Campbellsville University Chaminade University of Honolulu Colorado Christian University Columbia College Concordia University - Saint Paul Drury University Eastern Kentucky University Fayetteville State University Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Hays State University Glenville State College Granite State College Hampton University Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Judson College Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale Liberty University McNeese State University Mercy College Mississippi College North Carolina Central University Saint Leo University Sam Houston State University Shorter University Siena Heights University Southwestern College SUNY College of Technology at Canton The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Tiffin University University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Central Florida University of Central Missouri University of Great Falls University of Maine at Fort Kent University of Maryland - University College University of Massachusetts - Lowell University of the Cumberlands Washburn University Washington State University Western New Mexico University Wichita State University Wilmington University AffordableCollegesOnline.org began in 2011 to provide quality data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Our free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success. We have been featured by nearly 1,100 postsecondary institutions and nearly 120 government organizations.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Lowly sawdust, the sawmill waste that's sometimes tossed onto home garage floors to soak up oil spilled by amateur mechanics, could receive some new-found respect thanks to science. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have chemically modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material absorbs up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months. "Most of today's oil remediation materials are designed for warm water use," said PNNL microbiologist George Bonheyo, who leads the modified sawdust's development from PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory. "But as ice retreats in the Arctic Sea, fossil fuel developers are looking north, and we need new oil spill response methods that perform well in extreme conditions," added Bonheyo, who also holds a joint appointment in bioengineering with Washington State University. "The chance of an oil spill in the Arctic is real," said fellow PNNL microbiologist Robert Jeters, who is also part of the project. "We hope materials like our modified sawdust can help if an accident happens." Containing oil spills in cold waters is especially tricky, as bobbing ice chunks push oil below the water's surface, making it difficult to collect. The same goes for rough waters, whose tall, clashing waves disperse oil. The modified saw dust pulls double duty. Beyond absorbing oil, it also enhances another approach to combatting oil spills - controlled burns. If changing weather or tides move spilled oil toward a sensitive area fast, oil can be burned before it can cause further harm. Called in-situ burning, the practice can significantly reduce the amount of oil in water and minimize its adverse environmental effects. Bonheyo and his team looked to develop an environmentally friendly and inexpensive material that floats despite rough or freezing waters and can support in-situ burning. Not wanting to create more pollution if emergency responders can't retrieve oil cleanup material, Bonheyo's team considered other natural ingredients like rice hulls and silica. But they ultimately found their winner in a fine dust called wood flour. A woodworking byproduct, wood flour is often used to make wood composites. To make the dust into a thirsty oil mop, researchers chemically attach components of vegetable oil onto the material's surface. These attachments make the modified material oil-grabbing and water-shunning. The final product is a light, fluffy, bleached powder. The team is also trying out adding tiny, oil-eating microbes - fungi and bacteria - to the powder's surface so any left-behind material could naturally break down oil over time. Applying the modified sawdust is simple: sprinkle a thin layer over oil on the water's surface. The material immediately starts soaking up oil, creating a concentrated and solid slick that stays afloat thanks to the material's buoyant nature. The oil-soaked material can either be burned or retrieved. The team is using PNNL's unique Arctic simulation lab in Sequim, Washington to evaluate the material in icy waters. The facility is a customized shipping container that cools down to as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which prompts researchers to don snowmobile suits and ski masks while they work. Ice slush forms on the surface of water that circulates inside a 290-gallon raceway pond placed inside the bitterly cold lab space. Oil is spilled on the slushy surface, followed by a sprinkle of modified sawdust. Tests have shown the material's water-repellent nature prevents ice from forming on it, allowing it to soak up oil and remain at the surface. Researchers are also testing how well the material performs in controlled burns. They conducted initial burns this fall at the U.S. Coast Guard and Naval Research Laboratory's Joint Maritime Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama. Burn tests continue today at PNNL's Marine Science Laboratory. Early results indicate a small amount of material enables burning of both thin and thick layers of spilled oil. In the coming months, PNNL will further evaluate the modified sawdust. The material will need additional testing and approval by multiple agencies before it can be used at actual oil spills. PNNL is developing the material for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety of Environmental Enforcement. BSEE is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.


News Article | November 17, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leader in higher education resources (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org), has released a ranking of the 100 Best Online Colleges in the nation for 2016-2017. The site honors the top 50 two-year schools and top 50 four-year schools respectively, with the University of Southern California, Harvard University, Drexel University, Canisius College and Concordia University Wisconsin earning the highest scores for overall excellence in online learning among four-year programs. East Mississippi Community College, Western Wyoming Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Frank Phillips College and Tulsa Community College earned top scores among two-year schools. “Online education is becoming a bigger part of the college landscape each year,” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of the Community for Accredited Online Schools. “Schools being honored here are providing excellent education options online, upholding industry-leading quality standards and maximizing student success through support services.” The Community for Accredited Online Schools requires colleges to meet several quality standards to be considered for placement on their rankings and lists. Schools must, at minimum, hold both regional accreditation and be public or private not-for-profit institutions. Qualifying colleges are also scored and ranked based on school-specific statistics such as student-teacher ratios and graduation rates. A full list of the rankings and the data points and methodology used to determine the Best Online Colleges in the nation can be found at: 2016-2017 Best Online Colleges, schools included on the two-year list: Allen County Community College Amarillo College Barton County Community College Bluegrass Community and Technical College Central Georgia Technical College Central Texas College College of Southern Idaho Columbus State Community College Crowder College Dakota College at Bottineau Diablo Valley College East Mississippi Community College Fayetteville Technical Community College Forsyth Technical Community College Frank Phillips College Gateway Community and Technical College Guilford Technical Community College Haywood Community College Holmes Community College Hutchinson Community College Kansas City Kansas Community College Laramie County Community College Lenoir Community College Madisonville Community College Maysville Community and Technical College Mesa Community College Metropolitan Community College Northeast Community College Northwest Mississippi Community College Owensboro Community and Technical College Palo Alto College Pamlico Community College Panola College Pitt Community College Rio Salado College San Antonio College Sinclair College Somerset Community College Southwestern Community College Southwestern Oregon Community College St. Philip's College Stanly Community College State Fair Community College Three Rivers Community College Truckee Meadows Community College Tulsa Community College Tyler Junior College Wayne Community College West Kentucky Community and Technical College Western Wyoming Community College 2016-2017 Best Online Colleges, schools included on the four-year list: Auburn University Ball State University Buena Vista University Canisius College Champlain College Clemson University Columbia University in the City of New York Concordia University - Wisconsin Dallas Baptist University Drexel University Duquesne University East Carolina University Gardner-Webb University Granite State College Hampton University Harvard University Illinois Institute of Technology Indiana Wesleyan University Iowa State University Johns Hopkins University Kansas State University Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale Lehigh University LeTourneau University Missouri University of Science and Technology New York University North Carolina State University at Raleigh Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus Prescott College Regis University Saint Joseph's College of Maine Saint Joseph's University Saint Leo University Siena Heights University Southwestern College Texas A & M University - College Station The University of Alabama University of Cincinnati - Main Campus University of Denver University of Florida University of Idaho University of Missouri - Columbia University of South Carolina - Columbia University of Southern California University of St. Francis University of Virginia - Main Campus Villanova University Washington State University Webster University About Us: The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org) was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable 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. environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

Lowly sawdust, the sawmill waste that's sometimes tossed onto home garage floors to soak up oil spilled by amateur mechanics, could receive some new-found respect thanks to science. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have chemically modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material absorbs up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months. "Most of today's oil remediation materials are designed for warm water use," said PNNL microbiologist George Bonheyo, who leads the modified sawdust's development from PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory. "But as ice retreats in the Arctic Sea, fossil fuel developers are looking north, and we need new oil spill response methods that perform well in extreme conditions," added Bonheyo, who also holds a joint appointment in bioengineering with Washington State University. "The chance of an oil spill in the Arctic is real," said fellow PNNL microbiologist Robert Jeters, who is also part of the project. "We hope materials like our modified sawdust can help if an accident happens." Containing oil spills in cold waters is especially tricky, as bobbing ice chunks push oil below the water's surface, making it difficult to collect. The same goes for rough waters, whose tall, clashing waves disperse oil. The modified saw dust pulls double duty. Beyond absorbing oil, it also enhances another approach to combatting oil spills - controlled burns. If changing weather or tides move spilled oil toward a sensitive area fast, oil can be burned before it can cause further harm. Called in-situ burning, the practice can significantly reduce the amount of oil in water and minimize its adverse environmental effects. Bonheyo and his team looked to develop an environmentally friendly and inexpensive material that floats despite rough or freezing waters and can support in-situ burning. Not wanting to create more pollution if emergency responders can't retrieve oil cleanup material, Bonheyo's team considered other natural ingredients like rice hulls and silica. But they ultimately found their winner in a fine dust called wood flour. A woodworking byproduct, wood flour is often used to make wood composites. To make the dust into a thirsty oil mop, researchers chemically attach components of vegetable oil onto the material's surface. These attachments make the modified material oil-grabbing and water-shunning. The final product is a light, fluffy, bleached powder. The team is also trying out adding tiny, oil-eating microbes - fungi and bacteria - to the powder's surface so any left-behind material could naturally break down oil over time. Applying the modified sawdust is simple: sprinkle a thin layer over oil on the water's surface. The material immediately starts soaking up oil, creating a concentrated and solid slick that stays afloat thanks to the material's buoyant nature. The oil-soaked material can either be burned or retrieved. The team is using PNNL's unique Arctic simulation lab in Sequim, Washington to evaluate the material in icy waters. The facility is a customized shipping container that cools down to as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which prompts researchers to don snowmobile suits and ski masks while they work. Ice slush forms on the surface of water that circulates inside a 290-gallon raceway pond placed inside the bitterly cold lab space. Oil is spilled on the slushy surface, followed by a sprinkle of modified sawdust. Tests have shown the material's water-repellent nature prevents ice from forming on it, allowing it to soak up oil and remain at the surface. Researchers are also testing how well the material performs in controlled burns. They conducted initial burns this fall at the U.S. Coast Guard and Naval Research Laboratory's Joint Maritime Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama. Burn tests continue today at PNNL's Marine Science Laboratory. Early results indicate a small amount of material enables burning of both thin and thick layers of spilled oil. In the coming months, PNNL will further evaluate the modified sawdust. The material will need additional testing and approval by multiple agencies before it can be used at actual oil spills. PNNL is developing the material for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety of Environmental Enforcement. BSEE is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

AffordableCollegesOnline.org, a leading higher education information and resource provider, has identified the Best Online Psychology Programs in the nation for 2016-2017. Comparing cost, quality and student performance metrics at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country, the site determined Washburn University, Colorado Christian University, Brescia University, Lesley University and the University of Texas Permian Basin to be among the top four-year schools and East Mississippi Community College, Western Wyoming Community College, Allen County Community College, Central Texas College and Holmes Community College to be among the top two-year schools for online psychology students. "Online psychology programs encompass all levels of learning, for students interested in earning everything from an associate to doctorate degree,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. “Our list recognizes schools who have established online programs for psychology majors that go above and beyond to promote student success and while providing the best overall value.” To be eligible for placement on an AffordableCollegesOnline.org ranking, schools must meet several minimum requirements. Each must be an accredited, public or private not-for-profit institution and offer in-state tuition rates below $5,000 annually at two-year schools or below $25,000 annually at four-year schools. More than a dozen additional statistics are compared to score each qualifying school for final rankings, including financial aid offerings, graduation rates and more. For complete details on data and methodology used, as well as a full ranking and scorecard for each online psychology program listed visit: Two-year schools on the Best Online Psychology Program ranking for 2016-2017: Allen County Community College Alvin Community College Amarillo College Barstow Community College Barton County Community College Bunker Hill Community College Carl Albert State College Central Texas College Chemeketa Community College Citrus College Cleveland State Community College Coastline Community College Cochise College Colorado Northwestern Community College Columbia State Community College Dakota College at Bottineau Diablo Valley College East Mississippi Community College Foothill College Gateway Community and Technical College Hazard Community and Technical College Holmes Community College Hopkinsville Community College Iowa Central Community College Kansas City Kansas Community College Madisonville Community College Mt San Jacinto Community College District Navarro College North Central State College Northcentral Technical College Northeast State Community College Northern Virginia Community College Northwest Mississippi Community College Odessa College Pellissippi State Community College Santa Rosa Junior College Sinclair College Somerset Community College Spokane Falls Community College Thomas Nelson Community College Truckee Meadows Community College Tyler Junior College West Hills College - Coalinga West Hills College - Lemoore West Valley College Western Oklahoma State College Western Wyoming Community College Williston State College Four-year schools on the Best Online Psychology Program ranking for 2016-2017: Bellevue University Brescia University Central Washington University Chadron State College Chaminade University of Honolulu Colorado Christian University Fort Hays State University Goodwin College Granite State College Indiana State University Indiana Wesleyan University Judson College Lee University Lesley University Mercy College Northern Arizona University Northwestern State University of Louisiana Ohio Christian University Oregon State University Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus Pennsylvania State University - Altoona Pennsylvania State University - Brandywine Saint Leo University Southwestern Adventist University Southwestern Assemblies of God University Southwestern College SUNY Empire State College The University of Alabama The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Thomas University Tiffin University Troy University Union College Union Institute & University University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Cincinnati - Main Campus University of Great Falls University of Louisiana at Monroe University of Maine at Augusta University of Maryland - University College University of Memphis University of North Dakota University of Northern Colorado University of the Southwest Utah State University Viterbo University Washburn University Washington State University Western New Mexico University AffordableCollegesOnline.org began in 2011 to provide quality data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Our free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success. We have been featured by nearly 1,100 postsecondary institutions and nearly 120 government organizations.


News Article | April 5, 2016
Site: phys.org

Purple Straw is the only heirloom wheat to have been cultivated continually in the South from the Colonial Period into the last quarter of the 20th century. It remained a crop wheat until the 1970s, when it was then abandoned and replaced by more productive modern hybrids. Now, only a few seeds remain of this tasty, nutritious and hardy winter grain. But they're in good hands. Using a system of seed escalation called "crop intensification," Clemson research specialist Brian Ward has begun the process of turning half a pound of Purple Straw seed - which he planted in late 2015 at Clemson's Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston - into several hundred pounds when it is harvested in early May. Ward will follow this up with a second, larger planting in late 2016 that should produce more than a thousand pounds in 2017. And after a third harvest in 2018, Ward should possess several tons of the rare and valuable seed. "We're always at the mercy of Mother Nature. Bad weather can waylay the best of plans," said Ward, who is growing the wheat in the nutrient-rich organic fields surrounding Coastal REC. "But once we achieve tonnage, then we'll have a secure seed that we can store in the seed bank and also give to growers and seed companies so that they can ramp up their own production. And that's how a crop that was endangered is eventually brought fully back to life." While most other ancestral varieties of wheat were annihilated in the 19th century by a multipronged assault of pestilence and pathogens, Purple Straw continued to thrive. Perhaps, this was due to it being a short-growing winter wheat that matured before it could be seriously threatened. Ironically, Purple Straw's fall into disfavor came not from disease or infestation but rather from the rise of modern hybrid wheats and foreign introductions that were genetically designed for disease resistance, grain size and massive production using petroleum-based fertilizers. Even if fully restored, Purple Straw will not be able to compete with these hybrids when it comes to quantity, but it will stand out admirably in terms of flavor and nutrition. "Purple Straw had certain culinary qualities that impressed people from the first," said South Carolina food historian David Shields, who is the author of "Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine." "It has a purplish stem and husk - hence its name. But it's a high-protein, low-gluten wheat that mills white and is soft and easily handled, making it great for whiskey, cake flour and biscuits. And of course, what's more Southern than whiskey, cake and biscuits?" Shields said landrace grains such as Purple Straw were developed over hundreds of human generations and thousands of plant generations, resulting in flavors that formed the "fundamental chords of world cuisines," including porridges, breads and beverages. "If the qualities of Purple Straw could be incorporated genetically into modern hybrids, then crop wheat would become more wholesome and congenial," said Shields, chair of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation (CGRF), whose mission is to advance the sustainable restoration and preservation of heirloom grains. "And the original pure strain could still be cultivated as a specialty crop. Distillers and bakers from all over the world are already showing plenty of interest in the pure strain. This is a public resource that deserves to be in the hands of anyone who wants the most historically resonant and finest Southern grains." Clemson's Purple Straw project was kick-started by Glenn Roberts, president of Anson Mills, a company based in Columbia that produces landrace grain, legume and oilseed ingredients grown on more than 100 farms across America. As Roberts often does, he turned to Shields for help in researching the history behind the Purple Straw variety. "My colleague David Shields uncovered one very simple fact about Purple Straw wheat that changed the game for the arc of development of cereal husbandry from the Antebellum South to modern times," said Roberts, who is president of the CGRF. "And that is, prior to his discovery, everyone thought that Purple Straw wheat somehow appeared - as if by magic - around 1822. But David found that it was present and robust prior to the American Revolution." As a result of this revelation, the hunt for Purple Straw seed was on - and it led to several locations, including an isolated area east of Cleveland inhabited by an Amish family. But the family had barely enough seed for its own needs and could not afford to give any away. Roberts also visited the Agricultural Research Center at Washington State University in Mount Vernon, where a small plot of Purple Straw was being tended. But that seed was reserved for further research. However, Purple Straw seed was eventually obtained from two places. Merle Shepard, professor emeritus at Clemson and vice president of the CGRF, contacted longtime cohorts Mike Bonman and Harold Bockelman at the USDA's National Small Grains Collection in Aberdeen, Idaho. Though the seed was precious and scarce, Bonman and Bockelman agreed to send most of the NSGC's supply to Clemson. Meanwhile, Shields discovered that an organic operation in Chico, California, called the Sustainable Seed Company - which provides gardeners with almost 2,000 varieties of organic and heirloom germplasm - had already sourced Purple Straw seed and were making it available for growers. "I was able to obtain all that was currently available from Sustainable Seed by assuring them that our No. 1 goal was to achieve biosecurity," Roberts said. "This is crucial to any restoration. There are very few identity-preserved cultivars that have this kind of presence in the South, let alone in America. So this was huge." The Purple Straw bioconservancy effort has already attracted attention from a internationally recognized list of chefs and distillers who are excited about the rediscovery of such an important Southern food. Roberts mentioned several who have already contacted him: "It seems like I'm hearing from everybody," Roberts said. "But regardless of the demand for Purple Straw, the preservation of the seed must come before there can be any kind of sizable distribution. And that's the beauty of being in the orbit at Clemson University. Scientists such as Brian Ward put biosecurity above all else. No matter who wants it, Clemson makes certain that enough is being done upfront to ensure that it is available for future generations. That level of discipline is not really present in most other places in the United States. So we are lucky, lucky, lucky that we have access to the services Clemson provides." Blackwell, president of High Wire Distilling in Charleston, will be one of the first to uncover the ancient wheat's potential. "Starting out, we hope to get at least 20 pounds of Purple Straw, which will allow us to create about 10 gallons of mash. After the mash ferments, we'll distill it twice in our little 10-gallon homemade still," Blackwell said. "This process will yield about a quart of a raw, clear whiskey - enough to give us an idea of the whiskey's character. To create a mash, we'll use about 95 percent Purple Straw wheat. In addition, we'll need to use a small amount of barley for enzymatic properties. But because the barley is only for enzymes, the flavor we'll experience will be 100 percent from the Purple Straw. And in the end, the essence and uniqueness of flavor are what these things are all about." Forrest Parker, South Carolina's Chef Ambassador, says that Purple Straw wheat has floral overtones that will add flavor and nuance to cakes and pastries. "A lot of people come to Charleston for tourism and culinary adventures," said Parker, who is a Lowcountry chef at the Old Village Post House Inn in Mount Pleasant. "But the restoration of these lost grains from the 19th century will increasingly add to the mystique, providing people with opportunities to not only enjoy better flavor, but also to experience foods that have long and fascinating stories to tell." The Purple Straw plants currently thriving in the fields of Clemson's Coastal REC are backed up in one of the REC's greenhouses by 500 more. This provides additional security in case something disastrous were to happen to the wheat growing in the open air. "My role is to ramp up the seed as much as possible," said Ward, who recently revived another heirloom crop - the African runner peanut - in the same fashion as he is attempting to bring back Purple Straw wheat. "Everything is on schedule and growing well. Ultimately, I believe that this will become another success story, which makes all the hard work so rewarding to everyone involved." Explore further: The power of purple


News Article | December 12, 2016
Site: phys.org

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have chemically modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material absorbs up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months. "Most of today's oil remediation materials are designed for warm water use," said PNNL microbiologist George Bonheyo, who leads the modified sawdust's development from PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory. "But as ice retreats in the Arctic Sea, fossil fuel developers are looking north, and we need new oil spill response methods that perform well in extreme conditions," added Bonheyo, who also holds a joint appointment in bioengineering with Washington State University. "The chance of an oil spill in the Arctic is real," said fellow PNNL microbiologist Robert Jeters, who is also part of the project. "We hope materials like our modified sawdust can help if an accident happens." Containing oil spills in cold waters is especially tricky, as bobbing ice chunks push oil below the water's surface, making it difficult to collect. The same goes for rough waters, whose tall, clashing waves disperse oil. The modified saw dust pulls double duty. Beyond absorbing oil, it also enhances another approach to combatting oil spills - controlled burns. If changing weather or tides move spilled oil toward a sensitive area fast, oil can be burned before it can cause further harm. Called in-situ burning, the practice can significantly reduce the amount of oil in water and minimize its adverse environmental effects. Bonheyo and his team looked to develop an environmentally friendly and inexpensive material that floats despite rough or freezing waters and can support in-situ burning. Not wanting to create more pollution if emergency responders can't retrieve oil cleanup material, Bonheyo's team considered other natural ingredients like rice hulls and silica. But they ultimately found their winner in a fine dust called wood flour. A woodworking byproduct, wood flour is often used to make wood composites. To make the dust into a thirsty oil mop, researchers chemically attach components of vegetable oil onto the material's surface. These attachments make the modified material oil-grabbing and water-shunning. The final product is a light, fluffy, bleached powder. The team is also trying out adding tiny, oil-eating microbes - fungi and bacteria - to the powder's surface so any left-behind material could naturally break down oil over time. Applying the modified sawdust is simple: sprinkle a thin layer over oil on the water's surface. The material immediately starts soaking up oil, creating a concentrated and solid slick that stays afloat thanks to the material's buoyant nature. The oil-soaked material can either be burned or retrieved. The team is using PNNL's unique Arctic simulation lab in Sequim, Washington to evaluate the material in icy waters. The facility is a customized shipping container that cools down to as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which prompts researchers to don snowmobile suits and ski masks while they work. Ice slush forms on the surface of water that circulates inside a 290-gallon raceway pond placed inside the bitterly cold lab space. Oil is spilled on the slushy surface, followed by a sprinkle of modified sawdust. Tests have shown the material's water-repellent nature prevents ice from forming on it, allowing it to soak up oil and remain at the surface. Researchers are also testing how well the material performs in controlled burns. They conducted initial burns this fall at the U.S. Coast Guard and Naval Research Laboratory's Joint Maritime Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama. Burn tests continue today at PNNL's Marine Science Laboratory. Early results indicate a small amount of material enables burning of both thin and thick layers of spilled oil. In the coming months, PNNL will further evaluate the modified sawdust. The material will need additional testing and approval by multiple agencies before it can be used at actual oil spills. PNNL is developing the material for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety of Environmental Enforcement. BSEE is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Explore further: Eco-friendly method for extracting xylan from birch developed


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Fiberstar, Inc. (http://www.FiberstarIngredients.com), a global market leader in clean label food ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry announced the winners to the Citri-Fi 125 Student Innovation Contest. Citri-Fi 125, a natural, non-GMO citrus fiber is one of the most recent additions to the Citri-Fi portfolio. To find new uses for this natural citrus fiber, Fiberstar launched a global innovation contest targeting University students. Over 25 applicants, globally, submitted a proposal in how to use the Citri-Fi 125. “This is the first time a program like this has been created, so we are pleased with the interest from the applicants,” says Fiberstar, Inc. President and CEO, John Haen. “We continue to support University food science programs by offering students opportunities to create food ingredient solutions for the real world.” A panel of judges ranked the students’ applications based on originality of concept, justification/market need, ingredient commercial feasibility, technical feasibility and quality of their report. A total of $25,000 was awarded amongst the six winning proposals. The following winning teams and applications are: 1st Place: Citrus Fiber as an Effective Fat Blocker in Fried Seafood: Oregon State University Seafood Research and Education Center, U.S. (Dr. Jae Park, Kaitlin Junes and Angela Hunt). Citri-Fi 125 used in a coating formulation to reduce oil pick-up not only provides potential cost savings to processors due to reduced oil usage, but this also provides manufacturers opportunities to reduce fat and calories. The study also showed yield improvement due to increased pick-up and reduced cooking losses. 2nd Place: Reduced Fat Instant Laksa Paste: Surya University, Indonesia (Sylviana, Meutia Wafa' Khairunnisa Hakim, Amelia Adinda and Bryan Raharja). Citri-Fi 125 is used to reduce the amount of coconut milk used in Laksa paste to provide potential cost savings and fat reduction. Citri-Fi 125 provides emulsification stabilization and improved mouthfeel to simulate the texture of the full-fat version. This may be applicable to other coconut milks pastes, spreads, beverages and soups found not only in Asia, but also in other parts of the world due to the growing use of coconut. 3rd Place: Citri-Crunch Healthy Savory Extruded Pork Snack: Washington State University, U.S. (Ryan Kowalski, Bon-Jae Gu, Maria Dian Pratiwi Masli, Siyuan Wang and Hongchao Zhang). Citri-Fi 125 helped reduce the oil uptake and improved the flavor by enhancing the umami flavor of monosodium glutamate when reducing the sodium. This not only aligns with the market’s need for healthier snacks, but also offers snack manufacturers cost savings opportunities in less oil usage. 4th Place: Chicken Sausage with Reduced Oil & Improved Sensory: University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (Miss A.M. Aruni Shanika, Dr. Himali Samaraweera, Nirupa Edirisinghe, Hashinee Medika Ariyasena and Nuwan Jayawardena). Citri-Fi 125 provided emulsification stabilization and texturizing to help reduce the oil by at least 30% while maintaining a full-fat mouthfeel. This provides cost savings and health benefits due to the fat/caloric reduction. 5th Place: Calcium Fortification to Increase Viscosity and Enhance Gelling Properties: University of Guelph, Canada (Lisa Indris). Incorporating calcium with Citri-Fi 125 in liquid food formats improves the viscosity and provides improved stabilization. This enhanced feature opens doors in the natural dairy category where stabilization and mouthfeel are desired and needed. 6th Place: Natural Color Stabilizer in Berry Yammee Topping: Cornell University, U.S. (Fiona Harnischfeger, Sofía Lara, Victoria Chen, Katrina Cariño, Ana Chang, Sierra Jamir and Shiyu Cai). Citri-Fi 125 stabilizes natural colors during shelf-life to prevent phase separation and color bleeding. This benefit is crucial for consumer acceptance when using vibrant natural colors to indicate freshness. Fiberstar also offers other citrus fiber solutions via 100 series line which contains different fiber content than the 125 series, the 200 series which is citrus fiber and guar gum and the 300 series which is the citrus fiber and xanthan gum. The Citri-Fi citrus fiber product lines provide food manufacturers clean label texturizing solutions for various food products including bakery, beverages, dressings, meats, sauces and dairy. “We are excited to enhance our formulating tool box by promoting Citri-Fi 125 citrus fiber. Our team will continue working closely with our Customers to provide superior technical service support, quality product and new ideas especially those generated from the most recent innovation contest. And we look forward to connecting with Universities and students in the future to continue the collaboration.” For more information about the Innovation Contest applications, please contact Dr. Brock Lundberg at (651) 271-0328


News Article | November 27, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Colleges with the Best Online Social Work Degree Programs are being honored in a new ranking released by leading higher education information and resource provider AffordableCollegesOnline.org. The 2016-2017 list pinpoints 43 schools with social work degree programs online that offer the best overall combination of quality and value for students. Schools at the top of the list include the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alabama, Goodwin College, Northern Arizona University, Washburn University and Washington State University. "Aspiring social work students have more options than ever when it comes to finding the right school,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. “These colleges are offering students added flexibility by taking their social work programs online, and are the best in the nation when it comes to affordability, quality and overall student success.” To qualify for a spot on the AffordableCollegesOnline.org ranking, schools must meet several specific baseline quality standards. All schools chosen are accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions, and each must offer in-state tuition at or below $25,000 or less annually to qualify. All eligible colleges are scored based on more than a dozen unique data points and statistics, including financial aid offerings and graduation rates. Each school’s ranking is determined based on their final school-specific score. All schools recognized on the 2016-2017 Best Online Social Work Degrees ranking can be found listed alphabetically below. Full details on school scores and the data and methodology used to rank colleges are available at: The Best Colleges to earn an Online Social Work Degree for 2016-2017: Amridge University Bemidji State University Brandman University Brescia University Brigham Young University - Idaho California State University - East Bay Colorado State University - Fort Collins Goodwin College Hannibal-LaGrange University Indiana Wesleyan University Mayville State University Mercy College Metropolitan State University of Denver Mid-Atlantic Christian University Missouri State University - Springfield North Dakota State University - Main Campus Northern Arizona University Oregon State University Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus Pennsylvania State University - Altoona Pennsylvania State University - Brandywine Pennsylvania State University - Shenango Pennsylvania State University - Worthington Scranton Pennsylvania State University - York Prairie View A & M University Presentation College Salisbury University Spring Arbor University The University of Alabama The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Thomas University Union Institute & University University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Arizona University of North Alabama University of Utah University of Wisconsin - Stout Utah State University Viterbo University Washburn University Washington State University Wayne State University Western New Mexico University AffordableCollegesOnline.org began in 2011 to provide quality data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Our free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success. We have been featured by nearly 1,100 postsecondary institutions and nearly 120 government organizations.


News Article | March 18, 2016
Site: phys.org

The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, will probe the wonders of quantum physics when it launches to the International Space Station. The CAL facility recently hit a milestone of making an ultra-cold quantum gas with potassium, a high-tech feat that puts it on track for launch next year. The planned flight to space is in August 2017. "Studying gases that have been cooled down to extreme temperatures is key to understanding how complexity arises in the universe, and allows us to test the fundamental laws of physics in a whole new way," said Robert Thompson, project scientist for the Cold Atom Laboratory at JPL. Researchers with CAL are interested in a state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate, which happens when all the atoms in a very cold gas have the same energy levels. Like dancers in a chorus line, the atoms become synchronized and behave like one continuous wave instead of discrete particles. On Earth, gravity limits how long scientists can study Bose-Einstein condensates because this form of matter falls to the bottom of any apparatus used to study it. In microgravity, such condensates can be observed for longer periods of time. This would allow scientists to better understand the properties of particles in this state and their uses for tests of fundamental physics. Ultra-cold atoms in microgravity may also be key to a wide variety of advanced quantum sensors, and exquisitely sensitive measurements of quantities such as gravity, rotations and magnetic fields. Using lasers, magnetic traps and an electromagnetic "knife" to remove warm particles, CAL will take atoms down to the coldest temperatures ever achieved. In February, the team created their first ultra-cold quantum gas made from two elemental species: rubidium and potassium. Previously, in 2014, CAL researchers made Bose-Einstein condensates using rubidium, and were able to reliably create them in a matter of seconds. This time, the cooled rubidium was used to bring potassium-39 down to ultra-cold temperatures. "This marks an important step for the project, as we needed to verify that the instrument could create this two-species ultra-cold gas on Earth before doing so in space," said Anita Sengupta, the project manager for CAL, based at JPL. "We were able to cool the gases down to about a millionth of a degree Kelvin above absolute zero, the point at which atoms would be close to motionless," said JPL's David Aveline, the CAL testbed lead. That sounds inconceivably cold to mere mortals, but such temperatures are like tropical beach afternoons compared to the ultimate goal of CAL. Researchers hope to cool atoms down to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero when the experimental facility gets to space. One area of science to which CAL will contribute is called Efimov physics, which makes fascinating predictions about the ways that a small number of particles interact. Isaac Newton had fundamental insights into how two bodies interact—for example, Earth and the moon—but the rules that govern them are more complicated when a third body, such as the sun, is introduced. The interactions become even more complex in a system of three atoms, which behave according to the odd laws of quantum mechanics. Under the right conditions, ultra-cold gases that CAL produces contain molecules with three atoms each, but are a thousand times bigger than a typical molecule. This results in a low-density, "fluffy" molecule that quickly falls apart unless it is kept extremely cold. "The way atoms behave in this state gets very complex, surprising and counterintuitive, and that's why we're doing this," said Eric Cornell, a physicist at the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, both in Boulder, and member of the CAL science team. Cornell shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics for creating Bose-Einstein condensates. At a recent meeting at JPL, researchers associated with the mission gathered to discuss ongoing developments and their scientific goals, which range from dark matter detection to atom lasers. They included Cornell, who, along with co-investigator Peter Engels of Washington State University, is leading one of the CAL experiments. "CAL science investigators could open new doors into the quantum world and will demonstrate new technologies for future NASA missions," said CAL Deputy Project Manager Kamal Oudrhiri at JPL. "CAL's investigation will generate scientific data that could rewrite textbooks for generations," said Mark Lee, senior program scientist for fundamental physics at NASA Headquarters. Explore further: The coldest spot in the known universe More information: For more information about the Cold Atom Laboratory visit coldatomlab.jpl.nasa.gov/


News Article | November 13, 2015
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

This story has been updated. In July, the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe at the hands of trophy hunter Walter Palmer sparked international outrage, incited widespread debate about the ethics of trophy hunting, and provoked calls to the U.S. government to ban the import of trophies from other countries. But some conservationists are arguing that people in the United States should be paying more attention to the trophy hunting of our own lions — mountain lions, that is. The Humane Society of the United States, along with other wildlife advocacy groups, has expressed concern numerous times in the past few years about proposals by state wildlife agencies to increase cougar hunting without considering the best science on cougar management, or taking majority public opinion into account. Such hunts are almost exclusively carried out for sport or trophies. Currently, the only cougar populations in the country that have federal protection are the Florida panther and the Eastern cougar, the latter of which is believed extinct and has been proposed for delisting under the Endangered Species Act. Most other populations are unprotected and spread throughout the West, where the only state that currently forbids cougar hunting is California. In the past year, nearly half a dozen states — including Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington — have proposed an increase in cougar hunting quotas for a variety of reasons, including the desire to reduce human conflict, protect livestock or increase native deer populations. These proposals have been made despite recent research suggesting that overhunting actually causes more conflicts with humans. One of the most recent instances occurred in Washington state, where Gov. Jay Inslee just reversed a controversial new rule from the state’s wildlife management agency that would have expanded cougar hunting, allowing a harvest rate of up to 21 percent of the population in some areas, without allowing for a public comment period first. The new rule was hastily passed during an April meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and met with immediate outrage from advocacy groups, including the Humane Society, which appealed the decision. The expanded hunting was proposed for regions of the state also occupied by wolves in an attempt to quell the concerns of citizens concerned that living in close proximity to two large predators — instead of just one — could cause an increased risk of conflict. The wolf is a protected species in Washington and currently cannot be hunted, so the state proposed cutting down on cougars. But a cougar harvest rate of 21 percent would have likely only produced more problems, according to Rob Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, who has been at the forefront of cougar research for the past several decades. Killing off too many cougars can cause demographic problems in the cats’ populations, Wielgus said. Male cougars are territorial. If you kill off one male, other (usually younger) males will move into the area to take his place. Invading younger males will seek out females in the territory and frequently kill any existing cubs in order to make room for their own offspring. This influx of young males can cause a number of conflicts. First, young male cougars tend to “get in trouble,” said Howard Quigley, puma program director for Panthera, a global wild cat conservation organization. “It’s kind of like in a human society, if you had a bunch of teenagers running around,” he said. These young males are the ones usually responsible for preying on livestock and otherwise causing problems with humans, said Wielgus. Additionally, female cougars often go into hiding to protect their cubs if younger males start invading their territories, Wielgus added. This means they sometimes end up hiding out in places they previously didn’t inhabit and start eating animals they didn’t prey on before. “Basically the bottom line was this heavy hunting of cougars was actually causing all the problems we were seeing,” Wielgus said of his work in Washington. Cougar-related problems in the state largely dissipated once an appropriate hunting quota was established, according to Wielgus. The harvest rate is currently set at 12 to 16 percent of the population. Wielgus’s research in Washington, along with other studies in Montana, has suggested that cougar populations tend to increase at a rate of 12 percent — meaning a hunting quota of 12 percent or lower is best for maintaining stable cougar populations and minimizing conflict with humans. But state wildlife management agencies don’t always want to abide by the 12-percent quota — and it’s not just limited to Washington. In Utah, state wildlife management officials decided this year to slightly increase cougar hunting quotas in an effort to protect mule deer and bighorn sheep. In its updated cougar management plan, the Division of Wildlife Resources points to a set of management guidelines from 2005 that suggest cougar populations can sustain a harvest rate of 20 to 30 percent of the population, while also acknowledging Wielgus’ more recent research that indicates the average growth rate of a cougar population is 12 percent. And in Colorado, state officials recently proposed increasing harvest rates in certain areas, mostly surrounding the town of Westcliffe, by up to 46 percent in a research project aimed at doubling local mule deer populations. The proposal would have increased the harvest limit in the area from 24 cats to 35 — potentially up to 50 percent of the cougar population in that area, according to Wendy Keefover, native carnivore protection manager for The Humane Society of the United States. This proposal was later withdrawn. But it’s not just the increase in hunting quotas that’s bothering scientists and conservationists. It’s the reasons for doing so. In several recent cases, the rationale behind proposing an increased harvest is to protect livestock or increase prey populations, frequently mule deer. This was the case in Colorado, and was also the motivation behind a recent decision in Oregon to increase hunting by 25 percent. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife pointed to recent research indicating that elk populations in the state increased when cougars were removed. But there have also been at least four studies so far indicating that removing cougars doesn’t do much to help mule deer populations, according to Quigley, the Panthera puma expert. Such research suggests that habitat degradation is the critical factor in declining mule deer. Additionally, Keefover pointed to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggesting that predators, and particularly cougars, account for a relatively small percentage of losses in livestock. And out of the livestock killed by predation, cougars usually accounted for less than 10 percent of the losses, although this number can rise as high as 15 percent for sheep and lambs in some areas. Still, losses due to predation can add up to millions of dollars per year, so it’s an issue that the industry takes seriously. The problem, Wielgus said, is that pressure from lobbying groups can cause wildlife agencies to enact management practices meant to appease the industry without taking the best science into consideration. On top of this, the public is sometimes not given an adequate opportunity to voice its opinion on proposed management changes, Keefover said. Washington is just one example. When the Colorado proposal was being considered, for instance, the Humane Society decried the Parks and Wildlife Commission’s failure to hold more than one hearing and give the legally required 30 days notice for public comment in a letter to the Commission. When that proposal was withdrawn, the Colorado Division of Wildlife cited “the extensive amount of comment provided by the public in response to the draft proposal to evaluate the relationship between mountain lion and mule deer populations, and to allow for additional public comment and participation,” as the reason in a release. “I think there’s this public antipathy to trophy hunting cougars at the same time we have all these agencies pushing for more trophy hunting,” Keefover said. But it does seem that there’s some hope for the cougar. While increased hunting has been proposed in a handful of states in the past year, it’s only been finalized in a few, including New Mexico, Utah and Oregon. In other places, such as Washington and South Dakota, the rules were overturned. And in Nebraska, state Sen. Ernie Chambers is pushing to end cougar hunting, which has been allowed for several years now, on a population believed to number fewer than 30 individuals. The cougar’s story can be thought of as a “two-edged sword,” according to Quigley. “It’s a wonderful success story that we still have this large carnivore across most of the Western states and they’re increasing their pawprint into the Midwest,” he said. “That really to me says that we’re creating the environment for the expansion of mountain lions in North America. “On the other hand,” he added, “I think it’s these steps backward that really worry me and other lion biologists in that it seems like there’s much more difficulty with these game agencies to come to grips with accepting some of these modern approaches.” Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is legally obligated to hold three hearings and a 30-day public comment period on a proposed regulatory change. While the public comment period is mandatory, three hearings are not required by law.


News Article | November 15, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The search is on for the 2016 International Brand Master, an exemplary educational marketing and branding professional, who will be recognized in the eighth annual International Brand Master Award competition sponsored by Educational Marketing Group (EMG), a premier U.S. brand development and marketing agency. Educational marketing professionals may nominate a colleague or themselves now through Friday, January 13, 2017, on EMG's website at http://emgonline.com/ibm-award/past-awards/2016-master/. "This is an excellent opportunity to bring attention to hard working education brand marketing professionals who do amazing work," said Bob Brock, president of EMG. International Brand Master Award nominees must be educational marketing professionals who: A top-notch international panel of judges comprised of EMG senior consultants, prior awardees, and several experienced volunteers from the profession carefully review the credentials and achievements of each nominee. This panel selects up to three finalists based on their credentials and achievements. Marketing practitioners from around the world then have the opportunity to vote for their candidate of choice from among the finalists. The scores of the select panel of judges and the public votes are combined to determine the International Brand Master. This year's winner will join an elite club of previous International Brand Masters: Since the creation of the award in 2009, nominations have come in from across the U.S., Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Thailand. Over the last six years, highly successful volunteer judges in the educational marketing field hailed from the U.S., Finland, Canada, England, Ireland, and South Africa. And during the public voting portion of the finalists during the last six years, over 8,000 votes were cast worldwide via EMG’s website, and on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. International Brand Master Award Background The International Brand Master award was established in 2009. In 2015, EMG received nominations from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Portugal. A blue-ribbon panel of volunteer international judges reviewed supporting materials provided by the nominees. The judges narrowed the pool of seven nominees to two from the United States, Shelly Brenckman, Texas A&M University, and Katie Kempf, Ursuline Academy, and one from Australia, Johanna Lowe, University of Sydney. The three finalists were asked to provide a 500-word and three-URL statement which were voted on by professional marketers from around the world. Over the previous seven years, over 9,000 votes from around the world were cast. The winner was chosen by a combination of public votes and the EMG panel of judges. For more information see: http://emgonline.com/ibm-award/. Educational Marketing Group Background EMG is a full-service, integrated brand development and marketing agency that provides custom-tailored research, brand development, creative development, new media services, professional development and media services for universities throughout North America. Headquartered in Denver, the company was established in 1997 and has operated in the education arena exclusively for 18 years. Clients have included North Carolina State University, Old Dominion University, University of Mary Washington, Washington State University, Virginia Tech, Cal Poly, Dalhousie University, University of Victoria, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Wyoming, and many others. Information: http://www.emgonline.com.


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- biotricity inc. (OTC.QB:BTCY), a healthcare technology company committed to delivering innovative, medically relevant biometric remote monitoring solutions, has partnered with Global to Local (G2L), an organization dedicated to providing programs that improve individual and community health outcomes, expand access to healthcare services, and empower economic development in the most diverse and underserved communities. The collaboration between biotricity and G2L will initially focus on building innovative solutions for outcome measurements for individuals suffering from chronic disease. ​ ​“Underserved populations face barriers to basic health and economic resources, including a lack of access to preventative care, which contributes to the mismanagement of chronic disease and can result in a shortened lifespan,” said Dr. Siddiqui, Director of Research and Innovation at Global to Local. G2L has tested numerous chronic disease management solutions on the market – and to date, have not found any that address the needs of the patient, the needs of the provider, and needs of the health system in a way that creates efficiency and drives down costs. “We are excited to work closely with biotricity and translate our expertise to help them build solutions that can be scaled efficiently and work effectively for everyone involved,” Siddiqui added. This partnership with biotricity enables G2L to apply its clinical expertise to help develop the next generation of chronic care solutions that address the gaps identified in existing solutions. biotricity’s expertise in remote monitoring technology is a perfect fit with G2L’s goal of using innovative, holistic, and community-driven solutions to address health and economic disparities in various low-income populations. Global to Local’s approach recognizes that access to good health is dependent on factors such as economic opportunity, education, language, and job skills.​ G2L is piloting global approaches to improve individual and community health outcomes for prediabetes, diabetes, and obesity with a focus on improving access through low-cost solutions while also empowering economic development in two of the most diverse and underserved communities in King County, Washington – SeaTac and Tukwila. ​Their long-term goal is to design a sustainable model of care for communities around the country that face similar health and economic disparities. G2L’s programs have already expanded into other parts of Washington State, and will soon enter nearby states through their partnerships with Providence Health, Swedish Hospital, and Washington State University. “Our partnership with G2L is an important step for us, as we develop a solution for the chronic care markets they serve,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, biotricity founder and CEO.  Affiliating with an organization like G2L gives biotricity multiple benefits such as identifying current gaps within existing solutions, a deeper understanding of all stakeholders, and the ability to pilot its solutions. “As we move beyond the cardiac market​, we will utilize G2L’s diabetes and care management expertise to build a chronic care management platform for diabetes and other chronic illnesses,” added Al-Siddiq. biotricity’s mission is to develop multiple solutions for chronic illnesses by designing monitoring devices paired with chronic care management tools to improve patient compliance and empower the individual to take better care of their health. The Company’s next generation medical-grade wearables will pave the way for the adoption of preventive care measures into mainstream healthcare practices. It will shift the current “reactive” model - where physicians diagnose and treat conditions and diseases after onset - to proactive. This is particularly true of managing heart-related illnesses, as patients often fail to comply with their doctor's medical directives, dietary changes, exercise regiments, and lifestyle alterations, without any feedback mechanism or continuous monitoring. biotricity has developed solutions that will initially work within the cardiac market as cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. Founded in 2010 through a partnership of Swedish Health Services, HealthPoint, Public Health Seattle & King County, and the Washington Global Health Alliance, along with the Cities of SeaTac and Tukwila, their demonstrate the effectiveness of global health strategies, techniques, methodologies, and technologies to improve the health status of underserved local communities with the goal of sharing learnings and scaling successes. Programs focus on drawing upon innovative, holistic and community-driven solutions to address health and economic development disparities in diverse, low-income populations. To learn more, visit www.globaltolocal.org. biotricity is a modern medical technology company focused on delivering innovative, remote biometric monitoring solutions to the medical and consumer markets, including diagnostic and post-diagnostic solutions for chronic conditions and lifestyle improvement. biotricity’s R&D continues to focus on the preventative healthcare market, with a vision of putting health management into the hands of the individual. The company aims to support the self-management of critical and chronic conditions with the use of innovative solutions to ease the growing burden on the healthcare system. To learn more, visit www.biotricity.com. Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may include, without limitation, statements regarding (i) the plans and objectives of management for future operations, including plans or objectives relating to the design, development and commercialization of bioflux or any of the Company’s other proposed products or services, (ii) a projection of income (including income/loss), earnings (including earnings/loss) per share, capital expenditures, dividends, capital structure or other financial items, (iii) the Company's future financial performance and (iv) the assumptions underlying or relating to any statement described in points (i), (ii) or (iii) above. Such forward-looking statements are not meant to predict or guarantee actual results, performance, events or circumstances and may not be realized because they are based upon the Company's current projections, plans, objectives, beliefs, expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and other influences, many of which the Company has no control over. Actual results and the timing of certain events and circumstances may differ materially from those described by the forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties. Factors that may influence or contribute to the inaccuracy of the forward-looking statements or cause actual results to differ materially from expected or desired results may include, without limitation, the Company's inability to obtain additional financing, the significant length of time and resources associated with the development of its products and related insufficient cash flows and resulting illiquidity, the Company's inability to expand the Company's business, significant government regulation of medical devices and the healthcare industry, lack of product diversification, existing or increased competition, results of arbitration and litigation, stock volatility and illiquidity, and the Company's failure to implement the Company's business plans or strategies. These and other factors are identified and described in more detail in the Company's filings with the SEC. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect any event or circumstance that may arise after the date of this release.


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: www.sciencemag.org

You probably don’t think of someone else’s bathroom as a big social scene, but for several Costa Rican rainforest animals, an ocelot’s latrine is the place to be. That’s the finding of a new study, which reveals that armadillos, opossums, and other mammals stop by tree roots that the wild cats have urinated or defecated on to leave their own mark, pick up a scent, or even eat. These latrines, the researchers say, create biodiversity “hotspots” that provide opportunities for scientists to observe the behavior of elusive jungle mammals. Many animals use smells to mark territories or convey information about their mating status. Dogs and weasels also use latrines—common areas where they urinate, defecate, or smear pungent secretions—to communicate with one another. But researchers don’t have as good a sense of how cat species use olfactory “message boards,” because they are solitary, elusive, and cover large ranges. Felines don’t often come across one another, so they use latrines to mark their territory, stopping by periodically to investigate the presence of other cats in the area and to leave their own mark. Ocelots, which are around the size of a bobcat and have intricately dappled coats, are primarily solitary and tend to use scent marking to defend their home turf. For conservationists, ocelot latrines are rare gems: “It’s like you found a $100 bill,” says Juan Carlos Cruz Díaz, the feline program coordinator for Osa Conservation in Puerto Jiménez, Costa Rica, who was not involved in the study. To sleuth for these sites in the jungle, Travis King, a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, worked with ecologists from Panthera, a research organization dedicated to large cat conservation. A keen-nosed dog named Google helped the team find four ocelot latrines in the low mountains of eastern Costa Rica. The group set up several motion-activated cameras at each location, then tracked animal visitors and documented their behavior from June to December, 2014. During those 6 months, 16 ocelots paid 63 visits to the latrines, the group will report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. Males were much more likely to visit the latrines after a female stopped by, the team found. Several females showed visible signs of mating readiness. Ocelots were spotted sniffing, marking, and occasionally rubbing their faces against the ground or the latrine. By examining the sequences of visits, researchers confirmed that the latrines—in addition to marking territory—serve as olfactory “come-hither” messages to facilitate meet-ups for these cryptic felines. But ocelots weren’t the only visitors. The cameras captured 13 other species, including coati, tayras, armadillos, and opossums, stopping by the latrines a total of 305 times. Tayras, an elusive member of the weasel family, visited even more often than ocelots. These playful animals—almost as curious as cats, says Cruz Díaz—spent a disproportionate amount of time marking and rubbing their bodies at the latrines. Other mammal species, like opossums and rodents, may have picked up eau de ocelot to ward off potential predators, King speculates, though it’s unclear whether other animals are communicating with one another or just investigating what predators are in the neighborhood. “It’s showing that there’s an importance beyond just ocelots to almost the entire carnivore community,” says Maximilian Allen, a postdoctoral scholar and large cat researcher at University of Wisconsin at Madison who was not involved in the study, “That’s the area of scent marking that’s really not understood.” He has also noticed other species nosing around puma latrines, he says. “I’ve been curious whether there is some kind of top-down process where the pumas are communicating, and all the other carnivores are paying attention to that … and it seems like the same thing is happening with ocelots.” An important next step will be to determine what messages other mammals might be conveying through their visits to ocelot latrines, he says. The observations also reinforce how valuable latrines are for monitoring other animals in the tropical forests, King says. Knowing where cryptic species congregate gives conservationists a chance to watch these animals over time, learn more about them, and monitor for the impacts of human development. For example, he says, Panthera has been video tracking Costa Rican wildlife to assess how a hydroelectric dam project impacts nearby animal presence and activity, and latrines can provide a strategic monitoring location.


News Article | November 29, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 18 grants totaling more than $6.7 million for research to discover how components of the agroecosystem from soil, water and sun to plants, animals and people, interact with and affect food production. These awards are made through NIFA's Bioenergy and Natural Resources Program, Agroecosystem priority area of the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). "Population growth, along with environmental factors, including the growing threat of climate change, are putting increasing demand on the land, water and other resources that produce our food," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These investments will help us understand how we can farm more effectively and sustainably to feed the growing global population." NIFA's AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment Program supports research on healthy agroecosystems and their underlying natural resources essential to the sustained long-term production of agricultural goods and services. Agroecosystems may include crop production systems, animal production systems, and pasture, range and forest lands that are actively managed to provide economic, societal and environmental benefits. Projects funded through this program area contribute to the knowledge needed for sustainable production of agroecosystems while retaining needed ecosystem services--such as drinking water, pollination and climate regulation. For more information on these projects, visit the NIFA website. Among this year's projects, the National Academy of Sciences will host a free, livestreamed workshop that will bring together policy makers, foundations and scientists to discuss how soil affects food security, water quality and ecosystem health and identify policy solutions and research decisions to preserve this critical resource. Archbold Expeditions, a nonprofit dedicated to long-term ecological research, will compare different grassland management systems to see which offer the most effective ecosystem benefits, such as greenhouse gas management and water use efficiency. Previous agroecosystem projects include a research and education initiative by North Carolina State University that investigated how farming practices such as tillage, pesticide and fertilizer use can affect beneficial soil organisms like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Scientists and extension educators from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, Oregon State University and USDA's Agricultural Research Service collaborated on a planning grant to develop sustainable agriculture in the rain-fed cereal production areas of the inland Pacific Northwest. Since 2009, USDA has invested $19 billion in research both intramural and extramural. During that time, research conducted by USDA scientists has resulted in 883 patent applications filed, 405 patents issued and 1,151 new inventions disclosures covering a wide range of topics and discoveries. To learn more about how USDA supports cutting edge science and innovation, visit the USDA Medium chapter Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future. NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative research, education and extension to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www. , sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts. USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.


SALEM, OR, December 08, 2016-- Shelley D. Richards, P.E., Associate and Senior Project Manager for HDR, has been recognized as a Distinguished Professional in her field through Women of Distinction Magazine. Shelley D. Richards, P.E. will be featured in the upcoming edition of the Women of Distinction Magazine in 2016.Over the course of Shelley D. Richards's career, she has had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects that have included many different types of clients. She's worked on transportation projects, including highways, local roads, bridges, and railroads, as well as all types of environmental projects, such as solid waste, soil and groundwater remediation, hazardous waste, NEPA, sustainability, permitting, and more. She also works with stakeholders and clients that have included federal and state regulatory agencies, tribes, state agencies, and private clients."From major programs to smaller projects, I have learned something new every time and I love what each one brings," Richards said. "It has been the variety that has kept me yearning to do more all these years. "Everything I do I see as a learning experience and that is what helps me improve both myself and my company."As Associate and Senior Project Manager of HDR, a civil consulting business that handles infrastructure, water, oil and gas, waste, federal, power, industrial, mining, architectural, and construction projects, Richards is responsible for maintaining projects on schedule and within the scope and budget, while also keeping clients happy. As a consultant, she focuses exclusively on the client, allowing for effective change management. Additionally, Richards mentors a team of members so that they can continuously grow in their careers. Continued mentorship also helps the company grow and helps employees expand further into other roles.Taken on board with HDR in August 2002, Richards first began her career with Westinghouse Hanford Company on a NORCUS grant while still in college. She later worked for Cascade Pacific Engineering as a Technical Lead and for Oregon Department of Transportation as a Project Leader. She has written approximately a dozen articles and has given over 30 presentations over the last decade, and is currently a member of American Society of Civil Engineers and Women's Transportation Seminar where she formerly served on a variety of their boards and committees. She is past member of Society of Women Engineers and National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), where she served as National Chair and on many local offices, including President, and was named NAWIC's 2004 Region 9 Future Leader of the Year.Richards earned her BS in Civil Engineering at Washington State University, her MS in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) at Portland State University, and her MBA in International Studies at Benedictine University. She is also a Licensed Professional Engineer in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, has a Construction Associate Certification and Construction Industrial Technician Certification through Clemson University, and has an ISI Envision Sustainability Professional Certification and Greenhouse Sustainable Transportation Professional Certification.About Women of Distinction Magazine:Women of Distinction Magazine strives to continually bring the very best out in each article published and highlight Women of Distinction. Women of Distinction Magazine's mission is to have a platform where women can grow, inspire, empower, educate and encourage professionals from any industry by sharing stories of courage and success.Contact:Women of Distinction Magazine, Melville, NY631-465-9024 pressreleases@womenofdistinction.net


News Article | December 12, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Environmentally friendly material tweaked to soak up to 5 times its weight in oil, float for months in icy, rough waters SEQUIM, Wash. - Lowly sawdust, the sawmill waste that's sometimes tossed onto home garage floors to soak up oil spilled by amateur mechanics, could receive some new-found respect thanks to science. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have chemically modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material absorbs up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months. "Most of today's oil remediation materials are designed for warm water use," said PNNL microbiologist George Bonheyo, who leads the modified sawdust's development from PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory. "But as ice retreats in the Arctic Sea, fossil fuel developers are looking north, and we need new oil spill response methods that perform well in extreme conditions," added Bonheyo, who also holds a joint appointment in bioengineering with Washington State University. "The chance of an oil spill in the Arctic is real," said fellow PNNL microbiologist Robert Jeters, who is also part of the project. "We hope materials like our modified sawdust can help if an accident happens." Containing oil spills in cold waters is especially tricky, as bobbing ice chunks push oil below the water's surface, making it difficult to collect. The same goes for rough waters, whose tall, clashing waves disperse oil. The modified saw dust pulls double duty. Beyond absorbing oil, it also enhances another approach to combatting oil spills - controlled burns. If changing weather or tides move spilled oil toward a sensitive area fast, oil can be burned before it can cause further harm. Called in-situ burning, the practice can significantly reduce the amount of oil in water and minimize its adverse environmental effects. Bonheyo and his team looked to develop an environmentally friendly and inexpensive material that floats despite rough or freezing waters and can support in-situ burning. Not wanting to create more pollution if emergency responders can't retrieve oil cleanup material, Bonheyo's team considered other natural ingredients like rice hulls and silica. But they ultimately found their winner in a fine dust called wood flour. A woodworking byproduct, wood flour is often used to make wood composites. To make the dust into a thirsty oil mop, researchers chemically attach components of vegetable oil onto the material's surface. These attachments make the modified material oil-grabbing and water-shunning. The final product is a light, fluffy, bleached powder. The team is also trying out adding tiny, oil-eating microbes - fungi and bacteria - to the powder's surface so any left-behind material could naturally break down oil over time. Applying the modified sawdust is simple: sprinkle a thin layer over oil on the water's surface. The material immediately starts soaking up oil, creating a concentrated and solid slick that stays afloat thanks to the material's buoyant nature. The oil-soaked material can either be burned or retrieved. The team is using PNNL's unique Arctic simulation lab in Sequim, Washington to evaluate the material in icy waters. The facility is a customized shipping container that cools down to as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which prompts researchers to don snowmobile suits and ski masks while they work. Ice slush forms on the surface of water that circulates inside a 290-gallon raceway pond placed inside the bitterly cold lab space. Oil is spilled on the slushy surface, followed by a sprinkle of modified sawdust. Tests have shown the material's water-repellent nature prevents ice from forming on it, allowing it to soak up oil and remain at the surface. Researchers are also testing how well the material performs in controlled burns. They conducted initial burns this fall at the U.S. Coast Guard and Naval Research Laboratory's Joint Maritime Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama. Burn tests continue today at PNNL's Marine Science Laboratory. Early results indicate a small amount of material enables burning of both thin and thick layers of spilled oil. In the coming months, PNNL will further evaluate the modified sawdust. The material will need additional testing and approval by multiple agencies before it can be used at actual oil spills. PNNL is developing the material for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety of Environmental Enforcement. BSEE is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.


News Article | October 20, 2016
Site: www.cemag.us

Adair wasn’t the only person asking these questions. As recently as July, researchers and activists at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa, pointed out that life-saving antiretroviral treatment to suppress HIV reached sub-Saharan Africa years after the drugs were available in developed countries and worried that the same thing could happen with a future cure. “HIV cure research is still in its infancy. For now, it’s mainly restricted to the North and high-income countries,” says Dr. Paula Munderi of the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute at a symposium on global HIV cure research. “My appeal today is that low-income countries — Africa in particular, which has the bulk of the patients — not be left out of the research agenda.” Adair had heard other gene therapy researchers dismissing questions about accessibility by saying, “First we have to show gene therapy works, and then we’ll worry about that.” “Why not now?” she remembered thinking. “Is there a way we could do this, in a simplified fashion?” With Kiem’s encouragement, when Adair became head of her own lab in 2014, she used her Fred Hutch start-up funding to work on finding a way to make these still experimental therapies available and affordable wherever they are needed. In the brain cancer clinical trial, Adair used a first-generation device made by Miltenyi Biotec to separate the stem cells from other blood cells. It involved adding specialized metal beads to bone marrow removed from patients, then using a magnet to pull out the stem cells. But when she started working on a clinical trial for Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder that leads to bone marrow failure, she needed something faster. Such patients have a tiny number of stem cells to begin with, and those are very susceptible to damage from exposure to ambient oxygen. To limit their exposure time, Adair had to find a way to speed up the process of separating and modifying the cells. Serendipitously, Miltenyi had just sent over a demonstration model of a second-generation machine that automated and sped up the bead and magnet process and also happened to be capable of processing the exact volumes of bone marrow Adair needed for the trial. Working with Miltenyi’s Tim Waters, Adair directed reprogramming of the device to see if it could meet her timetable. When initial tests worked, the Hutch bought the new machine and got federal approval to use it in the Fanconi anemia trial, treating the first patient in 2014. The whole time she was thinking, “I want to make this device do everything.” The Miltenyi machine, called the CliniMACS Prodigy, was small enough. It was a closed system, meaning no exposure to ambient air. It could be automated. Its interface was similar to an apheresis machine, another clinical device that separates blood into its components and which hospital staffs in many developing countries already are trained to use. Adair shared her grand vision with Waters, who is a co-author on the Nature Communications paper. It called for reconfiguring and reprogramming the device to do all of the steps, including the cleanroom jobs of adding the viral vector and removing residual reagents, then developing components specific to each disease that would be available in “kits” and kept in pharmacy freezers. Included in each kit would be disposable tubing to carry the patient’s blood cells from a sterile bag into the machine. A nurse would attach the bag to the machine, add chemical reagents from the kit to pull out the stem cells, nutrients to support the growth of those cells and the viral vector engineered to do the gene transfer for that disease. Additional disposable tubing would carry the modified cells to a second sterile bag that would go right into the patient’s IV. Reconfiguring the device meant tedious calculations, mechanical tests and relearning physics principles she’d forgotten from college — things she hadn’t imagined ever doing, says Adair. “Once I found this particular project,” she says, “I was so motivated by the problem that it’s tackling — specifically, distribution to places in the world that don’t have any access to this type of therapy now — it made me excited. And that in turn made other people excited.” The “box” itself costs about $150,000 to purchase — a one-time investment that would be used for thousands of patients. Each individual kit would cost about $26,000, Adair says. Though not inexpensive, the cost of what could be a one-time treatment compares favorably to lifetime care for many diseases. Take HIV, for example: lifetime treatment with antiretroviral drugs to suppress the virus is estimated to cost about $600,000. Gene therapy in a box also costs less than what cell-based gene therapy treatment costs research institutions now – between $38,000 and $55,000, according to Adair, in addition to the cleanroom and other infrastructure costs. But the one-step box could also be used here in the United States or in Europe, Adair says, which could help drive down costs because it requires less infrastructure and staffing. Adair and her team, which includes other Fred Hutch researchers and scientists at Washington State University, spent the last 18 months developing the device, comparing the products produced to those manufactured in cleanrooms and testing the modified cells in animal models, key prerequisites to obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration consent to test the products in humans. She is hoping to send a box to a clinic that is not in a high-tech research center to test its ease of use. “There are probably 1,000 modifications that could improve how efficient it is,” she says. “But by making a platform that doesn’t require you to be at one of the expert academic institutions for gene therapy, we’re facilitating more people being able to explore these processes and potentially incorporate their own changes.”


News Article | December 27, 2016
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have chemically-modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning up oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material can absorb up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months. "Most of today's oil remediation materials are designed for warm water use," said PNNL microbiologist George Bonheyo, who leads the modified sawdust's development from PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory and also holds a joint appointment in bioengineering at Washington State University. "But as ice retreats in the Arctic Sea, fossil fuel developers are looking north, and we need new oil spill response methods that perform well in extreme conditions." "The chance of an oil spill in the Arctic is real," said fellow PNNL microbiologist Robert Jeters, who is also taking part in the project. "We hope materials like our modified sawdust can help if an accident happens." Containing oil spills in cold waters is especially tricky, as bobbing ice chunks can push oil below the water's surface, making it difficult to collect. The same goes for rough waters, where tall, clashing waves disperse oil. The modified sawdust pulls double duty. As well as absorbing oil, it also enhances another approach to combating oil spills – controlled burns. If changing weather or tides move spilled oil towards a sensitive area fast, the oil can be burned before it causes further harm. Called in-situ burning, the practice can significantly reduce the amount of oil in water and minimize its adverse environmental effects. Bonheyo and his team wanted to develop an environmentally-friendly and inexpensive material that can float in rough or freezing waters and support in-situ burning. Not wanting to create more pollution if emergency responders can't retrieve the material from the water, Bonheyo's team considered other natural ingredients like rice hulls and silica. But the best candidate turned out to be a fine dust called wood flour; a woodworking by-product, wood flour is often used to make wood composites. To make the dust into a thirsty oil mop, the researchers chemically attach components of vegetable oil onto the material's surface. These attachments make the modified material oil-grabbing and water-shunning, producing a light, fluffy, bleached powder. The team is also experimenting with adding tiny, oil-eating microbes – fungi and bacteria – to the powder's surface, so that any left-behind material will naturally break down the remaining oil over time. Applying the modified sawdust is simple: sprinkle a thin layer over oil on the water's surface. The material immediately starts soaking up the oil, creating a concentrated and solid slick that stays afloat thanks to the material's natural buoyancy. This oil-soaked material can then either be burned or retrieved. The team is using PNNL's unique Arctic simulation lab in Sequim, Washington, to evaluate the material in icy waters. The facility is a customized shipping container that can be cooled to as low as 5°F, prompting researchers to don snowmobile suits and ski masks while they work. These low temperatures cause ice slush to form on the surface of water circulating inside a 290-gallon raceway pond within the container. Oil is spilled on this slushy surface, followed by a sprinkle of modified sawdust. Tests have shown the material's water-repellent nature prevents ice from forming on it, allowing it to soak up oil and remain at the surface. The researchers are also testing how well the material performs in controlled burns. They recently conducted initial burns at the US Coast Guard and Naval Research Laboratory's Joint Maritime Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama, and burn tests continue today at PNNL's Marine Science Laboratory. Early results indicate that a small amount of material allows the burning of both thin and thick layers of spilled oil. In the coming months, PNNL will further evaluate the modified sawdust, which will need additional testing and approval by multiple agencies before it can be used at actual oil spills. PNNL is developing the material for the US Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety of Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). This is the lead federal agency charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas on the US Outer Continental Shelf. This story is adapted from material from PNNL, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


In the early fifties, before Richard Feynman famously seeded the concept of nanoscience in his 1959 talk “there’s plenty of room at the bottom” [1], and well before the concept of nanotechnology became popular in the late 80’s, a significant research effort was already underway into the fundamental nanoscience associated with high-field effects at surfaces and the resulting emission of ions and electrons [2]. Born from this work, in 1955, field ion microscopy (FIM) became the first true atomic scale microscopy technique, allowing us to ‘see atoms’ for the very first time [3]. The technique, invented by Erwin Müller in 1951 employed a specimen shaped into a sharp point, enabling it to act as a point projection field ion emitter. The specimen was cooled to 78K in the presence of He gas. This gas was adsorbed and subsequently field ionized and detected, with the distribution of detected atoms showing the arrangement of the specimen atoms at the surface of the tip. Sixty years on, this seminal work by Erwin Müller has spurred important and wide-ranging research, including many significant discoveries and inventions [4]. Progressive field evaporated of surface atoms can be detected [5] and their positions reconstructed to create high-resolution 3D atom maps in a technique known as atom probe tomography [6], which has become an established microscopy technique. It’s use in materials characterisation has led to ground-breaking research including the first 3D images of segregation to dislocations [7], understanding the growth of nanowires [8], determining the kinetics of elemental steps of catalytic surface reactions [9], revealing precipitation pathways in important engineering alloys [10] and confirmation of the dating of the oldest minerals on earth [11], to name just a few examples. Other contributions from field-emission science include the development of the liquid metal ion source that now forms the basis of focused ion beam instruments [12], field electron emission from new forms of emitter [13] along with the sustained development of theory around high-field effects at surfaces [14]. It is timely that we recognize these exceptional contributions. The International Field Emission Society (IFES) originally grew from pioneering research on high-field nanoscience, and supports the development and application of techniques and instruments based on these effects. It has hosted symposia since 1952 occurring every one to two years. In 2016, this conference, “Atom Probe Tomography & Microscopy (55th IFES)” will be held in Gyeongju, South Korea (June 12-17). At the event, the Steering Committee of the IFES (see note at end of this article for a list of members) is proud to award an inaugural round of “Fellows of the International Field Emission Society”, elected in recognition of eminence in the field of field emission, field ionization, and related phenomena. These individuals have been nominated and elected by their peers for outstanding research that has pushed the frontiers of knowledge in the field. Many have also undertaken distinguished service to the IFES. Those to be honored as IFES fellows in 2016 are listed below: Hans-Olof Andren, Chalmers University of Technology:  For development of atom probe techniques, and for his use of atom probe instruments as materials science tools to study the detailed microstructure of primarily metallic materials. Didier Blavette, Université de Rouen:  For unique contributions to atom probe field ion microscopy spanning the fundamental physics of the technique, instrumentation, and cutting-edge materials characterization. Alfred Cerezo, University of Oxford:  For development of the position sensitive atom probe, which opened new dimensions and perspectives in both material science and instrumentation. Paul Cutler, The Pennsylvania State University:  For working on theory of field electron and ion emission over more than 50 years, developing quantum mechanical models to explain and predict the behavior of field electron emitters. Richard Forbes, University of Surrey:  For his many contributions to the growth of the theory and understanding of field electron and ion emission as well as his contributions to the society. Georgiy Fursey, St Petersburg University of Telecommunications:  For wide-ranging, outstanding contributions to field electron emission science and technology, particularly explosive emission and emission from semiconductors. Robert Gomer, University of Chicago:  For outstanding contributions to science, especially areas of field electron and ion emission and their application to problems in surface chemistry, and for public service. Kazuhiro Hono, National Institute for Materials Science:  For key contributions to the growth of atom probe, developments in instrumentation, and broad utilization of the technique to impact the study of magnetic materials and precipitation hardening. Gary Kellogg, Retired:  For fundamental technical contributions to laser-pulsed atom probe instrumentation and numerous aspects of surface and materials science, and for extraordinary service to the nanoscience community. Thomas Kelly, Cameca Inc.:  For revolutionizing atom probe technology with the invention of the LEAP, and for service to the IFES community as President of the society. Hans-Juergen Kreuzer, Dalhousie University:  Published more than 325 papers, 8 books, and 6 patents in the area of physics and chemistry of high electric fields. Norbert Kruse, Washington State University:  For sustained contributions towards understanding chemical physics at materials surfaces and outstanding service to the high field nanoscience and atom probe communities. Allan Melmed, Retired:  One of the most distinguished scientists of the IFES community, with a lifetime experience in field emission since his PhD thesis with the late EW Müller. Michael Miller, Retired:  For seminal contributions in the development and application of atom probe tomography as demonstrated by his 600+ publications, service to the community, and impactful collaborations with numerous international scientists and engineers in their development and use of atom probe tomography. Marwan Mousa, Mu'tah University:  For outstanding contributions to field emission science and for service to the society including organization of the 45th IFES. Osamu Nishikawa, Kanazawa Institute of Technology:  For outstanding contributions to atom probe becoming a mainstream scientific instrument in hundreds of laboratories around the world. John Panitz, University New Mexico:  As one of the inventors of the atom probe technique, John Panitz’ contributions and vision for the technique enabled its large acceptance in the international realm of materials characterization. Simon Ringer, The University of Sydney:  For outstanding research in atom probe science, sustained IFES community service, including as Vice President and conference organiser and his role in training a new generation of field emission scientists. Guido Schmitz, University of Stuttgart:  For his contribution to understanding diffusion and other atomic scale metallurgical processes studied using atom probe tomography. David Seidman, Northwestern University:  Having advised more than 120 individuals and with 450+ publications, David Seidman's materials research based on APT and technique developments has laid a solid groundwork for atom probe groups worldwide. George Smith, University of Oxford:  For more than 45 years of contributions and commitment to the field of atom probe field ion microscopy. Krystyna Stiller, Chalmers University of Technology:  For fruitful use and development of atom probe techniques contributing to understanding of radiation damage, phase transformations, interfacial segregation and high temperature oxidation, and for promoting atom probe techniques. Lynwood Swanson, FEI:  For outstanding scientific contributions to characterisation and development of field electron/ion emitters, and technical and managerial leadership of FEI Company in commercially developing these emitters and related instruments. Tien Tsong, Academia Sinica:  For observation of the interaction between adsorbates on metal surfaces and for seminal research involving the use of a laser to promote thermal field evaporation. The Steering Committee of the IFES currently consists of: [1] Feynman RP. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom. Engineering and Science 1960:22-36. [5] Cerezo A, Godfrey TJ, Smith GDW. Application of a position-sensitive detector to atom probe microanalysis. Review of Scientific Instruments 1988;59:862-6. [8] Perea DE, Hemesath ER, Schwalbach EJ, Lensch-Falk JL, Voorhees PW, Lauhon LJ. Direct measurement of dopant distribution in an individual vapour-liquid-solid nanowire. Nature Nanotechnology 2009;4:315-9. [9] Kruse N, Abend G, Block JH. The kinetics of adsorption and thermal desorption of NO on stepped Pt single crystal surfaces. The Journal of Chemical Physics 1988;88:1307-12. [10] Ringer SP, Hono K. Microstructural evolution and age hardening in aluminium alloys: atom probe field-ion microscopy and transmission electron microscopy studies. Materials Characterization 2000;44:101-31. [11] Valley JW, Cavosie AJ, Ushikubo T, Reinhard DA, Lawrence DF, Larson DJ, et al. Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography. Nature Geoscience 2014;7:219-23. [13] Li Z, Xu N, Kreuzer HJ. Coherent field emission image of graphene predicted with a microscopic theory. Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 2012;85. [14] Forbes RG, Edgcombe CJ, Valdrè U. Some comments on models for field enhancement. Ultramicroscopy 2003;95:57-65.


News Article | April 19, 2016
Site: phys.org

That same energy also makes actinides highly radioactive. Scientists doing early research with these substances in the 1940s and 50s did not fully understand the risks of long-term handling and storage for the resulting waste products. Locations such as the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford and Savannah River Sites still have radioactive materials from the Manhattan Project in storage awaiting processing and final disposition. Often stored in large holding containers, these volatile substances mix with one another over time. One of the major challenges for decontaminating these sites lies in separating radioactive compounds from their more inert counterparts for safe removal and storage. To this end, a multi-institution team has been using computing resources at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to understand actinide chemistry at the molecular level in hopes of designing methods to clean up contamination and safely store spent nuclear fuel. "We put this group together because we were already collaborating on scientific papers," said professor David Dixon of The University of Alabama. "Rather than just saying that we were going to do one reaction and needed computing time, we're using a team approach to try and get a broad, fundamental understanding of actinide science." Dixon serves as the principal investigator on the project, which includes collaborators from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Washington State University, The State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Minnesota, and Rice University. The team is using the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility—a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at ORNL—to work on a variety of research goals related to understanding the chemical reactions taking place with actinides. Supercomputing plays an essential role in understanding these elements. Because of their high radioactivity, actinides are difficult to handle, and those experiments that can be performed are expensive. "These elements are really radioactive, and in many cases, there is not much of it around," Dixon said. "The radioactivity part makes it very difficult to handle in a lab. We want to try and get as much information as we can about their properties before people do specific lab experiments to test out ideas and design new systems to help remediate contamination." The Dixon team gained access to Titan through DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. Within the larger allocation of computing time, the team is divided into several smaller groups looking at specific problems related to actinide chemistry. After spent nuclear fuel begins to dissolve within a storage tank, actinides still exist as ions in an aqueous mixture. To clean up this mixture, researchers must separate these ions into groups based on how they affect the remediation process and by the radioactive hazards they present. Currently, state-of-the-art methods revolve around a multistage process where researchers form a metal-ligand complex with an actinide ion, which then helps the ion migrate across the boundary between oil and water. Washington State University professor Aurora Clark leads a group that studies how solutions of actinides can be separated, primarily focusing on liquid-liquid interfaces. "One of the most critical components of actinide separation is the interface between water or an aqueous solvent system and an organic solvent (such as oil), and often these mixtures are incredibly complicated," Clark said. "We're doing simulations to understand the essential physics of what's going on at these liquid-liquid interfaces. We're trying to understand how the structure and dynamics at the oil-water interface can influence permeability of different compounds across these interfaces and can influence the ability of an actinide-containing molecule to migrate across the interface. Essentially, much of the storage for radioactive waste needs to be cleaned of actinides. Clark's group runs large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to understand this process with a level of detail unattainable through experiment. The team uses Titan to design a solution containing thousands to tens of thousands of individual atoms. During the simulation, the team charts the particles' interactions as the solution moves to a state of equilibrium—or where a reaction and any counter-reaction proceed at an equal rate—and then analyzes the data from these interactions. Clark's group uses some novel approaches for data analysis. One of the team's achievements was creating intermolecular network theory, which allows the team to focus less on the positions of each individual particle in the simulation (like many MD simulations) and more on how the interactions of various particles dictate the physical properties of these radioactive mixtures. Intermolecular network theory gets the team to take its data and analyze a "network" of the various chemical interactions. Researchers then analyze that network much like a network analyst would observe internet connectivity or monitor a network of computers—in fact, the team uses a modified version of Google's PageRank algorithm, which is instrumental in ranking the importance and relevance of web content, to help understand the immediate organization of solvents around ions. Through its suite of computational tools and access to Titan in the last year, the Clark group was able to observe how the molecule tributyl phosphate changes its conformation when at the interface of water and hexane. As the molecule changes, a massive reorganization at the interface makes the transfer of an actinide across the interface more permeable. In addition to working on liquid-liquid interfaces, Clark's group is also starting to simulate liquid-solid interactions, with a specific focus on metal organic frameworks—compounds that create nanoscale pores that attract and bind to actinides. As supercomputing power continues to increase, Clark hopes that metal organic frameworks may become the gold standard for scrubbing actinides from an environment. "The strategy [of employing metal organic frameworks] compliments our other research and provides a way to both separate and potentially store radioactive material in a single step," Clark said. Clark's group is generating large amounts of data in these simulations and has been working with OLCF support staff to develop methods for in situ data analysis techniques that would allow the team to drastically reduce the amount of data it would need to transport out of the OLCF. Other researchers on the Dixon team, such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBNL's) Bert de Jong, are using their time on Titan and the OLCF's developmental and analysis cluster Eos to collaborate closely with experimentalists. De Jong's group works with teams at both LBNL and the University of Utah to understand how to change and control an element's oxidation state—or how many electrons an atom can shed or add to change its charge. By altering the behavior of elements like uranium—or its actinide relatives, thorium, neptunium, and plutonium—incorporating them in molecules and forming chemical bonds, researchers hope to extract radioactive elements from the environment or waste storage tanks and keep them in a more innocuous form, or to separate them for reuse as nuclear fuel. De Jong's group benefitted from Titan's hybrid architecture. "For our thorium work, we had to do very high-accuracy simulations, and for those, we have to do coupled cluster calculations," de Jong said. "The NWChem code that we use is GPU enabled, so that allows us to do these kinds of calculations with the fastest time-to-solution possible." Throughout the group's work on Titan and Eos, simulations have served as both the basis for driving experimental research and verification of certain experimental hypotheses. "I believe that computing is both predictive and interpretive," de Jong said. "Experiments often can only tackle aspects of the problem, but computing can help broaden insights and trends that can confirm or change interpretations and provide more additional information very quickly and safely." De Jong pointed to research on chemical reactions involving ligands and proteins—molecules that bind to radioactive elements—where Titan simulations suggested that certain reactions would shed water molecules while reducing uranium. This phenomenon was subsequently observed experimentally in the Netherlands. Simulations on Titan also predicted the formation of an unusually bonded uranium-nitrosyl molecule, work that was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. "Simulations on elements on the bottom of the periodic table, such as uranium and plutonium, are a challenge, and we are using accurate experimental data to verify that our models and methods are accurate," de Jong said. The verification of experiments performed at the University of Utah, studying thorium reactions in a gas phase, lays the foundation for complex simulations of uranium or heavier, more volatile elements that are dangerous to work with in a laboratory. As the OLCF moves toward its next-generation supercomputer, Summit, the Dixon team plans to focus on optimizing its various codes for taking full advantage of GPUs and other computing methods. The team wants to continue expanding its work on metal organic frameworks and incorporate quantum Monte Carlo methods—a computational technique that uses statistical data and random numbers to accurately plot electrons in a simulation. Explore further: What, oh, what are those actinides doing? More information: Richard M Cox et al. Reactions of Th + H , D , and HD Studied by Guided Ion Beam Tandem Mass Spectrometry and Quantum Chemical Calculations , The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2016). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.5b08008 Yasaman Ghadar et al. Solutes at the liquid:liquid phase boundary—Solubility and solvent conformational response alter interfacial microsolvation, The Journal of Chemical Physics (2015). DOI: 10.1063/1.4914142 Yu Gong et al. Gas Phase Uranyl Activation: Formation of a Uranium Nitrosyl Complex from Uranyl Azide, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2015). DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b02420


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

On the campaign trail, climate change denier Donald Trump kept mum about his intentions for scientific research. But Trump's comments on issues such as public health and the environment left little to the imagination. Our country's incoming leader not only rejects most science, but has actively endeavored to sow its distrust. To be a scientist today, when public and political perception of STEM research is complicated at best, means navigating an endless blitz of career concerns and professional vilification. The day after Trump won the election, I questioned a diverse group of scientists, whose expertise ranges from physics to ecology, about how they believe their research will be affected during his term. Overwhelmingly, their responses revealed feelings of anxiety, frustration, fear, and exhaustion. Most dreaded cuts to funding and hiring freezes, while some speculated that STEM's gender problems might even worsen. "The Republican Congress will be emboldened to alter the merit review criteria for NSF [the National Science Foundation], which will either minimize or forbid support for climate change research," Terry McGlynn, a professor of biology at California State University Dominguez Hills, told me. "I was recently on a panel at NSF this fall, and when talking to people there, it was clear that a lot of the plans for research support were 'pending the outcome of the elections' as funding is on a continuing resolution status. NSF might be gutted, or maybe it'll flatline, it won't get more money, and funding for some kind of work might be forbidden." These fears aren't unsubstantiated, considering Trump has repeatedly vowed to abolish and defund important scientific institutions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In an interview with FOX News last year, the president-elect called the EPA "a disgrace," and assured the environment would "fine" without it. As the agency in charge of regulations that keep our air and water clean, its elimination would be unthinkable for the environment and human health. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America's biomedical research arm that's already scraping the bottom of its appropriations barrel—even with a request for an $825 million funding increase under President Obama's 2017 fiscal budget—could be starved under Trump's administration. In 2015, Trump denigrated the institution as "terrible," though his actual plans for NIH funding, like many other policy items, remain unclear. What is certain, however, is that his running-mate, current Indiana Governor Mike Pence, fought ardently to advance his own Christian conservative viewpoints with regard to science. In a 2009 op-ed for The Hill, the creationist governor wrote a screed opposing stem cell research, and promised to block to use of federal funding for such projects. During his time in office, Pence also voted against Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco products, and has extensively pushed to ban abortion rights for women. Alongside Trump's alleged picks for Health and Human Services secretary, which include Florida Governor Rick Scott and failed presidential candidate Ben Carson—both of whom want to cut access to abortion rights and women's health services—Trump's tentative administration is looking unsympathetic to medical research. "[Scientists] have been hearing for a long time that funding is tough—ever since the recession—and they've been hoping it would slowly get better. They have now been blindsided by the sudden realization that it's potentially about to get much worse really fast," Alberto Stolfi, a molecular biologist and postdoctoral associate at New York University who receives NIH funding, told me. He also pointed out that scientific research creates job opportunities. "Beyond those directly involved in the research, there's a whole economy of companies and people who support the research. When people talk about tax payers' money being 'wasted' in scientific research, it's not like that money just disappears. Most of it goes towards buying equipment, chemicals, software, paying for services, maintenance, repairs, etc, which all create countless local jobs. All those businesses, small or large, and the people who work for them also stand to lose a lot from lower research funding." Some concerns, however, are more immediate. In a statement issued by his campaign yesterday, Trump said he would issue a hiring freeze on federal employees nationwide. The Washington Post noted this wouldn't be an effort to cut costs, but would be a measure to clean up corruption. Because of this, many of the researchers I spoke to weren't sure whether their jobs will exist in a month or two. The trouble with Trump's scorched-earth approach is that a large percentage of government scientists are contractors whose salaries are paid for through grants. The message this could send to early-career researchers is that federal employment is simply unviable. "In my work, the majority of scientists are not federal employees, but contractors or postdocs on temporary grants. This leads to a lot of people cycling through, projects getting picked up and dropped off over a few years. The contractors have little in the way of job security and benefits and are much cheaper to maintain than full federal employees," said Corey McDonald, a physicist who currently works at a government laboratory. "I'd say [the hiring freeze] shuts out the possibility for people who have worked a long time towards a full federal position." Another source, who requested to remain anonymous, said the staff at their large research institution believe it's unlikely a contingency plan will emerge in light of Trump's hiring freeze and potential funding cuts. At universities, many of which also receive federal funding for scientific research, staff are similarly worried about the effects that budget cuts will have on students, both mentally and professionally. "Funding cuts have contributed to grade inflation, which in turn contributes to an erosion in the quality of education. The reason is that adjuncts and other non-tenured faculty are tremendously motivated to get positive student reviews, and the only reliable way to get positive reviews is to grade generously," Aleta Quinn, a postdoctoral professor of philosophy of science at California Institute of Technology, told me. According to Quinn, job stability can directly correlate to grading when professors are worried their perception could threaten their employment. One of the outcomes of teaching students, Quinn added, is "the process of them becoming active voices in their disciplines…realizing that they are participants in knowledge-generation and sharing, not just absorbers of information… If my job goes away, their excitement and joy goes away, and my ability to comfort and help them goes away. To the extent that science and academia in general goes away, the joy of knowledge generation and sharing and participating in human culture is lost." Rachel Olsson, an ecologist at Washington State University who studies the impacts of bumble bee health, said she's especially disturbed by Trump's desire to gut the Department of Education. "While I don't believe this will happen, a lot of his supporters see universities and research institutions as propaganda machines. My worry here is that even an attempt to disband the education department will validate or reinforce those feelings. Since a lot of the natural resource research being done is supported by government funding, I worry these dollars will go away. Dollars that support the generation of new knowledge, and new scientists." Threats to the safety of women and minority scientists In addition to matters of funding, many scientists are also intensely fearful for their minority colleagues and students—women, LGBT, and POC—whose demographics were targeted during Trump's ascension to the presidency. STEM fields are notoriously hostile toward women, with numerous well-documented cases of sexual harassment coming to light in recent years. The election of Trump, a candidate who once bragged about sexual assault on tape, could signal to harassers that this type of behavior is acceptable. For women in science, this is unacceptable and a risk they cannot afford. According to one source who requested to remain anonymous, gender issues have only worsened within their discipline, and they believe these acts will continue to go unreported for fear of career retaliation. Under President Trump, whose policy proposals seem to work against LGBT individuals, they also suspect that bias toward transgender people in STEM could become socially legitimized. The imminent threat of Trump's deportation plan is another source of anxiety for scientists with undocumented family members, and even those who rely on visas to remain in the country. In a study published to Demography in 2011, the number of foreign-born scientists and engineers working in the United States was estimated to have doubled around the turn of the century. International students now account for more than half of the advanced STEM degrees awarded by American universities. "I teach in a minority-serving institution, and nearly all of my students are members of ethnic minorities and women. Some of our students have undocumented family members...This is terrifying for these students, and we can't really process this any more at the moment," McGlynn said. "But overall, one of the reasons our research is important is because of the broader impacts of this work on our local community and the research training and access to STEM careers provided to first generation students, and those in underrepresented minorities who aren't getting a fair shake into accessing the research community. Is the federal priority for diversifying STEM going by the wayside?" Yet, in uncertain times, there's always opportunity for progress. During an interview with ScienceDebate.org, Trump took a surprisingly rational stance toward science and innovation. "Scientific advances do require long term investment. This is why we must have programs such as a viable space program and institutional research that serve as incubators to innovation and the advancement of science and engineering in a number of fields… Conservation of resources and finding ways to feed the world beg our strong commitment as do dedicated investment in making the world a healthier place," he stated. In the absence of any hard facts right now, is this enough to remain optimistic? Perhaps this is all best summed up by an op-ed published today by Jeremy Berg, editor-in-chief of Science. In it, he urged his peers to use their skills to bridge the gaping divides that have only widened during this election. Like so many others trying to find a bright spot in these times, he emphasized the importance of channeling American resolve, and commitment to the values we cherish. "It is important to understand the basis for the divisions across the United States and elsewhere. The tools of social science should be harnessed to better examine these divides," Berg wrote. "The United States now ventures into somewhat uncharted territory with a President-elect who will come into office with no experience in governing and relatively vague positions about many aspects of domestic and foreign policy. Moving ahead productively will be an important test not only for American institutions, but for everyone." Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A new device could speed up the process of genetically modifying blood stem cells to treat diseases and expand access to gene therapy worldwide A table-top device that enables medical staff to genetically manipulate a patient's blood to deliver potential new therapies for cancer, HIV and other diseases would eliminate the need for multi-million-dollar "clean rooms," making gene therapy more possible for even the poorest of countries. The so-called "gene therapy in a box," developed by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, delivered modified blood stem cells that were as good as -- or better -- than those manufactured in highly regulated clean rooms -- and required less than half the staff, according to a study that will be published on Oct. 20 in Nature Communications. The adapted cells also successfully repopulated the blood system when tested in two different animal models, the study noted. It hasn't been tested in humans. The portable device suggests a solution to one of the most vexing challenges of gene therapy: How to make these emerging, high-tech treatments accessible and affordable beyond a handful of specialized research centers to clinics worldwide. "We either had to think about how to build million-dollar-infrastructure and clean-room facilities in clinics all around the world, which is not feasible, or we had to think about simplifying this process into what I originally envisioned as a black box," said Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Jennifer Adair, the study's lead author. "This was the first proof that 'gene therapy in a box' could work." Gene therapies or cell therapies that involve genetically modified cells today are available at only a limited number of research centers that can afford the necessary technology and the highly trained staff. Adair said there are a dozen or so worldwide. No gene therapies are approved yet for use in the United States. But thousands of patients with at least 15 or 20 inherited or infectious diseases and cancers are being treated with experimental therapies, and many are showing promise. The semi-automated "point of care" delivery system developed by Adair's team using instrumentation available from Miltenyi Biotec reduces the space required to produce the modified cells from 500 square feet to less than 5 square feet and the staffing from five or 10 people to one or two, according to oncologist Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem, a Fred Hutch and University of Washington cell and gene therapy researcher and the paper's senior author. "This is truly transformative," Kiem said. "It will change the way we manufacture and deliver cell and gene therapy products and will have a major impact on making stem cell gene therapy and transplantation and likely also immunotherapy available to patients with genetic diseases, HIV and cancer worldwide." The "box" itself costs about $150,000 to purchase -- a one-time investment that would be used for thousands of patients. An individual kit specific to the disease being treated would cost about $26,000, Adair said. Though not inexpensive, the box could drive down costs of gene therapy because it requires less infrastructure and staffing. Even putting aside the clean-room and other infrastructure costs, it could be less than what cell-based gene therapy treatment costs research institutions now -- between $38,000 and $55,000, according to Adair. What's more, the cost of what could be a one-time treatment compares favorably to lifetime care for many diseases. Take HIV, for example: lifetime treatment with antiretroviral drugs to suppress the virus is estimated to cost about $600,000. The innovation can be traced to 2008, when Kiem hired Adair to run a clinical trial for a gene therapy to treat glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer. The study called for extracting a patient's blood stem cells and inserting a special "resistance" gene designed in the laboratory to protect blood cells from damage by chemotherapy drugs. Infused back into the patient, the resistant cells would multiply and allow glioblastoma patients to receive higher doses of the cancer-killing chemo than they otherwise could withstand. Stem cell-based gene therapy involves removing blood or bone marrow from patients, separating out the stem cells -- which give rise to all blood and immune cells in the body -- and using a deactivated virus to transfer genetic instructions for treating or preventing a disease into the cells. (Scientists also are investigating the use of targeted nucleases such as CRISPR to edit genes, but most gene therapies now being tested in humans rely on viral vectors.) After being infused back into the patient, the stem cells propagate new cells that carry the modification. For Adair, the idea for gene therapy in a box was planted in 2009. She was on her way home in a taxi at 1 a.m. after having delivered genetically modified cells to the first patient in the newly launched brain cancer trial. Snatching only a few hours for sleep, Adair spent most of four days in a strictly regulated clean room where every bathroom break meant having to wash and suit up again in sterile clothing. The 96-hour marathon of time-sensitive, near-constant work left her physically and mentally exhausted. "How are we ever going to be able to do this for more than one cancer patient a week?" she remembered thinking. "It just seemed harrowing." Fast-forward five years, and blood stem cell-based gene therapy, though still experimental, was exploding. Patients in that early-phase brain cancer trial were living months or even years longer than most people with glioblastoma survive. Adair was running additional clinical trials, including one for a rare blood disorder called Fanconi anemia, and Kiem got a grant to investigate cell and gene therapy for curing HIV, the virus that causes AIDS -- once considered unimaginable. It was at a 2014 conference on that HIV cure research that Adair had her second epiphany, this time about costs. More than 25 million of the estimated 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization. No country there could support multi-million-dollar clean rooms or afford the sky-high costs of whatever therapies might come out of them. Adair remembers sitting at the conference and thinking, "If we cure HIV in a patient in the U.S., how are we ever going to get this to the countries that need it?'" 'Why not now?' Adair had heard other gene therapy researchers dismissing questions about accessibility by saying, "First we have to show gene therapy works, and then we'll worry about that." "Why not now?" she remembered thinking. "Is there a way we could do this, in a simplified fashion?" With Kiem's encouragement, when Adair became head of her own lab in 2014, she used her Fred Hutch start-up funding to work on finding a way to make these still experimental therapies available and affordable wherever they are needed. In the brain cancer clinical trial, Adair used a first-generation device made by Miltenyi Biotec to separate the stem cells from other blood cells. It involved adding specialized metal beads to bone marrow removed from patients, then used a magnet to pull out the stem cells. But when she started working on a clinical trial for Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder that leads to bone marrow failure, she needed something faster. Such patients have a tiny number of stem cells to begin with, and those are very susceptible to damage from exposure to ambient oxygen. To limit their exposure time, Adair had to find a way to speed up the process of separating and modifying the cells. Serendipitously, Miltenyi had just sent over a demonstration model of a second-generation machine that automated and sped up the bead and magnet process and also happened to be capable of processing the exact volumes of bone marrow Adair needed for the trial. Working with Miltenyi's Tim Waters, Adair directed reprogramming of the device to see if it could meet her timetable. When initial tests worked, the Hutch bought the new machine and got federal approval to use it in the Fanconi anemia trial, treating the first patient in 2014. The whole time she was thinking, "I want to make this device do everything." The Miltenyi machine, called the CliniMACS Prodigy™, was small enough. It was a closed system, meaning no exposure to ambient air. It could be automated. Its interface was similar to an apheresis machine, another clinical device that separates blood into its components and which hospital staffs in many developing countries already are trained to use. Adair shared her grand vision with Waters, who is a co-author on the Nature Communications paper. It called for reconfiguring and reprogramming the device to do all of the steps, including the clean-room jobs of adding the viral vector and removing residual reagents, then developing components specific to each disease that would be available in "kits" and kept in pharmacy freezers. Included in each kit would be disposable tubing to carry the patient's blood cells from a sterile bag into the machine. A nurse would attach the bag to the machine, add chemical reagents from the kit to pull out the stem cells, nutrients to support the growth of those cells and the viral vector engineered to do the gene transfer for that disease. Additional disposable tubing would carry the modified cells to a second sterile bag that would go right into the patient's IV. Reconfiguring the device meant tedious calculations, mechanical tests and relearning physics principles she'd forgotten from college -- things she hadn't imagined ever doing, said Adair. Adair and her team, which includes other Fred Hutch researchers and scientists at Washington State University, spent the last 18 months developing the device, comparing the products produced to those manufactured in clean rooms and testing the modified cells in animal models, key prerequisites to obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration consent to test the products in humans. She is hoping to send a box to a clinic that is not in a high-tech research center to test its ease of use. "There are probably 1,000 modifications that could improve how efficient it is," she said. "But by making a platform that doesn't require you to be at one of the expert academic institutions for gene therapy, we're facilitating more people being able to explore these processes and potentially incorporate their own changes." At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch's pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation's first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women's Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: phys.org

The social network will make it easier for users to report fake news when they see it, which they'll be able to do in two steps, not three. If enough people report a story as fake, Facebook will pass it to third-party fact-checking organizations that are part of the nonprofit Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network. Five fact-checking and news organizations are working with Facebook on this: ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes. Facebook says this group is likely to expand. Stories that flunk the fact check won't be removed from Facebook. But they'll be publicly flagged as "disputed," which will force them to appear lower down in people's news feed. Users can click on a link to learn why that is. And if people decide they want to share the story with friends anyway, they can—but they'll get another warning. "We do believe that we have an obligation to combat the spread of fake news," said John Hegeman, vice president of product management on news feed, in an interview. But he added that Facebook also takes its role to provide people an open platform seriously, and that it is not the company's place to decide what is true or false. Fake news stories touch on a broad range of subjects, from unproven cancer cures to celebrity hoaxes and backyard Bigfoot sightings. But fake political stories have drawn outsized attention because of the possibility that they influenced public perceptions and could have swayed the U.S. presidential election. There have been dangerous real-world consequences. A fake story about a child sex ring at a Washington, D.C., pizza joint prompted a man to fire an assault rifle inside the restaurant. By partnering with respected outside organizations and flagging, rather than removing, fake stories, Facebook is sidestepping some of the biggest concerns experts had raised about it exercising its considerable power in this area. For instance, some worried that Facebook might act as a censor—and not a skillful one, either, being an engineer-led company with little experience making complex media ethics decisions. "They definitely don't have the expertise," said Robyn Caplan, researcher at Data & Society, a nonprofit research institute funded in part by Microsoft and the National Science Foundation. In an interview before Facebook's announcement, she urged the company to "engage media professionals and organizations that are working on these issues." Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that fake news constitutes less than 1 percent of what's on Facebook , but critics say that's wildly misleading. For a site with nearly 2 billion users tapping out posts by the millisecond, even 1 percent is a huge number, especially since the total includes everything that's posted on Facebook—photos, videos and daily updates in addition to news articles. In a study released Thursday, the Pew Research Center found that nearly a quarter of Americans say they have shared a made-up news story, either knowingly or unknowingly. Forty-five percent said that the government, politicians and elected officials bear responsibility for preventing made-up stories from gaining attention. Forty-two percent put this responsibility on social networking sites and search engines, and a similar percentage on the public itself. Fake news stories can be quicker to go viral than news stories from traditional sources. That's because they were created for sharing—they are clickable, often inflammatory and pander to emotional responses. Mike Caufield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, tracked whether real or fake news is more likely to be shared on Facebook. He compared a made-up story from a fake outlet with articles in local newspapers. The fake story, headlined "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide" from the nonexistent Denver Guardian, was shared 1,000 times more than material from the real newspapers. "To put this in perspective, if you combined the top stories from the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and LA Times, they still had only 5% the viewership of an article from a fake news," he wrote in a blog post . Facebook is emphasizing that it's only going after the most egregious fake news creators and sites, the "the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain," wrote Adam Mosseri , vice president of product for Facebook's news feed, in a blog post Thursday. The social network's first public step toward fixing the fake-news problem since the election was a statement barring fake-news sites from using its lucrative ad network. But it wasn't much more than rhetorical. Facebook's policies already blocked sites that spread misleading information from its ad network, an automated system that places ads on sites across the internet. Now, Facebook says it has also eliminated the ability for spammers to masquerade as real news organizations by spoofing domains. And it says it's weighing a crackdown on publishers of fake news as well. Depriving scammers of money could be effective. "Google and Facebook are the single two biggest engines for monetization," said Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester Research focusing on digital publishers. "I don't think you are ever going to completely eradicate it. But it could get down to a manageable level." Facebook will not allow publishers to promote any story flagged as disputed. If this works, users should not see fake news stories in Facebook advertisements. Facebook's main approach to problems has been to tackle them with studying its vast troves of user data, with algorithms that can be more effective at things than humans, and to favor engineers over editors. Data rules all else at the Menlo Park, California, company. Beyond the human fact-checkers, Facebook is also using its algorithms to de-emphasize fake news stories. For example, if people are significantly less likely to share an article after they have read it, it's a "really good sign that the article was misleading or not informative in some way," Hegeman said—sort of like when you try a cereal sample at the grocery store, then decide not to buy it. Fake news stories won't disappear from Facebook, not the way child porn and spam and various illegal stuff does. That is not Facebook's goal. "We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share," Mosseri wrote. Explore further: Facebook fixing fake news problem with CEO at trade summit


News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is taking new measures to curb the spread of fake news on its huge and influential social network. It will focus on the "worst of the worst" offenders and partner with outside fact-checkers and news organizations to sort honest news reports from made-up stories that play to people's passions and preconceived notions. The social network will make it easier for users to report fake news when they see it, which they'll be able to do in two steps, not three. If enough people report a story as fake, Facebook will pass it to third-party fact-checking organizations that are part of the nonprofit Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network. Five fact-checking and news organizations are working with Facebook on this: ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes. Facebook says this group is likely to expand. Stories that flunk the fact check won't be removed from Facebook. But they'll be publicly flagged as "disputed," which will force them to appear lower down in people's news feed. Users can click on a link to learn why that is. And if people decide they want to share the story with friends anyway, they can — but they'll get another warning. "We do believe that we have an obligation to combat the spread of fake news," said John Hegeman, vice president of product management on news feed, in an interview. But he added that Facebook also takes its role to provide people an open platform seriously, and that it is not the company's place to decide what is true or false. Fake news stories touch on a broad range of subjects, from unproven cancer cures to celebrity hoaxes and backyard Bigfoot sightings. But fake political stories have drawn outsized attention because of the possibility that they influenced public perceptions and could have swayed the U.S. presidential election. There have been dangerous real-world consequences. A fake story about a child sex ring at a Washington, D.C., pizza joint prompted a man to fire an assault rifle inside the restaurant. By partnering with respected outside organizations and flagging, rather than removing, fake stories, Facebook is sidestepping some of the biggest concerns experts had raised about it exercising its considerable power in this area. For instance, some worried that Facebook might act as a censor — and not a skillful one, either, being an engineer-led company with little experience making complex media ethics decisions. "They definitely don't have the expertise," said Robyn Caplan, researcher at Data & Society, a nonprofit research institute funded in part by Microsoft and the National Science Foundation. In an interview before Facebook's announcement, she urged the company to "engage media professionals and organizations that are working on these issues." Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that fake news constitutes less than 1 percent of what's on Facebook , but critics say that's wildly misleading. For a site with nearly 2 billion users tapping out posts by the millisecond, even 1 percent is a huge number, especially since the total includes everything that's posted on Facebook — photos, videos and daily updates in addition to news articles. In a study released Thursday, the Pew Research Center found that nearly a quarter of Americans say they have shared a made-up news story, either knowingly or unknowingly. Forty-five percent said that the government, politicians and elected officials bear responsibility for preventing made-up stories from gaining attention. Forty-two percent put this responsibility on social networking sites and search engines, and a similar percentage on the public itself. Fake news stories can be quicker to go viral than news stories from traditional sources. That's because they were created for sharing — they are clickable, often inflammatory and pander to emotional responses. Mike Caufield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, tracked whether real or fake news is more likely to be shared on Facebook. He compared a made-up story from a fake outlet with articles in local newspapers. The fake story, headlined "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide" from the nonexistent Denver Guardian, was shared 1,000 times more than material from the real newspapers. "To put this in perspective, if you combined the top stories from the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and LA Times, they still had only 5% the viewership of an article from a fake news," he wrote in a blog post . Facebook is emphasizing that it's only going after the most egregious fake news creators and sites, the "the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain," wrote Adam Mosseri , vice president of product for Facebook's news feed, in a blog post Thursday. The social network's first public step toward fixing the fake-news problem since the election was a statement barring fake-news sites from using its lucrative ad network. But it wasn't much more than rhetorical. Facebook's policies already blocked sites that spread misleading information from its ad network, an automated system that places ads on sites across the internet. Now, Facebook says it has also eliminated the ability for spammers to masquerade as real news organizations by spoofing domains. And it says it's weighing a crackdown on publishers of fake news as well. Depriving scammers of money could be effective. "Google and Facebook are the single two biggest engines for monetization," said Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester Research focusing on digital publishers. "I don't think you are ever going to completely eradicate it. But it could get down to a manageable level." Facebook will not allow publishers to promote any story flagged as disputed. If this works, users should not see fake news stories in Facebook advertisements. Facebook's main approach to problems has been to tackle them with studying its vast troves of user data, with algorithms that can be more effective at things than humans, and to favor engineers over editors. Data rules all else at the Menlo Park, California, company. Beyond the human fact-checkers, Facebook is also using its algorithms to de-emphasize fake news stories. For example, if people are significantly less likely to share an article after they have read it, it's a "really good sign that the article was misleading or not informative in some way," Hegeman said — sort of like when you try a cereal sample at the grocery store, then decide not to buy it. Fake news stories won't disappear from Facebook, not the way child porn and spam and various illegal stuff does. That is not Facebook's goal. "We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share," Mosseri wrote.


Sun J.,Washington State University | Wang Y.,Washington State University | Wang Y.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
ACS Catalysis | Year: 2014

With increased availability and decreased cost, ethanol is potentially a promising platform molecule for the production of a variety of value-added chemicals. In this review, we provide a detailed summary of recent advances in catalytic conversion of ethanol to a wide range of chemicals and fuels. We particularly focus on catalyst advances and fundamental understanding of reaction mechanisms involved in ethanol steam reforming (ESR) to produce hydrogen, ethanol conversion to hydrocarbons ranging from light olefins to longer chain alkenes/alkanes and aromatics, and ethanol conversion to other oxygenates including 1-butanol, acetaldehyde, acetone, diethyl ether, and ethyl acetate. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Hughes L.A.,University of Nebraska at Omaha | Short Jr. J.F.,Washington State University
Journal of Quantitative Criminology | Year: 2014

Objectives: Examine relationships between routine activities, character contests in the form of "signifying," and general delinquency and fighting in a street gang context. Methods: Samejima's (Estimation of latent ability using a response pattern of graded scores. Psychometrika monograph supplement 17. Psychometric Society, Richmond, VA, Retrieved 10 Aug 2011, from http://www.psychometrika.org/journal/online/MN17.pdf, 1969) graded response models and multilevel ordinal logistic regression models are estimated using data from Short and Strodtbeck (Group process and gang delinquency. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1965) study of street gangs in Chicago, 1959-1962. The primary sample consists of 490 boys representing 10 black gangs, 4 white gangs, 9 black lower-class groups, 4 white lower-class groups, 2 black middle-class groups, and 2 white middle-class groups.Results: Unstructured and unsupervised socializing with peers significantly increased the likelihood of delinquency among the boys and explained a significant portion of the group-level gang effect. In addition, the more time the boys spent hanging in the streets and attending parties, the more likely they were to participate in signifying, which, in turn, increased their risk of fighting.Conclusions: Findings provide evidence that gangs contribute to delinquency partly through their effect on the routine activities of members. Findings also suggest that signifying is an important mechanism by which unstructured and unsupervised socializing with peers leads to violence. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Liu C.,Washington State University | Wang H.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Karim A.M.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Sun J.,Washington State University | And 2 more authors.
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2014

Increasing energy demand, especially in the transportation sector, and soaring CO2 emissions necessitate the exploitation of renewable sources of energy. Despite the large variety of new energy carriers, liquid hydrocarbon still appears to be the most attractive and feasible form of transportation fuel taking into account the energy density, stability and existing infrastructure. Biomass is an abundant, renewable source of energy; however, utilizing it in a cost-effective way is still a substantial challenge. Lignocellulose is composed of three major biopolymers, namely cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Fast pyrolysis of biomass is recognized as an efficient and feasible process to selectively convert lignocellulose into a liquid fuel - bio-oil. However bio-oil from fast pyrolysis contains a large amount of oxygen, distributed in hundreds of oxygenates. These oxygenates are the cause of many negative properties, such as low heating value, high corrosiveness, high viscosity, and instability; they also greatly limit the application of bio-oil particularly as transportation fuel. Hydrocarbons derived from biomass are most attractive because of their high energy density and compatibility with the existing infrastructure. Thus, converting lignocellulose into transportation fuels via catalytic fast pyrolysis has attracted much attention. Many studies related to catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass have been published. The main challenge of this process is the development of active and stable catalysts that can deal with a large variety of decomposition intermediates from lignocellulose. This review starts with the current understanding of the chemistry in fast pyrolysis of lignocellulose and focuses on the development of catalysts in catalytic fast pyrolysis. Recent progress in the experimental studies on catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass is also summarized with the emphasis on bio-oil yields and quality. © the Partner Organisations 2014.


Li Z.-M.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Qiao P.,Washington State University
Composite Structures | Year: 2014

Geometrically nonlinear free vibration analysis of shear deformable anisotropic laminated composite beams resting on a two-parameter elastic foundation is presented. The material of each layer of the beam is assumed to be linearly elastic and fiber-reinforced. A new nonlinear beam model involving the exact expression of bending curvature is introduced, and the nonlinear vibration analysis with exact nonlinear characteristics of the work done by axial loading is accordingly performed. The governing equations are based on higher order shear deformation beam theory with a von Kármán-type of kinematic nonlinearity and including the bending-stretching, bending-twisting, and stretching-twisting couplings. Two kinds of end conditions, namely movable and immovable, are considered, and a perturbation technique is employed to determine the linear and nonlinear frequencies of a composite beam with or without initial stresses. The frequency response of laminated beams with different geometric and material parameters, end conditions and effect on elastic foundation is numerically illustrated. The results reveal that the geometric and physical properties, end conditions, and elastic foundation effect have a significant influence on large amplitude vibration behavior of anisotropic laminated composite beams. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Ju X.,Washington State University | Engelhard M.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Zhang X.,Washington State University
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

In this study, chemical pulping techniques were applied to create a set of biomass substrates with intact lignocellulosic fibers and controlled morphological and chemical properties to allow the investigation of the individual effects of xylan and surface lignin content on enzymatic hydrolysis. A high resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy technique was established for quantifying surface lignin content on lignocellulosic biomass substrates. The results from this study show that, apart from its hindrance effect, xylan can facilitate cellulose fibril swelling and thus create more accessible surface area, which improves enzyme and substrate interactions. Surface lignin has a direct impact on enzyme adsorption kinetics and hydrolysis rate. Advanced understanding of xylan and surface lignin effects provides critical information for developing more effective biomass conversion process. © 2013 .


Wei Z.,Washington State University | Sun J.,Washington State University | Li Y.,Washington State University | Datye A.K.,University of New Mexico | And 2 more authors.
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2012

Research interest in bimetallic catalysts is mainly due to their tunable chemical/physical properties by a number of parameters like composition and morphostructure. In catalysis, numerous bimetallic catalysts have been shown to exhibit unique properties which are distinct from those of their monometallic counterparts. To meet the growing energy demand while mitigating the environmental concerns, numerous endeavors have been made to seek green and sustainable energy resources, among which hydrogen has been identified as the most promising one with bimetallic catalysts playing important roles. This tutorial review intends to summarize recent progress in bimetallic catalysts for hydrogen production, specifically focusing on that of reforming technologies as well as the relevant processes like water-gas shift (WGS) and CO preferential oxidation (PROX), and emphasizing on the fundamental understanding of the nature of catalytic sites responsible for generating high purity hydrogen and minimizing carbon monoxide formation. Meanwhile, some important synthesis and characterization methods of bimetallic catalysts developed so far are also summarized. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 795.23K | Year: 2014

When linguists are trying to determine how different languages are related or neuroscientists wish to know how one part of the brain is associated with another, how to analyse data which is both complex and massive is a fundamental question. However, an area of Statistics, namely Functional Data Analysis, where the data is described as mathematical functions rather than numbers or vectors, has recently been shown to be very powerful in these situations. This fellowship aims to take functional data analysis and advance it so that much more complex data can be investigated. This will require establishing a careful statistical framework for the analysis of such functions even in situations where the functions have strict relationships. By considering the underlying mathematical spaces which the functions lie in, it is possible to construct valid statistical procedures, which preserve these relationships, such as the functions needing to be positive definite or the functions needing to be related by a graph or network. As an example, comparison between different languages (for example, how is French quantitatively different from Italian) can be carried out in the framework of functional data but not without considering specifically how the data should be analysed to take into account its particular properties. For example in trying to find a path from one language to another, it would be sensible to try to only go via other feasible acoustic sounds. This turns out to be mathematically related to shape analysis, a simple example of which might be how to describe going from London to Sydney. The shortest path is through the centre of the Earth, but this is not sensible, so you have to go round the world. Establishing links between shape analysis and functional data is a major aim of this fellowship. In addition, most brain analysis currently splits the brain up into lots of elements know as voxels, and then analyses these voxels one by one. However, the brain is really one object (or complex 3-D object) which should be analysed together. This is another example of functional data and the methods developed in this fellowship will enable the analysis of the brain as a single object. This will be done by examining the types of dependence between observations in brain imaging data, and using these to build such an object. Of particular interest will be the analysis of brain connections resulting from particular tasks which will require a mixture of functional data analysis and graphical or network analysis. However, before this can be done and the resulting insights into the brain found, the statistical methods required to do this need to be developed.


Patent
Archer Daniels Mildand Company and Washington State University | Date: 2013-12-13

A process is described for making a product mixture including isobutene, propylene, 1-butene, 2-butene 2-methyl-1-butene and 2-methyl-2-butene from a mixture of acetic acid and propionic and through reaction in the presence of a source of hydrogen and of a mixed oxide catalyst, for example, a Zn_(x)Zr_(y)O_(z )mixed oxide catalyst. A variety of commercially valuable products may be made in turn from the various C_(3), C_(4 )and C_(3 )constituents of the product mixture


Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers) selected, representing over 5,500,000 diagnoses annually in the US alone, making it the most prevalent cancer today KENNEWICK, WA / ACCESSWIRE / February 28, 2017 / Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation ("AMI") (OTC PINK: ADMD), a cancer therapeutics company focused on the commercialization of their RadioGel™ device, a tumor-injectable and biodegradable radiation that remains focused at the treatment site, today released the third letter in a four letter series outlining AMI's push towards FDA submittal and commercialization from its new President & CEO, Dr. Mike Korenko. After two months of dynamic experience-based discussions among our Medical Advisory Board Members and other senior doctors we have selected our first indication for use which we will present to the Food and Drug Administration. After thorough review to prioritize indications, we have selected basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers). The reasons for this important selection relates to our criteria below: This cancer is in the skin and therefore easy to access. Single injections for small tumors are easy and we have already demonstrated our parallel injection procedure in the cat at Washington State University for larger tumors. b. Therapeutic ratio (ratio of the dose to the tumor target tissue relative to dose to adjacent normal tissue) and responsiveness to radiation: Yttrium-90 is a beta emitter in RadioGel has a much higher therapeutic ratio than any gamma emitter or external beam therapy. Since Y-90 delivers high-energy beta-rays, it has an average penetration path of 4 to 5 mm (less than a quarter inch), which is ideal for skin cancer therapy. There is minimal irradiation of normal surrounding tissue. As an added bonus, the patient can go home immediately with no irradiation risk to themselves or family members. We can treat with very high doses, so response to radiation would not be an issue. (As a comparison, external beam radiation can deliver 60 to 80 Gy. Yttrium-90 in RadioGel can go to 700 Gy or higher). As discussed above, there is very low risk of collateral damage. In addition, the skin is not located next to a major organ, for example if you were injecting near spinal tumors. Because of the low collateral risk and because of the therapeutic effects that would be relatively easy to see in three months, the Medical Advisory Board felt this might be an easier device for the FDA to approve and in a shorter timeframe. In addition, some of our animal testing, that will start in about two months, are already treating similar cancers. We intentionally avoided applying to the FDA for melanoma, since it is highly metastatic and goes deep into the tissue. There are a much smaller number of cases for this cancer type (around 300,000). In addition, there are three new immunotherapy products on the market to treat melanoma cancer. They can have serious side-effects, but they are promising. That violates our next criterion below. Some skin cancers require several-hour long surgeries in which the tumor is removed, one layer at a time, and then sent for biopsy. They then require a skin graft that can lead to an infection. On tumors of the face this can be disfiguring. As people get older their skin gets thinner, which increases the difficulty. Our Advisory Board felt that for these cases in particular RadioGel has a significant therapeutic advantage. It would benefit the patient and contribute to reducing the cost of health care. 3. CAN BE PROFITABLY EMBRACED BY THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY: One out of every three new cancers in the United States is a cancerous skin lesion. The two skin cancer types that we selected are the most common. There are 3.3 million patients in the United States with 5.5 million tumors (some patients have more than one tumor.) About 1 million of these are squamous cell cancers located near the surface of the epidermal skin layer, and greater than 4 million are basal cell cancers in the deep layer of the epidermis. I would never say that we can treat them all; that would just be marketing hype, but I believe that this will be the preferred treatment in a substantial number of cases in a very large market. b. Ease of acceptance by the medical community, Medicare reimbursement: The potential lower cost of RadioGel therapy coupled with the potential very large number of patients satisfied this criterion. To further test the criterion, we are in discussions with a major private clinic with several skin treatment centers. This client believes this is a great new tool for their toolbox. They are also advising us on the obstacles that will have to be overcome, such as our Medicare reimbursement criterion. Since we believe RadioGel therapy will reduce the cost to Medicare we are confident that will not be an obstacle. There are other cancer types on our list of eighteen potential indications of use for RadioGel, and we have already prioritized to present them to the FDA in the future. Unfortunately, in the meantime, those patients will not be benefiting from this technology. As I have reported in my last shareholder letter, I am aligning the veterinarian animal testing with the human skin cancer. Specially, the University of Missouri will be focusing on the treatment for surface soft cell lesions, and Colorado State University will be refining the therapies for oral squamous cell cancers. After this selection, our next step is to prepare for the FDA pre-submittal meeting. We will request that meeting after we complete the test plans that will answer their previous questions. Until we complete these plans I can only estimate that our pre-submission to the FDA would be in June. I am really happy that we have engaged John Smith from Hogan Lovells to be at our side through this FDA process. I am excited and relieved that this selection decision had been made and I wanted to thank the members of our Medical Advisory Board – Chairman Dr. Barry D. Pressman, Dr. Albert DeNittis, Dr. Howard Sandler, and Dr. Darrell Fisher. I would also like to thank Dr. Ricardo Paz-Fumagalli and Dr. Beau Bosko Toskich from the Mayo Clinic for their valuable advice. In addition to the important developments discussed above, we continue to believe that the public markets are significantly undervaluing our company. With a fully diluted enterprise value of less than $10 million, there remains very large upside potential. As we progress on our plan, I intend to work vigorously to educate and inform the medical and investment community as to the therapeutic benefits our core technology as well as the economic model that can generate significant revenue and profits. We are committed to pursuing an uplisting to a national exchange as soon as possible in order to gain wider exposure and credibility in our pursuit of the multi-billion-dollar addressable market for Radiogel™, that can both significantly improve patient outcomes and reward shareholders. Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (ADMD) is a late stage radiation oncology focused medical device company engaged in the development of yttrium-90 based brachytherapy devices for cancer treatment. The IsoPet Solutions division is focused on utilizing RadioGel for a cancer therapy in animals. Brachytherapy uses radiation to destroy cancerous tumors by placing a radioactive isotope inside or next to the treatment area. The Company intends to outsource material aspects of manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing for its products in the United States and to enter into licensing arrangements outside of the United States, though the Company will evaluate its alternatives before finalizing its plans. For more information, please visit our websites: www.isopetsolutions.com and www.isotopeworld.com. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these statements by the use of the words "may," "will," "should," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "continue," "estimates," "projects," "intends," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those projected or anticipated. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company's ability to successfully execute its expanded business strategy, including by entering into definitive agreements with suppliers, commercial partners and customers; general economic and business conditions, effects of continued geopolitical unrest and regional conflicts, competition, changes in technology and methods of marketing, delays in completing various engineering and manufacturing programs, changes in customer order patterns, changes in product mix, continued success in technical advances and delivering technological innovations, shortages in components, production delays due to performance quality issues with outsourced components, regulatory requirements and the ability to meet them, government agency rules and changes, and various other factors beyond the Company's control.


News Article | January 1, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

UniEnergy Technologies, a startup commercializing flow batteries in energy storage applications, just finished off 2015 with $25 million more in its electrolyte tanks. The round B of funding was led by Japan’s Orix, a $19 billion financial services firm and renewables developer, along with UET’s “current private equity investor.” That usually unnamed “current private equity investor” is Bolong Holding, also an investor in Rongke Power, a Chinese firm building vanadium flow batteries using an earlier type of electrolyte. UET claims that its “third-generation” flow battery system is differentiated by its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-licensed vanadium electrolyte with “double the energy density, much broader temperature range, and 100 percent recyclability.” While a sealed battery has two, typically solid, electrodes embedded in an electrolyte, a flow battery circulates a liquid electrolyte (with dissolved electroactive agents) through electrochemical cells that convert chemical energy to electricity. The electrolytes are stored externally in tanks. Power density is determined by the electrochemical cell’s area, while the volume of the tanks determines duration. This gives flow battery technology the potential for longer-duration energy storage compared to other battery types. More than 20 flow battery chemistries, including zinc-bromine, zinc-cerium, and magnesium-vanadium, have been studied — but the most researched and closest to commercialization is the vanadium redox flow battery (VRB). Vanadium, the dominant cost in that electrolyte, is a metal mined in Russia, China and South Africa with reserves in the U.S. and Canada, and is used predominantly as a steel additive. Russ Weed, VP of business development at UET, told GTM that the company’s battery works well in a microgrid, in commercial and industrial applications, and in utility applications. In a previous interview, Weed said that a typical installation will cost “somewhere between $700 and $800 per kilowatt-hour,” a figure that includes all the components needed to interconnect with the grid, adding, “When we scale up to where we’re going, we’re going to be $500 per kilowatt-hour, all in.” He adds that UET “beats the competition both on dollar per kilowatt-hour and on levelized cost.” Weed said that customers should require a figure that “includes all the installation costs and components needed to operate the system and interconnect with the grid, all in” before deciding on a particular technology. UET has built the largest-capacity flow battery in North America — a 1-megawatt, 4-megawatt-hour vanadium redox flow battery sited at the Turner Substation in Pullman, Wash. to support Washington State University’s smart campus operations. The battery will be used for load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation. Weed stressed, “We can do peak shaving (or time shifting)…and frequency regulation concurrently.” Other UET customers include Energiespeicher Nord GmbH & Co., City of New York Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Terna and Viessmann Group. Weed said, “I would submit we are the leading flow battery now and are working hard to scale up the channel. We have a pipeline of gigawatt-hours of projects we’re working on.” Today’s fleet of flow battery companies has developed some momentum in terms of capital, personnel and deployments in real-world applications. Firms such as UET, ViZn, Primus, Sumitomo and Imergy are finally installing flow batteries that pencil out financially without incentives. UET has deployed or has on order 10 megawatts/40 megawatt-hours of its vanadium flow battery. The majority of deployed capacity in the U.S. this past quarter was in the utility-scale (front-of-meter) segment, with 46.6 megawatts deployed, predominantly lithium-ion battery technology. As energy storage services mature, it is presumed that longer-duration systems will prevail and new technologies will emerge. GTM Research expects the U.S. to deploy 192 megawatts this year, tripling last year’s total. We recently published a guide to flow batteries in our initial Technology Squared column. Here’s a table from that report. Greentech Media (GTM) produces industry-leading news, research, and conferences in the business-to-business greentech market. Our coverage areas include solar, smart grid, energy efficiency, wind, and other non-incumbent energy markets. For more information, visit: greentechmedia.com , follow us on twitter: @greentechmedia, or like us on Facebook: facebook.com/greentechmedia.


News Article | December 6, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded approximately $14 million over five years to a multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington to fund research aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the Pacific Northwest. The competitive funding, which local and regional agencies and companies will match for an expected total of $28 million, advances the work of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans. It's one of 10 regional University Transportation Centers across the U.S. and represents Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The new grant will expand PacTrans' focus, which previously included data-driven solutions for transportation safety and sustainability, to address all aspects of the region's diverse mobility challenges. That will include everything from alleviating traffic congestion to improving transit accessibility for people with disabilities, improving the reliability of trip-planning tools and expanding rural transportation options. Other university partners include Boise State University, Gonzaga University, Oregon State University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Idaho and Washington State University. "This exciting new grant will allow us to address broader mobility challenges, of which our region certainly has many," said PacTrans director Yinhai Wang, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering. "We're seeing rapid population growth in both Portland and Seattle, but we also have the very rural areas like Alaska, with very few people living in a vast landscape. So the question is: How can we offer transportation mobility to people in very different living environments?" Wang said. The federal program's funding commitment is five years, much longer than the previous two UTC awards, providing valuable stability and opportunity. The universities may also partner with private companies and other stakeholders with economic and social interests in improving the reliability and efficiency with which people and goods move around the region. The proposal had strong support from members of the Congressional delegations across the involved states. "Transportation mobility is one of the great challenges facing Washington state as we seek to remain competitive now and in the future," said Sen. Patty Murray. "This funding will support important advances that will benefit our local communities and the nation as a whole." Potential research topics include expanding the use of wireless sensors to collect data and connect traffic systems, integrating self-driving vehicles into traffic operations, exploring transit deserts across the region, strategic freight planning and car-sharing for elderly communities. "When it comes to transportation problems, I have found that most folks want facts and data to guide decision-making," said Rep. Rick Larsen, a senior member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "That is why this grant is important - it will help the UW and its PacTrans partners develop smarter transportation solutions that will help drive job growth and keep the economy moving." Matching funders include transportation industry partners and local transportation agencies, including the four states' transportation departments and the City of Seattle. "Considering the transportation challenges facing America, our country needs this innovative research being done by these universities to help speed up freight movement and reduce congestion," said Sen. Maria Cantwell. For more information, contact Wang at yinhai@uw.edu.


News Article | November 17, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced four grants totaling $1.2 million to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture in the United States. These awards were made through the Aquaculture Research Program authorized by the Competitive, Special and Facilities Research Grants Act, administered by NIFA. "In 2015, Americans spent $96 billion on seafood, but only a small portion of that was produced by U.S. aquaculture," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "To meet the growing demand for this healthy source of protein, NIFA investments are helping enhance U.S. aquaculture production to promote both economic opportunities and a safe, reliable domestic seafood source." Global demand for seafood is projected to increase substantially while harvests from capture fisheries are stable or declining. In cooperation with land-grant university partners and diverse stakeholders, NIFA provides leadership and administers federal funding for aquaculture research, technology development and extension programs. NIFA Aquaculture Research Program grants support the development of a globally competitive and profitable U.S. aquaculture industry through investments that help improve domestic aquaculture production efficiency, sustainability, safety, marketing, information sharing, and access to global science-based information and advanced technologies. NIFA provides leadership in coordinating federal activities related to aquaculture through the Interagency Working Group on Aquaculture, under the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science. Projects funded in 2016 include research conducted by scientists at Michigan State University, who will identify strains of a common bacteria that threaten farmed rainbow trout as a step toward improved disease prevention and control. Virginia Tech researchers will work with commercial farmers to compare profitability of both pond and recirculating-water commercial business models. An Auburn University project will evaluate and optimize the economics, fish and plant biology and food safety aspects of a high-yield aquaponics system that utilizes fish waste to generate additional revenue. The Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Stony Brook will use molecular genetics techniques to identify disease-resistant clam germlines, to help improve commercial shellfish stocks. More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website. Previous aquaculture projects from other NIFA programs include a Virginia State University Cooperative Extension project that converted a large vacant downtown warehouse in Petersburg, Va., into an aquaponics production center. Researchers at Washington State University and the University of Idaho discovered how to use certain probiotics to combat a common bacterial disease of trout and salmon. These discoveries also help reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance that can occur through the overuse of antibiotics. Since 2009, USDA has invested $19 billion in research both intramural and extramural. During that time, research conducted by USDA scientists has resulted in 883 patent applications filed, 405 patents issued and 1,151 new inventions disclosures covering a wide range of topics and discoveries. To learn more about how USDA supports cutting edge science and innovation, visit the USDA Medium chapter Food and Ag Science Will Shape Our Future. NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www. , sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts. USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.


News Article | December 14, 2015
Site: www.rdmag.com

Washington State University researchers have developed a catalyst that easily converts bio-based ethanol to a widely used industrial chemical, paving the way for more environmentally friendly, bio-based plastics and products. The researchers have published a paper online describing the catalyst in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and have been granted a U.S. patent. The chemical industry is interested in moving away from fossil fuels to bio-based products to reduce environmental impacts and to meet new regulations for sustainability, said Yong Wang, Voiland Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. The catalyst works on bio-based ethanol to create isobutene used in plastics and other products. The industry has traditionally made a widely used chemical called isobutene - used in everything from plastic soda bottles to rubber tires - by superheating crude oil. But in collaboration with the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company, Wang and his colleagues developed a catalyst to convert bio-based ethanol, which is made from corn or other biomass, to isobutene in one easy production step. The researchers examined the costs and lifetime of their catalyst to determine its practicality for the marketplace and determined that it could be used for other closely related feedstocks. They also discovered just how their catalyst works, knowledge that could be used to design more efficient catalysts for a wide range of applications. In addition to ADM, the work was supported by a grant from the Department of Energy (DE-AC05-RL01830, FWP-47319). "This is one example that shows the benefits of closely linking the practical and fundamental aspects of research to develop scalable and commercially practical catalysts for applications of importance to industries,'' said Wang, who holds a joint appointment in the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.


News Article | October 6, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A Washington State University research team has used a simple, common industrial process in a new way to create chemicals used widely as fuel additives and as feedstock for plasticizers, detergents, lubricants and cosmetics. Using the Fischer-Tropsch process to make alcohols and aldehydes in large amounts could lower the cost and energy required to produce the chemicals and possibly provide cleaner manufacturing. The work is reported in today's issue ofNature Communications. A patent has been filed on the process by Norbert Kruse, WSU Voiland Distinguished Professor, and Yizhi Xiang, a postdoctoral fellow in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. Kruse holds a joint appointment at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. The Fischer-Tropsch process is a chemical reaction that uses catalysts to convert two gases, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, to liquid fuels in a simple, one-step process. It has been used for almost a century to create liquid fuels, which are made of long chains of molecules containing only carbon and hydrogen. Current industrial processes to make alcohols and aldehydes require starting with a complex, petrochemical-based target molecule, an olefin, which is then converted to liquid chemicals in a complicated series of several steps. To make the alcohols and aldehydes in the one-step Fischer-Tropsch process, the WSU researchers used a catalyst made of cobalt, manganese and potassium. To form the liquid, the two gases react at the surface of the solid catalyst. "The catalyst preparation is really important," Kruse said. "And the chemistry aspect is wonderful: Starting with only two gases, we end up with a technically useful liquid that you usually obtain only after a number of steps in petrochemical refining. I think there is a good chance for industrial implementation." Both cobalt and manganese are abundantly available, and the entire process could be significantly less expensive than more complicated methods. The researchers also determined for the first time that they can create different amounts of chemicals depending on the ratio of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases. "This has rarely been done so far," said Kruse. "It was most intriguing to see how easily you can influence the relative amounts of chemicals you produce without changing the length of the hydrocarbon scaffold." The researchers have started working with industry partners to commercialize their method. Though it has been used for almost a century, researchers don't exactly understand how the Fischer-Tropsch process works at the molecular level. "We are making progress and are working very hard on that," said Kruse. "Possibly we can crack that nut."


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

How do you handle nuclear waste that will be radioactive for millions of years, keeping it from harming people and the environment? It isn't easy, but Rutgers researcher Ashutosh Goel has discovered ways to immobilize such waste -- the offshoot of decades of nuclear weapons production -- in glass and ceramics. Goel, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the primary inventor of a new method to immobilize radioactive iodine in ceramics at room temperature. He's also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for six glass-related research projects totaling $6.34 million in federal and private funding, with $3.335 million going to Rutgers. "Glass is a perfect material for immobilizing the radioactive wastes with excellent chemical durability," said Goel, who works in the School of Engineering. Developing ways to immobilize iodine-129, which is especially troublesome, is crucial for its safe storage and disposal in underground geological formations. The half-life of iodine-129 is 15.7 million years, and it can disperse rapidly in air and water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If it's released into the environment, iodine will linger for millions of years. Iodine targets the thyroid gland and can increase the chances of getting cancer. Among Goel's major funders is the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees one of the world's largest nuclear cleanups following 45 years of producing nuclear weapons. The national weapons complex once had 16 major facilities that covered vast swaths of Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state, according to the DOE. The agency says the Hanford site in southeastern Washington, which manufactured more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors near the Columbia River, is its biggest cleanup challenge. Hanford plants processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors. Some 56 million gallons of radioactive waste -- enough to fill more than 1 million bathtubs -- went to 177 large underground tanks. As many as 67 tanks -- more than one third -- are thought to have leaked, the DOE says. The liquids have been pumped out of the 67 tanks, leaving mostly dried solids. The Hanford cleanup mission commenced in 1989, and construction of a waste treatment plant for the liquid radioactive waste in tanks was launched a decade later and is more than three-fifths finished. "What we're talking about here is highly complex, multicomponent radioactive waste which contains almost everything in the periodic table," Goel said. "What we're focusing on is underground and has to be immobilized." Goel, a native of Punjab state in northern India, earned a doctorate in glasses and glass-ceramics from the University of Aveiro in Portugal in 2009 and was a postdoctoral researcher there. He worked as a "glass scientist" at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2011 and 2012, and then as a senior scientist at Sterlite Technologies Ltd. in India before joining the Rutgers faculty in January 2014. The six projects he's leading or co-leading are funded by the DOE Office of River Protection, National Science Foundation and Corning Inc., with collaborators from Washington State University, University of North Texas and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. One of his inventions involves mass producing chemically durable apatite minerals, or glasses, to immobilize iodine without using high temperatures. A second innovation deploys synthesizing apatite minerals from silver iodide particles. He's also studying how to immobilize sodium and alumina in high-level radioactive waste in borosilicate glasses that resist crystallization. At the Hanford site, creating glass with radioactive waste is expected to start in around 2022 or 2023, Goel said, and "the implications of our research will be much more visible by that time." The research may eventually help lead to ways to safely dispose of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is stored now at commercial nuclear power plants. "It depends on its composition, how complex it is and what it contains," Goel said. "If we know the chemical composition of the nuclear waste coming out from those plants, we can definitely work on it."


News Article | September 15, 2016
Site: phys.org

Found in nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons, plutonium is an incredibly complex element that has far-ranging energy, security, and environmental effects. To understand plutonium, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State University delved into a plutonium compound with a relatively simple composition: plutonium tetrafluoride (PuF4). While the formula is simple, the four bonds proved to be more complex. The electrons stay relatively close to each atom, creating ionic bonds—not the expected electron-sharing covalent bonds. Even though the plutonium and fluorine atoms are tied together in a lattice, they act as isolated atoms and form ionic bonds.


Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers) selected, representing over 5,500,000 diagnoses annually in the US alone, making it the most prevalent cancer today KENNEWICK, WA / ACCESSWIRE / February 28, 2017 / Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation ("AMI") (OTC PINK: ADMD), a cancer therapeutics company focused on the commercialization of their RadioGel™ device, a tumor-injectable and biodegradable radiation that remains focused at the treatment site, today released the third letter in a four letter series outlining AMI's push towards FDA submittal and commercialization from its new President & CEO, Dr. Mike Korenko. After two months of dynamic experience-based discussions among our Medical Advisory Board Members and other senior doctors we have selected our first indication for use which we will present to the Food and Drug Administration. After thorough review to prioritize indications, we have selected basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers). The reasons for this important selection relates to our criteria below: This cancer is in the skin and therefore easy to access. Single injections for small tumors are easy and we have already demonstrated our parallel injection procedure in the cat at Washington State University for larger tumors. b. Therapeutic ratio (ratio of the dose to the tumor target tissue relative to dose to adjacent normal tissue) and responsiveness to radiation: Yttrium-90 is a beta emitter in RadioGel has a much higher therapeutic ratio than any gamma emitter or external beam therapy. Since Y-90 delivers high-energy beta-rays, it has an average penetration path of 4 to 5 mm (less than a quarter inch), which is ideal for skin cancer therapy. There is minimal irradiation of normal surrounding tissue. As an added bonus, the patent can go home immediately with no irradiation risk to themselves or family members. We can treat with very high doses, so response to radiation would not be an issue. (As a comparison, external beam radiation can deliver 60 to 80 Gy. Yttrium-90 in RadioGel can go to 700 Gy or higher). As discussed above, there is very low risk of collateral damage. In addition, the skin is not located next to a major organ, for example if you were injecting near spinal tumors. Because of the low collateral risk and because of the therapeutic effects that would be relatively easy to see in three months, the Medical Advisory Board felt this might be an easier device for the FDA to approve and in a shorter timeframe. In addition, some of our animal testing, that will start in about two months, are already treating similar cancers. We intentionally avoided applying to the FDA for melanoma, since it is highly metastatic and goes deep into the tissue. There are a much smaller number of cases for this cancer type (around 300,000). In addition, there are three new immunotherapy products on the market to treat melanoma cancer. They can have serious side-effects, but they are promising. That violates our next criterion below. Some skin cancers require several-hour long surgeries in which the tumor is removed, one layer at a time, and then sent for biopsy. They then require a skin graft that can lead to an infection. On tumors of the face this can be disfiguring. As people get older their skin gets thinner, which increases the difficulty. Our Advisory Board felt that for these cases in particular RadioGel has a significant therapeutic advantage. It would be comparatively benefit the patient and contribute to reducing the cost of health care. 3. CAN BE PROFITABLY EMBRACED BY THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY: One out or every three new cancers in the United States is a cancerous skin lesion. The two skin cancer types that we selected are the most common. There are 3.3 million patients in the United States with 5.5 million tumors (some patients have more than one tumor.) About 1 million of these are squamous cell cancers located near the surface of the epidermal skin layer, and greater than 4 million are basal cell cancers in the deep layer of the epidermis. I would never say that we can treat them all; that would just be marketing hype, but I believe that this will be the preferred treatment in a substantial number of cases in a very large market. b. Ease of acceptance by the medical community, Medicare reimbursement: The potential lower cost of RadioGel therapy coupled with the potential very large number of patients satisfied this criterion. To further test the criterion, we are in discussions with a major private clinic with several skin treatment centers. This client believes this is a great new tool for their toolbox. They are also advising us on the obstacles that will have to be overcome, such our Medicare reimbursement criterion. Since we believe RadioGel therapy will reduce the cost to Medicare we are confident that will not be an obstacle. There are other cancer types on our list of eighteen potential indications of use for RadioGel, and we have already prioritized to present them to the FDA in the future. Unfortunately, in the meantime, those patients will not be befitting from this technology. As I have reported in my last shareholder letter, I am aligning the veterinarian animal testing with the human skin cancer. Specially, the University of Missouri will be focusing on the treatment for surface soft cell lesions, and Colorado State University will be refining the therapies for oral squamous cell cancers. After this selection, our next step is to prepare for the FDA pre-submittal meeting. We will request that meeting after we complete the test plans that will answer their previous questions. Until we complete these plans I can only estimate that our pre-submission to the FDA would be in June. I am really happy that we have engaged John Smith from Hogan Lovells to be at our side through this FDA process. I am excited and relieved that this selection decision had been made and I wanted to thank the members of our Medical Advisory Board – Chairman Dr. Barry D. Pressman, Dr. Albert DeNittis, Dr. Howard Sandler, and Dr. Darrell Fisher. I would also like to thank Dr. Ricardo Paz-Fumagalli and Dr. Beau Bosko Toskich from the Mayo Clinic for their valuable advice. In addition to the important developments discussed above, we continue to believe that the public markets are significantly undervaluing our company. With a fully diluted enterprise value of less than $10 million, there remains very large upside potential. As we progress on our plan, I intend to work vigorously to educate and inform the medical and investment community as to the therapeutic benefits our core technology as well as the economic model that can generate significant revenue and profits. We are committed to pursuing an uplisting to a national exchange as soon as possible in order to gain wider exposure and credibility in our pursuit of the multi-billion-dollar addressable market for Radiogel™, that can both significantly improve patient outcomes and reward shareholders. Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (ADMD) is a late stage radiation oncology focused medical device company engaged in the development of yttrium-90 based brachytherapy devices for cancer treatment. The IsoPet Solutions division is focused on utilizing RadioGel for a cancer therapy in animals. Brachytherapy uses radiation to destroy cancerous tumors by placing a radioactive isotope inside or next to the treatment area. The Company intends to outsource material aspects of manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing for its products in the United States and to enter into licensing arrangements outside of the United States, though the Company will evaluate its alternatives before finalizing its plans. For more information, please visit our websites: www.isopetsolutions.com and www.isotopeworld.com. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these statements by the use of the words "may," "will," "should," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "continue," "estimates," "projects," "intends," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those projected or anticipated. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company's ability to successfully execute its expanded business strategy, including by entering into definitive agreements with suppliers, commercial partners and customers; general economic and business conditions, effects of continued geopolitical unrest and regional conflicts, competition, changes in technology and methods of marketing, delays in completing various engineering and manufacturing programs, changes in customer order patterns, changes in product mix, continued success in technical advances and delivering technological innovations, shortages in components, production delays due to performance quality issues with outsourced components, regulatory requirements and the ability to meet them, government agency rules and changes, and various other factors beyond the Company's control. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers) selected, representing over 5,500,000 diagnoses annually in the US alone, making it the most prevalent cancer today KENNEWICK, WA / ACCESSWIRE / February 28, 2017 / Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation ("AMI") (OTC PINK: ADMD), a cancer therapeutics company focused on the commercialization of their RadioGel™ device, a tumor-injectable and biodegradable radiation that remains focused at the treatment site, today released the third letter in a four letter series outlining AMI's push towards FDA submittal and commercialization from its new President & CEO, Dr. Mike Korenko. After two months of dynamic experience-based discussions among our Medical Advisory Board Members and other senior doctors we have selected our first indication for use which we will present to the Food and Drug Administration. After thorough review to prioritize indications, we have selected basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancers). The reasons for this important selection relates to our criteria below: This cancer is in the skin and therefore easy to access. Single injections for small tumors are easy and we have already demonstrated our parallel injection procedure in the cat at Washington State University for larger tumors. b. Therapeutic ratio (ratio of the dose to the tumor target tissue relative to dose to adjacent normal tissue) and responsiveness to radiation: Yttrium-90 is a beta emitter in RadioGel has a much higher therapeutic ratio than any gamma emitter or external beam therapy. Since Y-90 delivers high-energy beta-rays, it has an average penetration path of 4 to 5 mm (less than a quarter inch), which is ideal for skin cancer therapy. There is minimal irradiation of normal surrounding tissue. As an added bonus, the patent can go home immediately with no irradiation risk to themselves or family members. We can treat with very high doses, so response to radiation would not be an issue. (As a comparison, external beam radiation can deliver 60 to 80 Gy. Yttrium-90 in RadioGel can go to 700 Gy or higher). As discussed above, there is very low risk of collateral damage. In addition, the skin is not located next to a major organ, for example if you were injecting near spinal tumors. Because of the low collateral risk and because of the therapeutic effects that would be relatively easy to see in three months, the Medical Advisory Board felt this might be an easier device for the FDA to approve and in a shorter timeframe. In addition, some of our animal testing, that will start in about two months, are already treating similar cancers. We intentionally avoided applying to the FDA for melanoma, since it is highly metastatic and goes deep into the tissue. There are a much smaller number of cases for this cancer type (around 300,000). In addition, there are three new immunotherapy products on the market to treat melanoma cancer. They can have serious side-effects, but they are promising. That violates our next criterion below. Some skin cancers require several-hour long surgeries in which the tumor is removed, one layer at a time, and then sent for biopsy. They then require a skin graft that can lead to an infection. On tumors of the face this can be disfiguring. As people get older their skin gets thinner, which increases the difficulty. Our Advisory Board felt that for these cases in particular RadioGel has a significant therapeutic advantage. It would be comparatively benefit the patient and contribute to reducing the cost of health care. 3. CAN BE PROFITABLY EMBRACED BY THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY: One out or every three new cancers in the United States is a cancerous skin lesion. The two skin cancer types that we selected are the most common. There are 3.3 million patients in the United States with 5.5 million tumors (some patients have more than one tumor.) About 1 million of these are squamous cell cancers located near the surface of the epidermal skin layer, and greater than 4 million are basal cell cancers in the deep layer of the epidermis. I would never say that we can treat them all; that would just be marketing hype, but I believe that this will be the preferred treatment in a substantial number of cases in a very large market. b. Ease of acceptance by the medical community, Medicare reimbursement: The potential lower cost of RadioGel therapy coupled with the potential very large number of patients satisfied this criterion. To further test the criterion, we are in discussions with a major private clinic with several skin treatment centers. This client believes this is a great new tool for their toolbox. They are also advising us on the obstacles that will have to be overcome, such our Medicare reimbursement criterion. Since we believe RadioGel therapy will reduce the cost to Medicare we are confident that will not be an obstacle. There are other cancer types on our list of eighteen potential indications of use for RadioGel, and we have already prioritized to present them to the FDA in the future. Unfortunately, in the meantime, those patients will not be befitting from this technology. As I have reported in my last shareholder letter, I am aligning the veterinarian animal testing with the human skin cancer. Specially, the University of Missouri will be focusing on the treatment for surface soft cell lesions, and Colorado State University will be refining the therapies for oral squamous cell cancers. After this selection, our next step is to prepare for the FDA pre-submittal meeting. We will request that meeting after we complete the test plans that will answer their previous questions. Until we complete these plans I can only estimate that our pre-submission to the FDA would be in June. I am really happy that we have engaged John Smith from Hogan Lovells to be at our side through this FDA process. I am excited and relieved that this selection decision had been made and I wanted to thank the members of our Medical Advisory Board – Chairman Dr. Barry D. Pressman, Dr. Albert DeNittis, Dr. Howard Sandler, and Dr. Darrell Fisher. I would also like to thank Dr. Ricardo Paz-Fumagalli and Dr. Beau Bosko Toskich from the Mayo Clinic for their valuable advice. In addition to the important developments discussed above, we continue to believe that the public markets are significantly undervaluing our company. With a fully diluted enterprise value of less than $10 million, there remains very large upside potential. As we progress on our plan, I intend to work vigorously to educate and inform the medical and investment community as to the therapeutic benefits our core technology as well as the economic model that can generate significant revenue and profits. We are committed to pursuing an uplisting to a national exchange as soon as possible in order to gain wider exposure and credibility in our pursuit of the multi-billion-dollar addressable market for Radiogel™, that can both significantly improve patient outcomes and reward shareholders. Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (ADMD) is a late stage radiation oncology focused medical device company engaged in the development of yttrium-90 based brachytherapy devices for cancer treatment. The IsoPet Solutions division is focused on utilizing RadioGel for a cancer therapy in animals. Brachytherapy uses radiation to destroy cancerous tumors by placing a radioactive isotope inside or next to the treatment area. The Company intends to outsource material aspects of manufacturing, distribution, sales and marketing for its products in the United States and to enter into licensing arrangements outside of the United States, though the Company will evaluate its alternatives before finalizing its plans. For more information, please visit our websites: www.isopetsolutions.com and www.isotopeworld.com. This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these statements by the use of the words "may," "will," "should," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "continue," "estimates," "projects," "intends," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those projected or anticipated. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company's ability to successfully execute its expanded business strategy, including by entering into definitive agreements with suppliers, commercial partners and customers; general economic and business conditions, effects of continued geopolitical unrest and regional conflicts, competition, changes in technology and methods of marketing, delays in completing various engineering and manufacturing programs, changes in customer order patterns, changes in product mix, continued success in technical advances and delivering technological innovations, shortages in components, production delays due to performance quality issues with outsourced components, regulatory requirements and the ability to meet them, government agency rules and changes, and various other factors beyond the Company's control.


Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities have been awarded a $50,000 National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to explore the commercialization potential of their new pathway for biojet from biomass waste. The WSU process, described in a 2015 paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, uses hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of dilute alkali extracted corn stover lignin catalyzed by a noble metal catalyst (Ru/Al O ) and acidic zeolite (H+-Y) to produce lignin-substructure-based hydrocarbons (C -C ), primarily C -C cyclic structure hydrocarbons in the jet fuel range. (Earlier post.) Current biorefineries undervalue lignin’s potential, largely because selective conversion of lignin has proven to be challenging. Processes that have been successful at breaking the lignin bonds have typically resulted in shorter chain monomers as opposed to the longer chain hydrocarbons needed for fuel. In contrast, the output of the WSU processis a mix of hydrocarbons that are long-chain and can be made into nearly the right mix for jet fuel. Scaling this process and putting it into production alongside current biorefinery production facilities would significantly improve biomass conversion and improve the economics of biofuels and chemicals production. Bin Yang, associate professor of biological systems engineering and principal investigator for the grant, and his team have spent several years developing the process for transforming lignin, a polymer that makes plants woody and rigid, and currently a waste product in the biofuels production process, into hydrocarbon molecules that can be certified as jet fuel. Yang said by leveraging research results from projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation and The Boeing Company, he and his team have successfully demonstrated a new, water-based process for deconstructing and recovering lignin from biomass and converting it into jet fuel-range hydrocarbons that may be certified as jet fuel in the near future. Yang currently holds a patent on the process. Libing Zhang, a WSU Tri-Cities postdoctoral research associate and the entrepreneurial lead of the project, said the NSF I-Corps program helps leading researchers develop a business platform for their research and technology that could one-day change the world, while not trying to “reinvent the wheel” by recreating processes and strategies that are already working well within the industry. For the NSF I-Corps grant, Yang and his team are working under the mentorship of Terri L. Butler from the University of Washington for the business aspects of the project.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

How do you handle nuclear waste that will be radioactive for millions of years, keeping it from harming people and the environment? It isn't easy, but Rutgers researcher Ashutosh Goel has discovered ways to immobilize such waste – the offshoot of decades of nuclear weapons production – in glass and ceramics. Goel, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the primary inventor of a new method to immobilize radioactive iodine in ceramics at room temperature. He's also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for six glass-related research projects totaling $6.34 million in federal and private funding, with $3.335 million going to Rutgers. "Glass is a perfect material for immobilizing the radioactive wastes with excellent chemical durability," said Goel, who works in the School of Engineering. Developing ways to immobilize iodine-129, which is especially troublesome, is crucial for its safe storage and disposal in underground geological formations. The half-life of iodine-129 is 15.7 million years, and it can disperse rapidly in air and water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If it's released into the environment, iodine will linger for millions of years. Iodine targets the thyroid gland and can increase the chances of getting cancer. Among Goel's major funders is the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees one of the world's largest nuclear cleanups following 45 years of producing nuclear weapons. The national weapons complex once had 16 major facilities that covered vast swaths of Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state, according to the DOE. The agency says the Hanford site in southeastern Washington, which manufactured more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors near the Columbia River, is its biggest cleanup challenge. Hanford plants processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors. Some 56 million gallons of radioactive waste – enough to fill more than 1 million bathtubs – went to 177 large underground tanks. As many as 67 tanks – more than one third – are thought to have leaked, the DOE says. The liquids have been pumped out of the 67 tanks, leaving mostly dried solids. The Hanford cleanup mission commenced in 1989, and construction of a waste treatment plant for the liquid radioactive waste in tanks was launched a decade later and is more than three-fifths finished. "What we're talking about here is highly complex, multicomponent radioactive waste which contains almost everything in the periodic table," Goel said. "What we're focusing on is underground and has to be immobilized." Goel, a native of Punjab state in northern India, earned a doctorate in glasses and glass-ceramics from the University of Aveiro in Portugal in 2009 and was a postdoctoral researcher there. He worked as a "glass scientist" at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2011 and 2012, and then as a senior scientist at Sterlite Technologies Ltd. in India before joining the Rutgers faculty in January 2014. The six projects he's leading or co-leading are funded by the DOE Office of River Protection, National Science Foundation and Corning Inc., with collaborators from Washington State University, University of North Texas and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. One of his inventions involves mass producing chemically durable apatite minerals, or glasses, to immobilize iodine without using high temperatures. A second innovation deploys synthesizing apatite minerals from silver iodide particles. He's also studying how to immobilize sodium and alumina in high-level radioactive waste in borosilicate glasses that resist crystallization. At the Hanford site, creating glass with radioactive waste is expected to start in around 2022 or 2023, Goel said, and "the implications of our research will be much more visible by that time." The research may eventually help lead to ways to safely dispose of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is stored now at commercial nuclear power plants. "It depends on its composition, how complex it is and what it contains," Goel said. "If we know the chemical composition of the nuclear waste coming out from those plants, we can definitely work on it."


News Article | December 1, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

SPOKANE, Wash. - A portable use-of-force simulator aimed at launching a new era in police training is being rolled out by Washington State University. Called the Counter Bias Training Simulation, or CBTsim, it is the only simulation technology to use interactive video scenarios derived from extensive research of actual police-involved shootings over 30 years in the U.S. Developed by researchers at WSU's Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory in Spokane, the device is being offered as a science-driven training tool at a time when shootings involving police are under intense public scrutiny. "Whether officers are too quick to shoot or hesitant to shoot in fear of reprisal, the level of threat is the only thing that should influence decisions to shoot," said assistant professor Lois James, who created 60 interactive scenarios drawn from her analysis of data on encounters where both police and suspects used deadly force. CBTsim projects full-size, high-definition video scenarios where officers must make rapid decisions in tense situations. Instead of pressing "shoot/don't shoot" buttons, participants are armed with a Glock pistol equipped with a laser sensor. All the while, the simulator precisely tracks when the weapon is fired and where the laser strikes. "We've been able to recreate critical situations that officers face on the street using evidence-based variables," said James. "If training scenarios aren't realistic, then officers aren't getting the information they need to make life-or-death decisions." Simulation participants confront a host of variables ranging from day vs. night, a ghetto vs. upscale neighborhood, friendly vs. angry suspects, the suspect's hand position and weapon type and how he or she is dressed. The suspects, played by professional actors, represent many types of people - men and women, young and old, white, black and Hispanic, middle class and homeless. Not all are armed. Sometimes it's not clear. "Is that a gun or a wallet that the suspect is reaching for in a back pocket? The positioning of his or her hands can tell a lot," said James. "It's the cues -- not the race, gender, age or socio-economic status that matter. By exposing officers to reality-based training, we can counter-condition any bias-driven responses," she said. A debriefing occurs immediately following each video scenario, when a police trainer moderates questions and answers and solicits feedback from the trainee and other officers in the room. This allows officers to reflect on their motivations to shoot or delay shooting, said James, and any biases that may have surfaced can be reviewed in a practical, non-judgmental way. The portable training is also unique in that it is both available and affordable to law enforcement agencies around the country, said James. "Smaller police departments typically don't have access to use-of-force simulators, so we take our CBTsim to them," she said. Astoria, Ore., is the first police department to sign up for CBT training, scheduled for Dec. 6-7. Calling it "practical, academic and performance-based," police chief Brad Johnston said the information will help his officers be aware of the impact that biases have on their judgment and reactions while improving their performance at the same time. James developed the CBTsim training with support from WSU's College of Nursing and a grant from the university's Office of Commercialization, which helps get researchers' innovations out of the lab and into the marketplace.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: phys.org

It isn't easy, but Rutgers researcher Ashutosh Goel has discovered ways to immobilize such waste – the offshoot of decades of nuclear weapons production – in glass and ceramics. Goel, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the primary inventor of a new method to immobilize radioactive iodine in ceramics at room temperature. He's also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for six glass-related research projects totaling $6.34 million in federal and private funding, with $3.335 million going to Rutgers. "Glass is a perfect material for immobilizing the radioactive wastes with excellent chemical durability," said Goel, who works in the School of Engineering. Developing ways to immobilize iodine-129, which is especially troublesome, is crucial for its safe storage and disposal in underground geological formations. The half-life of iodine-129 is 15.7 million years, and it can disperse rapidly in air and water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If it's released into the environment, iodine will linger for millions of years. Iodine targets the thyroid gland and can increase the chances of getting cancer. Among Goel's major funders is the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees one of the world's largest nuclear cleanups following 45 years of producing nuclear weapons. The national weapons complex once had 16 major facilities that covered vast swaths of Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state, according to the DOE. The agency says the Hanford site in southeastern Washington, which manufactured more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors near the Columbia River, is its biggest cleanup challenge. Hanford plants processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors. Some 56 million gallons of radioactive waste – enough to fill more than 1 million bathtubs – went to 177 large underground tanks. As many as 67 tanks – more than one third – are thought to have leaked, the DOE says. The liquids have been pumped out of the 67 tanks, leaving mostly dried solids. The Hanford cleanup mission commenced in 1989, and construction of a waste treatment plant for the liquid radioactive waste in tanks was launched a decade later and is more than three-fifths finished. "What we're talking about here is highly complex, multicomponent radioactive waste which contains almost everything in the periodic table," Goel said. "What we're focusing on is underground and has to be immobilized." Goel, a native of Punjab state in northern India, earned a doctorate in glasses and glass-ceramics from the University of Aveiro in Portugal in 2009 and was a postdoctoral researcher there. He worked as a "glass scientist" at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2011 and 2012, and then as a senior scientist at Sterlite Technologies Ltd. in India before joining the Rutgers faculty in January 2014. The six projects he's leading or co-leading are funded by the DOE Office of River Protection, National Science Foundation and Corning Inc., with collaborators from Washington State University, University of North Texas and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. One of his inventions involves mass producing chemically durable apatite minerals, or glasses, to immobilize iodine without using high temperatures. A second innovation deploys synthesizing apatite minerals from silver iodide particles. He's also studying how to immobilize sodium and alumina in high-level radioactive waste in borosilicate glasses that resist crystallization. At the Hanford site, creating glass with radioactive waste is expected to start in around 2022 or 2023, Goel said, and "the implications of our research will be much more visible by that time." The research may eventually help lead to ways to safely dispose of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is stored now at commercial nuclear power plants. "It depends on its composition, how complex it is and what it contains," Goel said. "If we know the chemical composition of the nuclear waste coming out from those plants, we can definitely work on it."


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.marketwired.com

First of its kind renewable biofuel made from residual wood used by Alaska Airlines IRVING, TX--(Marketwired - November 16, 2016) - EPIC Fuels provided expertise in fuel blending as well as technical and logistical support to Alaska Airlines' first commercial flight using the world's first renewable, alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests. The alternative jet fuel was produced through the efforts of the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). Gevo, Inc., a NARA partner, successfully adapted its patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol, which was then further converted into Gevo's Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) fuel. Believed to be the world's first alternative jet fuel produced from wood, the fuel meets international ASTM standards, allowing it to be used safely for the commercial flight flown on November 14, 2016. Alaska Airlines selected EPIC Fuels as a partner to ensure project success based on EPIC's extensive experience in renewable fuel operations. EPIC provided transportation, logistic support, on-site quality control at both the Gevo facility and Alaska Airlines fuel operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and consultant support in the blending and testing process. The demonstration flight departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on November 14 for Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. The flight was fueled with a 20 percent blend of sustainable aviation biofuel, which is chemically indistinguishable from regular jet A fuel. The flight, the first commercial passenger flight of its kind, continues to advance viable alternatives to conventional fossil fuels for aviation. EPIC Fuels has been playing an ever-increasing role in growing acceptance of sustainable biofuels and biofuel blends used in jet aviation. Through this and other similar programs, EPIC has gained unique experience and insight of how biofuels interact with fossil jet fuels. The company has amassed significant experience in these projects including blending data, logistics, transportation and the rigorous testing required to ensure the fuels meet or exceed industry safety standards. "We've provided expertise in blending and fuel quality testing in multiple demonstration flights over the last several years and are proud to work with leaders in the industry, such as Alaska Airlines, Gevo and NARA in identifying and fast tracking technologies that can improve the environmental performance of aviation fuels," said Kai Sorenson, Director of Commercial Sales for EPIC Fuels. Over the last several years EPIC has provided both technical and logistic expertise in programs for sustainable fuel alternatives including two flights flown by Alaska Airlines in June 2016 using a blend of biofuel produced from non-edible, sustainable corn. In addition, EPIC provided support for the Boeing ecoDemonstrator 757 flight with U.S.-made "green diesel" biofuel in June, 2015 and Boeing's first-ever flights using a green diesel blend during the ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test program in December, 2014. EPIC Fuels is a global supplier of fuels and services to FBOs, commercial airlines, airports, ground fueling operators, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and other government agencies around the world. Our largest customers include Fortune 500 flight departments, top-tier FBOs, major airlines, charter and cargo operators as well as all branches of the U.S. military. In addition, we offer the EPIC Card, an aviation fuel card for retail or contract fuel purchases and ancillary services. The EPIC Card is accepted both in and out of network, at over 8,000 locations worldwide. For more information, please visit us online at www.EPICFuels.com.


News Article | November 4, 2015
Site: www.nature.com

Vultures carve lazy circles in the sky as a stream of tourists marches down a walkway into Colorado's Spruce Canyon. Watching their steps, the visitors file along a series of switchbacks leading to one of the more improbable villages in North America — a warren of living quarters, storage rooms, defensive towers and ceremonial spaces all tucked into a large cleft in the face of a cliff. When ancient farmers built these structures around the year 1200, they had nothing like the modern machinery that constructed the tourist walkway. Instead, the residents had to haul thousands of tonnes of sandstone blocks, cut timber and other materials down precarious paths to build the settlement, known as Spruce Tree House, in Mesa Verde National Park. “Why would people live here? That's an important question. It's not an easy place to reach,” says Donna Glowacki, an archaeologist now at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, as she walks among the ruins. Even more perplexing is what happened after they settled there. The villagers occupied their cliffside houses for just a short time before everyone suddenly picked up and left. So did all the other farmers living in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest, where the modern states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet (see 'Turbulent times'). All together, nearly 30,000 people disappeared from this area between the mid-1200s and 1285, making it one of the greatest vanishing acts documented in human history. What had been one of the most populous parts of North America became almost instantly a ghost land. Archaeologists have long puzzled over what drove these farmers, the ancestors of the Pueblo people, from their homes and fields. “That is one of the iconic problems of southwestern — and world — prehistory,” says archaeologist Mark Varien, who is executive vice-president of the Crow Canyon Research Institute in Cortez, Colorado. Early scholars blamed nomads, the ancestors of the Apache and Navajo, for violently displacing the farmers. Over the past couple of decades, the main explanation has shifted to climate — a profound drought and cold snap that hit in the 1270s. But a series of studies by Glowacki, Varian and other researchers reveals a much more complex answer. The scientists have used detailed archaeological analysis, fine-grained climatic reconstructions and computer models to simulate how ancestral Pueblo families would have responded to their environment. The interdisciplinary strategy has enabled the researchers to examine prehistoric societal changes at a level unattainable in most other regions. “We have enormous detail on this archaeologically. Unparalleled detail,” says Steve Lekson, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. The emerging picture is one of a society rocked by troubles until it eventually toppled. More than a century before the Mesa Verde villages emptied out, political disruptions and a monster drought destabilized the entire ancestral Pueblo world. Thousands of people moved into the Mesa Verde region from nearby areas, straining the agricultural capacity of the landscape and eroding established cultural traditions. This led to violent conflicts that further undermined the society, spurring some people to leave. When another drought hit in the late 1200s, the remaining population departed en masse. Political instability, cultural conflict, violence, overcrowding and drought. Many of the challenges encountered by the ancestral Pueblo seem all too familiar in 2015, as hundreds of thousands of migrants flee from the Middle East and Africa towards Europe. When Glowacki looks at the events of more than seven centuries ago at Spruce Tree House, she sees many similarities. “There was a splintering that went on and an implosion of this political system. It was a rejection, them saying, 'We can't live that way anymore. There has to be a better way'.” It was chance that first carried Glowacki into the world of the ancestral Pueblo. Before starting graduate school, she ended up in a summer job as a ranger at Mesa Verde National Park, where she fell for the landscape and its archaeology. She has spent the past 23 years, on and off, researching the region's ancient populations. At Spruce Tree House, Glowacki pulls out a map showing the latest results of an architectural analysis that she is helping the park to carry out. The work is laborious — researchers sometimes sit in front of a wall of sandstone blocks for days, studying the mortar and rocks to work out how the structure was first built and then altered over time. Gradually, a history of the village has taken shape, showing that people assembled the first set of rooms in the alcove around the year 1200, and added more right up until the last residents abandoned the site around 85 years later. The researchers can narrow construction dates to within a year or two by analysing tree-ring patterns in the wooden support beams in the ceilings and then matching them to an established tree-ring chronology for the region. Despite the tedious nature of the work, Glowacki says that it never loses its appeal. “There are rooms that are fully intact, and you can stand in them — and they were built in the 1240s. In this country, being able to stand in something that was built at that time is really pretty magical.” The cliff dwellings were a last resort for the park's prehistoric Pueblo residents. When farmers first arrived in the region around AD 600, they settled on the fertile highlands above the canyons, which gave them easier access to their fields. But by 1200, something began to force them over the edge into the giant alcoves that naturally form in the sandstone cliffs. Insights into that shift are emerging thanks to a major interdisciplinary effort called the Village Ecodynamics Project (VEP), which launched in 2002. Funded by the US National Science Foundation, the nearly US$2.5-million initiative is assessing how social and environmental factors influenced the populations of prehistoric Pueblo farmers from about 600 to 1300, says Tim Kohler, the VEP's principal investigator and an archaeologist at Washington State University in Pullman. In one strand of research, the team drew on the rich history of archaeology in the region to compile a database of 18,000 prehistoric sites, which allowed them to measure the population and how it shifted over time1. With such a massive database, the researchers could look at population changes in narrow time bands averaging about 40 years (see 'All gone'). “There are not many places in the world where archaeologists can look at changes in such discrete slices of time,” says Varien, who is a co-principal investigator of the VEP. The analysis1 suggested that people started leaving the Mesa Verde region at least 15 years before the drought hit. “It looks as though the final depopulation began with a trickle and ended with a flood,” says Scott Ortman, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who developed the model for the project's population analysis. Another part of the VEP looked at how the farmers fed themselves. The researchers used temperature and precipitation estimates from tree-ring data to create a model of where the communities could have grown maize (corn) each year, which was their main source of food. The calculations of this 'maize niche' did a good job of explaining how many people settled in different regions, says Kohler. The team's latest data show that when growing conditions improved, the population density spiked, more than doubling in some regions. But one place defied that pattern: Mesa Verde National Park. When farming became easier, people actually moved out of that area. And, paradoxically, when times grew tough, more people moved in. Kohler and his colleagues suggest that these movement patterns have to do with topography. The park stands higher than the surrounding landscape, so it gets more precipitation. And because the highlands tilt to the south, cold air drains off, leaving Mesa Verde warmer than the surrounding lowlands. So when the region faced drought or a cold spell, farmers congregated in the more-reliable Mesa Verde area — something researchers had not appreciated before now, says Kohler. “People have been working in this area for 100 years, and I don't think they ever realized it,” he says of such a climate pattern. The VEP researchers have also conjured up a virtual version of the past. The team constructed a computer model of the landscape and then seeded it with households that could grow maize, hunt, collect water and wood and move to new sites if they failed to secure enough resources. By comparing the simulations to the archaeological record, the researchers can examine factors that might have driven ancient populations to migrate. “It's really a new way of doing archaeology,” says Varien. Kohler says that he sometimes switches on the graphics during a simulation to watch the behaviour of the dots that represent households. Scattered randomly at first, they scurry around until their inhabitants can harvest enough resources. Then, they form into settlements, which grow rapidly to a point when they can no longer sustain themselves — and so the households move again. But there is a limit to how much Kohler can watch. “Even on modern, fast processors, when the agents get into the thousands, it slows down and it's no longer fun,” he says. By comparing the simulations to the actual population data, the researchers discovered2 some interesting discrepancies during the 1100s and 1200s. In the model, the farmers spread out farther across the landscape than they actually did in reality. So something seems to have caused the real ancestral Pueblo to huddle together more tightly than expected. Kohler and his colleagues wondered whether fear might have been a factor. To find out, they surveyed the archaeological literature and tracked levels of violence in the area through time by tallying how many skeletons had broken arm bones, fractured skulls or other signs consistent with acts of aggression. Some had apparently died in massacres, and there was even evidence of cannibalism at certain sites. Between 600 and 1000, the Mesa Verde region was relatively peaceful, but rates of violence rose in the mid-1000s and spiked again in the late 1200s, right before the ancient Pueblo left, the researchers reported last year3. “What we found was that people were more clumped up than the model predicted precisely in times when there was a lot of violence on the landscape,” says Kohler. There has been some scepticism among archaeologists about the use of agent-based modelling, but Kohler says that it has been useful in this case: the inconsistency between the simulations and the real data prompted the researchers to look at violence in a new way. “That disjunction identifies for us interesting questions,” he says. Most researchers think that the majority of violent acts occurred within ancestral Pueblo communities: one village attacking another over food resources or neighbours turning on each other. More than half the skeletons from some periods bore signs of trauma. “They are one of the most violent societies we've ever studied,” says Kohler. But not all of their troubles came from within. Some unusual-looking projectile points have turned up at massacre sites that date to just before the Pueblo people left the Mesa Verde region, so invading nomads might have had a role in forcing the farmers from their homes. In the next stage of the VEP project, researchers plan to look at how food shortages might have contributed to violence. The new version of the agent-based model is more sophisticated than the last, allowing households to form social groups that compete with each other for access to agricultural lands. Leaders can emerge, fighting can erupt between groups and people can migrate away from Mesa Verde to an area farther south in New Mexico, where many ancestral Pueblo are thought to have resettled. This all amounts to a huge step up in processing, so the team will graduate to a supercomputer for future simulations, which are planned for later this year or early next year. Nothing of this scale has been done before in the field, says Kohler. “Archaeologists do not have the reputation of being users of high-performance computing environments,” he says. “But I don't think we'll be the end of the road for this kind of work.” Among the ruins at Spruce Tree House, Glowacki takes a different approach. As a collaborator on the VEP project, she does not discount the importance of drought and short growing seasons. But she focuses on some of the other factors that also stressed the ancestral Pueblo society. The signs are in the houses that fill the Spruce Canyon alcove. The architectural-documentation project has taught Glowacki that the residents there updated their homes just as much as people in New York or London today. “Even when they were living there, they were making changes and adding walls and doors and doing all of this remodelling.” Some of these alterations point to dramatic events. In the mid-1200s, structures associated with one of the founding families were burned: fire damage can be seen in one room and in a kiva, a circular depression that served as the family's ceremonial space. The fire does not seem to be accidental, Glowacki says. Rather, it could have been part of a ritual changeover in ownership or it might reflect someone forcing out one of the original clans. “At the very least, that suggests there were some significant changes in the clans or families that were using the structures — or in part of the leadership there.” Other rooms in the alcove were also burned, including a tower that may have served as a defensive structure. Taken together, the architectural evidence provides a detailed view of friction in the village, she says. “There was some sort of conflict and people left, presumably, and new people came in and remade these spaces.” Around the Pueblo region, there are many signs of cultural change leading up to and during the 1200s. Glowacki, along with some other archaeologists, thinks that such adjustments had to do with shifting political allegiances in that part of the world. During the mid-1000s and early 1100s, the centre of power among the Pueblo people was located about 150 kilometres south of the Mesa Verde area, in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon. In the 1100s, an extension of the Chaco political order rose up at a site now called Aztec Ruins National Monument, midway to Mesa Verde. The Chaco–Aztec culture was socially stratified, with massive residences in which the elites lived. Smaller versions of the elite 'great houses' have been found in villages to the north, which reveals the broad influence of the Chaco–Aztec political order. Then, an awful drought between 1130 and 1150 apparently weakened that order, and new types of practice emerged. In the Mesa Verde region, some communities built more-inclusive spaces, such as open plazas, and they removed the roofs from some large kivas, allowing broader participation in rituals4. The changes in public and ceremonial spaces demonstrate the waning influence of the Chaco–Aztec polity, which had previously unified the Pueblo world. “What is happening is you have this dissolution and splintering,” Glowacki says. That may have contributed to the increased violence and served to drive farmers from their highland villages towards the more-secure alcoves along the cliff faces. These political upheavals may also partially explain why people started to abandon the Mesa Verde area decades before the drought of the mid-1270s hit. The combination of political instability, social upheaval and then a rotten climate was too much to take, she says. “It got really bad and really nasty, and they wanted to get away from it.” Kohler sees parallels with the collapse of the classic Mayan civilization in the ninth century, as well as with events in the Middle East today. In the case of the Mesa Verde exodus, researchers can look in detail not only at why and when people left, but also at what happened afterwards. “We need to understand migration streams better,” he says. “We have the advantage of the long view.” Whatever forced the Pueblo to uproot themselves, tens of thousands of people left the Four Corners region in search of something better. And many apparently found what they were looking for. When the exodus began, the ancestral Pueblo migrated in several different directions: some to the southwest into Arizona and some to southern New Mexico. Archaeologists have long suspected that many settled along the Rio Grande river in northern New Mexico, a couple of hundred kilometres southeast of the Mesa Verde region. That hypothesis is supported by population data, which show that the Rio Grande region became more crowded; VEP studies5 have indicated that between 1250 and 1300, the population in this area swelled from 8,000 to 18,000 people. By the early decades of the 1300s, it was close to 25,000, Ortman says. When they settled in their new home, the Mesa Verde people made a clear break from their former lives. Analysis by Kohler, Ortman and their colleagues3 shows that rates of violence were much lower than before. And the Pueblo made social changes as well. “The migrants do not appear to be trying to continue with the society and traditions of the Four Corners. They were trying to leave them behind,” says Ortman. The Pueblo villages that grew up after 1300 reflect a much more communal type of society, in which multiple families shared kivas and residents gathered in open ceremonial spaces. There was also a political change, says Lekson, who has studied the elite residences at Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruins. “They shucked off all the nobles and the kings, and they never had them again. They figured out how to run villages without that apparatus.” Even today, southwestern Pueblo villages continue to embrace an egalitarian society. Ortman finds inspiration in the evolution of Pueblo culture after the collapse. “Pueblo people had to create those values and institutions that reflect them as a result of their past struggles,” he says. And that system has been remarkably successful. Pueblo villages have retained their culture and languages to a much stronger degree than most other Native American communities, he says. “Some of the Pueblos that emerged after the Mesa Verde migration have been able to withstand 500 years of European colonization,” says Ortman. “One could say that those communities have weathered European colonization better than almost any other society in the world — certainly within the United States.” At Spruce Tree House, Glowacki has seen how strong those traditions still are. Just a few weeks earlier, she took part in a workshop that included some teachers who are Pueblo and who demonstrated how they grind maize. Even that mundane chore took on spiritual dimensions as the teachers made offerings to their ancestors who once inhabited the cliff dwelling. To the modern Pueblo, the centuries-old structures are not abandoned ruins but still echo with the spirits of those who came before. “It was a really beautiful moment,” says Glowacki. “What I think makes Pueblo culture really interesting and perhaps unique is the long arc of Pueblo history. There's a lot we can learn about how a society faces really difficult times, adversities — and fundamentally reorganizes and transforms their culture.”


News Article | December 14, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

Federal researchers looking for ways to contain petroleum spills in frigid Arctic waters are investigating whether a powder form of humble sawdust can provide a solution. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are testing chemically modified wood flour to determine whether it can enhance the burning of crude oil after a spill. Tests of small batches treated with components of vegetable oil indicate the material will grab onto crude oil and help keep it near the surface. PNNL senior research scientist George Bonheyo, who is also a research professor of bioengineering at Washington State University, calls the material "incredibly buoyant, ice repelling and water-repelling." "It really, really loves oil," Bonheyo said. "It absorbs at least five times its weight in oil." Environmental groups say challenges with cleaning an oil spill are amplified in the Arctic and it's one of their primary objections to drilling off Alaska's northern coast. The location is far from ports and other infrastructure taken for granted at drilling sites such as the Gulf of Mexico. Storms are fierce and Arctic waters can be open, frozen or partially covered with ice ranging from floes to slush. Mechanical recovery has not proven effective because ice can jam skimmers. Researchers at the PNNL lab have focused on burning and bioremediation. "The point with doing a burn is that it allows you within a matter of minutes to remove upward of 90 percent of the oil from the water," Bonheyo said. To burn, he said, untreated crude oil must be fresh and at least 3mm thick, a little more than two stacked dimes. Early results from lab tests of the chemically treated sawdust indicate the material will help keep an oil slick together in the face of buffeting by wind, waves or ice, Bonheyo said, and allow it to burn in thinner amounts. "We know we can get below 1mm," he said. "We don't know exactly what the minimum thickness is." Crude oil weathers when absorbed by the material but remains buoyant for at least four months. "It works very well at holding a spill together. It seems to act kind of like a wick, allowing the volatile, flammable components to rise up to the surface to facilitate an efficient burn," Bonheyo said. Bonheyo has a background in research on ship hulls to preventing fouling by organisms. Researchers are looking into adding a bioremediation element to the chemically modified sawdust. Mixtures of organisms adapted for different hydrocarbons, and adapted for different environments, could be added to the wood-based product. "The idea there is, if any of the oil with the sawdust escaped a burn site, the microbes would be there to consume the escaped oil," Bonheyo said. Researchers have conducted burn tests of Alaska North Slope crude oil and Gulf of Mexico crude in warm water at the Navy and Coast Guard Joint Marine Test Facility near Mobile, Alabama. Cold water testing is underway. Researchers also are analyzing residue of material that remains after burning. Researchers during tests have shaken the powdery material onto water surfaces or spread it with a modified leaf blower. In the real world, Bonheyo suggested, it might be dispersed the way powdery materials are distributed by crop dusters.


News Article | December 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PULLMAN, Wash. - A Washington State University-led research team found households in rural Africa that vaccinate their cattle for East Coast fever increased their income and spent the additional money on food and education. Researchers also found that when fewer cattle died from the fever, girls were more likely to attend secondary school. "When households vaccinate, it increases their wealth and income and sets them on a trajectory to provide education for their children," said lead author Tom Marsh, professor in WSU's School of Economic Sciences and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. "Vaccinating is a way for households to pull themselves out of poverty. "And it has an intergenerational effect if a family can spend more of their resources on education, especially for girls," he said. Published this week in the journal Science Advances, the study found that vaccinating increased a household's income because fewer cattle died and disease free cattle produced more milk to feed the family or to be sold in the marketplace. Households also saved money because vaccinated cattle did not need as many antibiotic treatments or to be sprayed as often for ticks, which spread the disease. "We are interested in understanding how the health of livestock translates into household decisions and meets sustainable development goals," said Marsh. "For example, concern about loss of milk production drives the adoption of vaccines because it is so important to households and children." Caused by the parasite Theileria parva, East Coast fever is spread from diseased cattle to healthy cattle through tick bites. The disease can spread quickly and infect cattle throughout the community. "East Coast fever is one of the most devastating cattle diseases," said Marsh. "It is the leading cause of calf death in east Africa." For pastoral families, cattle are a main source of income. Losing even one to disease can negatively affect an entire family. Broader implications for antibiotic resistance Households that vaccinated used fewer antibiotics to treat animals, so the widespread adoption of vaccinations could have larger global health benefits. "We need to think long term about the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, as well as vaccines," said Marsh. "If organizations are going to invest more money on vaccines, then besides the known effects - such as fewer cattle deaths - we need to understand the indirect effects. "Developing better vaccines and easier ways to distribute them could have broad societal effects," he said. Co-authors on the study are Jonathan Yoder, WSU School of Economic Sciences and the Allen School; Tesfaye Deboch (deceased), WSU School of Economic Sciences; Terry McElwain, WSU Allen School; and Guy Palmer, WSU Allen School.


Receive press releases from American Science and Technology: By Email University of Malaga Researchers Collaborate with AST to Develop New Lignin-Based Products AST to send multiple shipments of its Organosolv lignin for continued product development efforts. Wausau, WI, December 07, 2016 --( Led by professors Tomás Cordero Alcántara and José Rodríguez Mirasol, TERMA Group has been working exclusively on lignocellulosic biomass materials to obtain value added materials. The promising findings from their initial efforts led to the partnership with American Science and Technology (AST), who will supply TERMA Group with multiple shipments of Organosolv lignin to further advance their product development activities. TERMA Group will use AST’s Organosolv lignin to prepare porous carbon materials in different structures or conformations (powder, nanofibers, monoliths) to use them as adsorbents or as catalysts in different applications (polluted stream treatment, reactions within the framework of a biorefinery, biofuels, electrodes for supercapacitor devices, etc.) “Although Organosolv lignin is nothing new, it was only after the recent scale up of AST’s biorefinery pilot plant (located in Wausau, WI) that this material became available in mass quantities for various research and product development efforts,” said Dr. Ali Manesh, President of AST. “And as one of the only companies that can produce pure lignin from the Organosolv process in large quantities, we feel it is our obligation to provide this product to the research communities and give them the opportunity to play a key role in the worldwide effort to valorize this second most abundant natural polymer.” Currently, AST’s Organosolv lignin is being used by several research teams at various universities, including University of Washington, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Washington State University, for various research projects. The team at University of Wisconsin-Platteville successfully coextruded AST’s Organosolv lignin with other polymers to create new resins that were then used to produce polymeric parts via injection molding. American Science and Technology is a full service shared piloting facility available to industry, and is dedicated to helping our clients develop innovative biorefinery and chemical technologies to convert lignocellulosic biomass into high-value, bio-based chemicals and products. The AST facility operates from laboratory level to multi-ton scale and is equipped with a wide range of material handling and biomass processing equipment to provide a unique opportunity for collaboration to accelerate the advancement of the bio-based economy. During the past 10 years, AST scientists and engineers have also developed a patented Organosolv pulping process that has shown to increase the efficiency and profitability of pulp and paper production by converting virtually all of the incoming lignocellulosic biomass to high-value products. AST’s Organosolv pulp not only produces quality pulp, but also produces pure lignin and organic solvents, such as butyl acetate and furfural. TERMA group, from the University of Málaga, has been involved on studies related to the conversion of different biomass waste by thermochemical processes (pyrolysis and gasification, catalysed or not) for the production of bio-gas, bio-liquids or bio-solids (activated carbons and chars) at laboratory and pilot plant scale. The group also has extensive experience in the synthesis of nanoporous carbons with different structures and morphologies that have been successfully used as adsorbents for the treatment of gas and liquid polluted streams and as catalysts in the conversion of bioalcohols to olefins, in the framework of biorefineries, and as catalyst supports in fine chemicals production and in partial oxidation of hydrocarbons. The group has also led research on the use of electrospinning/electrospray techniques for the preparation of carbon-derived submicron fibers (solid and hollow) and on the synthesis of hierarchical porous carbons. Wausau, WI, December 07, 2016 --( PR.com )-- American Science and Technology (AST), a sustainable technology company, has teamed up with TERMA Group, a team of Waste and Environmental Technology researchers at the University of Malaga, in Spain, to continue efforts on the development of new lignin-based products.Led by professors Tomás Cordero Alcántara and José Rodríguez Mirasol, TERMA Group has been working exclusively on lignocellulosic biomass materials to obtain value added materials. The promising findings from their initial efforts led to the partnership with American Science and Technology (AST), who will supply TERMA Group with multiple shipments of Organosolv lignin to further advance their product development activities.TERMA Group will use AST’s Organosolv lignin to prepare porous carbon materials in different structures or conformations (powder, nanofibers, monoliths) to use them as adsorbents or as catalysts in different applications (polluted stream treatment, reactions within the framework of a biorefinery, biofuels, electrodes for supercapacitor devices, etc.)“Although Organosolv lignin is nothing new, it was only after the recent scale up of AST’s biorefinery pilot plant (located in Wausau, WI) that this material became available in mass quantities for various research and product development efforts,” said Dr. Ali Manesh, President of AST. “And as one of the only companies that can produce pure lignin from the Organosolv process in large quantities, we feel it is our obligation to provide this product to the research communities and give them the opportunity to play a key role in the worldwide effort to valorize this second most abundant natural polymer.”Currently, AST’s Organosolv lignin is being used by several research teams at various universities, including University of Washington, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and Washington State University, for various research projects. The team at University of Wisconsin-Platteville successfully coextruded AST’s Organosolv lignin with other polymers to create new resins that were then used to produce polymeric parts via injection molding.American Science and Technology is a full service shared piloting facility available to industry, and is dedicated to helping our clients develop innovative biorefinery and chemical technologies to convert lignocellulosic biomass into high-value, bio-based chemicals and products. The AST facility operates from laboratory level to multi-ton scale and is equipped with a wide range of material handling and biomass processing equipment to provide a unique opportunity for collaboration to accelerate the advancement of the bio-based economy. During the past 10 years, AST scientists and engineers have also developed a patented Organosolv pulping process that has shown to increase the efficiency and profitability of pulp and paper production by converting virtually all of the incoming lignocellulosic biomass to high-value products. AST’s Organosolv pulp not only produces quality pulp, but also produces pure lignin and organic solvents, such as butyl acetate and furfural.TERMA group, from the University of Málaga, has been involved on studies related to the conversion of different biomass waste by thermochemical processes (pyrolysis and gasification, catalysed or not) for the production of bio-gas, bio-liquids or bio-solids (activated carbons and chars) at laboratory and pilot plant scale. The group also has extensive experience in the synthesis of nanoporous carbons with different structures and morphologies that have been successfully used as adsorbents for the treatment of gas and liquid polluted streams and as catalysts in the conversion of bioalcohols to olefins, in the framework of biorefineries, and as catalyst supports in fine chemicals production and in partial oxidation of hydrocarbons. The group has also led research on the use of electrospinning/electrospray techniques for the preparation of carbon-derived submicron fibers (solid and hollow) and on the synthesis of hierarchical porous carbons. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from American Science and Technology


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State University will lead a study to understand the relationship between sleep and chronic pain, part of a nationwide effort to address the rising abuse of opioid pain relievers and expand the arsenal of non-drug treatment options. "Physicians are being pressured to stop prescribing so many opioids," said Marian Wilson, assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing and lead investigator on the study. New prescription guidelines issued this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend providers limit the use of opioids in patients with chronic pain, she said. "It's not fair to start cutting longtime opioid users off of their medications without giving them some effective alternatives," she said. The relationship between sleep and pain has not been adequately studied, she said: "There's a small body of literature that suggests that pain and sleep correlate -- bad sleep goes with bad pain -- but we don't know for sure which comes first. 'Is my pain worse because I've slept poorly, or was my pain so bad that I couldn't sleep?'" Wilson has joined with colleagues at WSU Health Sciences Spokane and the University of Washington's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine on a study funded with a new two-year, $305,651 supplemental grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant allows Wilson to run the study as a subproject of a larger NIH-funded project led by pain experts Mark Jensen, a UW professor, and Rhonda Williams, a UW associate professor and psychologist with the U.S. Veterans Administration Puget Sound Healthcare System. Sleep expertise will be contributed by Wilson's WSU co-investigator Hans Van Dongen, professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center. The parent UW study evaluates the efficacy of self-hypnosis and mindfulness meditation training interventions to treat chronic pain in 240 military veterans. The WSU subproject will collect additional data on a pool of 135 military veterans recruited from the parent study. Participants will complete sleep surveys and wear sleep monitoring devices for a week at three separate times: just before their intervention, immediately afterward and three months post-intervention. Sleep data will be paired with pain-related data from the parent study to see if any improvements in pain are preceded or followed by improvements in sleep, or whether they happen at the same time. Insights will form a first step toward development of sleep treatments to help alleviate chronic pain. Wilson was an oncology (cancer treatment) nurse for 11 years before her passion for chronic pain management guided her to a new calling as nurse scientist. While pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing at WSU, she evaluated a new program that addressed overuse of a hospital emergency department by patients with chronic pain who were seeking opioids. The program, which referred these patients back to their primary care providers, was considered a success in that it reduced the frequency of emergency department visits in this group of patients. Yet, the project left Wilson feeling that more could be done to address the needs of individuals with chronic pain, including new ways to manage symptoms without medications. This led to her dissertation research on the effectiveness of an online self-management program for people with chronic pain, which she found resulted in reduced opioid use and misuse. More recently, she conducted a study that offered the same online program to people with chronic pain who receive methadone replacement treatment for opioid addiction. She did in-depth interviews with some participants to better understand why some end up addicted and what could be done to better manage their pain and addiction symptoms. While the results of those studies haven't been fully analyzed, it is clear to Wilson that something has to change. "We're sending people home from tooth extractions and minor surgeries with a month's supply of opioids," she said, adding that as little as two weeks of daily opioid use can cause physical dependence. "As a result, we've got opioids in almost every house in America and people becoming addicts and ending up in the methadone clinic," she said. "Let's do what we can to prevent this from happening."


News Article | December 10, 2015
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Oil Well Strippers Suffering From Low Oil Prices | Main | First CNG and propane-capable 2016 Ford F-150 rolls off the line in Kansas City » The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded $3 million from its 2015 OPEN funding to a project to develop an all-solid-state sodium battery. Led by Steve W. Martin, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in materials science and engineering and an associate of the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, and his research team at Iowa State University, the project’s collaborators include colleagues at the University of Houston; the University of Colorado, Washington State University; and Solid Power Inc. The proposed Na battery operates at room temperature, uses a benign and scalable solid-stack design for a long cycle life and expects to achieve a 20% improvement in energy density over state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells. When we look at ways to efficiently store energy from wind and solar sources, lithium-based batteries are expensive and world-wide geological resources of lithium are actually quite limited. A sodium-based battery, on the other hand, has the potential to store larger amounts of electrical energy at a significantly lower cost. And, nearly all countries have access to large amounts of sodium. Martin says that sodium batteries today use liquid sodium metal that is very dangerous, difficult and expensive to handle. Shifting the operating temperature down to room temperature allows for a longer lasting and considerably safer battery. The lower operating temperature should also result in a 20 percent improvement in energy density over state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells. Martin’s new battery will use a solid anode, cathode and electrolyte separator. This construction will eliminate all of the flammable and reactive materials from the battery and make it safer. Martin’s group at Iowa State will develop the new solid electrolyte separator; Martin has been exploring new glass compositions with very high ionic conductivities for some time. A team led by Yan Yao at the University of Houston will create a new cathode for the battery. A team led by Sehee Lee at the University of Colorado Boulder will develop the new anode for the battery. Scott Beckman and Soumik Banerjee at Washington State University will lead a team using theoretical modeling techniques to optimize the construction and operation of the assembled battery. And Solid Power, led by Dr. Josh Buettner-Garrett, will oversee the commercialization of the completed battery. While this design has been known for a long time, Martin said it has yet to make it to the marketplace. One of the critical problems that has that has kept this new type of battery on the drawing board for so long has been the slow rate at which the solid separator can transport Na+ ions across the battery, he said.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Scientists are gaining an insider's look behind the notorious infectivity of Francisella tularensis. This bacterium is an equal opportunity pathogen. It causes the disease tularemia in humans, rabbits and rodents, among others. Also called rabbit fever, the disease doesn't seem to spread from person to person. Instead, people contract it from contact with infected animals, from the bite of ticks or deerfly, or from contaminated water or soil. Untreated, tularemia can be lethal; however, it generally responds to antibiotics. "Francisella tularensis is very pathogenic. Disease can occur even when fewer than 10 bacteria get introduced into the lungs. We don't study the human pathogenic bacterium in our lab, but use a less pathogenic surrogate called Francisella novicida," explained Dr. Aria Eshraghi, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The low dose required for infectivity and the severity of the disease it causes had led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify F. tularensis as a Category A bioterrorism agent, and to track tularemia cases nationwide, according to Dr. Brook Peterson, a senior scientist at the UW School of Medicine who also participated in the study. Despite years of study, the means by which these microbes cause such severe disease remain mysterious. Eshraghi, Peterson and colleagues are among those working to unlock how Francisella tularensis overcomes the body's defenses. The latest findings, resulting from a multi-institutional effort, will be published Nov. 9 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. The bacteria have a genome distinguished by a cluster of genes called the Francisella Pathogenicity Island. Some of the genes in this region encode toxins. This region also contains the plans for the machinery that delivers these toxins to animal cells in order to cause disease. Scientists had thought the Francisella Pathogenicity Island contained all the toxin genes, but the research group then discovered a sort of outside contractor -- infection-enhancing proteins not accounted for in the pathogenicity island instructions. These proteins share features with toxins found in some other pathogens, like the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease. The researchers found evidence that these proteins promote the growth of Francisella within macrophages, white blood cells that usually ingest and digest pathogens. "Francisella novicida must actively commandeer its host to avoid cellular defenses," the researchers noted. The authors said that, until recently, it had been difficult to find new toxins related to tularemia virulence. The reported progress was possible, said project researcher David Veesler, UW assistant professor of biochemistry, because of improved technologies and techniques to capture, describe and catalog bacterial proteins. A number of these experimental procedures were performed by their colleagues collaborating on this project. These include more sensitive mass spectrometry for detecting, identifying and quantifying protein molecules, electron microscopy for visualizing an assortment of components of the nano-machine that transports toxins, and fluorescence confocal microscopy, which can label proteins with light emitting dyes. "We have discovered some of Francisella's toxins, but still to be determined is how they act on the cells the bacteria infect. That knowledge will be a big advance in our understanding of tularemia," said senior author Dr. Joseph Mougous, associate professor of microbiology at the UW School of Medicine. Participating in the project with the UW Medicine microbiologists were researchers in the UW Department of Biochemistry, the University of Maryland, Boston Children's Hospital and the Paul Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University, which has a researcher, Dr. Jean Celli, with a longstanding interest in tularemia. The research was supported by training and research funding from the National Institutes of Health, including grants AI081693 and AI080609, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Support was also provided by the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy Mass Spectrometry Center. Mougous is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holds an Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.forbes.com

Flying is convenient, but not great for the environment. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year in air travel, adding to aviation’s 5% contribution toward global warming. The good news is an alternative is in the works. Alaska Airlines flew its first commercial flight using a 20% jet biofuel blend made from limbs and branches. “This latest milestone in Alaska’s efforts to promote sustainable biofuels is especially exciting since it is uniquely sourced from the forest residuals in the Pacific Northwest,” said Joe Sprague of Alaska Airlines. The alternative jet fuel, produced by Washington State University in conjunction with the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, is the first of its kind and is chemically indistinguishable from routine jet A fuel. “We have a tremendous opportunity in our region to build a new green economy and find innovative solutions to address climate change for our health and future generations,” said Washington State U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene. Like Level Up on Facebook


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

William Mattar is proud to announce that Kenneth Lowe has joined their attorney staff. Lowe, originally from Juneau, Alaska, received his undergrad from Washington State University Vancouver, Washington, Magna Cum Laude and graduated from SUNY Buffalo School of Law in Buffalo, NY. A member of the New York State Bar Association and Bar Association of Erie County, Lowe has had many successful positions both in and outside of the field of law. Always ready to help others, one of his notable accomplishments was spending a year teaching conversational English at the Hunagshi Institute of Technology in Hunagshi, Hubei, PRC. Lowe says, "Whether it's helping people or having a positive effect on various systems, I decided that becoming a lawyer was one of the best avenues for affecting change." "Helping People...it's What We Do," is a phrase that is not only used by William Mattar, but is a clear description of how the entire firm operates. Kenneth Lowe is a valuable addition not only helping clients, but also reaching out to help in the surrounding communities as well. William Mattar focuses on motor vehicle accident injuries and has a team dedicated to preserving evidence, providing resources for clients to guide them through the process, and working to obtain the best possible results for all clients in the least amount of time. Founded in 1990, William Mattar services all of New York State. Hurt In A Car Call William Mattar. 444-4444. WilliamMattar.com


News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Washington State University researcher has developed a way to reduce the development of cancer cells that are an infrequent but dangerous byproduct of gene therapy. Grant Trobridge, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has altered the way a virus carries a beneficial gene to its target cell. The modified viral vectors reduce the risk of cancer and can be used for many blood diseases. Trobridge and his team report their development in Scientific Reports, an online open-access journal produced by the Nature Publishing Group. The team is translating their findings into a stem cell gene therapy to target a life-threatening immunodeficiency in newborns called SCID-X1, also known as "Boy in the Bubble Syndrome." Gene therapy holds potential for treating genetic diseases by replacing defective genes with repaired ones. It has shown promise in clinical trials but has also been set back by difficulties delivering genes, getting them to work for a long time and safety issues. A joint French and English trial, for example, successfully treated 17 out of 20 patients with SCID-X1 only to see five of them develop leukemia. Trobridge and his colleagues are using a vector developed from a foamy retrovirus, so named because it appears to foam in certain situations. Unlike other retroviruses, they don't normally infect humans. They also are less prone to activate nearby genes, including genes that might cause cancer. Retroviruses are a natural choice for gene therapy because they work by inserting their genes into a host's genome. With an eye toward making the vector safer, the Trobridge team altered it to change how it interacts with a target stem cell so it would insert itself into safer parts of the genome. They found that it integrated less often near potential cancer-causing genes. "Our goal is to develop a safe and effective therapy for SCID-X patients and their families," said Trobridge. "We've started to translate this in collaboration with other scientists and medical doctors into the clinic." He predicted that the therapy could be ready for clinical trials within five years. The work is funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It is in keeping with WSU's Grand Challenges, a suite of research initiatives aimed at large societal problems. The work is particularly relevant to the Sustaining Health challenge of changing the course of disease.


News Article | December 20, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

A new solid-state sodium battery development project being worked on by researchers at Iowa State University (amongst others) was recently awarded $3 million in new funding via ARPA-E’s 2015 OPEN funding initiative, according to recent reports. (ARPA-E stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.) The new research project in question is headed by Steve W Martin — an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in materials science and engineering and an associate of the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. Along with the research team at Iowa State University, other collaborators include the University of Colorado, the University of Houston, Solid Power Inc, and Washington State University. The solid-state sodium (Na) battery in question (the one that the project is developing) is intended to work at room temperature, while utilizing “a benign and scalable solid-stack design for a long cycle life.” The expectation is that the new battery will possess a roughly 20% increase in energy density, as compared to state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. Research head Steve W Martin commented: “When we look at ways to efficiently store energy from wind and solar sources, lithium-based batteries are expensive and world-wide geological resources of lithium are actually quite limited. A sodium-based battery, on the other hand, has the potential to store larger amounts of electrical energy at a significantly lower cost. And, nearly all countries have access to large amounts of sodium.” Martin’s new battery will use a solid anode, cathode and electrolyte separator. This construction will eliminate all of the flammable and reactive materials from the battery and make it safer. Martin’s group at Iowa State will develop the new solid electrolyte separator; Martin has been exploring new glass compositions with very high ionic conductivities for some time. A team led by Yan Yao at the University of Houston will create a new cathode for the battery. A team led by Sehee Lee at the University of Colorado Boulder will develop the new anode for the battery. Scott Beckman and Soumik Banerjee at Washington State University will lead a team using theoretical modeling techniques to optimize the construction and operation of the assembled battery. And Solid Power, led by Dr Josh Buettner-Garrett, will oversee the commercialization of the completed battery. The design is, notably, not a “new” one — but has until now not seen a market-viable offering.    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.   James Ayre 's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Discovery of a dual role played by the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1) may indicate a new therapeutic target for glioblastoma, an often fatal form of brain cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Findings published in the Feb. 23 online issue of Molecular Cell determined PGK1 as instrumental in regulating both cell metabolism and autophagy, a cellular process crucial to tumor development and maintenance. In previous studies, PGK1 was shown to play a role in coordinating cellular activities tied to cancer metabolism and brain tumor formation, and is associated with tumor metastasis and drug resistance. "Our finding that PGK1 acts as both a glycolytic enzyme and a protein kinase in cell metabolism, autophagy, and cell proliferation greatly enhances our understanding of protein enzymes controlling cellular function," said Zhimin Lu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neuro-Oncology. "Because it regulates both autophagy and cell metabolism, PGK1 proves its significance in maintaining cellular activities, thus offering a potential new approach for cancer treatment." Lu's team found that PGK1 unexpectedly impacts the protein Beclin1 through phosphorylation, which modulates protein function. Beclin1 plays a central role in autophagy, a "recycling" process allowing cells to thrive even when starved of nutrients and/or oxygen. Autophagy has been increasingly linked to cancer since it permits tumors to access vital energy sources and cellular building blocks necessary to grow and spread. The researchers observed that lack of oxygen and the essential amino acid glutamine resulted in a complex protein-related chain of events where PGK1 phosphorylates Beclin1, which is required for autophagy and brain tumor development. The process is thought to be one reason why glioblastoma patients generally have poor prognoses. "Upregulated tumor-protective autophagy is one of the reasons for cancer treatment resistance," said Lu. "These findings suggest that approaches inhibiting PGK1-regulated autophagy are likely to increase cancer treatment efficacy. Further investigations into this area of research are underway." MD Anderson team participants included Xu Qian, Ph.D., Xinjian Li, Ph.D., Qingsong Cai, Ph.D., Yuhui Jiang, Ph.D., Jong-Ho Lee, Ph.D., Yugang Wang, Ph.D.,Yan Xia, Ph.D., and Yanhua Zheng, Ph.D., Neuro-Oncology; and David Hawke, Ph.D., Systems Biology. Other participating institutions included Capital Medical University, Beijing; Shanghai Jiotaong University School of Medicine, Shanghai; Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China; Washington State University College of Pharmacy, Spokane, Wash.; and The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (CA109035, CA169603, CA016672, CA127001 and NS08975); the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Initiative in Brain Cancer Research Award (220020318); and a Sister Institution Network Fund and Institutional Research Grant from MD Anderson.


News Article | December 11, 2015
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Continental presenting Intelligent Glass Control for car windows; targeted shading can reduce CO2 emissions or increase EV range | Main | FEV-developed plug-in hybrid battery pack moves into series production » Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities have developed a catalytic process to convert corn stover lignin into hydrocarbons (C –C )—primarily C –C cyclic structure hydrocarbons in the jet fuel range. The work is featured on the cover of the December issue of the RSC journal Green Chemistry. The developer of the process, Bin Yang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering at WSU and his team are working with Boeing Co. to develop and test the hydrocarbons targeted to be jet fuel. Yang has filed for a patent on the process, with WSU as the assignee. Lignin is an organic polymer that makes plants woody and rigid; after cellulose, it is the most abundant renewable carbon source on Earth. Ordinarily, it is wasted when plant biomass, including cellulose, is converted into biofuels such as ethanol. Between 40 and 50 million tons of lignin are produced annually worldwide, mostly as a non-commercialized waste product, according to the International Lignin Institute. Due to its availability, low oxygen to carbon (O/C) ratio, and markedly low total oxygen content compared to biomass-derived carbohydrates (~36% versus ~50%, respectively), lignin is a promising feedstock for production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. However, lignin’s native molecular structure is, approximately C -C —far higher than the carbon chain lengths required for fuel applications (~C -C ). To be used as a source for fuel, the lignin must be depolymerized, its H/C ratio increased, and its O/C ratio must be further decreased. To date, virtually no approach has proven successful for converting lignin into hydrocarbon liquids or chemicals. Yang’s procedure involves the aqueous-phase hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of dilute alkali-extracted corn stover lignin catalyzed by a noble metal catalyst (Ru/Al O ) and acidic zeolite (H+-Y), yielding a range of hydrocarbons. The resulting product must be separated and purified to obtain the jet-fuel hydrocarbons. In addition to hydrocarbons suitable for jet turbine engines, Yang is using lignin to produce a variety of other chemicals and materials. Through two recent grants funded by the US Department of Energy, both headed by Texas A&M University, he leads WSU’s effort to produce lipids and bioplastics created from lignin. He also is working with the nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on projects to convert lignin into a range of chemicals, including supercapacitors. Yang and his team’s research is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the US Department of Defense, as well as the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Sun Grant from the US Department of Transportation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Seattle-based Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation.


News Article | December 12, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

A new survey shows consumers are willing to pay more for second-generation biofuels over conventional fuel. A Washington State University research poll shows consumers will pay a premium of approximately 11 percent over conventional fuel. “We were surprised the premium was that significant,” Jill McCluskey, WSU professor in the School of Economic Sciences, said in a statement. “We wanted to study people in different regions of the country, to make sure we weren’t just getting a local result, and people in all three cities we studied said they would pay more for these fuels.” The surveys were conducted in Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and Boston by McCluskey and study co-author Tongzhe Li, a recent WSU Ph.D. graduate. The participants were asked if they would be willing to pay a certain amount for the product and if they said no, the researchers offered a discount and asked if participants would pay that amount. If the participants said yes, then the researchers would ask if they would pay a little more for the product. Before they survey, half of the respondents were given information about second-generation biofuels. The respondents who received this information were more willing to pay a greater premium, which suggests that marketing the benefits of new biofuels would improve consumers’ perceptions. First generation biofuels use potential food sources like corn, which can cause the price of food to rise., while second-generation biofuels are made from sustainable biological non-food sources. “This new biofuel doesn’t exist commercially yet, so we have to do these studies to make sure there’s a potential market for it,” McCluskey said. “And this shows there clearly is a market.” Alaska Airlines recently flew a plane from Seattle to Washington, D.C., strictly on second-generation biofuel made from wood scraps. The flight took place on Nov. 14 when a Boeing 737-800 departed Seattle-Tacoma International for Washington Reagan National Airport with 163 passengers. The plane was fueled by 1,080 gallons of biofuel, developed in association with the WSU-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance. McCluskey’s study was part of a grant from the National Science Foundation headed by Shulin Chen, WSU professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Chen, who researches new biofuels, asked McCluskey to find out whether people would buy second-generation biofuels. The study, which appeared in Energy Economics, can be viewed here.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.gizmag.com

A timber harvest can often leave what's called a "slash pile" of leftovers that are usually burned. On Monday Alaska Airlines flew a number of commercial passengers across the United States by burning some of that woody biomass as fuel. United Airlines began using a mix of conventional jet fuel and biofuel made from feedstocks, agricultural waste and some natural oils in regularly scheduled flights earlier this year, but Monday's flight appears to be the first with fuels derived from wood. The flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C. burned a 20 percent blend of alternative jet fuel made from stumps and branches leftover after timber harvest or forest thinning in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. Department of Agriculture funding and a partnership involving Washington State University (WSU), the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and Gevo, Inc.led to the development of the sustainable fuel. Gevo has a patented alcohol-to-jet-fuel process that it adapted to convert wood waste into isobutanol and then convert to jet fuel meeting the international standard used for commercial flights. For this demonstration, excess woody leftovers from privately managed forests owned by private industry and local Native American tribes were sent to Gevo's facilities in Missouri and Texas to be transformed to fuel. Air travel using conventional jet fuel has an outsized carbon footprint that contributes to climate change, motivating researchers and the aerospace industry to look for "greener" alternatives like biodiesel, diesels made from natural waste oils and even "solar" fuel made from air and water. Boeing is also participating in a similar effort to create fuels from forest waste. According to WSU, if every Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle used the same 20 percent blend, the resulting reduction in in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking about 30,000 cars off the road for a full year.


News Article | December 30, 2015
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have developed a catalyst that can easily convert bio-based ethanol to a widely used industrial chemical, paving the way for more environmentally friendly, bio-based plastics and products. The researchers have published a paper describing the catalyst in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and have been granted a US patent. The chemical industry is interested in moving away from fossil fuels to bio-based products in order to reduce environmental impacts and to meet new regulations for sustainability, said Yong Wang, professor in WSU’s School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. Traditionally, the chemical industry has produced an industrial chemical called isobutene, used in everything from plastic soda bottles to rubber tires, by superheating crude oil. But in collaboration with the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company, Wang and his colleagues have now developed a mixed oxide catalyst made from zinc and zirconium that can convert bio-based ethanol, which is made from corn or other biomass, to isobutene in one easy production step. The researchers examined the costs and lifetime of their catalyst to determine its practicality for the marketplace and determined that it could also be used with other bio-based feedstocks. In addition, they discovered just how their catalyst works, knowledge that could be used to design more efficient catalysts for a wide range of applications. "This is one example that shows the benefits of closely linking the practical and fundamental aspects of research to develop scalable and commercially practical catalysts for applications of importance to industries,'' said Wang, who holds a joint appointment in the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This story is adapted from material from Washington State University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PULLMAN, Wash. - A Washington State University study of the chemistry of technetium-99 has improved understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and could lead to better cleanup methods. The work is reported in the journal Inorganic Chemistry. It was led by John McCloy, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and chemistry graduate student Jamie Weaver. Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the Office of River Protection and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collaborated. Technetium-99 is a byproduct of plutonium weapons production and is considered a major U.S. challenge for environmental cleanup. At the Hanford Site nuclear complex in Washington state, there are about 2,000 pounds of the element dispersed within approximately 56 million gallons of nuclear waste in 177 storage tanks. The U.S. Department of Energy is in the process of building a waste treatment plant at Hanford to immobilize hazardous nuclear waste in glass. But researchers have been stymied because not all the technetium-99 is incorporated into the glass and volatilized gas must be recycled back into the melter system. The element can be very soluble in water and moves easily through the environment when in certain forms, so it is considered a significant environmental hazard. Because technetium compounds are challenging to work with, earlier research has used less volatile substitutes to try to understand the material's behavior. Some of the compounds themselves have not been studied for 50 years, said McCloy. "The logistics are very challenging," he said. The WSU work was done in PNNL's highly specialized Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and the radiological annex of its Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. The researchers conducted fundamental chemistry tests to better understand technetium-99 and its unique challenges for storage. They determined that the sodium forms of the element behave much differently than other alkalis, which possibly is related to its volatility and to why it may be so reactive with water. "The structure and spectral signatures of these compounds will aid in refining the understanding of technetium incorporation into nuclear waste glasses," said McCloy. The researchers also hope the work will contribute to the study of other poorly understood chemical compounds.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

A Washington State University study of the chemistry of technetium-99 has improved understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and could lead to better cleanup methods. The work is reported in the journal Inorganic Chemistry. It was led by John McCloy, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and chemistry graduate student Jamie Weaver. Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the Office of River Protection and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collaborated. Technetium-99 is a byproduct of plutonium weapons production and is considered a major U.S. challenge for environmental cleanup. At the Hanford Site nuclear complex in Washington state, there are about 2,000 pounds of the element dispersed within approximately 56 million gallons of nuclear waste in 177 storage tanks. The U.S. Department of Energy is in the process of building a waste treatment plant at Hanford to immobilize hazardous nuclear waste in glass. But researchers have been stymied because not all the technetium-99 is incorporated into the glass and volatilized gas must be recycled back into the melter system. The element can be very soluble in water and moves easily through the environment when in certain forms, so it is considered a significant environmental hazard. Because technetium compounds are challenging to work with, earlier research has used less volatile substitutes to try to understand the material's behavior. Some of the compounds themselves have not been studied for 50 years, said McCloy. "The logistics are very challenging," he said. The WSU work was done in PNNL's highly specialized Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and the radiological annex of its Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. The researchers conducted fundamental chemistry tests to better understand technetium-99 and its unique challenges for storage. They determined that the sodium forms of the element behave much differently than other alkalis, which possibly is related to its volatility and to why it may be so reactive with water. "The structure and spectral signatures of these compounds will aid in refining the understanding of technetium incorporation into nuclear waste glasses," said McCloy. The researchers also hope the work will contribute to the study of other poorly understood chemical compounds.


News Article | February 25, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Washington State University conducted tests to study the effects of the chemical substance known as technetium-99. The study was led by John McCloy, an associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering along with Jamie Weaver, a chemistry graduate student. They worked in collaboration with researchers from the Office of River Protection and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Technetium-99 is the chemical by-product derived as a result of plutonium weapon production. It is being considered a major problem as scientists are trying to find new methods of disposing the nuclear waste. In fact, there exists about 2000 pounds of technetium-99 which is stored in 177 storage tanks at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington. The element is readily soluble in water and so poses an intense risk. Due to its volatility, it can easily contaminate water streams which would cause major health issues. Nuclear wastes are generated from nuclear power plants in significant amounts and thus, it needs to be managed and disposed of properly. The most important issue concerning the nuclear waste is the management of its toxic nature, so that it poses no risk to the workers or the general public. The Washington State University conducted the study of technetium-99 in PNNL's highly specialized Radiochemical Processing Laboratory. Researchers carried out various tests with the compound. Their aim was to precisely observe technetium-99 and determine how it may be stored. They found that the sodium reacts differently in the compound than in any other alkalis, which may go a long way in defining why technetium-99 is so reactive with water. This may also reveal the reason behind its volatility. "The structure and spectral signatures of these compounds will aid in refining the understanding of technetium incorporation into nuclear waste glasses," said McCloy. Currently, U.S. Department of Energy at Hanford is in the act of constructing a waste treatment plant. They aim to store threatening nuclear waste in a glass. However, researchers have to find an alternative as the entire technetium-99 cannot be incorporated in a glass. The volatilized gas would also be needed to be recycled back into the system. These innovative ideas may pave the way for a safer future. However, for now the threat of nuclear contamination due to the high volume of nuclear waste being produced seems to be looming. It has become essential to come up with a reliable way to dispose these wastes of. The study has been published in the journal Inorganic Chemistry. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cancer Targeted Technology (CTT), a privately-held Seattle-based biotechnology firm focusing on small molecules that target pivotal enzyme targets on cancer, announced that a Phase I clinical trial has commenced in men with high risk metastatic prostate cancer. In late August, the Food and Drug Administration cleared CTT’s first Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging agent, CTT1057, labeled with a two-hour half life radiolabel, fluorine-18, and targeting Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA). PSMA is over-expressed on prostate cancer and this expression increases as the cancer metastasizes and becomes castrate-resistant. CTT’s phosphoramidate-based agents bind irreversibly to PSMA and unlike other agents targeting PSMA, this distinctive mode of binding enhances uptake and internalization by tumor cells leading to increased accumulation of the drug and radiolabel within the tumor. The first patient in this trial was imaged in early November and the study is supported by a $2M Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. “FDA clearance and start of our first clinical trial are significant milestones for CTT as we transition to a clinical phase company. CTT’s PSMA-targeted drugs are unique and unlike anything else that has been studied to date,” said Beatrice Langton-Webster, CTT CEO and Principal Investigator on the SBIR. “Our diagnostic agent, CTT1057, will be used alone or with our companion radiotherapeutic drug, CTT1403, targeting metastatic prostate cancer, currently undergoing IND-enabling studies.” Automated radiolabeling of the drug and the clinical trials are being conducted at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The Principal Investigator for the clinical trial is Dr. Rahul Aggarwal, and the radiolabeling is directed by UCSF collaborator, Dr. Henry VanBrocklin, Director of the Radiopharmaceutical Research Program, who worked with CTT on the initial development of CTT1057, along with Dr. Cliff Berkman, Professor of Chemistry at Washington State University, who first discovered and synthesized the drug. Dr. VanBrocklin commented: “We are excited to initiate the clinical phase of development of this new imaging agent and look forward to the results of these key studies.” This CTT-sponsored Phase I trial is entitled “A Phase 1 Trial for Evaluation of the Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and [18F] Radiation Dosimetry of CTT1057, a Small Molecule Inhibitor of Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA).” The primary objective of this trial is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of CTT1057. An additional endpoint includes the assessment of sensitivity and specificity of CTT1057 PET imaging on a lesion-by-lesion basis as compared with standard imaging in metastatic prostate cancer. Twenty patients will be enrolled in parallel in two cohorts: Cohort A will enroll patients with prostate cancer prior to radical prostatectomy (N = 5) and Cohort B will enroll patients with evidence of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (N = 15). The study is currently enrolling and is expected to conclude in mid 2017. More information on the trial can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.


News Article | March 15, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

This country’s utilities are addressing disruptive changes taking place in a number of different ways. Some adhere to more standard business models, moving at a painstaking snail’s pace in order to make any kind of change, no matter how timely the alterations. Then there are others who are embracing innovation, looking at the universe of changing technologies as an open door to new business opportunities. Include Washington-based Avista Utilities on the list of utilities embracing the disruptive technologies which are presently happening across the industry, such as battery storage technology, and leveraging it for a new business model called “economies of scope” – a model Avista believes is the future of the utility business. To this end, Spokane, Washington-based Avista Utilities Corporation’s Energy Storage Project in Pullman, Washington provides a solid example of innovation for the future of electricity distribution. The storage project addresses a large challenge facing today’s energy industry: integrating power generated from intermittent, renewable resources, such as wind and solar, into the electrical grid. The project is also testing better ways to improve power system reliability. Avista’s vice president of energy delivery Heather Rosentrater, who oversees this project, recalls what drove her to this utility was finding a business culture which took advantage of innovation. “We really do have a culture of innovation here,” she said. “Employees are encouraged to leverage new technology as it advances.” Rosenstrater adds Avista customers cover a broad spectrum of preferences, ranging from those who want dependability and simply want to pay their bill to individuals wanting to own their electricity generation and sell that generation to their neighbors. “It’s really looking at preferences and recognizing that there isn’t going to be one-size-fits-all for our customers.” she says. The utility’s business vision includes assessing how potentially disruptive distributed energy technologies connecting to the grid can create opportunities. Then comes innovation.  “One of the ways we are particularly focused on is through economies of scope,” observes Rosenstrater. “That means using those assets like the storage and the battery project that we have, trying to leverage it every day.” While most utility customers may expect a reliable energy system, including one featuring renewable energies, most know little about the management of such a distribution infrastructure. “Electric energy—including power from renewable resources—must be used as soon as it is generated. So if the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining during times when people need the most energy, it is not always possible to meet customer demand.” Avista’s Energy Storage project is testing new batteries that can store power when it’s abundant and distribute electricity when it’s needed. A successful platform provides reliable energy regardless of weather patterns — a standard criticism of renewable alternatives. That is, until energy storage is added to the puzzle of integrating renewable resources into the electric grid. Last April, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers joined Avista executives in Pullman to energize and dedicate the utility’s Energy Storage Project. The event marked a significant milestone as Avista commenced testing its new battery storage system. Over an 18-month period, Avista, working with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, will test this large-scale energy storage system. Avista’s goal is to explore how its 1 MW, 3.2 MWh large-scale battery system energy storage can help its electrical grid become more flexible and reliable by integrating power from intermittent renewable sources. The system has the capacity to power 750 homes for 3.2 hours. The $7 million project was funded by a $3.2 million grant from Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund and another $3.8 million in Avista matching funds. According to Clean Technology Business Review (CTBR), UniEnergy Technologies (UET) and Avista today announced the selection of Northern Power Systems to deliver advanced power conversion for the largest capacity flow battery installed in North America. Situated near Pullman, Washington, near Washington State University and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the battery started operations last April. UniEnergy Technologies manufactured the battery. The UET system is an advanced vanadium flow battery, which uses Pacific Northwest National Laboratories technology. Avista has until now used the system for load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation on the distribution circuit in Pullman. CTBR reports that the addition of the NPS converters will allow “the UET system to support Avista’s customer Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to provide power supply without interruptions, black start and four-cycle ride-through to SEL’s manufacturing plant.” This electricity storage infrastructure appears to be operating successfully. If so, we can anticipate other utilities to be analyzing the results of this project for other renewable energy projects. Images via Avista    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


In this edition of the clean transport and energy news roundup, we’ve got stories about a solar battle in Utah, a large energy storage facility in Sonoma County, public lands renewable energy rules, India’s $2 billion renewable energy equity fund, how many Gigafactories we’ll need for the clean energy transition, Chevy Bolt, hybrid Ferraris, the first commercial jet biofuel flight, and more. [CleanTechnica isn’t the only Important Media site to cover clean energy & transport news, and if you’re looking for more stories on electric mobility, bicycles, solar and wind energy, and other related issues, we’ve got them at sites such as Solar Love, CleanTechies, Planetsave, Bikocity, Gas2, and EV Obsession. We also host a large cleantech group on LinkedIn, called CleanTechies Around The World.] The latest battleground state in the war on residential solar is Utah: Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Paul Murphy says they pay homeowners with solar panels about 14 cents per kilowatt hour for excess power but can buy solar power from commercial solar panel farms for 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Murphy says the utility is happy to pay residential customers the same 4 cents a kilowatt hour it pays commercial suppliers but it wants the state’s public utility commission to allow it to stop paying private providers the full rate of 14 cents per kilowatt hour after December 9. Surprisingly, the new policy enjoys broad bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress called on the Bureau of Land Management to finish the rule making process, which is designed to insure that the taxpayers receive fair market value for the use of public lands, whether for renewable energy or fossil fuels. CleanFund and Soligent partnered this summer to begin offering PACE financing to non-residential solar power projects across the United States. These funding options allow building owners to pay for clean energy and energy efficiency investments through their property tax bill. India will award 1 GW of wind capacity next month: Officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy have stated that the first-ever wind energy auction in India will be completed by next month. The Solar Energy Corporation of India, responsible for conducting the auction, has already issued the tender documents. The last date for submission of bids is 15 December 2016. REC Solar and Green Charge have partnered to create a 1 megawatt solar and energy storage system for SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, Calif. The combined solar-plus-storage system is expected to deliver more than $160,000 savings to SOMO Village in the first year and more than $1.8 million in savings during the first 10 years of operation. The Indian government is planning to launch an equity fund worth $2 billion to boost renewable energy development. The initial funding of $1 billion will be available starting next financial year, April 2017. 100 Gigafactories will be needed for the transition to renewable energy, says Musk: Right now, Tesla is building one of the largest factories on earth outside of Reno, Nevada. Called the Gigafactory, it will have 15,000,000 square feet of manufacturing space when finished. It is there that Tesla will manufacture the batteries for its upcoming Model 3 midsize electric car and for both residential and commercial energy storage customers. In Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest movie entitled Before The Flood, Musk tells the actor that it will take 100 Gigafactories to build all the batteries needed to complete the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. To date, California’s clean vehicle incentive program has disproportionately benefited people living in wealthy, majority “white” neighborhoods, according to a new study published in the journal Transportation Research Record. The new findings come from two researchers analyzing data on the 98,901 rebates issued to Californians “buying or leasing low-emission vehicles from the inception of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in 2010 through March 2015.” Among the findings was the fact that around 83% of rebate users during the time period in question apparently made more than $100,000 a year. Probably not an approved method of charging a Tesla Model S: In a new video from noted Tesla internet celeb-owner Bjørn Nyland, a Tesla Model S is shown being charged through regenerative braking while being towed by a Tesla Model X. On November 14,  Alaska Airlines flew a Boeing 737-800 airliner from Seattle to Washington, DC using jet fuel that contained 20% biofuel made from forest residuals — the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests. The conversion process is the result of research conducted at Washington State University as part of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance. Every Ferrari will feature some sort of hybrid technology by 2019: Now hybrid technology is a far cry from a full-bore EV, and the Italian automaker has been making use of hybrid tech in its Formula 1 racing efforts, as well as the Laferrari hypercar, for years now. But it was during a third-quarter conference call that, according to Autocar, Marchionne laid out his plan to integrate electric power into every Ferrari drivetrain from 2019 onward, improving performance and, hopefully, sales. Motor Trend picks Chevy Bolt as 2017 Car of the Year: The editors of Motor Trend magazine reviewed 23 new or significantly redesigned vehicles for its Car of the Year award. The contenders were rated in 6 categories — advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function. When everything was winnowed down, the judges narrowed the field to nine finalists and three top picks — the Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica and Volvo S90. Tesla seems to have quietly pulled the plug on its battery swap pilot program: There was quite a lot of fanfare when Tesla first demonstrated its battery swap technology awhile back, but that doesn’t seem to have translated to the approach being more practical than it is, especially when you consider that Tesla seems to have now shut down the battery swap facility near the Harris Ranch Supercharger in Coalinga, California. Cadillac announced this week that the CT6 PHEV will have an electric only range of 30 miles and top speed of 78 mph. When combined with the onboard 2.0 liter gasoline engine, range increases to 400 miles and top speed goes up to 150 mph. For the American market, prices will start at $75,095 plus a $995 destination charge. Federal and state incentives can reduce the net cost to less than $70,000. The system is so important to the Volkswagen’s plans, it moved the electric motor to the rear of the car so it could push the dashboard forward by 200 millimeters to make room for the heads-up system. Bischoff says the new system will be able to project information and pictograms onto the windshield. The information will appear to be located about 50 feet ahead of the driver. Navigation information such as where to turn will appear as if it was on the surface of the road itself. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The state's three largest public research institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which expresses the intent of the parties to increase research collaborations on complex challenges and provide additional research and training opportunities for students in the state. The memorandum was signed recently by leaders at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "By working together, we can increase the impact and raise the visibility of the science and technology that our state is delivering to address pressing challenges in energy, the environment and global security," said PNNL Director Steven Ashby. "We are especially well positioned to provide national leadership in clean energy, materials science and advanced computing, among other areas." "This agreement brings focus to the collaborative efforts of the three primary public research institutions in our state and sets the stage for increasing our joint efforts to address major topics of importance," said WSU President Kirk Schulz. "It is also an excellent opportunity in support of our goal of maintaining a preeminent research portfolio and being recognized as a top 25 public research institution. It will provide a transformative educational experience for the fortunate graduate and undergraduate students given a chance through this program to work with some of our nation's greatest researchers." "Our impact in the state of Washington and the world can be even greater when our largest public research institutions partner to tackle some of the greatest challenges in clean energy, smart manufacturing, and environment and sustainability research," said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. "We are proud of the collaborations our faculty and students have forged with researchers around the state to advance development of new materials, energy storage and the power grid at a time when these technologies are crucially needed." PNNL and the two universities already collaborate on several research efforts. Recently, the three institutions were selected to host a federal-state clean energy testbed project designed to develop and demonstrate the technologies needed to create smart buildings, campuses and cities which better manage energy use. The Transactive Campus project is building on previous collaborations between the three institutions in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, whose results are helping create a more efficient and effective power grid. Another recent collaboration is the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, or JCDREAM. Established by the state legislature in 2015, JCDREAM is a three-member partnership designed to accelerate the development of next generation clean energy and transportation technologies, specifically looking at replacing reliance on precious metals with Earth-abundant materials. And in just the last four months, the three institutions have been awarded multimillion dollar projects to bring smart manufacturing technology to energy intensive manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest and to better understand the chemistry of radioactive waste in order to enable more effective cleanup. The Department of Energy is funding both of these projects. "By teaming together, PNNL, UW and WSU have even more opportunities to attract federal funding to the Northwest," said Ashby. While the intent is to grow the number and size of collaborations, PNNL already enjoys strong partnerships with both universities. UW faculty in the College of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences partner with PNNL scientists on clean energy research, and the two institutions train and empower researchers to tackle some of society's biggest problems through data-driven research at the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing. PNNL partners with WSU on research involving radiochemistry, and developing a better understanding of the food-energy-water nexus. The institutions are also engaged in research focused on creating better catalysts, and advancing the areas of bioenergy, power engineering and smart manufacturing. These collaborations involve numerous WSU campuses, colleges and units, including WSU's Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, Elson S Floyd College of Medicine, the Center for Environmental Research, Education & Outreach, and the Water Research Center. One outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding will be increasing the number of joint or dual appointments at the three institutions. "Joint appointments elevate the scientific impact and productivity of researchers by increasing collaboration, facilitating research across scientific disciplines, providing greater access to specialized instrumentation and research tools, and by giving students and interns opportunities to conduct research they might not be able to do otherwise," said Doug Ray, PNNL's Director of Strategic Partnerships. Another priority outlined in the memorandum will be bringing more science and engineering graduate students to PNNL. More than 100 students from UW and WSU are currently participating in internship or other programs at PNNL's main campus in Richland, and its marine sciences laboratory in Sequim, Wash. Ray says that number will grow significantly as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding, as will the number of dual staff and faculty appointments. The University of Washington was founded in 1861 and is one of the pre-eminent public higher education and research institutions in the world. The UW has more than 100 members of the National Academies, elite programs in many fields, and annual standing since 1974 among the top five universities in receipt of federal research funding. Learn more at uw.edu, or follow the UW on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Founded in 1890, Washington State University has evolved from an agricultural college into a leading research university where scholarship and research are deeply rooted in the ethos of accessibility and public service. Today, WSU has an instructional faculty of more than 1,500 and nearly 30,000 students enrolled in five locations statewide and online through WSU Global Campus. The university's strong and varied academic programs feature some 200 fields of study, 95 separate majors and a wide variety of minors, specialized options and certificate programs. For more information, visit wsu.edu, or follow WSU on social media at socialmedia.wsu.edu. Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.


News Article | April 18, 2016
Site: www.sciencenews.org

In a 1967 episode of Star Trek, Captain Kirk and crew investigated the mysterious murders of miners on the planet Janus VI. The killer, it turned out, was a rock monster called the Horta. But the Enterprise’s sensors hadn’t registered any signs of life in the creature. The Horta was a silicon-based life-form, rather than carbon-based like living things on Earth. Still, it didn’t take long to determine that the Horta was alive. The first clue was that it skittered about. Spock closed the case with a mind meld, learning that the creature was the last of its kind, protecting its throng of eggs. But recognizing life on different worlds isn’t likely to be this simple, especially if the recipe for life elsewhere doesn’t use familiar ingredients. There may even be things alive on Earth that have been overlooked because they don’t fit standard definitions of life, some scientists suspect. Astrobiologists need some ground rules — with some built-in wiggle room — for when they can confidently declare, “It’s alive!” Among the researchers working out those rules is theoretical physicist Christoph Adami, who watches his own version of silicon-based life grow inside a computer at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “It’s easy when it’s easy,” Adami says. “If you find something walking around and waving at you, it won’t be that hard to figure out that you’ve found life.” But chances are, the first aliens that humans encounter won’t be little green men. They will probably be tiny microbes of one color or another — or perhaps no color at all. Trying to figure out how to recognize those alien microbes, especially if they are very strange, has led scientists to propose some basic criteria for distinguishing living from nonliving things. Many researchers insist that features such as active metabolism, reproduction and Darwinian evolution are de rigueur for any life, including extraterrestrials. Others add the requirement that life must have cells big enough to contain protein-building machines called ribosomes. But such definitions can be overly restrictive. A list of specific criteria for life may give scientists tunnel vision, blinding them to the diversity of living things in the universe, especially in extreme environments, says philosopher of science Carol Cleland of the University of Colorado Boulder. Narrow definitions will “act as blinkers if you run into a form of life that’s very different.” Some scientists, for instance, say viruses aren’t alive because they rely on their host cells to reproduce. But Adami disagrees. “There’s no doubt in my mind that biochemical viruses are alive,” he says. “They don’t carry with them everything they need to survive, but neither do we.” What’s important, Adami says, is that viruses transmit genetic information from one generation to another. Life, he says, is information that replicates. Darwinian evolution should be off the table, too, Cleland says. Humans probably won’t be able to tell at a quick glance whether something is evolving, anyway. “Evolvability is hard to detect,” she says, “because you’ve got a snapshot and you don’t have time to hang around and watch it evolve.” Cell size restrictions may also squeeze minuscule microbes out of consideration as aliens. But a cell too tiny to contain ribosomes may still be big enough if it uses RNA instead of proteins to carry out biochemical reactions, says Steven Benner, an astrobiologist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Fla. Cells are thought necessary because they separate one organism from another. But layers of clay could provide the needed separation, Adami suggests. Cleland postulates that life could even exist as networks of chemical reactions that don’t require separation at all. Such fantastical thinking can loosen the grip of rigid criteria limiting scientists’ ability to recognize alien life when they see it. But they will still need to figure out where to look. With the discovery in recent years of more than a thousand exoplanets far beyond the solar system, the odds favoring the existence of extraterrestrial life in the cosmos are better than ever. But even the most powerful telescopes can’t detect microscopic organisms directly. Chances of finding microbial life are much higher if scientists can reach out and touch it, which means looking within our solar system, says mineralogist Robert Hazen, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “You really need a rover down on its hands and knees analyzing chemicals,” Hazen says. Rovers are sampling rocks on Mars (SN: 5/2/15, p. 24) and the Cassini probe has bathed in geysers spewing from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus (SN: 10/17/15, p. 8). Those mechanical explorers and others in the works may send back signs of life. But those signs are probably going to be subtle, indirect “biomarkers.” It may be surprisingly difficult to tell whether those biomarkers are from animals, vegetables, microbes or minerals, especially at a distance. “We really need to have life be as obvious as possible,” says astrobiologist Victoria Meadows, who heads the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle. By obvious, she partly means Earth-like and partly means that no chemical or geologic process could have produced a similar signature. Some scientists say life is an “I’ll know it when I see it” phenomenon, says Kathie Thomas-Keprta, a planetary geologist. But life may also be in the eye of the beholder, as Thomas-Keprta knows all too well from studying a Martian meteorite. She was part of a team at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston that studied a meteorite designated ALH84001 (discovered in Antarctica’s Allan Hills ice field in 1984). In 1996, a team led by Thomas-Keprta’s late colleague David McKay claimed that carbonate globules embedded in the meteorite resembled microscopic life on Earth. The researchers found large organic molecules with the carbonate, indicating that they formed at the same time. Thomas-Keprta also identified tiny magnetite crystals overlapping the globules that closely resemble crystals formed by “magnetotactic” bacteria on Earth. Such bacteria use chains of the crystals as a compass to guide them as they swim in search of nutrients. The researchers believed that they were looking at fossils of ancient Martians. Other researchers disagreed. The globules and crystals could have formed by chemical or geologic processes, not biology, critics said. Since then, the claim of fossilized Martian life has been widely dismissed. Surely, recognizing something that is still alive, rather than dead and turned to rock, would be much simpler. But don’t bet on it, Cleland says. There may even be strange forms of life on Earth — a shadow biosphere — that people have overlooked. One bit of evidence for shadow terrestrials is “desert varnish,” the dark stains on the sunny sides of rocks in arid areas. Odd, communal life-forms could be sucking energy from the rocks and building the varnish’s hard outer crust, Cleland suggests. Some scientists, for instance, think manganese-oxidizing bacteria or fungi might be responsible for concentrating iron and manganese oxides to create the stains. Unknown microbes may cement the metals with clay and silicate particles to produce the varnish’s shellac. Scientists have tried and failed to re-create desert varnish in the lab using fungi and bacteria. Critics say that varnishes form too slowly — over thousands of years — to be a microbial process and that oxidizing manganese doesn’t generate enough energy to live on. Desert varnish is most likely a product of physical chemistry, they say. But that criticism shows bias, Cleland responds. “We have an assumption that life on Earth has a pace,” she says. Shadow life may grow far more leisurely, making it hard for scientists to classify it as alive. One way to determine whether the varnish has a biological or geologic origin is to measure isotope ratios, Cleland says. Isotopes are forms of elements with differing numbers of neutrons in the nuclei of their atoms. Lighter isotopes, with fewer neutrons, are favored by some biochemical reactions. “Life is lazy,” says Cleland. “It doesn’t want to haul around an extra neutron.” Concentrations of lighter isotopes could signal the handiwork of living organisms, she notes. To find life, and classify it correctly, look for the odd thing out, suggests Hazen, who is looking for messages in minerals. Minerals on Earth are unevenly distributed, he and colleagues have determined. There are 4,933 recognized minerals on the planet. Hazen and colleagues mapped the locations of 4,831 of them and found that 22 percent exist in only one location (SN Online: 12/8/14). Close to 12 percent occur in only two places, the researchers reported last year in The Canadian Mineralogist. One reason for the skewed distribution is that evolving life has used local resources and concentrated them into new minerals. Take for example hazenite, named for Hazen. The phosphate mineral is produced only by microbes living in California’s Mono Lake. Actions of other species in other places on Earth have combined with the planet’s geology to make Earth’s mineralogy unique, Hazen wrote with colleagues last year in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Finding similarly distorted distributions of minerals on other planets or moons could indicate that life exists, or once existed, there. Hazen has advised NASA on how rovers might identify mineral clues to life on Mars. But determining whether something is unusual might not be as easy as it sounds. Scientists don’t yet know enough about the environment of Mars, Benner says. “Every rover has given us surprises.” He’d like to see a manned fact-finding mission, which he says might lead to a better understanding of the Red Planet and speed up the search for life there. Mars was once wet (SN Online: 10/8/15) and still has occasional running water (SN: 10/31/15, p. 17). That and other mounting evidence that the Red Planet was once capable of supporting life led Benner to hypothesize in 2013 that Mars may have seeded life on Earth. Whether that hypothesis holds may depend on finding Martians, but Benner doesn’t seem worried. “I think I would be surprised now if they don’t find life on Mars,” he says. Once the announcement is made, researchers will begin fighting over whether the Martians are real, he predicts. “It will be a good-natured fight because everybody wants to find life, but everybody is aware of the pitfalls of experiments conducted at a 100-million-mile distance by robots.” Manned missions could easily reach Mars to confirm a find, says Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University in Pullman. “If you have a human with a microscope and the microbe is wiggling and waving back, that’s really hard to refute,” he jokes. But humans and even probes may have a harder time spotting life on more distant or exotic locales, such as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Europa, Enceladus and Titan are frigid places barely kissed by the sun’s energetic rays, but that doesn’t mean they are devoid of life, Schulze-Makuch says. ET hunters are particularly attracted to Europa and Enceladus because liquid oceans slosh beneath their icy crusts. Liquid water is thought to be necessary for many of the chemical reactions that could support life, so it’s one of the primary things astronomers look for. But water is actually a terrible solvent for forming complex molecules on which life could be based, Schulze-Makuch says. Instead, he thinks, really alien aliens might have spawned at hot spots deep in the hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan. There, “you could make something very intriguing. Whether you can get all the way to life, we don’t know,” he says. If he sent a probe to that moon, he would first look for large macro-molecules similar to the DNA, RNA and proteins that Earth life uses, but with a Titanic twist. He has been studying a natural asphalt lake in Trinidad to learn more about what life in Titan’s lakes might be like. Last July in the journal Life, he and colleagues laid out the physical, chemical and physiological limits that life on Titan would bump up against. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Titanic life is the extreme cold, says chemical engineer Paulette Clancy of Cornell University. Frosty Titan is so cold that methane — a gas on balmy Earth — is a viscous, almost-freezing liquid, and water “would be like a rock,” she says. Under those conditions, organisms with Earth-like chemistry wouldn’t stand a chance. For one thing, the membranes that hold in a cell’s guts on Earth wouldn’t work on Titan. Membranes are made of twin sheets of chainlike molecules each with an oxygen-containing head and a long tail of fatty acids. “On Titan,” says Clancy, “long chains would be a disadvantage because they would be frozen in place,” making membranes brittle. Plus, Titan has no free oxygen to form the molecules’ traditional heads. But Clancy and her Cornell colleagues, chemical engineer James Stevenson and astronomer Jonathan Lunine, simulated experiments under Titan-like conditions. (Molecules that would be stable on Titan would fall apart on Earth, so the researchers had to do computer experiments instead of synthesizing the molecules in a lab.) Short-tailed acrylonitrile molecules with nitrogen-containing heads could spontaneously create stable bubbles called azotosomes, the researchers reported last year in Science Advances. The bubbles are similar to cell membranes. “Azo” is a prefix that denotes a particular configuration of nitrogen atoms in a molecule. It’s also Greek for “without life.” The word’s meaning “would be ironic if life on Titan were based … on nitrogen,” Clancy says. Like desert varnish, life on Titan may have unfamiliar pacing that could prevent Earthlings from determining whether azotosomes or other membranous bubbles found in that moon’s methane oceans actually harbor life. With little solar radiation to stimulate evolution and frigid temperatures to slow chemical reactions, life on Titan may be really poky, Schulze-Makuch says. He imagines that Titanic life-spans may stretch to millions of years, with organisms reproducing or even breathing only once every thousand years. Scientists may need to measure metabolic reactions instead of generation times to determine whether something is living on Saturn’s frigid satellite. Clancy hopes to explore what types of metabolism Titan’s chemistry might allow. Neptune’s icy moon Triton, which is covered in a thin veneer of nitrogen and methane and has nitrogen-spewing geysers, may also be a candidate for new and exciting biochemistry, she says. With so many options out there, Clancy predicts that there are several planets or moons with life on them. “That we have the lock on the way life decided to develop, I think, is unlikely.” Many other researchers are also optimistic that life is out there to find. “I think life is a cosmic imperative,” Hazen says. Someday, astrobiologists may come face-to-face with ET. Maybe they will even recognize it when they see it. This article appears in the April 30, 2016, Science News with the headline, "Will we know ET when we see it?"


News Article | October 11, 2016
Site: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) have demonstrated how Rad4, a protein involved in DNA repair, scans the DNA in a unique pattern of movement called 'constrained motion' to efficiently find structural faults in DNA. The findings, reported in the journal Molecular Cell, could lead to therapies that boost existing drug treatments and counter drug-resistance. "Rad4 is like the cop who is the first responder at an accident," said senior author Bennett Van Houten, Ph.D., Richard M. Cyert Professor of Molecular Oncology, Pitt School of Medicine, and co-leader of UPCI's Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program. "The cop can move quickly to recognize where the incident is, and regulate traffic while directing the paramedics arriving in an ambulance." Constrained motion allows Rad4 to be fast enough to scan large lengths of DNA quickly, yet slow enough that it does not miss structural errors in DNA that could be caused by chemicals or ultraviolet (UV) light. Mutations in Rad4, called XPC in humans, and other proteins in the DNA repair machinery are known to cause a genetic condition called xeroderma pigmentosum, where individuals have sensitivity to sunlight and are at an extremely high risk for developing skin cancer. Muwen Kong, a graduate student in Dr. Van Houten's laboratory, along with his collaborators, tagged normal and mutant Rad4 molecules with light-emitting quantum dots. They then watched them move across strands of DNA suspended between beads using a fluorescence microscope. The results obtained suggest that the first responder, consisting of Rad4 and another protein, Rad23, quickly scans the DNA for accidents by attempting to bend it. Alterations in the structure of DNA, such as those caused by chemicals or UV light, change the ease with which DNA can be bent. Once a potential accident is recognized, the Rad4-Rad23 first-responder team slows down to a 'constrained motion' pattern to more carefully examine a smaller region of 500-1,000 base pairs in the DNA. When structural damage is confirmed, Rad4-Rad23 stays near the scene and flags down the 'paramedics,' comprised of the rest of the DNA repair machinery, to fix the damage. This mechanism, which Dr. Van Houten calls 'recognition-at-a-distance,' allows Rad4 to be near the error without impeding the rest of the DNA repair crew. Though much work is needed before these results can be translated to the clinic, the results provide new avenues to improve treatment methods, especially in cancer. Resistance is a major problem with current treatments, such as the drug cisplatin, which kills cancer cells by introducing DNA crosslinks similar to UV light. By developing drugs that target Rad4/XPC or other repair proteins, it could be possible to enhance the effects of current treatments when they are used together, and also reduce the chances of tumor cells developing resistance, Dr. Van Houten said. Co-investigators include Lili Liu Ph.D., Stefanie Böhm, Ph.D., Simon C. Watkins, Ph.D., and Kara A. Bernstein, Ph.D., all of the Pitt School of Medicine; Xuejing Chen, Ph.D., and Jung-Hyun Min, Ph.D., both of the University of Illinois at Chicago; Peng Mao, Ph.D., and John J. Wyrick, Ph.D., both of Washington State University; and Neil M. Kad, Ph.D., of the University of Kent, U.K. The research was funded by National Institutes of Health grants 5R01ES019566, 5R01ES024872, 5R01ES002614 and 2P30CA047904; and National Science Foundation grant MCB-1412692.

Loading Washington State University collaborators
Loading Washington State University collaborators