New Haven, CT, United States
New Haven, CT, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the "Collegiate School" by a group of Congregationalist ministers and chartered by the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. In 1718, the school was renamed "Yale College" in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. Established to train Connecticut ministers in theology and sacred languages, by 1777 the school's curriculum began to incorporate humanities and science. During the 19th century Yale gradually incorporated graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first Ph.D. in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887.Yale is organized into twelve constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Graduate School of Arts & science, and ten professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school's faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the University owns athletic facilities in Western New Haven, including the Yale Bowl, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forest and nature preserves throughout New England. The University's assets include an endowment valued at $23.9 billion as of September 27, 2014.Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and are organized into a system of residential colleges. The Yale University Library, serving all twelve schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Almost all faculty teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. Students compete intercollegiately as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I Ivy League.Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 13 living billionaires, and many foreign heads of state. In addition, Yale has graduated hundreds of members of Congress and many high-level U.S. diplomats, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Secretary of State John Kerry. Fifty-two Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University as students, faculty, or staff, and 230 Rhodes Scholars graduated from the University. Wikipedia.


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Patent
Yale University | Date: 2016-08-18

The present invention provides a prosthetic hand capable of multiple grasp types. The prosthetic finger units are underactuated both within and between the finger units using a differential mechanism arrangement. The locking movement of the prosthetic thumb unit is coupled to the differential mechanism. As the user repositions the prosthetic thumb unit, the differential mechanism is effected as to alter both the initial positions and force distribution of the prosthetic finger units. The present invention further provides an additive manufacturing molding method for making the same.


Patent
Yale University | Date: 2016-12-09

The present invention relates to chimeric chemical compounds which are used to recruit antibodies to cancer cells, in particular, prostate cancer cells or metastasized prostate cancer cells. The compounds according to the present invention comprise an antibody binding terminus (ABT) moiety covalently bonded to a cell binding terminus (CBT) and Toll-like receptor agonist (TLR) through a linker and a multifunctional connector group or molecule.


Patent
Yale University | Date: 2015-04-13

The present invention provides compositions and methods for treating pulmonary hypertension. In one aspect, a method is included for increasing myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) activity in an endothelial cell comprising exposing the cell to a class IIa histone deacetylase inhibitor. In another aspect, a method is included for treating pulmonary hypertension, such as restoring MEF2 activity, in a subject in need thereof comprising administering to the subject a composition comprising a class IIa histone deacetylase inhibitor. Pharmaceutical compositions for treating pulmonary hypertension in a subject in need thereof and a kit for diagnosing, detecting and/or monitoring pulmonary hypertension are also included.


Patent
Arvinas Inc. and Yale University | Date: 2016-08-05

The present invention relates to bifunctional compounds, which find utility as modulators of targeted ubiquitination, especially inhibitors of a variety of polypeptides and other proteins which are degraded and/or otherwise inhibited by bifunctional compounds according to the present invention. In particular, the present invention is directed to compounds, which contain on one end a VHL ligand which binds to the ubiquitin ligase and on the other end a moiety which binds a target protein such that the target protein is placed in proximity to the ubiquitin ligase to effect degradation (and inhibition) of that protein. The present invention exhibits a broad range of pharmacological activities associated with compounds according to the present invention, consistent with the degradation/inhibition of targeted polypeptides.


The present invention relates to the discovery of compositions and methods for therapeutic immunization for treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Methods of the invention include a method generating an evolved high titer hybrid-hepatitis B virus (HBV) vector, methods of treating and/or preventing HBV, and methods of inducing a memory T and B cell immune response against HBV infection in a subject administered the VLV composition produced thereby. Furthermore, the invention encompasses a pharmaceutical composition for vaccinating a subject to protect the subject against infection with HBV.


It has been established that cancer cells with oncogenic mutants in the small GTPase K-Ras are susceptible to antibodies that bind intracellular guanosine, but delivery of antibodies into cells can be challenging. A subset of lupus autoantibodies is associated with anti-guanosine activity, and is capable of cellular penetration. These antibodies have potential as therapeutic agents targeted towards K-Ras associated malignancies.


Patent
Yale University | Date: 2016-09-23

The present invention relates to compositions and methods for detecting mutations in WD repeat domain 62 (WDR62).


Patent
Yale University | Date: 2015-04-15

Methods and structures for forming flat, continuous, planar, epitaxial layers of semipolar III-nitride materials on patterned sapphire substrates are described. Semipolar GaN may be grown from inclined c-plane facets on a patterned sapphire substrate, and coalesced to form a continuous layer of semipolar III-nitride semiconductor over the sapphire substrate. Planarization of the layer is followed by crystal regrowth using a nitrogen carrier gas to produce a flat, microfabrication-grade, process surface of semipolar III-nitride semiconductor across the substrate. Quality multiple quantum wells can be fabricated in the regrown semipolar material.


The present invention includes compounds that are useful in perturbing or disrupting the function of a transmembrane or intracellular protein, whereby binding of the compounds to the transmembrane or intracellular protein induces proteasomal degradation of the transmembrane or intracellular protein. The present invention further includes a method of inducing proteasomal degradation of a transmembrane or intracellular protein. The present invention further includes a method of identifying or validating a protein of interest as a therapeutic target for treatment of a disease state or condition


Patent
Vanderbilt University and Yale University | Date: 2016-09-14

Methods, compositions, devices, and kits for treating and/or reducing the risk of developing a condition associated with fibrosis and/or collagen deposition are provided. The method of treating and/or reducing the risk of developing a condition associated with fibrosis and/or collagen deposition in a subject includes administering an effective amount a miRNA-762 inhibitor to the subject, wherein the subject is identified as having a risk of developing and/or a need for treatment of the condition associated with fibrosis and/or collagen deposition. The kit includes a vial containing an miRNA-762 inhibitor and a device for use in a surgery creating a risk of fibrosis and/or collagen deposition. The composition includes a pharmaceutical composition comprising a miRNA-762 inhibitor and a second agent selected from the group consisting of: an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), another antihypertensive agent, a steroid, and combinations thereof.


The present invention relates to a system, device, and method for the high throughput multiplexed detection of a wide number of compounds. The invention comprises of a microwell array coupled to a capture agent array to form a plurality of interfaces between a microwell and a set of immobilized capture agents. The set of capture agents comprises a plurality of distinguishable features, with each feature corresponding to the detection of a particular compound of interest. In certain embodiments, each microwell is configured to contain a single cell. The invention is therefore capable of performing a high throughput analysis of single cell profiles, including profiles of secreted compounds.


Non-naturally occurring tRNA^(Sec )and methods of using them for recombinant expression of proteins engineered to include one or more selenocysteine residues are disclosed. The non-naturally occurring tRNA^(Sec )can be used for recombinant manufacture of selenocysteine containing polypeptides encoded by mRNA without the requirement of an SECIS element. In some embodiments, selenocysteine containing polypeptides are manufactured by co-expressing a non-naturally occurring tRNA^(Sec )a recombinant expression system, such as E. coli, with SerRS, EF-Tu, SelA, or PSTK and SepSecS, and an mRNA with at least one codon that recognizes the anticodon of the non-naturally occurring tRNA^(Sec).


Methods and structures for forming epitaxial layers of semipolar III-nitride materials on patterned sapphire substrates are described. Semi-nitrogen-polar GaN may be grown from inclined c-plane facets of sapphire and coalesced to form a continuous layer of (2021) GaN over the sapphire substrate. Nitridation of the sapphire and a low-temperature GaN buffer layer is used to form semi-nitrogen-polar GaN.


Lucca L.E.,Yale University | Hafler D.A.,Yale University
Immunological Reviews | Year: 2017

The introduction of immunotherapy with checkpoint receptor blockade has changed the treatment of advanced cancers, at times inducing prolonged remission. Nevertheless, the success rate of the approach is variable across patients and different tumor types, and treatment is often accompanied by severe immune-related side effects, suggesting the importance of co-inhibitory pathway for both prevention of autoimmunity and failure of tumor rejection. A better understanding of how to uncouple anti-tumor activity from loss of self-tolerance is necessary to increase the therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint immunotherapy. In this review, we describe basic concepts of T-cell exhaustion that occur in cancer, highlighting the role of co-inhibitory receptors in contributing to this process while preventing immunopathology. By providing an overview of the current therapeutic success and immune-related burden of secondary effects of checkpoint immunotherapy, we illustrate the “double-edged sword” related to interference with immune-regulatory pathways. Finally, since achieving tumor rejection while preserving self-tolerance is particularly important for the central nervous system, we analyze the case for checkpoint immunotherapy in glioblastoma, the most common adult brain tumor. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


Alexiades M.,Yale University
Clinics in Dermatology | Year: 2017

The treatment of acne and acne scarring with lasers and light-based and energy-based technologies has become an integral component of our therapeutic arsenal. Lasers including infrared wavelengths and pulsed dye lasers; light devices including blue light, red light, and broadband light; and photodynamic therapy with aminolevulinic acid and methylaminolevulinic acid have been shown to be effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris. The optimal outcomes are achieved with photodynamic therapy combined with medical therapy. Acne scarring has been best treated with lasers, including nonablative infrared lasers, fractional nonablative and ablative laser resurfacing, and most recently needle-based radiofrequency devices. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


Smith-Ramesh L.M.,Yale University
Ecology | Year: 2017

Placing invasion in a more complete food web context expands our understanding of species invasions to reflect the inherent complexity of ecological networks. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) has traditionally been predicted to dominate native communities through mechanisms embodied in popular hypotheses such as direct plant-plant interactions (allelopathy) and plant-herbivore interactions (enemy escape). However, garlic mustard also interacts directly with native predators by providing habitat for web-building spiders, which colonize the dry fruit structures (siliques) that garlic mustard leaves behind after it senesces. This interaction may lead to altered food web structure, resulting previously unexamined invasion consequences. This idea was tested in a field experiment including three treatments in which garlic mustard siliques were left intact (S+), removed (S-), or native species dominated and garlic mustard was absent (N). When siliques were intact, estimated insect abundance was locally reduced in invaded plots compared to native plots, but this relationship disappeared when siliques were removed. Phosphorus availability and the growth of one native plant species were both elevated in invaded plots where siliques were intact compared to plots where siliques were removed. Results indicate that garlic mustard's close association with web-building spiders initiates cascading invader impacts on the native community and ecosystem properties. This work supports recent theory suggesting that taking a broader food web perspective may help predict invasion impacts in different environmental contexts. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.


High-grade serous (HGS) ovarian cancer accounts for 90% of all ovarian cancer-related deaths. However, factors that drive HGS ovarian cancer tumor growth have not been fully elucidated. In particular, comprehensive analysis of the metabolic requirements of ovarian cancer tumor growth has not been performed. By analyzing The Cancer Genome Atlas mRNA expression data for HGS ovarian cancer patient samples, we observed that six enzymes of the folic acid metabolic pathway were overexpressed in HGS ovarian cancer samples compared with normal ovary samples. Systematic knockdown of all six genes using short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) and follow-up functional studies demonstrated that serine hydroxymethyl transferase 1 (SHMT1) was necessary for ovarian cancer tumor growth and cell migration in culture and tumor formation in mice. SHMT1 promoter analysis identified transcription factor Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) binding sites, and WT1 knockdown resulted in reduced SHMT1 transcription in ovarian cancer cells. Unbiased large-scale metabolomic analysis and transcriptome-wide mRNA expression profiling identified reduced levels of several metabolites of the amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolic pathways, including sialic acid N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac), and downregulation of pro-oncogenic cytokines interleukin-6 and 8 (IL-6 and IL-8) as unexpected outcomes of SHMT1 loss. Overexpression of either IL-6 or IL-8 partially rescued SHMT1 loss-induced tumor growth inhibition and migration. Supplementation of culture medium with Neu5Ac stimulated expression of IL-6 and IL-8 and rescued the tumor growth and migratory phenotypes of ovarian cancer cells expressing SHMT1 shRNAs. In agreement with the ovarian tumor-promoting role of Neu5Ac, treatment with Neu5Ac-targeting glycomimetic P-3Fax-Neu5Ac blocked ovarian cancer growth and migration. Collectively, these results demonstrate that SHMT1 controls the expression of pro-oncogenic inflammatory cytokines by regulating sialic acid Neu5Ac to promote ovarian cancer tumor growth and migration. Thus, targeting of SHMT1 and Neu5Ac represents a precision therapy opportunity for effective HGS ovarian cancer treatment.Oncogene advance online publication, 13 March 2017; doi:10.1038/onc.2017.37. © 2017 The Author(s)


Rothberg J.,Yale University
Digest of Technical Papers - IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference | Year: 2017

Since Watson and Crick's 1953 landmark discovery that biological information was encoded in DNA as a sequence of chemical building-block 'letters', developing technology for reading (or 'sequencing') this chemical code has been fundamental to advances in biology and medicine. Techniques that first enabled this were invented by Sanger in 1978, and were taken to massively parallel form by 454 Life Sciences in 2003 [1]. This ushered in the current or 'next-gen' era of genome sequencing technologies for research, medicine, and the emerging field of Genomic-Personalized Medicine, in which healthcare is more fully informed by the individuals' personal genetic makeup. © 2017 IEEE.


Beckmann J.F.,Yale University | Ronau J.A.,Yale University | Hochstrasser M.,Yale University
Nature Microbiology | Year: 2017

Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria 1 that infect arthropods, including approximately two-thirds of insect species 2. Wolbachia manipulate insect reproduction by enhancing their inheritance through the female germline. The most common alteration is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) 3-5, where eggs from uninfected females fail to develop when fertilized by sperm from Wolbachia-infected males. By contrast, if female and male partners are both infected, embryos are viable. CI is a gene-drive mechanism impacting population structure 6 and causing reproductive isolation 7, but its molecular mechanism has remained unknown. We show that a Wolbachia deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) induces CI. The CI-inducing DUB, CidB, cleaves ubiquitin from substrates and is encoded in a two-gene operon, and the other protein, CidA, binds CidB. Binding is strongest between cognate partners in cidA-cidB homologues. In transgenic Drosophila, the cidA-cidB operon mimics CI when sperm introduce it into eggs, and a catalytically inactive DUB does not induce sterility. Toxicity is recapitulated in yeast by CidB alone; this requires DUB activity but is rescued by coexpressed CidA. A paralogous operon involves a putative nuclease (CinB) rather than a DUB. Analogous binding, toxicity and rescue in yeast were observed. These results identify a CI mechanism involving interacting proteins that are secreted into germline cells by Wolbachia, and suggest new methods for insect control. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.


Dhodapkar M.V.,Yale University
Blood | Year: 2016

All cases of multiple myeloma (MM) are preceded by precursor states termed monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or smoldering myeloma (SMM). Genetic analyses of MGUS cells have provided evidence that it is a genetically advanced lesion, wherein tumor cells carry many of the genetic changes found in MM cells. Intraclonal heterogeneity is also established early during the MGUS phase. Although the genetic features of MGUS or SMM cells at baseline may predict disease risk, transition to MM involves altered growth of preexisting clones. Recent advances in mouse modeling of MGUS suggest that the clinical dormancy of the clone may be regulated in part by growth controls extrinsic to the tumor cells. Interactions of MGUS cells with immune cells, bone cells, and others in the bone marrow niche may be key regulators of malignant transformation. These interactions involve a bidirectional crosstalk leading to both growth-supporting and inhibitory signals. Because MGUS is already a genetically complex lesion, application of new tools for earlier detection should allow delineation of earlier stages, which we term as pre-MGUS. Analyses of populations at increased risk of MGUS also suggest the possible existence of a polyclonal phase preceding the development of MGUS. Monoclonal gammopathy in several patients may have potential clinical significance in spite of low risk of malignancy. Understanding the entire spectrum of these disorders may have broader implications beyond prevention of clinical malignancy. © 2016 by The American Society of Hematology.


BACKGROUND:: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common causes of readmission at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. Previous studies demonstrate worse outcomes for veterans with multisystem health care, though the impact of non-VA care on COPD readmissions is unknown. OBJECTIVE:: To examine the association of use of non-VA outpatient care with 30-day readmission and 30-day follow-up among veterans admitted to the VA for COPD. DESIGN:: This is a retrospective cohort study using VA administrative data and Medicare claims. SUBJECTS:: In total, 20,472 Medicare-eligible veterans who were admitted to VA hospitals for COPD during October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2011. MEASURES:: We identified the source of outpatient care during the year before the index hospitalization as VA-only, dual-care (VA and Medicare), and Medicare-only. Outcomes of interest included any-cause 30-day readmission, COPD-specific 30-day readmission and follow-up visit within 30 days of discharge. We used mixed-effects logistic regression, controlling for baseline severity of illness, to examine the association between non-VA care and postdischarge outcomes. RESULTS:: There was no association between non-VA care and any-cause readmission. We did identify an increased COPD-specific readmission risk with both dual-care [odds ratio (OR)=1.20; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02–1.40] and Medicare-only (OR=1.41; 95% CI, 1.15–1.75). Medicare-only outpatient care was also associated with significantly lower rates of follow-up (OR=0.81; 95% CI, 0.72–0.91). CONCLUSIONS:: Differences in disease-specific readmission risk may reflect differences in disease management between VA and non-VA providers. Further research is needed to understand how multisystem care affects coordination and other measures of quality for veterans with COPD. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


King M.,Yale University
Journal of Cell Science | Year: 2016

Megan king received her BA in biochemistry from Brandeis University and then pursued a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania working in the group of Mark Lemmon. For her postdoctoral training, Megan chose the laboratory of Günter Blobel at the Rockefeller University in New York. Since starting her own group at the Cell Biology Department at Yale School of Medicine in 2009, Megan was named a Searle Scholar and her work has been recognised with the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in 2011. She is nowan Associate professor for Cell Biology and her research focuses on chromatin dynamics, nuclear mechanics and live-cell assay development. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Kuo A.,Yale University
Circulation Research | Year: 2017

RATIONALE:: Fatty acids (FA) are transported across the capillary endothelium to parenchymal tissues. However, it is not known how endothelial cells (EC) process a post-prandial surge of FA. OBJECTIVE:: This study was designed to characterize lipid droplet (LD) formation and function in EC. METHODS AND RESULTS:: LD form and degrade in EC in vivo after FA loading. In cultured EC, LD synthesis and turnover is dynamic and function to protect EC from lipotoxic stress and provide FA for metabolic needs. CONCLUSIONS:: Our results delineate endothelial LD dynamics for the first time, demonstrating their protective role in lipotoxicity, FA utilization and mobilization. © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.


OBJECTIVE:: We examined the relationship between alcohol use trajectories and HIV disease severity among men and women participating in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS). DESIGN:: Prospective cohort of HIV-infected persons in care at eight US Veterans Health Administration sites. METHODS:: Between 2002 and 2010, we assessed alcohol consumption annually using the AUDIT-C. HIV disease severity was ascertained using the VACS Index, a validated measure of morbidity and all-cause mortality. We examined the relationship between alcohol use and HIV disease severity patterns using joint trajectory modeling. Alcohol use trajectories were validated using phosphatidylethanol (PEth)—a biomarker of alcohol consumption—measured between 2005 and 2006 among a subset of participants. We examined associations between membership in alcohol use and VACS Index trajectories using multinomial regression. RESULTS:: Among eligible participants, we identified four alcohol consumption trajectories: abstainers (24% of the sample), lower-risk (44%), moderate-risk (24%), and higher-risk drinkers (8%). Alcohol use trajectories were highly correlated with PEth (Cramérʼs V?=?0.465, p?


Horwitz L.I.,Yale University
Medical Care | Year: 2017

BACKGROUND:: Safety-net and teaching hospitals are somewhat more likely to be penalized for excess readmissions, but the association of other hospital characteristics with readmission rates is uncertain and may have relevance for hospital-centered interventions. OBJECTIVE:: To examine the independent association of 8 hospital characteristics with hospital-wide 30-day risk-standardized readmission rate (RSRR). DESIGN:: This is a retrospective cross-sectional multivariable analysis. SUBJECTS:: US hospitals. MEASURES:: Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services specification of hospital-wide RSRR from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 with race and Medicaid dual-eligibility added. RESULTS:: We included 6,789,839 admissions to 4474 hospitals of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged over 64 years. In multivariable analyses, there was regional variation: hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region had the highest RSRRs [0.98 percentage points higher than hospitals in the Mountain region; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.84–1.12]. For-profit hospitals had an average RSRR 0.38 percentage points (95% CI, 0.24–0.53) higher than public hospitals. Both urban and rural hospitals had higher RSRRs than those in medium metropolitan areas. Hospitals without advanced cardiac surgery capability had an average RSRR 0.27 percentage points (95% CI, 0.18–0.36) higher than those with. The ratio of registered nurses per hospital bed was not associated with RSRR. Variability in RSRRs among hospitals of similar type was much larger than aggregate differences between types of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS:: Overall, larger, urban, academic facilities had modestly higher RSRRs than smaller, suburban, community hospitals, although there was a wide range of performance. The strong regional effect suggests that local practice patterns are an important influence. Disproportionately high readmission rates at for-profit hospitals may highlight the role of financial incentives favoring utilization. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Jiao Y.,Yale University
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology | Year: 2017

OBJECTIVE—: Williams syndrome is characterized by obstructive aortopathy attributable to heterozygous loss of ELN, the gene encoding elastin. Lesions are thought to result primarily from excessive smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and consequent medial expansion, although an initially smaller caliber and increased stiffness of the aorta may contribute to luminal narrowing. The relative contributions of such abnormalities to the obstructive phenotype had not been defined. APPROACH AND RESULTS—: We quantified determinants of luminal stenosis in thoracic aortas of Eln mice incompletely rescued by human ELN. Moderate obstruction was largely because of deficient circumferential growth, most prominently of ascending segments, despite increased axial growth. Medial thickening was evident in these smaller diameter elastin-deficient aortas, with medial area similar to that of larger diameter control aortas. There was no difference in cross-sectional SMC number between mutant and wild-type genotypes at multiple stages of postnatal development. Decreased elastin content was associated with medial fibrosis and reduced aortic distensibility because of increased structural stiffness but preserved material stiffness. Elastin-deficient SMCs exhibited greater contractile-to-proliferative phenotypic modulation in vitro than in vivo. We confirmed increased medial collagen without evidence of increased medial area or SMC number in a small ascending aorta with thickened media of a Williams syndrome subject. CONCLUSIONS—: Deficient circumferential growth is the predominant mechanism for moderate obstructive aortic disease, resulting from partial elastin deficiency. Our findings suggest that diverse aortic manifestations in Williams syndrome result from graded elastin content, and SMC hyperplasia causing medial expansion may require additional elastin loss superimposed on ELN haploinsufficiency. © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.


Zheutlin A.B.,Yale University
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2017

In a recent report of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS), clinical high-risk individuals who converted to psychosis showed a steeper rate of cortical gray matter reduction compared with non-converters and healthy controls, and the rate of cortical thinning was correlated with levels of proinflammatory cytokines at baseline. These findings suggest a critical role for microglia, the resident macrophages in the brain, in perturbations of cortical maturation processes associated with onset of psychosis. Elucidating gene expression pathways promoting microglial action prior to disease onset would inform potential preventative intervention targets. Here we used a forward stepwise regression algorithm to build a classifier of baseline microRNA expression in peripheral leukocytes associated with annualized rate of cortical thinning in a subsample of the NAPLS cohort (N=74). Our cortical thinning classifier included nine microRNAs, p=3.63 × 10-08, R2=0.358, permutation-based p=0.039, the gene targets of which were enriched for intracellular signaling pathways that are important to coordinating inflammatory responses within immune cells (p<0.05, Benjamini–Hochberg corrected). The classifier was also related to proinflammatory cytokine levels in serum (p=0.038). Furthermore, miRNAs that predicted conversion status were found to do so in a manner partially mediated by rate of cortical thinning (point estimate=0.078 (95% CIs: 0.003, 0.168), p=0.03). Many of the miRNAs identified here have been previously implicated in brain development, synaptic plasticity, immune function and/or schizophrenia, showing some convergence across studies and methodologies. Altered intracellular signaling within the immune system may interact with cortical maturation in individuals at high risk for schizophrenia promoting disease onset.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 22 March 2017; doi:10.1038/npp.2017.34. © 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology


Howorth J.,Yale University
British Journal of Politics and International Relations | Year: 2017

There have been two critical moments in Europe’s tortuous attempts to generate a viable, collective, relatively autonomous, trans-national defence project: the first decade after World War II, and the early decades of the 21st century. In both cases, the main features of the project were similar and in both cases there was an implicit or even explicit symbiosis between European integration and defence integration. In both cases, the same underlying weaknesses in the project stymied progress. These involved disagreements between France and the United Kingdom over the nature of the project itself; American ambivalence; differences among the European member states over how to handle relations with Russia; and unresolved tensions between the European entity and its member states. In the earlier case, these challenges proved fatal to the project. In the later case, they risk nudging it towards irrelevance. © 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


Aryal B.,Yale University
Current Opinion in Lipidology | Year: 2017

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Work over the past decade has identified the important role of microRNAs (miRNAS) in regulating lipoprotein metabolism and associated disorders including metabolic syndrome, obesity, and atherosclerosis. This review summarizes the most recent findings in the field, highlighting the contribution of miRNAs in controlling LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) metabolism. RECENT FINDINGS: A number of miRNAs have emerged as important regulators of lipid metabolism, including miR-122 and miR-33. Work over the past 2 years has identified additional functions of miR-33 including the regulation of macrophage activation and mitochondrial metabolism. Moreover, it has recently been shown that miR-33 regulates vascular homeostasis and cardiac adaptation in response to pressure overload. In addition to miR-33 and miR-122, recent GWAS have identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the proximity of miRNA genes associated with abnormal levels of circulating lipids in humans. Several of these miRNAs, such as miR-148a and miR-128-1, target important proteins that regulate cellular cholesterol metabolism, including the LDL receptor and the ATP-binding cassette A1. SUMMARY: MicroRNAs have emerged as critical regulators of cholesterol metabolism and promising therapeutic targets for treating cardiometabolic disorders including atherosclerosis. Here, we discuss the recent findings in the field, highlighting the novel mechanisms by which miR-33 controls lipid metabolism and atherogenesis, and the identification of novel miRNAs that regulate LDL metabolism. Finally, we summarize the recent findings that identified miR-33 as an important noncoding RNA that controls cardiovascular homeostasis independent of its role in regulating lipid metabolism. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


While therapy-related (t)-myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) have worse outcomes than de novo MDS (d-MDS), some t-MDS patients have an indolent course. Most MDS prognostic models excluded t-MDS patients during development. The performances of the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), revised IPSS (IPSS-R), MD Anderson Global Prognostic System (MPSS), WHO Prognostic Scoring System (WPSS) and t-MDS Prognostic System (TPSS) were compared among patients with t-MDS. Akaike information criteria (AIC) assessed the relative goodness of fit of the models. We identified 370 t-MDS patients (19%) among 1950 MDS patients. Prior therapy included chemotherapy alone (48%), chemoradiation (31%), and radiation alone in 21%. Median survival for t-MDS patients was significantly shorter than for d-MDS (19 vs 46 months, P<0.005). All models discriminated survival in t-MDS (P<0.005 for each model). Patients with t-MDS had a significantly higher hazard of death relative to d-MDS in every risk model, and had inferior survival compared to patients with d-MDS within all risk group categories. AIC Scores (lower is better) were 2316 (MPSS), 2343 (TPSS), 2343 (IPSS-R), 2361 (WPSS) and 2364 (IPSS). In conclusion, subsets of t-MDS patients with varying clinical outcomes can be identified using conventional risk stratification models. The MPSS, TPSS and IPSS-R provide the best predictive power.Leukemia advance online publication, 24 February 2017; doi:10.1038/leu.2017.33. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


Traumatic life experiences are associated with alcohol use problems, an association that is likely to be moderated by genetic predisposition. To understand these interactions, we conducted a gene-by-environment genome-wide interaction study (GEWIS) of alcohol use problems in two independent samples, the Army STARRS (STARRS, N=16 361) and the Yale-Penn (N=8084) cohorts. Because the two cohorts were assessed using different instruments, we derived separate dimensional alcohol misuse scales and applied a proxy-phenotype study design. In African-American subjects, we identified an interaction of PRKG1 rs1729578 with trauma exposure in the STARRS cohort and replicated its interaction with trauma exposure in the Yale-Penn cohort (discovery-replication meta-analysis: z=5.64, P=1.69 × 10-8). PRKG1 encodes cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase 1, which is involved in learning, memory and circadian rhythm regulation. Considering the loci identified in stage-1 that showed same effect directions in stage-2, the gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis showed several significant results, including calcium-activated potassium channels (GO:0016286; P=2.30 × 10-5), cognition (GO:0050890; P=1.90 × 10-6), locomotion (GO:0040011; P=6.70 × 10-5) and Stat3 protein regulation (GO:0042517; P=6.4 × 10-5). To our knowledge, this is the largest GEWIS performed in psychiatric genetics, and the first GEWIS examining risk for alcohol misuse. Our results add to a growing body of literature highlighting the dynamic impact of experience on individual genetic risk.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 7 March 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.24. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


Goldberg P.K.,Yale University | Hellerstein R.,Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Review of Economic Studies | Year: 2013

The inertia of the local currency prices of traded goods in the face of exchange rate changes is a well-documented phenomenon in International Economics. This paper develops a structural model to identify the sources of this local currency price stability and applies it to micro-data from the beer market. The empirical procedure exploits manufacturers' and retailers' first-order conditions in conjunction with detailed information on the frequency of price adjustments following exchange rate changes to quantify the relative importance of local non-traded cost components, markup adjustment by manufacturers and retailers, and nominal price rigidities in the incomplete transmission of such changes to prices. We find that, on average, approximately 60% of the incomplete exchange rate pass-through is due to local nontraded costs; 8% to markup adjustment; 30% to the existence of own brand price adjustment costs; and 1% to the indirect/strategic effect of such costs, though these results vary considerably across individual brands according to their market shares. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Review of Economic Studies Limited.


According to new research, nomadic horse culture -- famously associated with Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes -- can trace its roots back more than 3,000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes, in the territory of modern Mongolia (Figure 1). The study, published online March 31 in Journal of Archaeological Science, produces scientific estimates of the age of horse bones found from archaeological sites belonging to a culture known as the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex. This culture, named for the beautiful carved standing stones ("deer stones") and burial mounds (khirigsuurs) it built across the Mongolian Steppe (Figure 2), is linked with some of the oldest evidence for nomadic herding and domestic livestock use in eastern Eurasia. At both deer stones and khirigsuurs, stone mounds containing ritual burials of domestic horses - sometimes numbering in the hundreds or thousands - are found buried around the edge of each monument (Figure 3). A team of researchers from several academic institutions - including the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Yale University, University of Chicago, the American Center for Mongolian Studies, and the National Museum of Mongolia - used a scientific dating technique known as radiocarbon dating to estimate the spread of domestic horse ritual at deer stones and khirigsuurs. When an organism dies, an unstable radioactive molecule present in living tissues, known as radiocarbon, begins to decay at a known rate. By measuring the remaining concentration of radiocarbon in organic materials, such as horse bone, archaeologists can estimate how many years ago an animal took its final step. Many previous archaeological projects in Mongolia produced radiocarbon date estimates from horse remains found at these Bronze Age archaeological sites. However, because each of these measurements must be calibrated to account for natural variation in the environment over time, individual dates have large amounts of error and uncertainty, making them difficult to aggregate or interpret in groups. By using a statistical technique known as Bayesian analysis - which combines probability with archaeological information to improve precision for groups of radiocarbon dates - the study authors were able to produce a high-precision chronology model for early domestic horse use in Mongolia. Lead author William Taylor, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, says that this model "enables us for the first time to link horse use with other important cultural developments in ancient Mongolia and eastern Eurasia, and evaluate the role of climate and environmental change in the local origins of horse riding." According to the study, domestic horse ritual spread rapidly across the Mongol Steppe at around 1200 BC - several hundred years before mounted horsemen are clearly documented historical records. When considered alongside other evidence for horse transport in the Deer Stone-Khirigsuur Complex these results suggest that Mongolia was an epicenter for early horse culture - and probably early mounted horseback riding. The study has important consequences for our understanding of human responses to climate change. For example, one particularly influential hypothesis argues that horse riding and nomadic herding societies developed during the late second millennium BCE, as a response to drought and a worsening climate. Taylor and colleagues' results indicate instead that early horsemanship took place during a wetter, more productive climate period - which may have given herders more room to experiment with horse breeding and transport. In recent years, scholars have become increasingly aware of the role played by Inner Asian nomads in early waves of globalization. A key article by Dr. Michael Frachetti and colleagues, published this month in Nature argues that nomadic movement patterns shaped the early trans-Eurasian trade networks that would eventually move goods, people, and information across the continent. The development of horsemanship by Mongolian cultures might have been one of the most influential changes in Eurasian prehistory - laying the groundwork for the economic and ecological exchange networks that defined the Old World for centuries to come.


News Article | April 12, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

The transmission control protocol, or TCP, which manages traffic on the internet, was first proposed in 1974. Some version of TCP still regulates data transfer in most major data centers, the huge warehouses of servers maintained by popular websites. That’s not because TCP is perfect or because computer scientists have had trouble coming up with possible alternatives; it’s because those alternatives are too hard to test. The routers in data center networks have their traffic management protocols hardwired into them. Testing a new protocol means replacing the existing network hardware with either reconfigurable chips, which are labor-intensive to program, or software-controlled routers, which are so slow that they render large-scale testing impractical. At the Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation later this month, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory will present a system for testing new traffic management protocols that requires no alteration to network hardware but still works at realistic speeds — 20 times as fast as networks of software-controlled routers. The system maintains a compact, efficient computational model of a network running the new protocol, with virtual data packets that bounce around among virtual routers. On the basis of the model, it schedules transmissions on the real network to produce the same traffic patterns. Researchers could thus run real web applications on the network servers and get an accurate sense of how the new protocol would affect their performance. “The way it works is, when an endpoint wants to send a [data] packet, it first sends a request to this centralized emulator,” says Amy Ousterhout, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) and first author on the new paper. “The emulator emulates in software the scheme that you want to experiment with in your network. Then it tells the endpoint when to send the packet so that it will arrive at its destination as though it had traversed a network running the programmed scheme.” Ousterhout is joined on the paper by her advisor, Hari Balakrishnan, the Fujitsu Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Jonathan Perry, a graduate student in EECS; and Petr Lapukhov of Facebook. Each packet of data sent over a computer network has two parts: the header and the payload. The payload contains the data the recipient is interested in — image data, audio data, text data, and so on. The header contains the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, and other information that routers and end users can use to manage transmissions. When multiple packets reach a router at the same time, they’re put into a queue and processed sequentially. With TCP, if the queue gets too long, subsequent packets are simply dropped; they never reach their recipients. When a sending computer realizes that its packets are being dropped, it cuts its transmission rate in half, then slowly ratchets it back up. A better protocol might enable a router to flip bits in packet headers to let end users know that the network is congested, so they can throttle back transmission rates before packets get dropped. Or it might assign different types of packets different priorities, and keep the transmission rates up as long as the high-priority traffic is still getting through. These are the types of strategies that computer scientists are interested in testing out on real networks. With the MIT researchers’ new system, called Flexplane, the emulator, which models a network running the new protocol, uses only packets’ header data, reducing its computational burden. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily use all the header data — just the fields that are relevant to implementing the new protocol. When a server on the real network wants to transmit data, it sends a request to the emulator, which sends a dummy packet over a virtual network governed by the new protocol. When the dummy packet reaches its destination, the emulator tells the real server that it can go ahead and send its real packet. If, while passing through the virtual network, a dummy packet has some of its header bits flipped, the real server flips the corresponding bits in the real packet before sending it. If a clogged router on the virtual network drops a dummy packet, the corresponding real packet is never sent. And if, on the virtual network, a higher-priority dummy packet reaches a router after a lower-priority packet but jumps ahead of it in the queue, then on the real network, the higher-priority packet is sent first. The servers on the network thus see the same packets in the same sequence that they would if the real routers were running the new protocol. There’s a slight delay between the first request issued by the first server and the first transmission instruction issued by the emulator. But thereafter, the servers issue packets at normal network speeds. The ability to use real servers running real web applications offers a significant advantage over another popular technique for testing new network management schemes: software simulation, which generally uses statistical patterns to characterize the applications’ behavior in a computationally efficient manner. “Being able to try real workloads is critical for testing the practical impact of a network design and to diagnose problems for these designs,” says Minlan Yu, an associate professor of computer science at Yale University. “This is because many problems happen at the interactions between applications and the network stack” — the set of networking protocols loaded on each server — “which are hard to understand by simply simulating the traffic.” “Flexplane takes an interesting approach of sending abstract packets through the emulated data-plane resource management solutions and then feeding back the modified real packets to the real network,” Yu adds. “This is a smart idea that achieves both high link speed and programmability. I hope we can build up a community using the FlexPlane test bed for testing new resource management solutions.”


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Top promoted drugs are less likely than top selling and top prescribed drugs to be effective, safe, affordable, novel, and represent a genuine advance in treating a disease, argue US researchers in The BMJ today. Tyler Greenway and Joseph S Ross, based at Yale University, say clinicians "should question the value of drugs being most heavily promoted by pharmaceutical manufacturers before prescribing them." US physicians receive billions of dollars each year from drug companies as part of drug promotion. Yet studies have shown that greater contact with drug sales representatives is associated with an increased likelihood of prescribing brand name medications when cheaper alternatives exist. And more recent studies have shown that payments from drug companies are associated with a greater likelihood of prescribing promoted drugs. However, since August 2013, legislation has required the industry to publicly disclose all payments to physicians of $10 (£8; €9) or more or $100 in aggregate. This led to the Open Payments Database, which archives all industry payments to individual physicians and teaching hospitals. Greenway and Ross therefore decided to assess the health "value" of drugs being most aggressively promoted to physicians to better understand implications of pharmaceutical promotion for patient care. They identified the 25 drugs associated with the largest total payments to physicians and teaching hospitals from August 2013 to December 2014, including all direct and indirect payments, such as speaker fees for education lectures, consulting fees, and honorariums, as well as payments in kind, such as the value of food and gifts. However, they excluded research payments, royalties, and licensing fees, which are typically not promotional. Next, they estimated drugs' value to society using five proxy measures: innovation; effectiveness and safety; generic availability (a measure of affordability); clinical value (inclusion on the WHO list of essential medicines); and 'first line' status (recommended as a first line therapy). They also determined the top 25 drugs by 2014 US sales and the top 25 most prescribed drugs in the US during 2013. Not all the differences were significant. But one that was showed that top selling and top prescribed drugs, not top promoted drugs, are more likely to represent the ideal drug that is effective, safe, affordable, novel, and represents a genuine advance in treating a disease. For example, only one of the top promoted drugs was on the WHO essential medicines list, compared with nine top selling drugs and 14 top prescribed drugs. Fewer top promoted drugs were considered 'first line' treatments than top prescribed drugs, while generic equivalents were available for 15 (63%) top promoted drugs, eight (32%) top selling drugs, and all top prescribed drugs. These findings raise concerns about the purpose of pharmaceutical promotion and its influence on patient care, say the authors. They say efforts are needed to better evaluate the value of drugs, ensuring that this information is readily available at the point of care so that it can inform clinical decision making, promoting use of higher value medicines. And they suggest that clinicians should consider taking steps to limit their exposure to industry promotion and consider engaging with non-commercial educational outreach programmes that provide evidence based recommendations about medication choices.


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

Ketamine, an anesthetic that can cause hallucinations and has been used for decades as a recreational club drug, could be a valuable new anti-depressant, according to a new study. The analysis of 41,000 patients in the journal Scientific Reports is the largest investigation of the population-level benefits of ketamine so far. “This study extends small-scale clinical evidence that ketamine can be used to alleviate depression, and provides needed solid statistical support for wider clinical applications and possibly larger scale clinical trials,” said Ruber Abagyan, senior author, a professor of pharmacy at the University of California San Diego. The data came from the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System. The initial grouping of 8 million patient records was narrowed down to 41,000 to focus on the use of ketamine. But the pharmacy experts worked backward in the database. They looked for the lack of depression as a “side effect” of ketamine. “While most researchers and regulatory monitor the FAERS database for increased incidences of symptoms in order to spot potentially harmful drug side effects, we were looking at the opposite – lack of a symptom,” said Isaac Cohen, another of the authors, a pharmacy student at UCSD. The incidence of depression symptoms in the patients who took ketamine was 50 percent lower than their peers who took other drugs for pain management. Along their analysis, they found a similar correlation among three other drugs: the cosmetic and migraine treatment Botox, the non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac, and an antibiotic called minocycline. (The anti-inflammation properties of diclofenac and minocycline may cause the reduction in depression symptoms, they hypothesize. However, the Botox explanation has not been explained). Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962, an intended for use as a fast-acting anesthetic. It was approved by U.S. regulators in 1970 for use in humans – but it quickly became known for illicit use in the 1970s and 1980s, first among New Age users and then later in dance clubs. Currently its regulated use is tightly controlled. Ketamine has been known as a potential anti-depressant for about a decade, but most of the studies until now have focused on small groups of patients. Negative side effects, such as hallucinations and dissociation, have also limited its use as a treatment. As Yale University researchers have warned, the dosage and administration of the drug remains an unknown set of variables that have yet to be studied further.


News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Baseball legend Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitcher in the history of the sport, had a simple philosophy when it came to pitching: Keep the ball away from the bat. But as anyone who has thrown anything knows, it's not that easy. Throwing is one of the most complex actions humans perform. Even tossing a crumpled piece of paper into a wastebasket two feet away requires a series of complex neurological and mechanical calculations. Should you toss overhand or underhand? How fast should you throw? At what angle should you hold your arm? Applied mathematicians at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) decided to use mathematical models to figure out the best strategies to throw something at a target. "There are many different ways to get an object to a target," said L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Physics, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at SEAS and senior author of the study. "How do you choose? Our hypothesis was that you choose based on a strategy that minimizes the error at the target while giving yourself the greatest room for error at the release." The team found that while underhand throws are best for reaching a target close by and above the shoulder, overhand throws are more accurate for targets below the shoulder -- like a wastepaper basket -- and are more forgiving to errors over long distances. The research is published in Royal Society Open Science. As all pitchers, quarterbacks and bowlers know, once an object is released, the thrower loses control over where it goes. Mahadevan and M. Venkadesan, of Yale University, analyzed the parabolic trajectories of thrown objects to understand how release errors affect the accuracy of the throw. "We asked, how do errors introduced in the release of the thrown object propagate at the location of the target, as a function of the distance, orientation and height of the target," said Mahadevan, who is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The researchers also modeled the tradeoff between speed and accuracy when throwing an object. The team found that regardless of the target location, the most accurate throw is slightly faster than the minimum speed needed to reach the target. The faster the throw, the less likely it is to be accurate, which explains why even the best pitchers still throw a lot of balls. The researchers found that at both high speeds and longer distances, the overarm throw beats the underhand throw in accuracy. The findings shed light on how humans evolved to throw, said Mahadevan. After all, the ability to hit a target with a thrown object was key to human evolution. Without claws or sharp teeth, humans' ability to throw a stone or spear was a primary method of hunting for food. "This research demonstrates the theoretically best way to throw. But most of us are not born throwers of anything. We learn how to throw through trial and error," said Mahadevan. "Now, we have a mathematical framework to think about how learning about the physical world requires interacting with the world. We can't think about tasks unless we think about the way in which we interact with the physicality of the environment."


News Article | April 30, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

The act of throwing—whether it’s a dart at a board or a ball of paper into a wastebasket—involves a complex trade-off between speed and accuracy. Humans are uniquely able to throw fast and on target. Monkeys can—and do—throw things, but they’re really bad at it, scientists say. For a new study, researchers used a series of calculations that look strictly at the physics of throwing to better understand the take-off between speed and accuracy. One common theory is that the faster someone throws a ball, the more difficult it is to release it at exactly the right time. But the new study, published in Royal Society Open Science, shows that even if a person is equally good at controlling the release at all speeds, faster throws will still be less accurate. The differences in accuracy between a fast throw and a slow one all happen after the ball is released. “Once you launch the ball, there’s nothing you can do,” says Madhusudhan Venkadesan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science at Yale University. “The ball’s just going to carry out the consequences of what you did.” The ball travels in a nearly straight line in fast throws, so errors in the angle at which the ball is released are amplified; small errors in controlling speed have no effect. The opposite is true for slow and curved flight paths, with small errors in the angle of release having little effect. It’s a trade-off that favors slower throws, Venkadesan says. “What we find is that almost the slowest arc is often the most accurate,” he says. “We’ve compared these calculations to published data of people throwing into wastebaskets; we’ve compared it to a study on dart throwing.” Of course, throwing at near-minimal speed wouldn’t work for most baseball pitchers, let alone our rock- and spear-throwing ancestors, whose hunting abilities were crucial to our evolutionary development. “You don’t just want to be fast or just accurate, you want to be fast and accurate, and this work tells us that this is particularly challenging. The faster you are, the less accurate you are, so how can we be both? That’s a question we’re pursuing.” Cricket fielding is one of the exceptions to the slow-is-more-accurate rule, the study shows. To strike the nearby vertical wickets, players fare better with a fast underhand toss. So is it better to throw overarm or underhand? It depends on a lot of things, including the target shape, height, and distance. Experienced dart players, for instance, throw overhand (optimally releasing the dart 17 to 37 degrees before the arm becomes vertical, and at about 5.5 meters per second). On the other hand, if your wastebasket is fewer than three arm lengths away and below shoulder height, a gentle overhand toss is your best strategy. Even without working out such calculations, most people throw in ways close to the mathematically optimal methods, Venkadesan says, noting this is likely a result of learning through trial and error over our lifetimes. One exception is the underhand free throw in basketball. The now-retired Rick Barry set NBA records with his underhand technique. Calculations find that it has a marginal advantage over the  overhand throw, but it has all but disappeared from professional basketball. Its nickname—the “granny throw” may be why, he says. “One suspects there are social and cultural reasons you don’t see that practiced too often.”


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.sciencenewsdaily.org

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with Harvard and Yale Universities has conducted a study of optimal human throwing techniques and found which work best under which conditions. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Madhusudhan Venkadesan and Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan describe how they combined physics with observed results to learn which techniques work best in which situations. Scientists have calculated the optimal strategy for throwing something accurately, even a ball of paper. The science behind the perfect free-throw Researchers from Yale University were interested in understanding the physics behind various throwing techniques, from tossing paper into the bin, to bowling in cricket. Researchers at Harvard University built math models to determine which kinds of throwing mechanics yield the most accurate throws. The science behind making the perfect pitch Applied mathematicians used mathematical models to figure out the best strategies to throw something at a target. The team found that while underhand throws are best for reaching a target close ... The science behind making the perfect pitch, Mon 1 May 17 from Eurekalert


News Article | March 23, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A team of international scientists have discovered the fossil remains of 430-million-year-old crustacean. The team was led by the University of Leicester. The fossil remains are of an ancient crustacean family and has been named after Sir David Attenborough, a renowned British naturalist and television personality. Attenborough is famed for his legendary documentary series "Life on Earth." It was in celebration of Attenborough's 90th birthday that the fossil was named as Cascolus ravitis. Though this very name may not seem to have any resemblance to Attenborough, the term Cascolus is derived from the word castrum meaning "stronghold." The word colus means "dwelling in." The name has been inspired from the naturalists' surname, which has its roots in Old English. And the specie name ravitis is an amalgamation of two words Ratae and commeatis. Both have their origin in Latin. Ratae is the Roman name for Leicester, which means "vita" or "life," and commeatis means "a messenger." The species name is linked to the University of Leicester as Attenborough spent most of his childhood on the university campus. Attenborough was greatly moved by this gesture and said that the greatest gift a biologist or palaeontologist can pay to another one is by naming a fossil in their honor. "I take this as a very great compliment. I was once a scientist so I'm very honoured and flattered that the Professor should say such nice things about me now," said Attenborough. Derek Briggs a palaeontologist at Yale University, and also the coauthor of this study, stated that it was a wonderful thing that a remarkable fossil from the UK was named in honor of Sir David Attenborough. Briggs feels that he has done a lot to promote the conservation and preservation of the Earth's biodiversity. The fossils were discovered from volcanic ash deposits that collected over time in a marine setting, which is now known as Herefordshire and is in the Welsh Borderland. From the remains, it is revealed that this fossil is a distant relative of the living shrimps, lobsters, and crabs. The fossil of the proto-shrimp is small in size with the entire specimen measuring just 8.9 millimeters long. The widest part of the ancient crustacean was its head shield, which measured 1.3 millimeters in width. The body was long and segmented with several two-branched limbs or "biramous." It was observed that the fossil had several rows of strange, petal-shaped appendages, which the scientists believed probably helped the animal swim and breathe under water. The specimen of the crustacean, Cascolus ravitis, has been reconstructed as a virtual fossil by three dimensional computer modeling and is well preserved. The three dimensional figure is also complete with all the soft-parts of the animal, like eyes, legs, and its delicate antennae. The report of the discovery was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 13, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

New York City's resolve to eliminate trans fats from food sold at public eateries has effectively decreased stroke and heart attack rates by 6.2 percent, according to a new study. In July 2007, 11 New York counties adopted the resolution to ban trans fats from restaurants, bakeries, cafeterias, caterers, senior-meal programs, soup kitchens, and street booths. Researchers at Yale University took this opportunity to observe and record the public health benefits that stemmed from this "natural experiment." The researchers found that three years after the trans fat ban was enacted, these counties reported an exponential drop in hospital admissions for cardiovascular events. Compared with the other 26 state counties that didn't adhere to the same restrictions, the residents in these counties now have 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 adults (aged 25 and older). The study, featured April 12 in the journal JAMA Cardiology, suggests heart disease hospitalizations could be even more reduced once the U.S. Food And Drug Administration's nationwide restriction on trans fats goes into effect next year. "A nationwide trans fat ban is a win for the millions of people at risk for cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Eric Brandt, study lead author. Trans fats are considered by many doctors the most unhealthy type of fats available in our diet. Also called trans-fatty acids, these fats are formed when liquid oil goes through a process known as hydrogenation to make the product solid, similar to butter, and expand its shelf life. Because these fats have increased preservation durability, they are typically found in processed food, from baked and fried goods to yeast breads, chips, crackers, cookies, microwave popcorn, and margarine. Eating trans fats boosts LDL or "bad" cholesterol, simultaneously reducing HDL or "good" cholesterol, and leads to clogged arteries and inflamed blood vessels. A 2015 study revealed trans fats are even more unhealthy than saturated fats. Even small amounts of trans-fatty acids increase the chances of stroke, heart disease, and sudden heart death. Researchers note that as little as 2 grams (0.07 ounces) of trans fats are enough to raise cardiovascular risk. Although several New York counties have committed to get rid of trans fats in public culinary establishments, partially hydrogenated oils still find their way into people's diets, mainly because they are still available in grocery stores. Starting next year, manufacturers and food preparers will no longer be allowed to use these oils in any of their products, as per the FDA's pending national trans fat restriction. Instead, food companies are to replace hydrogenated fats with vegetable oils, like olive oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Depression is one of the most widely spread disorders in the world, affecting more than 350 million people. Although, depression affects millions of people, it is not spoken about due to several misconceptions attached to the disorder. Doctors treat depression through counselling or medication or both. Lately, the notorious party drug ketamine or Special K is being used by doctors in small doses to treat severely depressed patients. However, experts have raised concerns over this prescription drug being given to depressed patients, given that overdoses could be fatal for human life. Ketamine, or Special K, is a dissociative anesthetic, which alters an individual's perception of vision and sound. It also brings about a feeling of dissociation and detachment from the surroundings. Ketamine can be consumed in many ways. One can inject it as an intravenous drug, smoke it, or snort it as a powder. It is an extremely powerful anesthetic, typically used for tranquilizing and sobering large mammals such as horses and cattle. Even though psychiatrists use anti-depressants and psychotherapy to treat depression, patients still tend to feel dejected and suicidal. In a number of small studies, it has been found that ketamine in small doses can relieve an individual of the feeling of suicidal depression in a matter of hours. However, this is not the first time ketamine is being used in treating depression. It has been recognized as an effective anti-depressant more than 10 years ago. The American Psychiatric Association had researched on ketamine, and has determined that the drug counters depression robustly. "If you have patients that are likely to seriously injure themselves or kill themselves within a short period of time, and they've tried the standard treatments, how do you not offer this treatment?" said Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University. He has cured many patients by administering minute quantities of this drug. Several other doctors echo his thoughts and feel that this drug is quite useful the in treatment of depression. Scientists are still in the dark when it comes to ketamine. Even though doctors regularly administer this drug, it is not clear as to how much dosage would be safe for the patient. Ketamine's effects wear off in a few days. Therefore, patients need to consume it regularly. This increases the risk of overdose. The long-term effects of the drug are yet to be known. According to Sanacora, depressed patients see ketamine as their last resort after having exhausted all other options. Approximately 50 percent to 75 percent of these patients feel better within 24 hours of ketamine treatment. Scientists, however, are continuing their research to find out more about this powerful drug. They have even developed a sister drug, named esketamine, which is currently in the testing phase at the Food and Drug Administration. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- Researchers intent on understanding how too little sleep can undermine health have long suspected a relationship between short sleep duration and the actions of specific genes, but finding the genes involved has proven difficult. Now, a team of scientists based at Brown University has identified genes carrying "epigenetic" tags that are likely associated with shorter sleep in young adults. "Before this study, specific genes with epigenetic tags hadn't been linked to how much sleep people get," said Anne Hart, a professor of neuroscience and co-corresponding author of the study online in the journal Sleep. "This is the first time we've found genes important in sleep that might be tagged this way. It's exciting to open up a new area in the sleep field. In the long run, this work should help us understand why getting too little sleep causes so many problems for people and should lead to better treatments for those who have trouble sleeping." Epigenetic tags in genes are chemical alterations of the DNA that accrue based on life experiences, such as stress or exposure to environmental substances. This study focused on a specific epigenetic tag, called DNA methylation, which can affect how genes are expressed and therefore change behaviors like sleep. Previous research showed that methylation might change at the whole genome level with inadequate sleep. But in the new study, the researchers went much deeper and looked for specific genes with different amounts of DNA methylation tags in people who got a normal amount of sleep every night and comparable people who slept considerably less. For this study, the team selected 16 students from the hundreds who participated in a larger sleep study led by co-corresponding author Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School and director of the Sleep for Science lab at the Bradley Hospital. "Our carefully selected sample of college students gave us the possibility to pursue this burning question at a molecular level," Carskadon said. Eight of the students had roughly the amount of sleep recommended for young adults, getting 8.1 hours on average. The other eight students selected for the study were short sleepers, getting only 6.6 hours on average a night. Because sleep and mood are intimately connected, all of the students selected had relatively depressed moods, which allowed the researchers to focus their analysis only on sleep. From donated blood samples, the researchers were able to analyze nearly 500,000 sites for possible methylation differences between the groups. They found 87, corresponding to 52 candidate genes. But how could they know whether any of the 52 genes really had anything to do with sleep? For the answer, they turned to worms. Worm and human sleep is remarkably similar; the same basic genetic and molecular biology mechanisms are important. That makes worms convenient models to study the basic biology of sleep. "If you have a lot of things you want to test, worms are fast and easy to do science in," Hart said. For each of the genes identified in people, the research team asked the question of what difference it might make to sleep to knock out the analogous gene in worms. Six of the genes they knocked out -- including five that had never before been identified as sleep-relevant -- affected sleep in worms. Although knock-out of a gene probably has a bigger impact than methylation, the experiments showed that these genes are likely important in sleep, for worms. The last phase of the research was for the researchers to go back to humans to see if they could replicate the finding of methylation tags of the five new worm-proven genes. They assembled a new cohort of 10 more students, all different from the last group. This time all 10 had better mood scores, meaning they were not depressed at all (thereby controlling for mood). As before, one group had the recommended amount of sleep (an average of about 8 hours) and the other group had short sleep (average of 6.3 hours). One gene, called ZFYVE28, still had significantly different methylation tagging when the normal sleepers and the short sleepers were compared. It's not clear why the other four didn't replicate, Hart said, but maybe those four are only important for sleep in people with depressed moods (which was intentionally different between the first group of students and the second). Intriguingly ZFYVE28 has connections to two molecular pathways already known to be relevant in sleep, Hart said: "Notch" and "EGF." But, she acknowledged, despite the worm knock-out results, there is not yet enough evidence yet to determine whether the methylation differences in ZFYVE28 in humans cause short sleep or accrue because of short sleep. There is at least one test Hart said she can imagine doing to help find an answer: Recruit some normal sleepers. Test their ZFYVE28 methylation. Subject them to a few weeks of restricted sleep. Test the methylation again. If it's substantially different, then maybe short sleep causes the methylation. If not, the possibility would remain open that the changes cause short sleep. Indeed, the research team has proposed a grant for just such a project. For now, ZFYVE28 serves as a test case to show that the method of mixing worm and human experiments to discover the sleep-relevance of epigenetic changes is a productive avenue for sleep research, Hart said. "This is the first good evidence that there will be differences in methylation associated with sleep, which opens up a whole new mechanism for regulating sleep," she said. "Now we can get to the mechanisms of what's going on and what's important." The paper's lead author is Huiyan Huang of Brown. In addition to Hart and Carskadon, the paper's other authors are Melissa Eliot of Brown; Valerie Knopik of Brown and Rhode Island Hospital (RIH); Jon McGeary of Brown, RIH and the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and Yong Zhu of Yale University. The National Institutes of Health, the Brown Institute for Brain Science, the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, the Periodic Breathing Foundation and the Sleep Research Society Foundation supported the research.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

Some of the most promising and puzzling phenomena in physics play out on the nanoscale, where a billionth-of-a-meter shift can make or break perfect electrical conductivity. Now, scientists have developed a new method to probe three-dimensional, atomic-scale intricacies and chemical compositions with unprecedented precision. The breakthrough technique — described February 6 in the journal Nano Letters — combines atomic-force microscopy with near-field spectroscopy to expose the surprising damage wreaked by even the most subtle forces. “This is like granting sight to the blind,” says lead author Adrian Gozar of Yale University. “We can finally see the all-important variations that dictate functionality at this scale and better explore both cutting-edge electronics and fundamental questions that have persisted for decades.” Scientists from Yale University, Harvard University, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory developed the technique to determine why a particular device fabrication technique — helium-ion beam lithography — failed to create the scalable, high-performing superconducting nanowires predicted by both theory and simulation. In previous work, heavy ion beams were used to carve 10-nm-wide channels — some 10,000 times thinner than a human hair — through custom-made materials. However, the new study revealed beam-induced damage rippling out over 50 times that distance. At this scale, that difference was both imperceptible and functionally catastrophic. “This directly addresses the challenge of quantum computing, for example, where companies including IBM and Google are exploring superconducting nanowires but need reliable synthesis and characterization,” says study coauthor and Brookhaven Lab physicist Ivan Bozovic. One promising design for high-temperature superconducting devices is alternating superconductor-insulator-superconductor (SIS) interfaces — or so-called Josephson junctions. These are theoretically easy to fabricate by direct beam writing, assuming sufficient precision can be achieved. Helium-ion beam lithography (HIB) was a perfect candidate, proven recently in similar materials and well suited for swift and scalable production of superconducting nanowires and Josephson junctions. “HIB lets us focus the particle beam to less than a single nanometer and effectively ‘write’ patterns to create superconducting interfaces,” says Nicholas Litombe, who led the HIB work under the guidance of Professor Jenny Hoffman of Harvard, a coauthor of this study. “We set out to shift that technique to another class of materials: LSCO thin films.” The collaboration started with the painstaking assembly of perfect LSCO thin films — so named for their use of lanthanum, strontium, copper, and oxygen. Bozovic’s group at Brookhaven used a technique called atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy, which can create atomically perfect superconducting films and heterostructures. “I have a long-standing interest and specialization in using interphase physics to induce and understand high-temperature superconductivity,” Bozovic says. “HIB gives us an entirely new way to explore these materials on the nanoscale.” Litombe carved the ultra-precise interface channels in Bozovic’s thin films. But the immediate results were discouraging: the anticipated superconductivity was entirely suppressed when current ran through wires narrower than a couple hundred nanometers. “Our computer models and experimental results all looked excellent, but we knew there were hidden forces at work,” Litombe says. “We needed deeper insight into the material structure.” Material composition and electronic properties can be pinpointed through the way they absorb and emit light — a longstanding field called spectroscopy. In the instance of superconductivity, this can distinguish between the “shiny” surface of a conductive metal versus the dullness of a current-breaking insulator. The scientists turned to scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) to examine the spectroscopic sheen on the HIB pathways. But this technique, which funnels light through a gilded glass capillary, has a resolution limit of about 100 nanometers — much too large to examine the nanoscale superconducting interfaces. Fortunately, Gozar built a specialized instrument to radically increase the spectroscopic resolution. The machine, built entirely at Brookhaven Lab and now housed at Yale, combines SNOM with atomic force microscopy (AFM). Like a record player’s needle extracting sound from the texture of vinyl, an AFM needle travels over a material and reads the atomic topography. “Here, the AFM needle acts like a lightning rod, channeling the SNOM light down to just tens of nanometers,” Gozar says. “We have simultaneous AFM topography and spectroscopic data on the deep chemical structures.” Crucially, Gozar’s AFM-SNOM system also operates at the cryogenic temperatures required to test these materials — a capability only offered at a few laboratories in the world. The novel technique revealed the unexpected and widespread damage left in the wake of the helium ions. Despite the 0.5-nanometer focus of the beam, its effects rattled atoms across a 500-nanometer spread and altered the structure enough to prevent superconductivity. For nanomaterial construction, this so-called lateral straggle is utterly untenable. “Even the slightest nudge at this scale shatters the powerful phenomena we mean to exploit,” Litombe says. “High-temperature superconductivity can have a coherence distance of just a few atoms, so this lateral effect is devastating. We are, of course, still thrilled to explore the never-before-seen details.” Adds Bozovic, “In one sense, the whole result was negative. Our initial goal of creating nanometer-thick superconducting wires was not fully accomplished. But figuring out why has opened some truly exciting doors.” The SNOM-AFM technique is readily applicable to fields such as plasmonics for display technology and the study of the mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity. “The nanoscale resolution and the tomographic capabilities of the instrument, put us on the cusp of uncovering new truths about nanoscale phenomena and the technology it empowers,” Gozar says. This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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

The earliest supermassive black holes may have been big to start with. If so, it would help explain the recent detection of such beasts within a billion years of the big bang. Supermassive black holes take a long time to build, so we expect to see only a few in the early universe. The more of them we find, the less likely it is that they all grew the way most modern black holes do, by devouring dust and gas. “You can have a few black holes that accrete at the maximum possible rate for a very long time, but not all of them,” says Marco Ajello at Clemson University in South Carolina. In principle, though, stars can gain mass faster than black holes. Joseph Smidt at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and his colleagues say this could explain the presence of supermassive black holes so early on. If a star of around 100,000 solar masses collapses, it could form a substantial black hole right away. Fed by streams of cold gas, that black hole could grow at a stately pace to reach a billion solar masses within the first billion years of the universe. Smidt and his colleagues performed the most detailed simulation yet of this “direct-collapse” scenario. It produced the black holes we observe, as well as the ionised gas around them and the star formation rate in their host galaxies. “Other results showed that you can get the right mass – but black holes are more than mass,” says Smidt. “We’ve shown that we can match several other independently observed features.” So far, astronomers have not directly spotted supergiant stars in the early universe. But if they exist, the James Webb Space Telescope should be able to see them after its launch next year. Direct collapse is still just one possibility, however. Other theories, like mergers of smaller black holes, remain viable, and researchers aren’t quite sure yet how many black holes there really are in the early universe. “We think that the most massive black holes out there in the early universe formed from direct collapse, but the less massive ones could have formed in other ways,” says Priyamvada Natarajan at Yale University.


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

When scientists with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer started clinical trials in 1991 on a chemical compound named UK-92480, they aimed to show the drug’s potential therapeutic benefit for a cardiovascular condition caused by restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. Less than two years later, hope that the compound, now better known as sildenafil, could treat angina began to fade. But the drug wasn’t shelved. Rather, scientists began exploring whether one of the drug’s reported side effects—erections—could help men suffering from another condition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998 approved sildenafil, under the brand name Viagra, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In its first year on the market, sales of the little blue pill topped $1 billion. The transformation of sildenafil into a treatment that’s now been prescribed to tens of millions of men around the world is one of the most well-known examples of a practice known as drug repurposing. The practice isn’t new but it is becoming an increasingly attractive option for academic and pharmaceutical industry researchers, as well as nonprofit organizations and patient advocacy groups—all of whom are seeking ways to cut the time and expense involved in getting new treatments to market. Winning approval for a new drug takes about 14 years on average and costs can exceed $2 billion, according to data from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, or NCATS. The failure rate in the drug development process, meanwhile, is 95 percent. That leaves a vast pool of partially developed chemical compounds that could potentially be tapped for uses other than which they were originally intended. Those repurposed drugs could move to market in less time and for less money than it takes to gain approval for novel drugs by skipping preclinical testing requirements and, possibly, Phase 1 safety and dosing trials. The ability to bypass those stages means a repurposed drug could make it to market in only four years and at a fraction of the cost of a brand new treatment, according to Cures Within Reach. The Illinois-based nonprofit group, which supports medical repurposing research, also notes that the “risks are better known and the chance of failure due to adverse side effects is reduced” with repurposed drugs. While serendipity has largely driven the repurposing of drugs in the past, more deliberate approaches to this practice have been recently developed in a bid to fuel more collaboration between stakeholders and hasten the development of new therapies. A collapsed timeline In 2012, NCATS, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, launched a program called Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules that makes proprietary drugs that have undergone significant research and development by pharmaceutical companies available to academic researchers. Christine Colvis, the director of drug development partnership programs for NCATS, called drug repurposing “a viable strategy for developing new therapies” and one that is generating more interest and engagement from academic institutions and academic investigators. “There are so many diseases for which there are no treatments or for which current treatments are not adequate or don’t treat all of the patient population,” Colvis, whose team leads the New Therapeutic Uses program, said. “There is just so much unmet medical need out there and when there’s something for a scientist, for a researcher, that’s sort of staring them in the face as a potential thing that could make a difference in people’s lives, it’s hard for them not to pursue that path.” Colvis pointed to research by neurologist Stephen Strit­tmatter of Yale University as one promising example of collaboration between academia and industry that NCATS is supporting. Strittmatter and his colleagues in 2012 published a paper that suggested blocking a protein called Fyn kinase may help treat Alzheimer’s disease. Those findings were released around the same time NCATS launched its New Therapeutic Uses program and made a Fyn kinase inhibitor developed by AstraZeneca available to researchers. AstraZeneca had developed the drug, called saracatinib, to treat cancer. Strittmatter and his colleagues submitted a proposal to test saracatinib as a treatment for Alzheimer’s-related brain abnormalities and received one of the first New Therapeutic Uses awards in June 2013. The research team was able to begin a Phase 2a human clinical trial of saracatinib within about 18 months, compared to the decade it can take to move a new treatment to that stage. “Had AstraZeneca not put that drug on our list of drugs that would be available, we still wouldn’t be investigating this as a potential target for Alzheimer’s disease, and had Dr. Strittmatter not published his paper or had he not seen our funding opportunity announcement, still nothing would be happening,” Colvis said. “But instead now we are in the final year of a Phase 2 trial and hope to see those results in about a year from now.” Partnerships NCATS, in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Janssen Research & Development, LLC, in February announced it was offering $6 million in funding to support additional public-private partnerships between the biomedical research community and pharmaceutical companies. Other NCATS partners for this program include AstraZeneca subsidiary MedImmune, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Sanofi. Colvis said the types of partnerships NCATS is helping foster are “really just trying to demonstrate a strategy. Our real hope is that other entities start to use this model and this strategy.” “We hope to see this model used around the world in order to really have an impact on health,” she said. While Colvis describes NCATS’ efforts to promote drug repurposing as “disease agnostic,” other groups are embracing the practice in an attempt to find treatments for a specific group of conditions: rare diseases. Findacure, a charity based in Cambridge, England, is working to develop a model to support repurposing existing, generic drugs to help treat patients suffering from conditions that affect fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. (In the United States, a rare disease is defined as a condition affecting fewer than 200,000 people at any given time). “It’s a type of research that can be delivered more cheaply and more quickly and that’s really important in the rare disease space,” said Rick Thompson, Findacure’s head of research. Of the more than 7,000 rare diseases, only around 400 have licensed treatments, according to Findacure. Thompson said it’s difficult for the pharmaceutical industry to actively repurpose generic drugs for rare diseases for two reasons: a lack of profitability due to the small patient population and the difficulty to secure intellectual property. Findacure has developed a new mechanism called the Rare Disease Drug Repurposing Social Impact Bond in an effort to address that gap. The model, which Findacure has been working with Cures Within Reach to develop, would use money the National Health Services in the U.K. saves by treating patients who have rare diseases with repurposed, generic drugs to reimburse the cost of clinical trials that prove the effect of such drugs. “It’s securing returns based on money that’s been saved rather than delivering a high drug price,” Thompson said. The charity has completed a proof of concept study for its model and is now working toward developing a full business plan. Meanwhile, the group recently launched an open call for drug repurposing ideas for rare diseases in partnership with Cures Within Reach and Healx of Cambridge, England. The open call project aims to “demonstrate the huge potential of clinic-led, patient group-led, and researcher-driven innovation in drug repurposing for rare diseases” and show “the need for new funding streams to help these ideas bridge the translational gap,” like Findacure’s Rare Disease Drug Repurposing Social impact Bond. “We think this has real potential to promote and allow this type of generic drug repurposing in the rare disease space to move forward,” Thompson said. “We need some kind of innovation in this space to encourage this type of work.”


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Yale Graduate Teachers belonging to Local 33 Unite Here International Union and their supporters march up Hillhouse Ave. in New Haven, Connecticut and rally at Yale President Peter Salovey's House Tuesday evening, April 25, 2017, during a demonstration calling for Yale to start negotiating a contract with the Local 33 union. (Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP) NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — As a union push stalls at Yale University, organizers are stepping up pressure to bring the administration to the negotiating table, including a vow by some graduate students to go on a hunger strike until talks begin. Graduate assistants in eight departments at the Ivy League school voted in February to unionize, and they appeared to be on track to become among the first to do so since the National Labor Relations Board ruled last year that those assisting in teaching and research at private universities have a right to union representation. But Yale is challenging the union strategy of voting by individual departments, as opposed to the graduate school as a whole, and has said the requests by Local 33-UNITE HERE for collective bargaining are premature. Hundreds of graduate students and their supporters participated in a march Tuesday evening to the home of Yale's president, Peter Salovey, and demonstrators announced that eight graduate students would begin a fast. "I've been waiting for Yale to negotiate for four years. That doesn't seem to matter to them," said Aaron Greenberg, a union chairman who is among the hunger strikers. Graduate assistants at public universities have been able to organize for years, but until a reversal last August by the NLRB, graduate students at private schools could not be considered employees. Union organizers at Yale said they suspect university officials are dragging the process out because they believe the NLRB will become more sympathetic to their view under President Donald Trump. School officials said the fast is unwarranted, and Salovey said in a written statement that the students should reconsider and avoid actions that harm their health. The Yale organizers say they believe a union would help address concerns surrounding pay and benefits. Yale says it provides "unsurpassed" support for doctoral students. In a statement Monday, it said it has challenges pending regarding an NLRB regional director's finding that teaching fellows are employees and regarding the union's strategy of focusing on individual, hand-picked departments. "That strategy is unprecedented in higher education," the university said. "Unions that have organized at other private universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Duke and Cornell, have all sought school-wide bargaining units — not the separate departmental units advocated by Local 33 at Yale."


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

NEW HAVEN, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study finds that an early awareness of pregnancy promotes a healthy pregnancy journey through preemptive lifestyle and behavior changes. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Yale University offers advice for women to decrease the stress of trying to conceive by recognizing the signs and being prepared both physically and emotionally for a positive pregnancy test. “I see many pregnant women who wish they had found out sooner so they could have prepared mentally or modified their lifestyle habits- like cutting out alcohol or adjusting their diets,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD. "I always encourage my patients to live healthily, especially when trying to conceive. However, nothing reinforces healthy behavior like a positive pregnancy test. It’s important for women to recognize the early signs of pregnancy and use a test that gives results as early as possible, like FIRST RESPONSE™ Early Result Pregnancy Test that tells you six days before a missed period.” While some of the signs of pregnancy are more well-known, like morning sickness, nausea, or food cravings- many are not as recognizable. Less common signs can include slight bleeding or cramping very early on, mood swings, dizziness, constipation, and fatigue. As some of these signs can be easily mistaken for a bad case of PMS, it is a good idea to take a pregnancy test. A healthy pregnancy starts before conception- so it is important to make sure your body is prepared. Use this time as motivation to eliminate unhealthy habits such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and any illegal drugs. Reducing daily stressors, getting enough rest, and making healthy food choices are key. “I’m pleased that this study is opening the conversation about making smart, pre-emptive health decisions and shedding light on the tools available for women to prepare for pregnancy,” adds Minkin. “And if you’re trying to conceive, you can increase your chances by identifying your most fertile days using an ovulation test and choosing a fertility-friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed.”


Founding Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center Joins Virgin Pulse's Renowned Panel of Experts; Will Keynote Thrive Summit 2017


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

Ronald (Ron) Drever was a hands-on physicist with a child-like joy for experimentation. He co-invented several important techniques to directly detect gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created by accelerating masses. He co-founded the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which announced the first direct detection of those long-sought waves in 2016. Drever, who died aged 85 in Scotland on 7 March, was an intuitive and imaginative physicist who thought primarily in pictures. Those pictures — of concepts or devices — gave him an elegant way to circumvent a lot of analytical reasoning, and provided a way to think about problems that often resulted in an invention. As a child in Scotland, guided by an engineer uncle, Drever assembled a television receiver from parts left over from the Second World War. He did not do well in preparatory school, but came into his own at the University of Glasgow, UK. There he studied nuclear physics, including particle detectors and their electronics. His 1958 PhD thesis was on radiation counters for nuclear decay. As a lecturer at Glasgow, Drever tested an idea newly proposed by theorists. This was that objects on Earth might have one inertial mass when travelling in the plane of the Milky Way, and another when travelling perpendicular to it, owing to the uneven distribution of the Galaxy's mass. He and a scientist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, independently checked the motions of nuclei in lithium atoms to see whether they were affected by the orientation of the nuclei relative to the Galactic plane. Drever did his experiment in his parents' back garden, away from the magnetic disturbances of the university, using equipment borrowed from the teaching labs. Neither saw any effect, thereby establishing the uniformity of space to an unprecedented precision. It was a landmark result. The work took Drever into cosmology and astrophysics. When pulsars were discovered in 1967, he searched for γ-rays that might accompany the radio-wave pulsations. After researchers announced in 1969 that they had detected gravitational waves coming from the Galactic Centre (a result later found to be spurious), Drever hunted for radio pulses coming from the same location. And he began a new research programme at Glasgow for the detection of gravitational waves. First, Drever devised a more-sensitive and broader-band version of the 'acoustic bar' gravitational-wave detector that others were using at the time to try to replicate the 1969 result. But in the early 1970s, several groups were exploring a technique that involved laser interferometers. The idea was to measure the distortions of space-time caused by gravitational waves by timing how long laser light took to travel between mirrors in an interferometer. Drever, as well as experimenters in Germany, showed that scattered laser light made noise that restricted the sensitivity of the interferometer. One solution was to stabilize the frequency of the laser. On a sabbatical to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1979, Drever learned about a method devised during the Second World War to stabilize the frequencies of microwaves for radar by reflecting them with a resonant cavity. Drever and his colleagues adapted the technique for lasers and optical cavities, creating what is now called Pound–Drever–Hall cavity stabilization. That has become a central technique in precision optical systems, including LIGO. Other ideas further improved laser interferometer detectors in the 1970s. Drever, with colleagues in Germany and Glasgow, came up with systems for power and signal recycling to increase the sensitivity of the interferometer and to adjust its response. Both systems involved adding more partially reflecting mirrors to the input and output components of the instrument. By this time, Drever was working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, having been invited by US theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. There, he initiated plans for a 40-metre prototype gravitational-wave detector. Meanwhile, a German group started up a 30-metre prototype, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge also began a study of the science, concept and cost of a device. In 1983, the Caltech and MIT research groups joined forces to build and operate a full-scale device: LIGO. The collaboration was initially directed by a committee of Drever, Thorne and myself. But we had different visions and were unable to make decisions. In 1987, the project moved forward under a single director, Rochus Vogt, who helped us to write a definitive proposal that attracted the funds to design and construct the initial detector. The project — the largest ever funded by the US National Science Foundation — consisted of two L-shaped detectors, each with arms 4 kilometres long, in Washington state and Louisiana. Drever was a strong contributor to the conceptualization of LIGO. But he struggled to move from the freedom of table-top science to the rigorous schedule and firm decision-making necessary to pin down a large-scale project. In such projects, thorough engineering practice and careful analysis take priority over intuition and pictorial reasoning. In 1994, LIGO's then-director Barry Barish supported a decision made at Caltech to give Drever a separate laboratory, where he could develop new ideas and techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors. LIGO started collecting data in 2002, and detected gravitational waves from a pair of colliding black holes in 2015. This led to many prizes and awards for Drever and his colleagues. It is well known that Drever and I had different views about the direction for technical development for LIGO. I disagreed with him about the use of optical cavities; it turned out he was right. I held out for a solid-state laser while he insisted on a green argon one; Drever was wrong on that one. But we always respected each other's views, and as LIGO's construction progressed we became close colleagues and friends.


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

The anaesthetic ketamine — a hallucinogenic club drug also known as Special K — has tantalized researchers who are seeking new ways to treat depression. The drug can lift a person’s mood in hours, even when depression is severe. But several ‘ketamine-like’ medications have failed to alleviate depression in clinical trials over the past decade. Now, some researchers think they know why. Emerging evidence suggests that scientists have misunderstood how ketamine fights depression. So they might have attempted to mimic the wrong biological mechanism when designing drugs to improve mood while avoiding the disorienting ketamine high. On 20 May, researchers at a meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry in San Diego, California, will present results suggesting that some of ketamine’s power comes from its ability to affect brain cells called glia, which support neurons. Their finding adds to recent studies contradicting a long-held idea that the drug works mainly by blocking proteins called NMDA receptors, on the surface of brain cells, which transmit signals between those cells. At the upcoming meeting, a team led by neuroscientist Mark Rasenick of the University of Illinois at Chicago will report on tests of antidepressant drugs in cultured rat glial cells. All of the drugs that the researchers studied caused a cluster of proteins to shift position in the glial cells’ membranes, signalling to the cells to form new connections with their neighbours. But ketamine produced this effect in 15 minutes, as compared to 3 days for conventional antidepressants. Moreover, drugs that block NMDA receptors but are not antidepressants did not show the effect at all. This suggests that ketamine’s ability to bind to NMDA receptors might not be its primary weapon against depression. Rasenick’s team is not the first to suggest a different target for ketamine. A paper published in Nature in May 2016 concluded that one of ketamine’s breakdown products — not the drug itself — probably lifted depression in mice1. And this compound affected cell proteins called AMPA receptors, instead of NMDA receptors. The team behind the study plans to test the breakdown product in clinical trials later this year. But study co-author Carlos Zarate, a psychiatrist at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, says that it is too early to abandon the NMDA-receptor hypothesis, and more data are needed. Others agree. “We have to be careful not to interpret [the latest] clinical findings as definitively negative,” says Gerard Sanacora, a psychiatrist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rodent studies have shown, for example, that blocking NMDA receptors can have an antidepressant effect2. And there could be more-prosaic explanations for why so many ketamine-like drugs that target NMDA receptors — including candidates from the drug giants Roche, Pfizer and AstraZeneca — have failed in clinical trials. Participants might have received doses that were too small or infrequent to buoy their moods. And in trials with control groups, the placebo effect can make it difficult to determine whether a psychiatric drug is working. Creating an effective substitute for ketamine remains the goal for many researchers. Although a growing number of physicians prescribe ketamine for their patients, the drug must be administered intravenously. It can also produce disorienting ‘out of body’ feelings, and it has the potential for abuse. The companies that are still testing drugs to inhibit NMDA receptors are trying to make sense of the latest findings on ketamine and its would-be imitators. “We do need to tease all this apart,” says David Nicholson, chief research-and-development officer at Allergan in Parsippany, New Jersey. In February, Allergan began treating around 500 people with a molecule called rapastinel, which binds to NMDA receptors and showed promising results in earlier trials. Yet, the most enduring mystery involves ketamine itself, as researchers try to untangle what makes the drug so potent. Alan Schatzberg, a psychiatrist at Stanford University in California suspects that ketamine could act against depression in many ways: jump-starting the process by some as-yet-unknown mechanism, perhaps, and then blocking NMDA receptors to permanently rewire the brain. Schatzberg also points out that ketamine can act similarly to morphine and rapidly bind to opioid receptors in the brain, which could explain why its effects are apparent within hours. And some studies have found that people with depression are more likely to benefit from ketamine if they do experience that out-of-body feeling, suggesting that it might be related to the drug’s main mechanism3. In the meantime, the hunt continues for drugs that can replicate ketamine’s mood-boosting power. That could be difficult, says Steven Levine, a psychiatrist and president of Ketamine Treatment Centers in New York City. “Ketamine is a dirty, dirty drug,” he says. “It goes a lot of places, it does a lot of things.”


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

MADISON, Wisconsin -- The adage "put your thinking caps on" might evoke visions of an elementary classroom, where a teacher has just admonished cherubic little learners about to embark on a particularly difficult academic adventure. In today's high-stakes world, where we all need to think, learn or act quickly, the adage still rings true: Mastering a new task, skill or information often takes the right environment, mindset, sharp focus and lots of hard work, repetition and time. Yet, in some time-sensitive or high-pressure situations, a big boost in learning ability and speed from that proverbial thinking cap would not only be welcome, but critical. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, biomedical engineer Justin Williams is leading an effort to do just that. With up to $9.85 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Williams and neuroscience experts from around the country will develop a low-cost, easy-to-use system -- think "learning goggles" -- that aims to accelerate learning by stimulating nerves in the head and neck to boost neural activity in the brain. The system will be particularly useful for military personnel, whose safety and our national security depends on their ability to quickly master new skills or digest vast quantities of important information. The concept is rooted in a promising new area of research, called targeted neuroplasticity training, in which activating peripheral nerves -- those outside of the brain and spinal cord -- can promote and strengthen connections of neurons in the brain. Acupuncturists have known for centuries that the face and head are excellent places to stimulate peripheral nerves. For example, the auricular vagus nerve is located just below the skin and runs past the tragus -- the little flap on your outer ear -- and down through the neck. Stimulating nerves such as the vagus can boost brain chemicals such as acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. During learning, those chemicals, known as neuromodulators, regulate changes in the connections between neurons in the brain -- and brain function improves. In recent experiments, other researchers in the field demonstrated that stimulating the vagus nerve while an animal was learning a basic task dramatically increased the speed at which the animal learned the task. "It seemed to work, whether it was a motor task, memory, auditory task or something else," says Williams, UW-Madison Vilas Distinguished Service Professor in Biomedical Engineering. Williams is among the nation's leaders in neural interface technology research and optimization. In 2009, for example, Time magazine included him on its list of the year's 50 best inventions for developing a "thinking cap": a brain-computer interface that allows paralyzed or "locked-in" people to type and send a tweet using only their thoughts. With the DARPA funding, he and his collaborators initially will leverage their combined expertise to develop ways to discover, measure, monitor and optimize the brain's response during targeted neuroplasticity training. Ultimately, they hope to use that knowledge to eventually develop a noninvasive, user-friendly technology that simultaneously delivers a stimulus, monitors neural response and dramatically accelerates learning. "Can we optimize the production of neurotransmitters at the right time and in the right place in the brain during a task to enhance learning?" asks Williams. Beyond military applications, the technology also might be useful, in controlled environments, for people who have learning disorders or who are afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimer's. Williams' collaborators at UW-Madison include: Samuel Poore, professor of surgery; Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Aaron Suminski, senior scientist in neurological surgery and biomedical engineering. Collaborators from around the country include: David McCormick, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Yale University; Matthew McGinley, professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine; Robert Froemke, professor of otolaryngology and neuroscience and physiology at New York University; and Kendall Lee and Kip Ludwig, director and associate director, respectively, of the Mayo Clinic Neural Engineering Laboratory.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

It all started with a one-line entry - "Manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America" - in the catalog of a tiny records office in the town of Chichester in the south of England. As part of an effort to assemble a database on every known edition of the Declaration of Independence, Emily Sneff, a researcher with the Declaration Resources Project, stumbled upon the listing in August 2015. And though she didn't think much of it at the time, that short description would set her and Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, on a two-year journey into American history. "I'd found vague descriptions of other copies of the Declaration that turned out to be 19th century reproductions of the signed parchment in the National Archives, so that was what I was expecting," Sneff said, of her initial impression based on the catalog listing. "What struck me as significant was that it said manuscript on parchment." Sneff contacted the archive, the West Sussex Record Office, which was unable to send images of the document online, and instead mailed her a disc with photos of the document. "When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren't in the right order - John Hancock isn't listed first, there's a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it - and it's in a handwriting I hadn't seen before," she said. "As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle's attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen." "We knew we had a mystery," Allen said. "We had a big, big mystery." "There are three key questions we want to answer," she continued. "One is: Can we date this parchment based on the material evidence? Second, who commissioned it and why, and third, how did it get to England?" Allen and Sneff are providing some answers to that mystery with a pair of papers. The first, which is currently in the final revision stage with the Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America, uses handwriting analysis, examination of the parchment preparation and styling, and spelling errors in the names of the signers to date the Sussex Declaration to the 1780s. The second paper, presented at a Yale University conference, argues that the document was probably commissioned by James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who later aided in drafting the Constitution and was among the original justices appointed to the Supreme Court. But the document isn't simply a previously-unknown piece of American history - it also affords Allen and Sneff a unique window into the political upheavals of the early Republic. In the immediate aftermath of its signing, Allen said, there was a period of "breaking news" in which the Declaration was reproduced and printed in a variety of formats as the news spread through the colonies and eventually made its way across the Atlantic to England. "The versions that people would have seen in July and August 1776 were broadsides and newspapers, starting with John Dunlap's broadsides, which was printed on the night of July 4," Sneff said. "Those copies would have made their way across to England as well - there are Dunlap broadsides in their National Archives." But it wasn't until approximately a decade later that the Sussex Declaration was produced, amidst what was one of the most challenging periods for the new nation. "Victory was not sweet," Allen said, describing the post-war atmosphere. "There was financial disaster, the Articles of Confederation were not working...so the 1780s were a period of great instability, despite victory. And this parchment belongs to that decade." Among the chief political debates of the era, Allen said, was whether the new nation had been founded on the basis of the authority of the people or the authority of the states. By re-ordering names of the signers, arguably the most conspicuous feature of the parchment, the Sussex Declaration comes down squarely on one side of the argument. On most documents, Allen said, the protocol was for members of each state delegation to sign together, with signatures typically running either down the page or from left to right, and with the names of the states labelling each group. An exception was made for a small number of particularly important documents - including the Declaration, which was signed from right to left, and which omitted the names of the states, though the names were still grouped by state. "But the Sussex Declaration scrambles the names so they are no longer grouped by state," Allen said. "It is the only version of the Declaration that does that, with the exception of an engraving from 1836 that derives from it. This is really a symbolic way of saying we are all one people or 'one community' to quote James Wilson." Going forward, Allen and Sneff will continue to pursue research into exactly how the parchment reached England from the U.S. Also, they are working on a project in collaboration with the West Sussex Record Office, the British Library and the Library of Congress to perform hyper-spectral imaging on the parchment and other non-invasive studies in the hope of reading some text that appears to have been scraped away at the top of the document.


A caterpillar commercially bred for use as fishing bait was found to have the ability to biodegrade polyethylene, the most commonly used plastic in manufacturing shopping bags. About 80 million tons of polyethylene are produced annually primarily for use in packaging. Reliance on this plastic raises concern since it will take about 100 years for a low-density polyethylene bag to degrade completely. Denser plastics would take as long as 400 years to disintegrate. A researcher, who also happens to be an amateur beekeeper, accidentally discovered that the wax worm, the larvae of the common insect called Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, has the potential to solve current problems with plastic waste, particularly polyethylene. Further investigation revealed it was not the caterpillar's manner of chewing that degrades the plastic. The creature actually produces something that can break down the polymer chains in polyethylene plastic. "Perhaps in its salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria in its gut. The next steps for us will be to try and identify the molecular processes in this reaction and see if we can isolate the enzyme responsible," said study researcher Paolo Bombelli, of the University of Cambridge. "This discovery could be an important tool for helping to get rid of the polyethylene plastic waste accumulated in landfill sites and oceans." Plastic pollution is a growing problem with at least 275 million tons of this waste being produced annually by 192 nations worldwide. Of these, nearly 8 million tons are washed up into the ocean. The plastic debris in the waters are being blamed for the death of many animals including those that mistake the colorful plastic as food and those caught in plastic fishing lines. The wax worm may offer a promising solution that can help with plastic waste problem but other organisms have also been identified in the past to have the potentials for degrading plastic. Last year, Japanese scientists reported of a new species of bacteria that eats the plastic used in most disposable water bottles. The plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, can also be found in frozen-dinner trays, blister packaging and polyester clothing. The bacteria species known as Ideonella sakaiensis was found to use two enzymes to break down plastic. Researchers said that a community of Ideonella sakaiensis can break down a thin film of PET over a period of six weeks given a stable temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. "When grown on PET, this strain produces two enzymes capable of hydrolyzing PET and the reaction intermediate, mono(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalic acid. Both enzymes are required to enzymatically convert PET efficiently into its two environmentally benign monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol," researcher Shosuke Yoshida of Kyoto Institute of Technology, and colleagues described the bacteria in the journal Science. In 2012, researchers from Yale University discovered a variety of mushroom called Pestalotiopsis microspora that can also break down polyurethane. Two years after its discovery, a system was developed that aims to make it possible to eat these plastic-digesting fungi. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Baseball legend Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitcher in the history of the sport, had a simple philosophy when it came to pitching: Keep the ball away from the bat. But as anyone who has thrown anything knows, it's not that easy. Throwing is one of the most complex actions humans perform. Even tossing a crumpled piece of paper into a wastebasket two feet away requires a series of complex neurological and mechanical calculations. Should you toss overhand or underhand? How fast should you throw? At what angle should you hold your arm? Applied mathematicians at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) decided to use mathematical models to figure out the best strategies to throw something at a target. "There are many different ways to get an object to a target," said L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Physics, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at SEAS and senior author of the study. "How do you choose? Our hypothesis was that you choose based on a strategy that minimizes the error at the target while giving yourself the greatest room for error at the release." The team found that while underhand throws are best for reaching a target close by and above the shoulder, overhand throws are more accurate for targets below the shoulder -- like a wastepaper basket -- and are more forgiving to errors over long distances. The research is published in Royal Society Open Science. As all pitchers, quarterbacks and bowlers know, once an object is released, the thrower loses control over where it goes. Mahadevan and M. Venkadesan, of Yale University, analyzed the parabolic trajectories of thrown objects to understand how release errors affect the accuracy of the throw. "We asked, how do errors introduced in the release of the thrown object propagate at the location of the target, as a function of the distance, orientation and height of the target," said Mahadevan, who is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The researchers also modeled the tradeoff between speed and accuracy when throwing an object. The team found that regardless of the target location, the most accurate throw is slightly faster than the minimum speed needed to reach the target. The faster the throw, the less likely it is to be accurate, which explains why even the best pitchers still throw a lot of balls. The researchers found that at both high speeds and longer distances, the overarm throw beats the underhand throw in accuracy. The findings shed light on how humans evolved to throw, said Mahadevan. After all, the ability to hit a target with a thrown object was key to human evolution. Without claws or sharp teeth, humans' ability to throw a stone or spear was a primary method of hunting for food. "This research demonstrates the theoretically best way to throw. But most of us are not born throwers of anything. We learn how to throw through trial and error," said Mahadevan. "Now, we have a mathematical framework to think about how learning about the physical world requires interacting with the world. We can't think about tasks unless we think about the way in which we interact with the physicality of the environment."


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Cybersecurity professionals from across the country will gather at Yale University this March 30 – April 1 for interactive, thought-provoking discussions at the first-ever Yale Cyber Leadership Forum. The Forum aims to bridge the knowledge divide between law, technology, and business in cybersecurity. Along with McKinsey & Company as knowledge partner, the Forum will explore challenges posed by the divide and strategies for overcoming it, at both the firm and the policy/regulatory levels. The Forum will include expert panels, talks by the keynote speakers, and breakout seasons that will draw upon the expertise and active participation of Forum attendees. Forum speakers are all noted thought leaders and innovators, including: Participants attending the Forum can expect to hear from experts on a variety of topics, including: Oona A. Hathaway, Forum director and Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, said “Lawyers, technologists and business leaders responding to cyber-threats frequently find themselves stymied by the difficulty of communicating across disciplinary, professional and technical boundaries. This leaves some critical questions unanswered––how should an organization prepare for cyber-attacks? What is the technical and legal landscape applicable to these cyber-threats? What is the role of the government vis-à-vis organizations that became targets of cyber-attacks? Our Forum is aimed at tackling these critical questions.” There are only a few more seats available in the program and space is filling up quickly. For more information on the Yale Cyber Leadership Forum and to apply, please visit cyber.forum.yale.edu.


As the Trump administration considers a rollback of strict Obama-era fuel standards, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, a recent study has provided a new argument in their favor: They might actually save lives. One common way automakers improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles — that is, how much gasoline they consume per mile — is to reduce the weight of the automobile. And the new study, a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in April, suggests that a reduction in the overall average weight of vehicles on the road may actually result in fewer fatalities as a result of car crashes. This means that, even for critics who are not interested in reducing greenhouse gases from cars, there’s still an argument to be made for keeping vehicle fuel standards, said Antonio Bento, an environmental economics expert at the University of Southern California and one of the study’s co-authors. “What the paper shows is that even if those environmental benefits are very, very low, if nothing else, from a safety reason, you have a reason to move forward with the standards,” he said. The federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or “CAFE” standards, were first introduced in the United States in 1975. In 2012, the Obama administration approved a more stringent set of standards, which would steadily increase the efficiency of certain vehicles through 2025. The standards also changed some of the ways efficiency requirements are applied to cars of different sizes. Facing opposition from the automobile manufacturing industry, the administration later conducted a review of the standards but concluded at the end of 2016 that they would remain in place. However, the Trump administration decided in March to reopen this review — meaning it could decide to weaken or remove the Obama administration’s update. [Trump’s review of car fuel standards could lead to fight with California, environmentalists] Pushback against the CAFE standards is hardly new. Over the decades, industry members and other critics have levied a variety of arguments against them, and one of the most common from the beginning has been the idea that fuel standards sacrifice safety. Many critics have suggested that lighter-weight cars — which are typically more fuel efficient — are more likely to produce fatalities in an crash. This may indeed be the case if you’re looking at a weight change in only one car. Say you observe a crash between two SUVs, both around the same size. If you downsize one of those vehicles to a Smart car, the chance of its passengers being injured or killed may increase. On the other hand, if you downsize both vehicles, the overall risk of fatality might actually become smaller than it was to begin with. The researchers argue that, in the past, critics have only examined the effects of reducing an individual vehicle’s weight and not the standards’ overall effects on all vehicles in circulation — an important distinction. “What CAFE actually does is it doesn’t just lower the weight of one vehicle,” said Kevin Roth, an environmental economist at the University of California at Irvine and another co-author of the study. “It changes the entire composition of the fleet.” The researchers (who included Bento, Roth and co-author Kenneth Gillingham of Yale University) focused their study on two effects of the original CAFE standards: a reduction in the average weight of all vehicles on the road and a change in the dispersion of their weight — that is, how much variation there is in the weight of individual cars. Dispersion is what really causes safety problems, the researchers note. If you think about the scenario with the SUV and the Smart car, the problem wasn’t just that the Smart car, by itself, is a lightweight vehicle — it’s that it was pitted against a much heavier one. Automakers’ responses to fuel economy standards tend to produce a reduction in the average weight of vehicles on the road, as well as an increase in their weight dispersion. The relevant safety question, then, is whether an increase in weight dispersion, or a decrease in mean weight, is the more dominant outcome. To investigate, the researchers analyzed data on vehicles sold in the United States between 1954 and 2005 to see how their weight changed after the original CAFE standards were introduced in 1975. Next, they collected police reports on 17 million car crashes across 13 states between 1989 and 2005, noting which ones produced fatalities and the weights of the vehicles involved. Finally, the researchers conducted a series of simulations to see how these crashes might have turned out if the original CAFE standards had not been introduced and the vehicles’ weights had not been adjusted. The simulations suggested that 171 to 439 fewer fatalities occurred each year with the standards in place than without them, depending on factors such as the year and the location of the crashes. “I think one of the findings of this study is that these [safety] concerns have been drummed up as the reason to get rid of this standard,” Roth said. “We’re essentially showing that these concerns are probably overblown.” In fact, some of the changes the Obama administration made to the CAFE standards were designed to address safety concerns, according to Joshua Linn, a senior fellow at environmental research nonprofit Resources for the Future. (Linn was not involved with the new study but has provided comments on the working paper to the authors.) The study suggests that, in reality, this was probably never actually a problem, he said. However, the new study addresses only the effects of the original CAFE standards — not the Obama administration’s update, which may take years to produce noticeable changes in the composition of vehicles on the road, Roth noted. This means that the researchers can’t say for certain that their findings apply to the Obama standards under review. But they may suggest that “there’s no reason to think that removing the standards is going to improve safety on the road,” Roth said. It remains to be seen whether the safety argument will become a major point in the talks about the CAFE standards’ future under the Trump administration. So far, many of these discussions have revolved around the costs and logistics manufacturers face in complying with the current rules. Last week, automakers reportedly met with the heads of the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency to discuss some of these issues. And it may be that the Obama standards are adjusted rather than removed. However, should a rollback begin to appear imminent, “then actually our study could become incredibly influential in the sense that our study looks at a historical perspective on the standards,” Bento said. “You start measuring what would happen if you were to truly remove or to lower the standards, potentially.”


News Article | April 10, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Frequent body weight fluctuations affect an individual much more than they can fathom. Yo-yo dieting could up the risk of heart attacks and strokes according to a new study. Researchers reveal that yo-yo dieting may be responsible for increased death risk because of pre-existing coronary artery disease getting aggravated. The term yo-yo effect or yo-yo dieting was coined by Yale University's Kelly D. Brownell. The recurrent ups and downs in weight loss and gain, resembling the similar movement in a yo-yo, inspired Brownell to name the diet on the toy. This is not the first time health officials, researchers, and doctors have highlighted the evils of yo-yo dieting, which is frequently taken up by individuals in a bid to lose weight. Previous studies have shared that the negative impact of yo-yo dieting, especially in post-menopausal women. However, the latest study is the first to delve into the effects of the weight fluctuation on people having a history of coronary-related diseases, or attacks. "Back in the 90s there was a study done in patients with no heart disease, who were pretty healthy, that found that weight fluctuations over a decade actually increased the risk of death from heart disease," remarked Sripal Bangalore, the lead author of the study, to CBS News. He explained that the study was conducted to observe if repeated weight loss had any impact on individuals with pre-existing heart disease. To come to a conclusion, the researchers reviewed data of a previous clinical trial entitled Treating to New Targets. The researchers examined data of more than 9,500 men and women between 33 years and 75 years. The participants in the trial were diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, coronary artery diseases, and had a history of heart problems. In the Treating to New Targets trial, the patients were prescribed cholesterol medication in different doses. The researchers of the original trial observed them for the next five years. The participants also had their weight checked every six months. During this five-year period of observation, it was noticed that frequent changes in body weight were associated with coronary artery diseases, and this held true for all individuals. However, the link was significantly visible for people who were overweight, or obese, at the start of the study. It was found that when compared to heart patients who kept their weight loss steady, patients with the largest weight fluctuations had 136 percent more chances of strokes, 117 percent higher risk of heart attacks, and 124 percent more risk of death. It was also noticed that weight alterations as large as 8.6 pounds took place in heart patients placed in the high-fluctuation group. On the other hand, those under the smallest shift group experienced weight alterations of a mere 2 pounds. However, the study's authors stated that the research does not prove the existence of a link between yo-yo dieting and a cause-and-effect relationship. The study only shows that there is a visible association among the two. The original trial Treating to New Targets was funded by Pfizer and can be looked up on Clinicaltrials.gov. The new study, entitled Body-Weight Fluctuations and Outcomes in Coronary Disease, was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on April 6. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Renewable Thermal Alliance (RTA), a new project spearheaded by Yale University, is coordinating activities to harmonize and share best practices in the regional development of markets for renewable heating and cooling technologies across the Northeast. Initiated by Yale University, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Connecticut Green Bank, the RTA is looking to expand this initiative to include regional governments, industry associations, investors and other interested organizations. Recent studies in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island indicate that more than 40 percent of the energy demand of residential and commercial buildings is used for heating and cooling purposes. As a result, heating and cooling is both a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and, through the installation of renewable technologies like ground and air source heat pumps, is an important facet of any mitigation strategy. The findings of the three states indicate a total market for heating and cooling of around 1,700 trillion BTUs in New England and New York together, representing a large investment opportunity for renewable heating and cooling. "Renewable thermal technologies can play a central role in heating and cooling and are gaining recognition as a solution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the region, and should no longer be overlooked," says Helle Gronli, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies who is directing the Renewable Thermal Alliance. "By organizing a multi-state effort we hope to not just tap into this market potential, but amplify it by addressing shared challenges of an immature market." States face a relatively universal set of challenges in building renewable thermal markets, and the proposed solutions all point the same direction. Greater regional synchronization thus offers a number of benefits that wouldn't be realized by states working on their own. These include: Importantly, the Renewable Thermal Alliance has also partnered with the Connecticut Green Bank to establish a sound financial foundation and stimulate demand for this nascent market. "In the renewable energy world, the high upfront cost of new technology is regularly a barrier to its widespread adoption," says Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank. "Through the Renewable Thermal Alliance, we hope to attract more private investment in the economies of the Northeast to deploy more of these important renewable heating and cooling technologies." Initiated well over a year ago, the alliance has already enlisted the cooperation of over 100 individual members from nearly 75 different organizations, from policy makers to installers. As it develops, the alliance will cultivate a long-term viable market for renewable thermal energy for heating and cooling. To that end, leveraging private capital, securitization, and the potential for issuing Green Bonds is essential for bringing deployment to scale. John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Renewable heating and cooling technology is critical to Governor Cuomo's nation-leading energy strategy. We recently developed several proposals such as offering a $15 million rebate program for the installation of ground-source heat pumps, working with local communities to increase market awareness and confidence in the technology, and partnering with the New York Power Authority to get geothermal installed on large college campuses, all of which will accelerate the use of renewable heating and cooling technologies in New York State." Members of the Alliance will be participating in a webinar on market strategies for renewable technologies in New England on April 27 at 12 pm EST. Register today to hear leading experts share their thoughts on market strategies to bring renewable heating and cooling to scale For more information about joining the Alliance, contact Helle Gronli at helle.gronli@yale.edu.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

Scientists have calculated the optimal strategy for throwing something accurately - whether it's a dart or a crumpled-up piece of paper. US researchers say the slow-is-more-accurate rule generally applies. In a series of calculations, they looked at the physics behind releasing a projectile with the human arm. Their equations suggest a slow but accurate throw is the best strategy for getting a piece of paper into a nearby bin. Lead researcher Madhusudhan Venkadesan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University, said faster throws tend to be less accurate. This is because the ball travels in a nearly straight line, so any errors in the angle at which the object is released tend to be amplified. In slow and curved flight paths, small errors in the angle of release have little effect, he said. "What we find is that almost the slowest arc is often the most accurate," said Dr Venkadesan. "We've compared these calculations to published data of people throwing into wastebaskets; we've compared it to a study in dart throwing." In sports such as basketball or darts, the strategy depends on conditions and the trade-off needed between speed and accuracy. For example, experienced darts players throw overarm at about 5.5 metres per second, optimally releasing the dart 17 to 37 degrees before the arm becomes vertical. On the cricket pitch, fielders are more likely to strike the wicket with a fast underarm throw. And in basketball, the underhand free throw, nicknamed "the granny throw", has a marginal advantage over overhand, despite almost disappearing from the game. Accurate throwing is uniquely human - a skill relied upon by our ancient ancestors for hunting with spears or stone tools. The researchers say monkeys also throw things, but they are really bad at it. The study is published in the journal, Royal Society Open Science.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable, providing new possibilities such as flexible smartphones. His new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries that are used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage. The study (DOI 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00715) is published online April 24 in Nano Letters. Liquid electrolyte is currently used in commercial lithium batteries, and, as everyone is now aware, it is highly flammable, causing safety issues with some laptops and other electronic devices. Yang’s team explored the idea of using solid electrolyte as a substitute for the liquid electrolyte to make all-solid-state lithium batteries. They were interested in using ice-templating to fabricate vertically aligned structures of ceramic solid electrolytes, which provide fast lithium ion pathways and are highly conductive. They cooled the aqueous solution with ceramic particles from the bottom and then let ice grow and push away and concentrate the ceramic particles. They then applied a vacuum to transition the solid ice to a gas, leaving a vertically aligned structure. Finally, they combined this ceramic structure with polymer to provide mechanical support and flexibility to the electrolyte. “In portable electronic devices, as well as electric vehicles, flexible all-solid-state lithium batteries not only solve the safety issues, but they may also increase battery energy density for transportation and storage. And they show great promise in creating bendable devices,” says Yang, whose research group is focused on electrochemical energy storage and conversion and thermal energy management. Researchers in earlier studies used either randomly dispersed ceramic particles in polymer electrolyte or fiber-like ceramic electrolytes that are not vertically aligned. “We thought that if we combined the vertically aligned structure of the ceramic electrolyte with the polymer electrolyte, we would be able to provide a fast highway for lithium ions and thus enhance the conductivity,” says Haowei Zhai, Yang’s PhD student and the paper’s lead author. “We believe this is the first time anyone has used the ice-templating method to make flexible solid electrolyte, which is nonflammable and nontoxic, in lithium batteries. This opens a new approach to optimize ion conduction for next-generation rechargeable batteries.” In addition, the researchers say, this technique could in principle improve the energy density of batteries: By using the solid electrolyte, the lithium battery’s negative electrode, currently a graphitelayer, could be replaced by lithium metal, and this couldimprovethe battery’s specific energyby 60% to 70%. Yangand Zhaiplan next to work on optimizing the qualities of the combined electrolyte and assembling the flexible solid electrolyte together with battery electrodes to construct a prototype of a full lithium battery. “This is a clever idea,” says Hailiang Wang, assistant professor of chemistry at Yale University. “The rationally designed structure really helps enhance the performance of composite electrolyte. I think that this is a promising approach.”


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

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) announces the appointment of Edward R. O'Connor, PhD, MBA, FACHE, to the position of provost and executive vice president for Academic and Research Affairs. O'Connor comes to KCU from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where for the past three years he served as provost and chief academic officer, and professor in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine. Prior to his roles at Creighton University, O'Connor held several positions at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, including dean and professor of Biomedical Sciences for the School of Health Sciences; professor of Medical Sciences at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine; and executive director for the National Institute for Community Health Education. While there, O'Connor also served as head coach for men's cross country. "Dr. O'Connor brings extensive experience in administration with a focus on academic excellence and cross-campus collaboration, as well as research and scholarship; we're very pleased to have him join our team," said Marc B. Hahn, DO, KCU president and CEO. "His expertise in establishing new academic programs in the health professions, with a commitment to growing interprofessional education, will best prepare our students to succeed in today's health care environment." As provost, O'Connor will provide leadership, vision, direction and advocacy to best support students in meeting their academic and career goals. He also will be responsible for advancing KCU's goals for research through continued collaboration with key partners. "This is a time of great opportunity for KCU, and I'm honored and excited to be a part of its continued growth," said O'Connor. "I look forward to working with other members of the leadership team, our faculty and the entire KCU family to achieve the University's strategic goals and ensure the greatest success for our students." O'Connor earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the Albany Medical College Graduate School of Health Sciences in Albany, New York; a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Leadership from Yale School of Management, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from State University of New York at Albany. O'Connor has served in leadership and committee positions on the local, regional and national levels and holds membership in several professional societies. He has served on the board of directors of several hospitals and most recently served on the board of CHI Health, an organization consisting of 15 hospitals, two stand-alone behavioral health facilities, and more than 150 employed physician practice locations, which serve Nebraska and western Iowa. He is also the author of dozens of publications and the recipient of many prestigious honors and awards.


News Article | March 29, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Long-distance running, particularly a marathon, is in and of itself a significant fitness achievement. There's the triumphant feeling when one finally crosses the finish line, and of course, the many health benefits those long days of rigorous training bring — such as developing endurance, boosting your mood, enhancing the body's ability to burn fat almost effortlessly, and lowering your overall risk of getting cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. However, it also has its ugly side, too. Because it puts the body under a lot of stress, marathon running can be extremely taxing physically. There's the danger of muscle inflammation leading to injuries, a compromised immune system, and now as recent research reveals, acute kidney injury, too. A new study published in American Journal of Kidney Diseases suggests that marathon runners are likely to develop acute kidney injury during a race. The result of the small study was founded on data gathered through the blood and urine samples of 22 participants who ran the 2015 Hartford Marathon. After careful observation, the researchers from Yale University reported that 82 percent of the runners had evidence of stage 1 acute kidney injury after the race. "We knew we would find something, but I was surprised by the level [of injury]. It's comparable to what I see in hospitals," Dr. Chirag Parikh, a nephrologist and the principal author of the study, told Time. The researcher also noted, however, that the kidneys can repair on their own within 24 to 48 hours. "I would think that the majority of marathon runners are doing OK because the 22 people who participated in the study had normal kidney function and had been running marathons for an average of 12 years. If running marathons caused a great deal of permanent kidney injury, these runners would have minimal kidney function remaining," he explained. Nevertheless, Dr. Parikh believes that their findings emphasize the fact that running a marathon comes with tremendous physical demands and can take its toll. He urges people with existing medical conditions to be extra careful and to consult their trainers and physicians before gearing up for a marathon. Dr. Malissa Wood of Harvard Medical School in Boston conducted a study on 60 long-distance runners who completed the Boston Marathon back in 2004 and 2005. Wood said that when you're exercising for four hours, your body needs to maintain levels of glucose and it needs to be hydrated, especially if you're running in a warm climate. Wood highly recommends training ahead, getting a good night's sleep, and rehydrating regularly during the race to lower the potential risks of kidney damage. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Each time we get feedback, the brain is hard at work updating its knowledge and behavior in response to changes in the environment; yet, if there's uncertainty or volatility in the environment, the entire process must be adjusted. A Dartmouth-led study published in Neuron reveals that there's not a single rate of learning for everything we do, as the brain can self-adjust its learning rates using a synaptic mechanism called metaplasticity. The findings refute the theory that the brain always behaves optimally. How the brain adjusts learning, has long been thought to be driven by the brain's reward system and its goal of optimizing rewards obtained from the environment or by a more cognitive system responsible for learning the structure of the environment. Synapses are the connections between neurons in the brain and are responsible for transferring information from one neuron to the next. When it comes to choice in evaluating potential rewards, your learned value of a particular option, reflecting how much you like something, is stored in certain synapses. If you get positive feedback after choosing a particular option, the brain increases the value of that option by making the associated synapses stronger. In contrast, if the feedback is negative, those synapses become weaker. Synapses, however, can also undergo modifications without changing how they transmit information through a process called metaplasticity. Previous studies have suggested that the brain relies on a dedicated system for monitoring the uncertainty in the environment to adjust its rate of learning. The authors of this study found however, that metaplasticity alone is sufficient to fine-tune learning according to the uncertainty about reward in a given environment. "One of the most complex problems in learning is how to adjust to uncertainty and the rapid changes that take place in the environment. It is very exciting to find that synapses, the simplest computational elements in the brain, can provide a robust solution for such challenges," says Alireza Soltani, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth. "Of course, such simple elements may not provide an optimal solution but we found that a model based on metaplasticity can explain real behaviors better than models that are based on optimality," he added. To understand the neural mechanisms for adjusting learning, more specifically, how learning and choice are impacted by reward uncertainty and volatility in an environment, the researchers created a model based on metaplasticity. They tested this model against a behavioral dataset from a recent Yale University study of non-human primates in which the probabilities of obtaining a reward were switched to create environments with different levels of volatility. When things change frequently, a large learning rate is required but this reduces precision, whereas, a stable environment requires a small learning rate, which improves precision. The study illustrates how metaplasticity can mitigate the tradeoff between adaptability and precision in learning. The metaplasticity model also demonstrates how the learning rate might be different for each choice or option. If a particular choice continues to give reward for a while, the learning rate on that option becomes larger for rewarding outcomes and smaller for non-rewarding outcomes. That is, if the environment does not change, the synapses needed for changing the preferences become less sensitive to feedback in the opposite direction. In addition, the model also predicts that different options or actions could maintain their own learning rates. This study demonstrates that learning can be self-adjusted and does not require explicit optimization or complete knowledge of the environment. The authors propose potential practical implications of their findings. The brain's inability to modify its behavior may be attributed to the slowing down of plasticity due to metaplasticity, which can occur in a highly stable environment. For behavioral anomalies such as addiction, where the synapses might not adapt flexibly, more carefully designed feedback may be required to make the system plastic again, illustrating how metaplasticity may have broader relevance. Alireza Soltani is available for comment at: alireza.soltani@dartmouth.edu. Broadcast studios: Dartmouth has TV and radio studios available for interviews. For more information, visit: http://communications. .


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Evangelicals most likely of any religious group to stand in opposition As new and more effective human reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) develop, people of faith are more likely to disapprove of these tools than nonreligious people, a new Rice University study found. Evangelical Christians are the most likely of any religious group to stand in opposition, the researchers found. The study examined how religious and nonreligious people felt about RGTs that could reveal qualities of an unborn child, such as whether the child had a disease ("disease technologies"), and those that allowed parents to select qualities for a child, such as gender, hair color and eye color ("enhancement technologies"). It included a general population survey of more than 10,000 people and 270 qualitative interviews with individuals living in the Midwest and South from a variety of religious traditions. Elaine Howard Ecklund, the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences at Rice and the study's lead author, found over the course of her research that feelings about the use of RGTs vary not only between religious and nonreligious persons but also among religious groups. When asked about the use of RGTs to prevent disease, 23 percent of evangelicals said this technology was morally wrong, compared with 9 percent of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains and 8 percent of Jews. Only 4 percent of agnostics and atheists said this technology was "morally wrong." Religious groups had a much stronger negative reaction about the morality of using RGTs to select qualities such as gender, hair color and eye color. Eighty percent of evangelicals said that this type of technology was morally wrong, compared with 66 percent of Jews and 57 percent of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. Just over half - 55 percent - of agnostics and atheists said this type of technology was morally wrong. "A large proportion of religious and nonreligious people feel morally uncomfortable with enhancement technologies," Ecklund said. During her in-depth interviews with study participants, Ecklund found that the "Creator Schema," which emphasizes God's control and God's purposes and plans in human suffering, predominated among Evangelical Christians and at times mainline Protestants and Muslims. However, Jewish respondents expressed ambivalence toward disease RGTs and did not draw on the Creator Schema. One young member of a nondenominational Evangelical Protestant church communicated a strong version of a Creator Schema by justifying opposition to RGTs. "I believe God is in control, and that He's taking care of everything and (if) this child has a disease, then that's what God wants for this child," he said. While the Creator Schema emphasizes God's role as creator and boundaries between God and humans, the "Co-Creator Schema" provides for human partnership with God in improving life. Another participant referenced this schema in his feelings on the use of RGTs to eliminate disease. "If I could do something, then sure, yes, I would want to know," he said. He lamented that when people rejected this possibility and emphasized "just God's ability to heal and deliver ... then people die, because they neglect the physical responsibilities that God has given them." "This participant's emphasis on the concept of 'responsibilities' that God gives people suggests that humans have a partner role with God in certain kinds of actions, in this case healing genetic disease," Ecklund said. More than half of all groups surveyed - including nonreligious groups - disagreed with the use of enhancement RGTs, and many feared that enhancement RGTs might be used for "unwise ends," the authors said. "They often opposed enhancement RGTs because they saw this as related to eugenics, fearing that people would actively select or preference embryos with certain characteristics," said study co-author Jared Peifer of Baruch College. A participant from an evangelical congregation said of enhancement RGTs, "That's obviously going to the 'Brave New World' extreme of we're going to be our own gods and choose our own destiny. ... That goes back to another level. ... It reminds me of Nazi Germany, those things that - you want certain types - certain types of people in your society, you know I want my child to have this color or whatever." However, the religious individuals who supported enhancement RGTs mostly did so by considering these technologies within the abilities that God provides to humans, thereby drawing on the Co-Creator Schema. "None of this is really a problem for me because if it happens, I believe God provided the way for it to happen," said a participant from an African-American evangelical congregation. Ecklund said that the study's findings suggest that moral sensitivity rather than moral reasoning is likely to be employed as a way of addressing issues that are technologically complex under conditions where there is a scarcity of good information with which to morally reason, as is the case with enhancement RGTs. "As moral reasoning on the topic becomes organized, we expect moral sensitivity to become less noticeably apparent as individuals begin to draw more readily on established cultural beliefs," she said. "Moral Schemas in Articulation and Intuition: How Religious People Evaluate Human Reproductive Genetic Technologies" appeared in a recent edition of Sociological Forum and was also co-authored by Virginia White of the University of Chicago and Esther Chan of Yale University. The study was funded by The John Templeton Foundation and is available online at http://onlinelibrary. . For more information, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu. This news release can be found online at http://news. . Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl. .


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

Ask any budding director if they would like to see the first iterations of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather. I don’t think many would pass up the opportunity to see Coppola’s process from filming, to editing, to deciding what makes the final cut. Indeed, people in nearly any occupation, from painters to journalists to architects could learn from failed iterations of the respective masters of their crafts. Yet in all these fields, we don’t expect—nor do we get—any of this. We generally only see the final, perfected product. In the sciences, however, I want to shift this thinking. I want researchers to share everything from start to finish. Why? Because we need them to. Their failures, if seen, could stop another researcher from making the same mistakes. What’s more, knowing what doesn’t work will help researchers—or computers, in the future—deduce what might work, and in turn, speed up scientific progress. This scientific progress is critical if we are going to tackle global challenges; preventing pandemics and finding sustainable energy sources that will fuel growing societies. However, if other fields are any indication, getting to a point where sharing failed scientific results is commonplace will be hard and take time. It will be worth it though, because the benefits are immense. From my experience, 99 percent of work in research never makes it into the final, published article. Yet, in the past, that article was all we’d see. Not only does this give the public a distorted view of the scientific process, but it also slows progress for other researchers. Take my own research, for example. I started my medical research in 2002, and ended it in 2010. What I’ve got to show for these eight years are my thesis, 18 articles, 17 conference papers and 69 datasets. What isn’t seen is the thousands of hours I spent working on things that yielded results that I didn’t expect or simply didn’t work. For people like me who left academia, the hard drives full of negative results may already be lost. To prevent this from happening to others, ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists I founded with two friends nine years ago, encourages researchers to document their entire research process step-by-step, publishing everything. Along the way, we hope that they will also share things that didn’t work out. However, I understand the barriers to achieving this. Perhaps the biggest barrier is simply putting your hand up and saying, “Hey, I thought this would work but it didn’t.” This, in itself, is just another finding. But maybe you’re afraid of someone else interpreting it as failure. What’s more, writing up and publishing a negative result is to do something that largely benefits others. You know it didn’t work and have already learned from it. Most people wouldn’t blame you from wanting to move on and get started on the next thing. But despite, or maybe because of this, ResearchGate members have started sharing their negative results. Take Wiebke Kämper. She wanted to find a faster way to work out which flowers bumblebees were visiting. Rather than using a traditional and time-consuming observational method, she decided to try using the chemical footprints that bumblebees leave behind when they visit a flower. Early experiments were positive, but tests in the field were not successful. By publishing her negative results, she insured that others could save time and work on other methods to get behind bumblebees’ floral preferences. Or consider surgeon Anees Chagpar from Yale University, who takes the business school mantra “fail early, fail often” to heart in her research. She hypothesized that surgeons conducting breast conserving surgery for breast cancer patients could benefit from a three-dimensional model. However, she conducted a study and found the model made no difference. Publishing these results means other researchers can invest their time in other options, increasing the chance that they will discover results that improve outcomes for patients. I deeply respect researchers like Kämper and Chagpar who have the courage to share these valuable findings with their peers, advancing their own, and their peers’ work. Science is inherently collaborative. Reporting negative results is scary, but it means our colleagues won’t waste their time and resources repeating our mistakes. In this spirit, feel free to check out my ResearchGate profile for the failed iterations of this article.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable, providing new possibilities such as flexible smartphones. His new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries that are used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage. The study (DOI 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00715) is published online April 24 in Nano Letters. Liquid electrolyte is currently used in commercial lithium batteries, and, as everyone is now aware, it is highly flammable, causing safety issues with some laptops and other electronic devices. Yang’s team explored the idea of using solid electrolyte as a substitute for the liquid electrolyte to make all-solid-state lithium batteries. They were interested in using ice-templating to fabricate vertically aligned structures of ceramic solid electrolytes, which provide fast lithium ion pathways and are highly conductive. They cooled the aqueous solution with ceramic particles from the bottom and then let ice grow and push away and concentrate the ceramic particles. They then applied a vacuum to transition the solid ice to a gas, leaving a vertically aligned structure. Finally, they combined this ceramic structure with polymer to provide mechanical support and flexibility to the electrolyte. “In portable electronic devices, as well as electric vehicles, flexible all-solid-state lithium batteries not only solve the safety issues, but they may also increase battery energy density for transportation and storage. And they show great promise in creating bendable devices,” says Yang, whose research group is focused on electrochemical energy storage and conversion and thermal energy management. Researchers in earlier studies used either randomly dispersed ceramic particles in polymer electrolyte or fiber-like ceramic electrolytes that are not vertically aligned. “We thought that if we combined the vertically aligned structure of the ceramic electrolyte with the polymer electrolyte, we would be able to provide a fast highway for lithium ions and thus enhance the conductivity,” says Haowei Zhai, Yang’s PhD student and the paper’s lead author. “We believe this is the first time anyone has used the ice-templating method to make flexible solid electrolyte, which is nonflammable and nontoxic, in lithium batteries. This opens a new approach to optimize ion conduction for next-generation rechargeable batteries.” In addition, the researchers say, this technique could in principle improve the energy density of batteries: By using the solid electrolyte, the lithium battery’s negative electrode, currently a graphitelayer, could be replaced by lithium metal, and this couldimprovethe battery’s specific energyby 60% to 70%. Yangand Zhaiplan next to work on optimizing the qualities of the combined electrolyte and assembling the flexible solid electrolyte together with battery electrodes to construct a prototype of a full lithium battery. “This is a clever idea,” says Hailiang Wang, assistant professor of chemistry at Yale University. “The rationally designed structure really helps enhance the performance of composite electrolyte. I think that this is a promising approach.”


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

Anyone looking for evidence that people have a natural aversion to inequality will find numerous laboratory studies that seemingly confirm their view. Studies have found “a universal desire for more equal pay”, “egalitarian motives in humans”, “egalitarianism in young children”, and that “equality trumps reciprocity”. A Google Scholar search for “inequality aversion” yields over 10,000 papers that bear on this topic. When subjects in laboratory studies are asked to divide resources among unrelated individuals, they tend to divide them equally. If a previous situation has led to a pre-existing inequality, people will divide future resources unequally in order to correct or minimise the inequality between others. This bias is so powerful that subjects sometimes prefer equal outcomes in which everyone gets less overall to unequal outcomes where everyone gets more overall. Furthermore, people appear to view the equal distribution of resources as a moral good; they express anger toward those who benefit from unequal distributions. This outrage is sufficiently strong that subjects will pay to punish unequal distributors. One study examining this across 15 diverse cultures found that members of all populations demonstrated some willingness to administer costly third-party punishment for unequal division of resources – although the magnitude of this punishment varied substantially across populations. Studies of children between the ages of three and eight years find a similar equality bias. Three-year-olds divide resources equally among third parties, while six-year-olds show an even stronger commitment to equal distribution, insisting on throwing out extra resources rather than allowing them to be unequally distributed between two absent third parties. In one study, six- to eight-year-olds were tasked with distributing erasers to two boys who had cleaned up their room. When there was an odd number of erasers, children insisted the experimenter should throw the extra eraser in the trash rather than establish an unequal division. They responded this way even if the recipients would never know that one of them received less, suggesting that children weren’t worried about the recipients’ feelings, but were opposed to creating the inequality even if none of the recipients knew about it. Even more tellingly, children are just as likely to reject unequal distributions when they reflect generosity (the distributor gave up all her candies to the receiver) as when they reflect selfishness (the distributor kept all the candies for herself). This suggests that the rejections are specifically an aversion to inequality, rather than punishing selfishness. Given these findings, one might expect that when people are asked to distribute resources across a real-world group of people, they would choose an equal distribution of resources across all segments of society. But they do not. A recent study by Norton and Ariely received well-deserved media attention as it showed that people both underestimate the amount of inequality in our society, and prefer a more egalitarian society to the one they think they live in. The authors describe their studies as examining “disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality”, and report the finding of “a surprising level of consensus: all demographic groups – even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution, such as Republicans and the wealthy – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo”. An article by Ariely was titled: “Americans want to live in a much more equal country (they just don’t realize it)”. These summaries are accurate: participants in these studies did prefer more equality than the current situation. But the results also suggest that they were not particularly worried about large inequalities. Instead, these subjects claimed that, in the perfect society, individuals in the top 20% should have more than three times as much money as individuals in the bottom 20%. When they were given a forced choice between equal and unequal distributions of wealth, and told to assume that they would be randomly assigned to be anyone from the richest to the poorest person (that is, a “veil of ignorance”), over half of the subjects explicitly rejected the option of an equal distribution of wealth, preferring inequality. Thus, the data suggest that when it comes to real-world distributions of wealth, people have a preference for a certain amount of inequality. This preference for inequality materialises in 16 other countries, across people on both the left and right of the political spectrum, and in teenagers. As Norton puts it: “People exhibit a desire for unequality – not too equal, but not too unequal.” In fact, these data may actually underestimate people’s preferences for unequal distributions. One follow-up study contrasted Norton and Ariely’s question about the percentage of wealth that should correspond to each quintile of the American population with a question about what the average wealth should be in each quintile. The former question resulted in an ideal ratio of poorest to wealthiest of about 1:4 – but for the latter, the ratio jumped to 1:50. And when the connection between the two questions was explained to participants, a majority chose the higher inequality ratio as reflecting their actual beliefs for both measures. How can this preference for inequality in the real world be reconciled with the strong preference for equality found in laboratory studies? We suggest this discrepancy arises because the laboratory findings do not, in fact, provide evidence that an aversion to inequality is driving the preference for equal distribution. Instead, these findings are all consistent with both a preference for equality and a preference for fairness – because the studies are designed so that the equal outcome is also the fair one. This is because the recipients are indistinguishable with regard to considerations such as need and merit. Hence, whether subjects are sensitive to fairness or to equality, they will be inclined to distribute the goods equally. This idea is supported by numerous studies in which fairness is carefully distinguished from equality. These studies find that people choose fairness over equality. Consider a situation with two individuals, identical in all relevant regards, where one gets $10 and the other nothing. This is plainly unequal, but is it fair? It can be, if the allocation was random. And adults consider it fair to use impartial procedures such as coin flips and lotteries when distributing many different kinds of resources. Children have similar views. In the erasers-for-room-cleaning studies described above, if children are given a fair “spinner” to randomly choose who gets the extra eraser, they are happy to create inequality. One person getting two erasers and another getting one (or 10 and zero, for that matter) can be entirely fair and acceptable, although it is clearly not equal. It follows, then, that if one believes that (a) people in the real world exhibit variation in effort, ability, moral deservingness and so on, and (b) a fair system takes these considerations into account, then a preference for fairness will dictate that one should prefer unequal outcomes in actual societies. Tom Tyler uses a related argument to explain why there is not a stronger degree of public outrage in the face of economic inequality. He argues that Americans regard the American market system to be a fair procedure for wealth allocation, and, accordingly, believe strongly in the possibility of social mobility. On this view, then, people’s discontent about the current social situation will be better predicted by their beliefs about the unfairness of wealth allocation than by their beliefs about inequality. People may have other motivations for preferring an unequal distribution of wealth in their society. One such consideration has little to do with an abstract desire for fairness, and instead reflects a desire to have more than others. Interestingly, these desires are not always for increasing one’s absolute amount, but are often for increasing one’s standing relative to others. For example, studies of income and happiness have revealed that, once a basic level of wealth is achieved, relative wealth is more important for overall happiness. Similarly, a vast body of research in social psychology finds that people engage in constant comparison of themselves with others. Knowing that one’s income is much higher (or lower) than that of a neighbour has a substantial impact on happiness. As Gore Vidal put it: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.” This motivation for “relative advantage” can motivate a desire for unequal distributions. Indeed, to achieve the warm glow associated with relative advantage, people are even willing to pay a cost themselves to reduce others’ incomes. Even young children show this relative advantage-seeking behaviour. Five-year-olds often reject equal payouts of two prize tokens for themselves and two prize tokens for another child, and choose instead only one token for themselves, if that means that the other child will get none. The inequality associated with relative advantage is so appealing that it overrides both a desire for fairness and a desire for absolute gain. A further motivation for inequality may come from the idea that inequality is necessary to motivate industriousness and allow for social mobility. For example, Norton argues that people prefer inequality because they see it as a motivating force that leads people to work harder and better, knowing that doing so can improve their station in life, and that of their children. This belief entails a sort of “meritocratic mobility” – and such mobility is indeed a necessary condition for an unequal society to be a fair one. After all, a society lacking mobility is a society in which those born into poverty remain in poverty, regardless of their hard work and ingenuity. Not surprisingly, then, a belief in meritocratic mobility is associated with more tolerance for inequality, as reflected in less discomfort with existing wealth inequality, less support for the redistribution of educational resources, and less willingness to support raising taxes on the rich. From this perspective, cultural differences in expectations about mobility may account for differences in tolerance of inequality across cultures. For example, Americans might have an unreasonable tolerance for inequality in part because they tend to overestimate the extent of mobility in the United States – which is, in fact, lower than in places like Canada and most of Europe. One reason for this lack of mobility is that the income distribution in the United States – the distance between the poorest and richest citizens – is much greater than in rival countries. Moving from the 10th percentile to the 90th percentile in Denmark requires a US$45,000 increase in income, but making the same jump in the United States would require an increase of US$93,000. And the situation is not improving. While 92% of American children born in 1940 would go on to earn more than their parents, only 50% of children born in 1980 have done so. While concerns about fairness may motivate a preference for inequality, there are various countervailing psychological forces that may lead people to endorse equality. One of these is a worry about the consequences of an unequal society. That is, even if people have no problem with inequality itself, it might have negative consequences that people are motivated to avoid. For one thing, as inequality increases, self-reported happiness diminishes, especially among the bottom 40% of income earners. One reason for this is that “relative disadvantage” has a larger negative impact on well-being than relative advantage has a positive impact. When people know where they stand in the overall income distribution, those on the lower end of the scale report less job satisfaction, while those on the higher end of the scale do not report any greater satisfaction. This has negative effects for productivity too: workers who know they are on the low side of the distribution decrease their effort, but knowing that one is on the high end does not lead to an increase in effort. However, it is not clear whether the corrosive effects of inequality on happiness are due to inequality per se, or due to the perception of unfair inequality. That is, it is an open question whether people who get less than others would suffer decreases in happiness and productivity if they believed they were in a fair system: one in which increased efforts on their part could lead to social mobility. In the current economic environment in the United States and other wealthy nations, concerns about fairness happen to lead to a preference for reducing the current level of inequality. However, in various other societies across the world and across history (for example, when faced with the communist ideals of the former USSR), concerns about fairness lead to anger about too much equality. To understand these opposite drives, one needs to focus not on whether the system results in a relatively equal or unequal distribution of wealth, but whether it is viewed as fair. As with most psychological claims of this sort, our proposal has, at best, indirect implications for public policy. Even if the average individual desires a somewhat unequal society, one might argue that people are mistaken in what they want. Perhaps people would actually be better off in a perfectly equal society – they just don’t know it. We do see two implications of this work, however. First, it’s clear that many people are misinformed about how well their society matches their ideals. They are wrong about how much inequality there is, believing the current situation to be much more equal than it actually is. Furthermore, Americans have exaggerated views about the extent of social mobility in the United States, and thus the extent to which the current American market system is a fair procedure for wealth allocation. We have argued that views about fairness will be most predictive of discontent with economic inequality. Thus, public education on the actual current rate of mobility will help to ensure that people’s moral assessment of the world that they live in is grounded in the relevant facts. Second, contemporary political discourse often blurs together various concerns that should be thought of as distinct. Worries about inequality are conflated with worries about poverty, an erosion of basic rights, and – as we have focused on here – unfairness. If it’s true that inequality in itself isn’t really what is bothering people, then we might be better off by more carefully pulling apart these concerns, and shifting the focus to the problems that matter to us more. The recognition that fairness and equality are different cannot merely be a footnote on empirical studies, and cannot be a rarely invoked piece of trivia in political conversations that wrestle with unfairness but frame the conversation in terms of equality. Progress in the lab and in the real world will be facilitated by centring the discussion on exactly what people do care about – fairness – and not on what people do not care about – equality. This is an edited version of the paper Why people prefer unequal societies, first published in Nature Human Behaviour on 7 April 2017. Dr Starmans is a postdoctoral associate in psychology, Dr Sheskin is a postdoctoral associate in cognitive science, and Dr Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, all at Yale University.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A research team based at The Rockefeller University has identified a potent new weapon against the Zika virus in the blood of people who have been infected by it. This discovery could lead to new ways of fighting the disease, including a vaccine. In blood samples taken from subjects in Mexico and Brazil, the scientists found antibodies--proteins produced by the immune system--that block the virus from initiating an infection. These antibodies appeared to have been initially generated in response to an earlier infection by a related virus that causes dengue. One such antibody, which they call Z004, was particularly effective at neutralizing Zika. "These antibodies could be very useful in the near future. One could envision, for example, administering Z004 to safely prevent Zika among pregnant women or others at risk of contracting the disease," says Davide F. Robbiani, a research associate professor in Michel Nussenzweig's lab. He and Leonia Bozzacco, a research affiliate in Charles M. Rice's lab, led the study, which appears in Cell on May 4. The team's detailed examination of the interaction between this antibody and the virus also revealed a new potential strategy for developing a vaccine. A mosquito-borne virus, Zika usually causes mild symptoms in those who contract it. However, dramatic effects can appear in the next generation. Babies born to women infected during pregnancy are at risk of devastating neurodevelopmental abnormalities. The only way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites; there are currently no vaccines or other medical measures to do so. An infection begins when the virus, traveling in a spherical particle studded with the viral envelope protein, latches onto a host cell and forces its way in. Faced with a viral threat, the human immune system generates antibodies that recognize the virus and stop it from invading cells. The team set out to find antibodies tuned to a particular target: a part of Zika's envelope protein, which the virus needs to launch an attack. Five out of six Through collaborators working in Pau da Lima, Brazil, and Santa Maria Mixtequilla, Mexico, they obtained blood samples from more than 400 people, collected shortly after Zika was circulating. Individual responses to the same pathogen can vary greatly. Yet a deeper analysis of samples from six of the volunteers with the most promising antibodies revealed a surprise: Five of them contained the same species of nearly identical antibodies. This similarity suggested these molecules were particularly good at fighting the virus. When the team examined these closely related antibodies' performance against Zika, one stood out: Z004, an antibody from a Mexican volunteer's blood. When given to mice rendered vulnerable to Zika, the antibody protected them from developing serious infections. To get a closer look at the interaction between the antibody and a fragment of the virus' envelope protein, scientists in Pamela J. Bjorkman's lab at Caltech determined the molecular structure formed as the two units interacted. Their detailed maps revealed how the antibody pinches a ridge on the virus when it binds to it. While some efforts to develop a vaccine use all or most of the virus to stimulate the immune system, the researchers believe it could be safer to employ only a tiny fragment containing this ridge. Zika isn't the only virus to sport the ridge, as it is also present in envelopes of other viruses in the same family. The dengue 1 virus, a close relative of Zika and one of four types of dengue, has a ridge that is remarkably similar to Zika's. When pitted against dengue 1, Z004 neutralized it as well. A look back at samples from the Brazilians, collected six months before Zika arrived by a team led by Albert Ko of Yale University, revealed evidence of prior dengue 1 infections in some--and a potential explanation as to why certain people's immune systems fared better against Zika. "Even before Zika, their blood samples likely had antibodies that could interact with this same spot on the envelope protein," says Margaret R. MacDonald, a research associate professor in Rice's lab. "It appears that, much like a vaccine, dengue 1 can prime the immune system to respond to Zika." Nussenzweig is the Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor and Rice is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Even a relatively mild Zika outbreak in the continental United States could cost more than $183 million in medical bills and productivity losses, and a worse epidemic could come with a price tag of $1.2 billion or even more. Experts estimated the potential impact of epidemics of various sizes in five Southeastern states and Texas, the US locations most populated by Aedes aegypti, the mosquito most likely to carry the disease. “This is a threat that has not gone away. Zika is still spreading silently and we are just now approaching mosquito season in the United States, which has the potential of significantly increasing the spread,” says study leader Bruce Y. Lee, an associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “There’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus but it is becoming clear that more resources will be needed to protect public health. Understanding what a Zika epidemic might look like, however, can really help us with planning and policy-making as we prepare.” While many infected by the Zika virus suffer mild symptoms, if any, a Zika infection during a woman’s pregnancy can cause severe birth defects such as microcephaly or other brain problems. In regions affected by Zika, there have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare illness of the nervous system. There is no treatment nor is there a vaccine to prevent Zika. Policymakers need estimates of Zika costs to help guide funding decisions, researchers say. It is unclear how many people in the United States have already been infected and how many more cases will occur this summer, but the findings, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, are further evidence that the costs of any Zika outbreak would be high. For the study, researchers developed and ran a computational model estimating the impact of different rates of spread if Zika were to hit Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The model considered health care costs—such as visits to the doctor, laboratory tests, and the lifetime cost of caring for a child born with microcephaly—as well as productivity losses. Even assuming an attack rate—the percentage of the population eventually infected—of only 0.01 percent, the model estimates that Zika would cost more than $183 million and cause more than 7,000 infections, two cases of microcephaly, and four cases of Guillain-Barré. An attack rate of 1 percent would cause more than 704,000 infections, 200 cases of microcephaly, and 423 cases of Guillain-Barré. The 1-percent attack rate could result in $1.2 billion in medical costs and productivity losses to the economy. A 10-percent attack rate could cost more than $10.3 billion. These attack rates would be far lower than those seen in French Polynesia (66 percent), on Yap Island in Micronesia (73 percent), and in the state of Bahia in Brazil (32 percent), where the current Zika outbreak in the Americas and the Caribbean is believed to have originated. They are also lower than recent outbreaks of chikungunya, a virus spread the same way as Zika, including one in Puerto Rico (23.5 percent). After much delay last year, Congress allocated $1.1 billion for mosquito control efforts and vaccine development, as well as for emergency health care for Puerto Rico, where more than 35,000 people contracted the virus. But, Lee believes far more money may be necessary, given his estimates for medical care. “Without details regarding the Zika-prevention measures that would be implemented and how effective these may be, it is unclear what percentage of these costs may be averted,” Lee says. “But our model shows it is very likely that preventing an epidemic—or at least finding ways to slow one down—would save money, especially since epidemics like Zika have hidden costs that aren’t always considered.” Other researchers from Johns Hopkins and from Yale University and the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine are coauthors of the study. National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the US Agency for International Development funded the work.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Tampa, Fla. (May 1, 2017) - At the 24rd Annual Conference of the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), held April 27-29 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, ASNTR awarded The 2017 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Li-Ru Zhao, PhD, MD, a tenured Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University and research scientist at the Syracuse (NY) Veterans Administration Medical Center. The award, presented to her on Saturday April 29, recognized her significant research contributions in acute and chronic stroke, vascular dementia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Zhao received her MD from Hebei Medical College in Shijizhaung China in 1982 and her PhD in neuroscience from the Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, Lund, Sweden in 2004. She carried out postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis. She subsequently served as a researcher and assistant at Northwestern University, and associate professor at Louisiana State University prior to coming to SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Syracuse VA Medical Center. Dr. Zhao's extensive investigation into potential treatments for the debilitating effects of stroke includes the first demonstration of the neuroprotective properties of stem cell factor (SCF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and SCF + G-CSF combinations in treating the effects of acute and chronic stroke. She discovered that these growth factors - naturally occurring substances capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation and healing - could be used alone or in combination to reduced brain damage from stroke and improve motor function. Her many studies into SCF and G-CSF used a variety of approaches, including molecular and cell biology as well as brain and cell imaging. Her contributions to Alzheimer's disease (AD) research have investigated how amyloid plaques in the brain (one of the causes thought to be behind the development of AD) might be cleared by injections of bone marrow-derived monocytes/macrophages (BMDMs) and SCF+G-CSF, all of which have been found to be low in the blood and bone marrow of AD patients. In her most recent stroke studies she is investigating Cerebral Autosomal-Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), the most common yet rare form of hereditary stroke disorder. Using animal models, she found that neural stem cells were radically reduced in patients with CADSIL, causing cognitive impairment. Currently, there is no drug that can improve the functional or delay the progressive brain damage caused by CADASIL. Her laboratory is currently studying how the bone marrow stem cell factors (SCF and G-CSF) repair the brain in both AD and CADASIL and is working at determining how the bone marrow stem cell factors regulate neuronal process formation, synaptic generation, and stem cell growth and differentiation. "Dr. Zhao's studies have significantly advanced our understanding about the contribution of SCF and G-CSF in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, MD, PhD, scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health and an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "She has also carried out exceptional service activities as a peer reviewer for grants for NIH, AHA, and Alzheimer's Association, as well as for a large number of scientific journals." According to Dr. Hoffer, she has successfully balanced her career and personal life, including raising an "exceptionally gifted" son who is currently a resident in neurosurgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland. The award Dr. Zhao received is named for Bernard Sanberg, father of Dr. Paul Sanberg (University of South Florida), a co-founder of the ASNTR. After Bernard Sanberg died of a stroke in 1999, the award bearing his name was established and is presented by the ASNTR annually to an individual who has made outstanding research contributions in the field of neural therapy and repair. The award, first presented in 2000, is presented every year at ASNTR's Annual Meeting. Recent past winners of the Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair include: Mariana E. Emborg, PhD, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, John D. Elsworth, PhD, Yale School of Medicine, Douglas Kondziolka, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center; Mike Modo, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; Timothy Collier, PhD, Michigan State University; Donald Eugene Redmond, MD, Yale University; Shinn-Zong Lin, MD, PhD, China Medical University; Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, Georgetown University; Barry J. Hoffer, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Health ASNTR's 25th Annual Conference will be held April 25-29, 2018 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. For more information, email Donna Morrison dmorriso@health.usf.edu or visit the ASNTR website http://www. ASNTR is a society for basic and clinical neuroscientists using a variety of technologies to better understand how the nervous system functions and establish new procedures for its repair in response to trauma or neurodegenerative disease. Member scientists employ stem/neural cell transplantation, gene therapy, trophic factor and neuroprotective compound administration and other approaches.


Core-shell particles have a hydrophobic core and a shell formed of or containing hyperbranched polyglycerol (HPG). The HPG can be covalently bound to the one or more materials that form the core or coated thereon. The HPG coating can be modified to adjust the properties of the particles. For example, unmodified HPG coatings impart stealth properties to the particles which resist non-specific protein absorption. Alternatively, the hydroxyl groups on the HPG coating can be chemically modified to form functional groups that react with functional groups on tissue or otherwise interact with tissue to adhere the particles to the tissue, cells, or extracellular materials, such as proteins. Such functional groups include, but not limited to, aldehydes, amines, and O-substituted oximes. Topical formulation for application to the skin contain these HPG coated nanoparticles. In some embodiments, the particles include therapeutic, diagnostic, nutraceutical, and/or prophylactic agents such as those used as sunblock compositions.


The present invention relates to the discovery of compositions and methods for therapeutic immunization for treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Methods of the invention include a method generating an evolved high titer hybrid-hepatitis B virus (HBV) vector, methods of treating and/or preventing HBV, and methods of inducing a memory T and B cell immune response against HBV infection in a subject administered the VLV composition produced thereby. Furthermore, the invention encompasses a pharmaceutical composition for vaccinating a subject to protect the subject against infection with HBV.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: physicsworld.com

Molecules containing three atoms have been laser cooled to ultracold temperatures for the first time. The feat was achieved by John Doyle and colleagues at Harvard University in the US, who used a technique called Sisyphus cooling to chill an ensemble of about a million strontium-monohydroxide molecules to 750 μK. The team says the work opens the door to a range of applications, including quantum simulation and precision measurements. First developed in the late 1970s, the laser cooling of atomic gases to ultracold temperatures has revolutionized the study of the quantum states of matter. Important milestones include the creation of the first-ever Bose–Einstein condensate in the lab in 1995 and the first Fermi–Dirac condensate in 2003. The technique relies on the fact that photons carry small amounts of momentum and – under certain conditions – the repeated absorption and re-emission of photons by an atom can reduce its random motion and hence its temperature. Laser cooling of molecules – rather than atoms – is complicated by their rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom, which affect how they absorb and emit photons. As a result, the absorption and emission of photons can put the molecules into "dark states" that no longer take part in the cooling process. Despite this and other challenges, however, David DeMille and colleagues at Yale University managed to laser-cool a collection of strontium-fluoride diatomic molecules in 2014. In this latest work, John Doyle and colleagues at Harvard University have now cooled triatomic-strontium monohydroxide molecules using a method that is named after the doomed Greek hero Sisyphus, who was forced to push a boulder up a hill, only for it to roll down to the bottom and then repeat the task for eternity. Sisyphus cooling involves molecules losing kinetic energy by having to "climb" a hill of potential energy created by a standing wave of laser light. The atoms reach the "peak" when they spontaneously transition to a state that no longer interacts with the light. At this point, an applied magnetic field puts the atoms back into the original state – ready to climb again. This process is repeated many times, with each cycle reducing the atoms' kinetic energy – and thus their random motion and temperature too. Key to the success of Doyle's team is that the cooling was achieved very rapidly – in 100 μs – and only involved about 200 photons interacting with each molecule. This speed is critical as the molecules are therefore less likely to be put into dark states before the cooling finishes. Writing in Physical Review Letters, Doyle and colleagues say that their technique could also be used to cool larger and more complicated strontium-based polyatomic molecules – for example by replacing the hydroxide with a methyl group. If the technique could be further extended to chiral molecules, it could also be used to investigate why some biological processes favour right- or left-handed molecules.


NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 04, 2017) - Asia Society announced today that Ellen Barry of the New York Times has won the 2017 Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia for a series of stories examining the role of women in India's economy and society, and the barriers to their entry into the workforce despite a prolonged economic expansion. Her stories depict the struggles of women in a traditional Indian village to work outside the home and young women leaving their villages to work in a textile factory in the city of Bangalore. "Ellen Barry's subtle, beautifully descriptive narratives of the lives of working Indian women explore the conflict between deep-set traditions and the propulsive changes of a modernizing economy, said Marcus Brauchli, who chairs the independent jury that made the selection. "Her vivid depictions of the gap between dreams and reality, between the past and the hurtling present, will bring understanding to all who read them." The jury also recognized as finalists Anna Fifield of the Washington Post "for her remarkable reporting on the long, dark shadow North Korea casts and the curious ways of its ruling classes" and a Reuters team "for its forthright and courageous coverage of the Philippines' vigilante-style, state-sanctioned drug war, in which thousands were killed last year in mysterious and often suspicious circumstances." Barry will be honored at a luncheon event at Asia Society in New York on May 23, also featuring Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait and a special tribute to Seymour Topping, renowned foreign correspondent at the Associated Press, former managing editor of the New York Times, and former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. "Asia Society is thrilled to honor Ellen Barry and the New York Times with the Osborn Elliott Prize," said Asia Society Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski. "With her eye-opening series on women in India, Barry joins an illustrious group of honorees, all of whom represent the kind of journalism that Osborn Elliott spent his career championing and that the prize was established to honor." Established in 2003, the "Oz Prize" honors the late Osborn Elliott, legendary journalist, author and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Elliott was a leading figure in the field of journalism who became one of the earliest practitioners of "civic journalism"—the deliberate focusing of the journalistic enterprise on urgent issues of public policy. The $10,000 cash award is presented annually to the best example of journalism about Asia during the previous calendar year. Barry has been the Delhi Bureau Chief for the New York Times since June 2013. Barry served as a correspondent for the Times in Moscow beginning in 2008, and became bureau chief there in March 2011. In April 2011, she won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for her work with Clifford J. Levy, another Times reporter and former Moscow bureau chief, on Russia's faltering justice system. Barry joined the Times as a Metro reporter in January 2007. She was previously a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, covering the South as Atlanta bureau chief. From 1999 to 2003, Barry worked for the Boston Globe, first as a New England rover, then on foreign desks in Central Asia and Iraq, and as a mental health beat reporter. From 1996 to 1999, she was a feature writer at the Boston Phoenix, and from 1993 to 1995, she was a copy editor and staff reporter for the Moscow Times. Barry began her career in journalism as a managing board member of the Yale Daily News in 1993. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2004 for her beat reporting on mental health. She was also a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Feature Writing for her "Lost Boys of Sudan" series. That series also earned her the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2002 Distinguished Writing Award for Non-Deadline Writing. In addition, she is the recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2004 Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by a Team for coverage of the Rhode Island nightclub fire. Barry graduated from Yale University in 1993 with a B.A. in English literature and additional coursework in nonfiction writing and Russian language. The Oz Prize Jury comprises Chair Marcus Brauchli, managing partner of North Base Media and former editor of the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal; Dorinda Elliott, editorial and communications director, Paulson Institute; Mei Fong, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author; Bobby Ghosh, editor-in-chief, Hindustan Times; Alec McCabe, executive producer, Bloomberg Podcasts; and Somini Sengupta, UN bureau chief, New York Times. Previous winners of the Oz Prize are: Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding of Asia in a global context and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Washington, DC, and Zurich.


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

Ketamine, an anesthetic that can cause hallucinations and has been used for decades as a recreational club drug, could be a valuable new anti-depressant, according to a new study. The analysis of 41,000 patients in the journal Scientific Reports is the largest investigation of the population-level benefits of ketamine so far. “This study extends small-scale clinical evidence that ketamine can be used to alleviate depression, and provides needed solid statistical support for wider clinical applications and possibly larger scale clinical trials,” said Ruber Abagyan, senior author, a professor of pharmacy at the University of California San Diego. The data came from the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System. The initial grouping of 8 million patient records was narrowed down to 41,000 to focus on the use of ketamine. But the pharmacy experts worked backward in the database. They looked for the lack of depression as a “side effect” of ketamine. “While most researchers and regulatory monitor the FAERS database for increased incidences of symptoms in order to spot potentially harmful drug side effects, we were looking at the opposite – lack of a symptom,” said Isaac Cohen, another of the authors, a pharmacy student at UCSD. The incidence of depression symptoms in the patients who took ketamine was 50 percent lower than their peers who took other drugs for pain management. Along their analysis, they found a similar correlation among three other drugs: the cosmetic and migraine treatment Botox, the non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac, and an antibiotic called minocycline. (The anti-inflammation properties of diclofenac and minocycline may cause the reduction in depression symptoms, they hypothesize. However, the Botox explanation has not been explained). Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962, an intended for use as a fast-acting anesthetic. It was approved by U.S. regulators in 1970 for use in humans – but it quickly became known for illicit use in the 1970s and 1980s, first among New Age users and then later in dance clubs. Currently its regulated use is tightly controlled. Ketamine has been known as a potential anti-depressant for about a decade, but most of the studies until now have focused on small groups of patients. Negative side effects, such as hallucinations and dissociation, have also limited its use as a treatment. As Yale University researchers have warned, the dosage and administration of the drug remains an unknown set of variables that have yet to be studied further.


News Article | May 7, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

“THE sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail… makes me sick,” wrote Darwin, worrying about how structures we consider beautiful might come to exist in nature. The view nowadays is that ornaments such as the peacock’s stunning train, the splendid plumes of birds of paradise, bowerbirds’ love nests, deer antlers, fins on guppies and just about everything to do with the mandarin goby are indications of male quality. In such species, females choose males with features that indicate resistance to parasites (shapes go wonky, colours go flat if a male isn’t immunologically buff) or skill at foraging (antlers need lots of calcium, bowers lots of time). But in other cases, the evolutionary handicap principle applies, and the fact it’s hard to stay alive while possessing a huge or brightly coloured attraction becomes the reason for the visual pizzazz. And when this process occasionally goes a bit mad, and ever bigger or brasher becomes synonymous with ever better, then the object of female fixation undergoes runaway selection until physiology or predation steps in to set limits. What unites these explanations is that they are all generally credited to Darwin and his book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Here, biologists say, having set out his adaptationist stall in On the Origin of Species, Darwin proposed female choice as the driving force behind much of the animal world’s visual exuberance. And then along comes Richard Prum to tell you there’s more to it than that. Prum is an ornithology professor at Yale University and a world authority on manakins, a group of sparrow-sized birds whose dazzling males perform mate-attracting gymnastics on branches in the understories of Central and South American forests. Years of watching the males carry on until they nearly collapsed convinced him that much of the selection is linked to nothing except a female love of beauty itself, that the only force pushing things forward is female appreciation. This, he says, has nothing to do with functionality: it is pure aesthetic evolution, with “the potential to evolve arbitrary and useless beauty”. As Prum recounts, this idea has not found the greatest favour in academic circles. But, as he makes plain, he’s not alone. Once again, it seems Darwin got there first, writing in Descent that “the most refined beauty may serve as a sexual charm, and for no other purpose”. The problem is, it seems, that we all think we know Darwin. In fact, few of us go back to the original, instead taking for granted what other people say he said. In this case, it seems to have created a bit of validation by wish fulfilment: Darwin’s views on sexual selection, Prum says, have been “laundered, re-tailored and cleaned-up for ideological purity”. “Female love of beauty has got nothing to do with functionality: it is pure aesthetic evolution” Clearly Prum is, to put it mildly, bucking a trend, even if he is in good company. But his career has been diverse and full, so that reading this fascinating book, we learn about the patterning of dinosaur feathers, consider the evolutionary basis of the human female orgasm, the tyranny of academic patriarchy, and the corkscrewed enormity of a duck’s penis. Combining this with in-depth study of how science selects the ideas it approves of and fine writing about fieldwork results in a rich, absorbing text. Not all of Prum’s analogies or counterexamples worked for me, and the attacks on the prevailing view often seemed strident. However, the book deserves to be read, just as the idea of pure beauty evolving unallied to selection and unalloyed by function deserves to be examined and considered. You may not end up agreeing with the reason for its existence, but the dance Prum performs to convince you to take him on as an intellectual partner is beautiful and deserves to be appreciated on its own terms. This article appeared in print under the headline “Useless beauty”


BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MetaStat, Inc. (OTCQB:MTST), a pre-commercial biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of companion diagnostics and anti-metastatic therapeutics in the novel cancer treatments in drugs, today announced the promotion of Jerome B. Zeldis, M.D., Ph.D. from Vice Chairman to Chairman and the appointment of Douglas A. Hamilton, MetaStat’s President and Chief Executive Officer, to its board of directors in connection with a restructuring of MetaStat’s board. Dr. Zeldis stated, “MetaStat has an exciting technology platform based on the novel mechanisms that drive cancer metastasis and overcome tumor resistance to certain therapeutics, creating the potential to discover novel cancer drugs. I look forward to working with Doug and the MetaStat team in solidifying our mission to discover and develop truly novel approaches for treating a variety of cancers.” Mr. Hamilton said, “I am delighted Jerry is leading MetaStat’s Board of Directors and honored to serve on the board with him. We have a shared vision for the future of the Company, seeing multiple opportunities to make significant advances in treating cancer.” Mr. Hamilton continued, “Our driver-based diagnostic biomarkers are also therapeutic targets for the development of anti-metastatic drugs and combination therapies to overcome drug resistance. We plan to leverage our driver-based biomarkers and expand strategic partnerships to unlock opportunities in oncology.” Please see the company’s current report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 8, 2017 for full details on the board restructuring, including the resignations of Messrs. Berman, Goodeve and Bronsther. Dr. Zeldis is the Chief Medical Officer of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., and previously served as Chief Medical Officer of Celgene Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Global Health until June 2016. Prior to joining Celgene in 1997, Dr. Zeldis held positions at Sandoz Research Institute and Janssen Research Institute in both clinical research and medical affairs. He currently serves as Chairman of the board of Alliqua and Trek Therapeutics, in addition to board positions at PTC Therapeutics and Soligenix. He was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California, Davis, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Cornell Medical School, and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Zeldis received BA and MS degrees from Brown University, and M Phil, MD, and PhD degrees from Yale University. Dr. Zeldis has published 122 peer-reviewed articles and is a named inventor on 43 U.S. patents. Mr. Hamilton has been President and CEO of MetaStat since June 2015. Previously, Mr. Hamilton served as CFO for SEA Medical Systems and since 2007, Partner at New Biology Ventures, a life-sciences incubator accelerator and consulting firm. From 1999 to 2006, Mr. Hamilton served as CFO and COO for Javelin Pharmaceuticals, purchased by Hospira, where he led the company to commercialization and through its successful national markets up-listing. Prior to Javelin, Mr. Hamilton was the CFO and Director of Business Development for PolaRx Biopharmaceuticals (now Teva Pharmaceuticals). Mr. Hamilton held positions at Amgen and Pfizer in clinical research and product development, sales and marketing at Pharmacia Biotechnology (now GE Healthcare Life Sciences), and research at Connaught Laboratories (now Sanofi-Pasteur). Mr. Hamilton earned his honors Bachelor of Science degree from the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto and his MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University. MetaStat is a pre-commercial biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of diagnostics tests that are prognostic for risk of cancer metastasis, companion diagnostics to predict drug response and therapeutics to prevent aggressive cancer from spreading. MetaStat’s driver-based diagnostic and therapeutic discovery platform technology is based on the pivotal role of the Mena protein and its isoforms, a common pathway for the development of metastatic disease and drug resistance in all epithelial-based solid tumors. MetaStat is based in Boston, MA. This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks, including those set forth in the company's Form 10-K and its other filings filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and the company undertakes no obligation to update such statements.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

(2)           dels anmäla sig hos Bolaget, senast fredagen den 12 maj 2017 på adress Computershare AB, Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd årsstämma, Box 610, 182 16 Danderyd, per telefon 0771-24 64 00 eller via e-post agm2017@vostokemergingfinance.com. Vid anmälan ska uppgift lämnas om namn, person- eller organisationsnummer, adress samt telefonnummer. Om innehavare av depåbevis avser att företrädas av ombud, ska ombudets namn uppges. Ranjan Tandon är grundare och styrelseordförande för Libra Advisors, en New York-baserad hedgefond, etablerad 1990 och som omvandlades till familjekontor 2012. Libra – en long/short-fond med fokus på värdepapper på inhemska marknader och tillväxtmarknader – rankades löpande av Barron’s bland de 100 främsta hedgefonderna. Ranjan Tandon har en examen från Harvard Business School och från Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Indien, i kemiteknik. Han har haft ett flertal operativa positioner hos DCM i Indien och hos Haliburton i Europa; han har varit CFO på InterMarine i Texas och varit Financial Director hos Merrill Lynch innan han följde sin passion för investeringar. Ranjan Tandon är styrelseledamot för NYU Tandon Engineering School (5,500 studenter) ), och för Carl Schurz Park Conservancy samt har gett gåvor inom ledarskap till Harvard Business School och Yale University. Det antal Prestationsdepåbevis som deltagarens Spardepåbevis berättigar till beror på Bolagets uppfyllelse av prestationsvillkoren under mätperioden. Prestationsvillkoren baseras på substansvärde per aktie (En. Net Asset Value) (”NAV per aktie”). ·       Två Rättigheter per Spardepåbevis tjänas in, och varje rättighet ger deltagaren rätt att erhålla ett Prestationsdepåbevis efter intjänandeperiodens slut, under förutsättning att entry-nivån av prestationsvillkoren är uppnådd och att deltagaren, med vissa undantag, vid offentliggörandet av delårsrapporten för perioden 1 januari – 31 mars 2020 fortfarande är anställd i Vostok-koncernen, inte heller har sagt upp sig vid denna tidpunkt och har kvar sina ursprungliga Spardepåbevis i Bolaget. Incitamentsprogrammet som bemyndigades genom en extra årsstämma i Vostok New Ventures Ltd den 9 juni 2015 och som, samma dag, godkändes genom beslut av den ensamme ägaren av Bolaget, berättigar att nuvarande och framtida anställda kan tilldelas köpoptioner vilka berättigar optionsinnehavaren att förvärva aktier i form av depåbevis i Bolaget. Enligt incitamentsprogrammet kommer som mest 2 000 000 (efter företrädesemissionen: 5 080 000) köpoptioner tilldelas. Totalt 3 405 000 optioner är för närvarande utestående. Löptiden är fram till och med den 8 september 2020, 31 juli 2021 och 24 november 2021 och optionerna kan utnyttjas under en period om tre månader med början fem år efter tidpunkten för tilldelningen. Om alla optioner utnyttjas kommer innehavarna förvärva aktier med depåbevis motsvarande som mest cirka 2,7 procent (efter företrädesemissionen: 0,8 procent) av aktiekapitalet i Bolaget.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

In “Left Shift: How and why America is heading to second rate, single payer health care.” (published by Archway Publishing), author David N. Armstrong, M.D., traces the development of health care in Britain and the United States and predicts the Affordable Care Act will have disastrous results. The author is launching a marketing campaign to promote the book. “I have been a practicing surgeon in Britain’s socialized health care and Americas free market system for over thirty years and have seen the pros and cons of each,” Armstrong explains. “Socialized medicine is less expensive, but has higher mortality rates from the most common causes of death in the UK and US. … The US is moving incrementally toward single payer health care system, and it is important that Americans know where they are heading.” Armstrong argues that socialized medicine has worse outcomes than the United States’ current “quasi free market” system. The book provides insights into the failings of Britain’s National Health Service, and draws out how the Affordable Care Act will lead the United States down the same path if changes are not made soon. “Left Shift” By David N. Armstrong, M.D. Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 182 pages | ISBN 9781480833951 Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 182 pages | ISBN 9781480833968 E-Book | 182 pages | ISBN 9781480833975 Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble About the Author David N. Armstrong, M.D., is a triple boarded surgeon and has operated for over 30 years in Britain’s National Health Service and in the U.S. health care system. He has worked in the Royal Infirmaries of Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK, and Yale University and the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. Dr. Armstrong has had a front seat to the demise of the health service in Britain, and sees a similar fate for health care in the U.S. More information is available at: http://www.drdavidarmstrong.com. Simon & Schuster, a company with nearly ninety years of publishing experience, has teamed up with Author Solutions, LLC, the leading self-publishing company worldwide, to create Archway Publishing. With unique resources to support books of all kind, Archway Publishing offers a specialized approach to help every author reach his or her desired audience. For more information, visit archwaypublishing.com or call 888-242-5904.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

(2)           dels anmäla sig hos Bolaget, senast fredagen den 12 maj 2017 på adress Computershare AB, Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd årsstämma, Box 610, 182 16 Danderyd, per telefon 0771-24 64 00 eller via e-post agm2017@vostokemergingfinance.com. Vid anmälan ska uppgift lämnas om namn, person- eller organisationsnummer, adress samt telefonnummer. Om innehavare av depåbevis avser att företrädas av ombud, ska ombudets namn uppges. Ranjan Tandon är grundare och styrelseordförande för Libra Advisors, en New York-baserad hedgefond, etablerad 1990 och som omvandlades till familjekontor 2012. Libra – en long/short-fond med fokus på värdepapper på inhemska marknader och tillväxtmarknader – rankades löpande av Barron’s bland de 100 främsta hedgefonderna. Ranjan Tandon har en examen från Harvard Business School och från Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Indien, i kemiteknik. Han har haft ett flertal operativa positioner hos DCM i Indien och hos Haliburton i Europa; han har varit CFO på InterMarine i Texas och varit Financial Director hos Merrill Lynch innan han följde sin passion för investeringar. Ranjan Tandon är styrelseledamot för NYU Tandon Engineering School (5,500 studenter) ), och för Carl Schurz Park Conservancy samt har gett gåvor inom ledarskap till Harvard Business School och Yale University. Det antal Prestationsdepåbevis som deltagarens Spardepåbevis berättigar till beror på Bolagets uppfyllelse av prestationsvillkoren under mätperioden. Prestationsvillkoren baseras på substansvärde per aktie (En. Net Asset Value) (”NAV per aktie”). ·       Två Rättigheter per Spardepåbevis tjänas in, och varje rättighet ger deltagaren rätt att erhålla ett Prestationsdepåbevis efter intjänandeperiodens slut, under förutsättning att entry-nivån av prestationsvillkoren är uppnådd och att deltagaren, med vissa undantag, vid offentliggörandet av delårsrapporten för perioden 1 januari – 31 mars 2020 fortfarande är anställd i Vostok-koncernen, inte heller har sagt upp sig vid denna tidpunkt och har kvar sina ursprungliga Spardepåbevis i Bolaget. Incitamentsprogrammet som bemyndigades genom en extra årsstämma i Vostok New Ventures Ltd den 9 juni 2015 och som, samma dag, godkändes genom beslut av den ensamme ägaren av Bolaget, berättigar att nuvarande och framtida anställda kan tilldelas köpoptioner vilka berättigar optionsinnehavaren att förvärva aktier i form av depåbevis i Bolaget. Enligt incitamentsprogrammet kommer som mest 2 000 000 (efter företrädesemissionen: 5 080 000) köpoptioner tilldelas. Totalt 3 405 000 optioner är för närvarande utestående. Löptiden är fram till och med den 8 september 2020, 31 juli 2021 och 24 november 2021 och optionerna kan utnyttjas under en period om tre månader med början fem år efter tidpunkten för tilldelningen. Om alla optioner utnyttjas kommer innehavarna förvärva aktier med depåbevis motsvarande som mest cirka 2,7 procent (efter företrädesemissionen: 0,8 procent) av aktiekapitalet i Bolaget.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.PR.com

Receive press releases from U.S. Veg Corp.: By Email U.S. Veg Corp Brings the 7th Annual NYC Veg Food Fest to Manhattan New York, NY, April 28, 2017 --( Kristin LaJeunesse is the founder of an award-winning website and the memoir Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman's Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love. She is now focused on creating the first nationally-televised vegan travel show. Her talk will be featured on day one of the festival. Along with scrumptious food stories, she’ll let people in on exactly what it’s like to maintain a location-independent lifestyle indefinitely. Another social media guru to be featured is Ellen Kanner who will speak on "Garden of Earthly Delights: Fueling Passion with Plants." She is the author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost, and is also the Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger and a syndicated columnist for The Edgy Veggie. A recipe developer for numerous other publications, her talk promises to be filled with mouth-watering treats. Several of the other headliners on tap will give a medical slant to their presentations. Dr. Robert Ostfeld will speak on "Confessions of a Reformed Cardiologist: A Plant-Based Diet and Your Heart.” Ostfeld is associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center, and associate director of the Cardiology Fellowship at Montefiore-Einstein. He received his training from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University School of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chiti Parikh will zero in on the “Gut Microbiome and Your Health.” She is an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College where she plays an active role in medical education, research and patient care. She is also the co-founder of the Integrative Health program at New York PresbyterianHospital, which provides services such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, nutrition, psychotherapy, and biofeedback. Dr. Casey Taft is co-owner of Vegan Publishers and a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. He’s an internationally recognized researcher in the area of violence and abuse prevention, and has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and scientific reports. He recently authored Motivational Methods for Animal Advocacy: A Clinical Psychology Perspective. His upcoming book is Millennial Vegan: Tips for Navigating Relationships, Wellness, and Everyday Life as a Young Animal Advocate, which will be the focus of his festival talk. Many more speakers will grace the festival stages, including animal rights organizers, vegan chefs, and vegan athletes. There will be cooking demonstrations and book signings. A special area of the festival grounds will be devoted to children’s activities. There will be a variety of entertainment as well, including a performance by the Edward Morgan Ballet and a screening of the short documentary film Home on the Range. For many attendees, however, the main attraction will be the chance to sample and buy wares from the scores of plant-based vendors that will fill the festival space. Main courses, desserts, snacks and condiments will be showcased along with apparel, beauty products, and other vegan lifestyle items. The New York City Vegetarian Food Festival is presented by U.S. Veg Corp, a production and marketing company which also founded and produces the Arizona and California Vegetarian Food Festivals. Additionally, it produces other plant-based events throughout the year including various vegan food competitions, Vegan Drinks Brooklyn, and other smaller scale events. For more information on the upcoming festival or to purchase tickets, please visit http://nycvegfoodfest.com. New York, NY, April 28, 2017 --( PR.com )-- A traveler well on her way to sampling bites at every vegan restaurant in America will be one of the featured speakers at the 7th annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, May 20-21, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.Kristin LaJeunesse is the founder of an award-winning website and the memoir Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman's Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love. She is now focused on creating the first nationally-televised vegan travel show. Her talk will be featured on day one of the festival. Along with scrumptious food stories, she’ll let people in on exactly what it’s like to maintain a location-independent lifestyle indefinitely.Another social media guru to be featured is Ellen Kanner who will speak on "Garden of Earthly Delights: Fueling Passion with Plants." She is the author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost, and is also the Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger and a syndicated columnist for The Edgy Veggie. A recipe developer for numerous other publications, her talk promises to be filled with mouth-watering treats.Several of the other headliners on tap will give a medical slant to their presentations.Dr. Robert Ostfeld will speak on "Confessions of a Reformed Cardiologist: A Plant-Based Diet and Your Heart.” Ostfeld is associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center, and associate director of the Cardiology Fellowship at Montefiore-Einstein. He received his training from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University School of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School.Dr. Chiti Parikh will zero in on the “Gut Microbiome and Your Health.” She is an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College where she plays an active role in medical education, research and patient care. She is also the co-founder of the Integrative Health program at New York PresbyterianHospital, which provides services such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, nutrition, psychotherapy, and biofeedback.Dr. Casey Taft is co-owner of Vegan Publishers and a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. He’s an internationally recognized researcher in the area of violence and abuse prevention, and has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and scientific reports. He recently authored Motivational Methods for Animal Advocacy: A Clinical Psychology Perspective. His upcoming book is Millennial Vegan: Tips for Navigating Relationships, Wellness, and Everyday Life as a Young Animal Advocate, which will be the focus of his festival talk.Many more speakers will grace the festival stages, including animal rights organizers, vegan chefs, and vegan athletes. There will be cooking demonstrations and book signings. A special area of the festival grounds will be devoted to children’s activities.There will be a variety of entertainment as well, including a performance by the Edward Morgan Ballet and a screening of the short documentary film Home on the Range.For many attendees, however, the main attraction will be the chance to sample and buy wares from the scores of plant-based vendors that will fill the festival space. Main courses, desserts, snacks and condiments will be showcased along with apparel, beauty products, and other vegan lifestyle items.The New York City Vegetarian Food Festival is presented by U.S. Veg Corp, a production and marketing company which also founded and produces the Arizona and California Vegetarian Food Festivals. Additionally, it produces other plant-based events throughout the year including various vegan food competitions, Vegan Drinks Brooklyn, and other smaller scale events.For more information on the upcoming festival or to purchase tickets, please visit http://nycvegfoodfest.com. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from U.S. Veg Corp.


"Our students could not have a better role model as they embark on their careers as leaders in transforming healthcare" says Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and executive vice president and chief academic officer at Montefiore Medicine. "A longtime and dedicated champion for the most vulnerable among us, he embodies the compassion and dedication to our profession that we expect our students will uphold. It is a privilege to have him join us this year." Dr. Frieden, a physician trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, spent eight years at the helm of the CDC after his appointment in 2009 by President Barack Obama. From the beginning of his tenure, he led the United States' response to the global H1N1 influenza virus pandemic. Lauded for his calm demeanor, clear communication style, and persistence in pushing for public health improvements, Dr. Frieden is credited with leading the CDC's work to combat the 2014 Ebola epidemic, accelerating progress addressing drug-resistant infections and opioid use, and preventing strokes, heart attacks, and cancer. Prior to his CDC leadership, Dr. Frieden served as NYC Health Commissioner. He led former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial push to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, and institute the nation's first ban on trans fats in chain restaurants. He also focused on smoking cessation campaigns and HIV prevention programs, and designed and launched the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a global effort to promote tobacco control policies that has so far prevented more than 20 million deaths. Dr. Frieden, author of more than 250 publications, received medical and public health degrees from Columbia University, and infectious diseases training at Yale University. In his first stint with the CDC from 1990 to 1996, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, then led the agency's New York City program on tuberculosis control. He later served the CDC as a medical officer in India, where he worked on that nation's tuberculosis control program, which is credited with saving millions of lives. About Albert Einstein College of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Einstein is home to 717 M.D. students, 166 Ph.D. students, 103 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2016, Einstein received more than $160 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and view us on YouTube To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/former-cdc-director-dr-tom-frieden-to-deliver-2017-commencement-address-at-albert-einstein-college-of-medicine-300446732.html


This figure shows different Bacteroides species in the mouse gut encoded with unique fluorescent signatures. Credit: Whitaker et al./Cell 2017 Gut microbes play wide-ranging roles in health and disease, but there has been a lack of tools to probe the relationship between microbial activity and host physiology. Two independent studies in mice published April 20 in the journal Cell have overcome this hurdle, making it possible to simultaneously visualize multiple bacterial strains in the gut by making them express unique combinations of fluorescent proteins. This approach allowed the researchers to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in the gut based on the rainbow of colors they emitted. Additionally, these tools also allowed precise control of the activity of bacterial genes in real time and in specific locations. "We found that tools from synthetic biology can allow us to ask new questions about the gut microbiota," says Andrew Goodman of Yale University School of Medicine, senior author of one of the studies. "We also imagine these strategies may provide a starting point for on-demand delivery of therapeutics or other molecules from the microbiota." Advances in sequencing technology have enabled in-depth characterization of bacterial species found in the gut, but tools to manipulate the gut microbiome have lagged far behind. Although tools have been developed for model organisms such as Escherichia coli, these systems do not work in Bacteroides, the most abundant genus within the guts of people in the United States. In one of the studies, Justin Sonnenburg of the Stanford University School of Medicine and his team developed a way to engineer Bacteroides, making it possible to simultaneously track multiple bacterial strains in the gut. These tools included a panel of synthetic promoters—DNA sequences that initiate transcription of particular genes. Using this panel of promoters, the researchers genetically engineered six different Bacteroides species to produce unique combinations of a red fluorescent protein (RFP) called mCherry and green fluorescent protein (GFP). They introduced the engineered species into mice that had been raised in a germ-free environment, and after two weeks, they analyzed sections of colon tissue using a fluorescence microscope to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in different parts of the gut. In a separate experiment, Sonnenburg and his team genetically engineered two Bacteroides strains to produce either GFP or RFP. They then introduced the RFP-expressing strain into the mouse gut, followed by the GFP-expressing strain one week later. It was clear that the RFP-expressing strain successfully colonized the colon and outcompeted the GFP-expressing strain, especially in tube-like glands called crypts. The findings demonstrate that colonization of these specific intestinal structures is a key step that allows longer-term gut residents to outcompete invading species. In future research, Sonnenburg and his team will continue to develop these tools to engineer bacteria to produce proteins at a precise time or location. "On the commercial side, the expression tools may allow us to deliver therapeutic proteins to the gut by producing them in the microbes that live inside of us," says Weston Whitaker, lead author of the Stanford study. "The use of bacterial cells for drug delivery opens the door to smart therapeutics that are produced at the right time and location." In the other study, Yale's Andrew Goodman and his team also developed a panel of synthetic promoters enabling the fine-tuned control of gene activity in diverse Bacteroides species. The researchers integrated these promoters into the Bacteroides genome and modulated gene activity using a tetracycline-regulated system, which allows transcription to reversibly turn on or off depending on the presence of a synthetic compound called anhydrotetracycline. In the OFF state, gene activity controlled by the synthetic promoters was completely shut off, but in the presence of anhydrotetracycline, gene activity rapidly increased by a factor of 9,000. The researchers next introduced the engineered bacteria into mice and confirmed that their tools allow gene activity in gut bacteria to be tightly controlled, simply by adding different amounts of anhydrotetracycline to the drinking water of mice. If extended to humans, this approach could potentially enable on-demand delivery of therapeutic compounds. Moreover, precise control of bacterial gene activity in specific locations in the gastrointestinal tract could be achieved by administering anhydrotetracycline through different routes, for example, via time- or pH-dependent delayed release capsules or surgically through catheterization. In future studies, Goodman and his team will apply their system to other microbes and other types of interactions between gut microbes and their hosts. "These tools open the door to new types of studies to better understand our microbiota and to define how gut commensal bacteria can be engineered for therapeutic purposes," Sonnenburg says. "However, before gut commensals can be engineered for therapeutics, it will be important to develop methods of safely and reliably colonizing the human gut, which will require more research." Explore further: Scientists hack one of the most common bacteria in human intestines More information: Cell, Whitaker et al.: "Tunable Expression Tools Enable Single-Cell Strain Distinction in the Gut Microbiome" http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)30370-7 , DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.03.041 Cell, Lim et al.: "Engineered Regulatory Systems Modulate Gene Expression of Human Commensals in the Gut" http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)30374-47 , DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.03.045


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

VIDEO:  In this video and the paper published in the April 20 issue of Cell , Andrew Goodman's group present a powerful system to modulate gene expression of a common member of... view more Gut microbes play wide-ranging roles in health and disease, but there has been a lack of tools to probe the relationship between microbial activity and host physiology. Two independent studies in mice published April 20 in the journal Cell have overcome this hurdle, making it possible to simultaneously visualize multiple bacterial strains in the gut by making them express unique combinations of fluorescent proteins. This approach allowed the researchers to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in the gut based on the rainbow of colors they emitted. Additionally, these tools also allowed precise control of the activity of bacterial genes in real time and in specific locations. "We found that tools from synthetic biology can allow us to ask new questions about the gut microbiota," says Andrew Goodman of Yale University School of Medicine, senior author of one of the studies. "We also imagine these strategies may provide a starting point for on-demand delivery of therapeutics or other molecules from the microbiota." Advances in sequencing technology have enabled in-depth characterization of bacterial species found in the gut, but tools to manipulate the gut microbiome have lagged far behind. Although tools have been developed for model organisms such as Escherichia coli, these systems do not work in Bacteroides, the most abundant genus within the guts of people in the United States. In one of the studies, Justin Sonnenburg of the Stanford University School of Medicine and his team developed a way to engineer Bacteroides, making it possible to simultaneously track multiple bacterial strains in the gut. These tools included a panel of synthetic promoters--DNA sequences that initiate transcription of particular genes. Using this panel of promoters, the researchers genetically engineered six different Bacteroides species to produce unique combinations of a red fluorescent protein (RFP) called mCherry and green fluorescent protein (GFP). They introduced the engineered species into mice that had been raised in a germ-free environment, and after two weeks, they analyzed sections of colon tissue using a fluorescence microscope to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in different parts of the gut. In a separate experiment, Sonnenburg and his team genetically engineered two Bacteroides strains to produce either GFP or RFP. They then introduced the RFP-expressing strain into the mouse gut, followed by the GFP-expressing strain one week later. It was clear that the RFP-expressing strain successfully colonized the colon and outcompeted the GFP-expressing strain, especially in tube-like glands called crypts. The findings demonstrate that colonization of these specific intestinal structures is a key step that allows longer-term gut residents to outcompete invading species. In future research, Sonnenburg and his team will continue to develop these tools to engineer bacteria to produce proteins at a precise time or location. "On the commercial side, the expression tools may allow us to deliver therapeutic proteins to the gut by producing them in the microbes that live inside of us," says Weston Whitaker, lead author of the Stanford study. "The use of bacterial cells for drug delivery opens the door to smart therapeutics that are produced at the right time and location." In the other study, Yale's Andrew Goodman and his team also developed a panel of synthetic promoters enabling the fine-tuned control of gene activity in diverse Bacteroides species. The researchers integrated these promoters into the Bacteroides genome and modulated gene activity using a tetracycline-regulated system, which allows transcription to reversibly turn on or off depending on the presence of a synthetic compound called anhydrotetracycline. In the OFF state, gene activity controlled by the synthetic promoters was completely shut off, but in the presence of anhydrotetracycline, gene activity rapidly increased by a factor of 9,000. The researchers next introduced the engineered bacteria into mice and confirmed that their tools allow gene activity in gut bacteria to be tightly controlled, simply by adding different amounts of anhydrotetracycline to the drinking water of mice. If extended to humans, this approach could potentially enable on-demand delivery of therapeutic compounds. Moreover, precise control of bacterial gene activity in specific locations in the gastrointestinal tract could be achieved by administering anhydrotetracycline through different routes, for example, via time- or pH-dependent delayed release capsules or surgically through catheterization. In future studies, Goodman and his team will apply their system to other microbes and other types of interactions between gut microbes and their hosts. "These tools open the door to new types of studies to better understand our microbiota and to define how gut commensal bacteria can be engineered for therapeutic purposes," Sonnenburg says. "However, before gut commensals can be engineered for therapeutics, it will be important to develop methods of safely and reliably colonizing the human gut, which will require more research." Cell, Whitaker et al.: "Tunable Expression Tools Enable Single-Cell Strain Distinction in the Gut Microbiome" http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)30370-7 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.03.041 This work was funded by Stanford's Discovery Innovation Fund in Basic Biomedical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health NIDDK, the National Science Foundation, and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Three co-authors are founders of Novome Biotechnologies and have filed a provisional patent based on the work. Cell, Lim et al.: "Engineered Regulatory Systems Modulate Gene Expression of Human Commensals in the Gut" http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)30374-4 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.03.045 This study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the DuPont Young Professors, Pew Scholars, and HHMI Faculty Scholars Programs. Cell (@CellCellPress), the flagship journal of Cell Press, is a bimonthly journal that publishes findings of unusual significance in any area of experimental biology, including but not limited to cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, virology and microbiology, cancer, human genetics, systems biology, signaling, and disease mechanisms and therapeutics. Visit http://www. . To receive Cell Press media alerts, contact press@cell.com.


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

Yale University researchers have tapped into a plant-derived material to effectively purify water. Researchers in the lab of Professor Chinedum Osuji in collaboration with Professor Menachem Elimelech have developed a highly ordered and aligned nanoporous polymer material, based on natural fatty acids derived from vegetable oils. This is thought to more effectively purify water than current petroleum-based membrane materials. “The structure you get is highly selective because the size of the pores is very well-defined, while the fact that the pores are aligned ensures extremely efficient operation,” Osuji, an associate professor of chemical & environmental engineering, said in a statement. According to the study, the researchers directed self-assembly by using physical confinement and magnetic fields to provide a vertical alignment of the columnar nanostructures in large area thin films. Due to the selective nature of the material, it has potential for nanofiltration  applications to held rid water of contaminants including textile dyes and pharmaceuticals. While membrane-based technologies have benefits in water purification, current technologies hamper the technologies true ability to purify water. “They have low selectivity,” Xunda Feng, a postdoctoral associate in Osuji’s lab and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. “They are also fabricated entirely from petroleum-based materials.” Producing polymers from renewable or sustainably-derived materials has been difficult in the past because of environmental issues. However, the researchers used molecular templating—where a single molecule acts as a guide for molecules of fatty acids to self-assemble into hexagonally packed columns— to create the new material. The template can be removed to yield nanopores because the fatty acid molecules do not physically bond to the guiding molecule. The self-assembly process defines the precise size of the nanopore, while the chemical nature of the nanopore walls is defined intrinsically by the fatty acid or by simple chemical modifications performed after forming the membrane. The researchers tested the membranes in adsorption experiments to examine how readily molecules of different sizes and different charge could enter the pores. They observed that just a small difference of 0.4 nm resulted in a change from complete admittance to near-complete rejections of molecules. The membranes also displayed a complete rejection of negatively charged molecules regardless of their size. “These novel membranes can selectively transport water and desired molecules but reject unwanted ones, in a manner that is superior to current commercially available membranes,” Gilad Kaufman, a contributor to the project and a Ph.D. candidate in Osuji’s lab, said in a statement. The synthesis of the template molecule is also low-cost and scalable, and additional membranes can be produced by the template molecule that is eventually removed from the polymer membrane. According to Osuji, the next step will be to make large films and examine their selectivity in pressure-driven flow to examine which molecules go through and which ones do not. The researchers will also explore other potential uses including high-density nanopattern transfer for the semiconductor industry. The study was published in ACS Nano.


The selection of Cooper Robertson follows on new mission and strategic development by Cloyd, whose past work has been chronicled by The New York Times. Cooper Robertson is active on many campuses including Longwood University, University of Delaware, North Carolina State, and Lyford Cay International School. The firm has also developed long-term plans and designed buildings for Ohio State, University of North Carolina, Cal Tech, Yale University, Hunter College, and Georgetown, among others. "We are delighted to have the involvement of Cooper Robertson with our leadership team and other experts supporting Drury University's new initiatives," said Drury University's Cloyd. "As Drury moves into a new era, it will be crucial for us to craft a vision of our physical campus that not only reflects our academic values, but enhances our profile regionally and nationally." The backdrop for this campus planning initiative is Cloyd's Strategic Positioning Platform, which includes recruiting of world-class talent to Springfield to lead the intellectual process in leveraging its physical assets, local connections and excellent national reputation, to achieve the best outcomes through broad engagement and focused creativity. As a first step, in coming weeks Drury University will host a charrette--its first of several collaborative idea-sessions to inform the master-planning process--with campus leaders and community groups. "In this process, the University and other stakeholders become part of the design team, taking part in a shared design vision and exploration," says John Kirk, AIA, a partner with Cooper Robertson. Cooper Robertson has earned wide acclaim for its campus projects, and its work on New York's Battery Park City reimagined an entire swath of waterfront not far from Wall Street. One critic noted, "There are few firms in the United States, perhaps the world, with such a broad range of work completed with incomparable finesse." "The new campus master plan will help make lasting, memorable connections, over time weaving the campus together, allowing for cohesive expansion, and connecting to surrounding communities," says Kirk. "This will help make Drury University a world-class destination, school of choice and memorable place for all who live and visit here." To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/renowned-firm-cooper-robertson-selected-for-master-planning-of-drury-universitys-growing-campus-300442454.html


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Each story is represented by a textile in this sculpture. The textiles were contributed in response to a call for blankets and their stories from the community including local residents, the greater Finger Lakes region, and friends of The Rockwell. While each blanket in this column represents one person's story, it also serves as a marker for the collective memory of a larger extended family. Each story communicates the universal nature of our shared human condition and has the potential to unite us. "Blankets are everyday objects. We take them for granted, yet as we use them, they quietly record our histories: a lumpy shape, a worn binding, mended patches," says Watt. "Every blanket holds a story, and with the secondhand and thrift-store blankets I use in much of my work, I can only guess at the story. But when I can work with contributed blankets and learn about the stories attached to them, they remain with the blankets in their installations, and are also transcribed and collected, so that others can share them." "Marie's work is a compelling story that connects the local Corning community with its deep-rooted Seneca and Iroquois history," says Brian Lee Whisenhunt, executive director of The Rockwell Museum. "We believe her vision is directly in line with The Rockwell's programming and community connections and look forward to having the installation remain part of our permanent collection and eventually installed in our Modern and Contemporary gallery." Each blanket has been photographed and can be viewed by the public at: http://www.mariewattstudio.com/projects/western-door For more information about the exhibit and The Rockwell Museum, please visit: www.rockwellmuseum.org Marie Watt is an American artist. She holds an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University, attended Willamette University and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Willamette University. Among other residencies, she has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, received a fellowship from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Selected collections include the National Gallery of Canada, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and Renwick Gallery, The Tacoma Art Museum, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Facebook, The Seattle Art Museum, and The United States Library of Congress. In 2015 she exhibited in the 'Unsuspected Possibilities' show at SITE Santa Fe, curated by Janet Dees, and in 2016 was commissioned by the Art in Embassies program to build a 36' tall sculpture to be permanently installed in the newly expanded US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ms. Watt lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, the graphic designer Adam McIsaac, and her daughters, Maxine and Evelyn. She exhibits internationally, and is represented in Portland by PDX Contemporary Art, and in Seattle by Greg Kucera Gallery. The Rockwell Museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, collection tells the story of the American experience through a display of stunning art about America. Founded in 1976, The Rockwell is an evolving community center which showcases the best of America through compelling exhibitions and imaginative programs.  The diverse collection includes a mix of contemporary Native American art with traditional bronze sculptures, landscape paintings and other works that embody America. Housed in the beautifully restored 19th century Old City Hall building, The Rockwell is active in the local community and holds special events and educational programming with area public schools. The Rockwell provokes curiosity, engagement and reflection about art and the American experience. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-rockwell-museum-debuts-new-blanket-stories-exhibit-by-marie-watt-300452323.html


HAMDEN, CT, May 06, 2017-- Donald George Cofrancesco has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.All Around Town Home Care, Inc., where he has been since 2013. In these roles, he is able to provide outstanding services in the home care industry. He started his career as a Research Assistant at the Yale School of Medicine, and, subsequently, he joined such institutions as Golden Manor Convalescent Home, West Haven Nursing Center, Independence Manor, Hillside Manor, Project Care, Inc., and Coe Enterprises, LLC in various administrative roles. Mr. Cofrancesco was an Assistant Administrator and Lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine from 1990-2000.An alumnus of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of New Haven, and Yale University, Mr. Cofrancesco holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Life Sciences, a Master of Arts in Gerontology (Administrative Studies) and a Master of Public Health (Health Policy and Administration). Additionally, he is a certified Reiki Master, and licensed Nursing Home Administrator in CT. Throughout his career, he has been recognized many times for his work. Notably, in 1983, he was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Men in America.Mr. Cofrancesco served his community as a member of the Human Services Commission for the Town of Hamden, CT, and served as its' Vice Chair and Chair for a number of years. He also represented Hamden as a Board Member of the Quinnipiack Valley Health District (QVHD).As his main avocation, Mr. Cofrancesco possesses a General Class License in Amateur Radio and is a Life Member in the American Radio Relay League. He is also a member of the Connecticut Amateur Radio Emergency Service (CT ARES) and a Certified Weather Spotter for the National Weather Service.As a member of CT ARES, Mr. Cofrancesco served as the Public Information Officer for Region 2 and also served as the Emergency Coordinator for Emergency Communications for the QVHD.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Notice is hereby given to the holders of depository receipts in respect of shares in Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd (“Vostok Emerging Finance” or the ”Company”) that an Annual General Meeting (the “Meeting”) of shareholders shall be held on Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 10 am CEST at Advokatfirman Vinge, Norrlandsgatan 10 in Stockholm, Sweden. Holders of depository receipts wishing to attend the Meeting shall: (1)           be listed in the register of holders of depository receipts kept by Euroclear Sweden AB on Friday, 12 May 2017; and (2)           notify the Company of the intention to attend the Meeting not later than Friday, 12 May 2017 by mail at the address Computershare AB, Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd Annual General Meeting, Box 610, SE-182 16 Danderyd, Sweden, by telephone +46 771 24 64 00 or by e-mail to agm2017@vostokemergingfinance.com. The holder of depository receipts shall state his or her name, personal or company identification number, address as well as telephone number. If a holder of depository receipts intends to be represented by proxy, the name of the proxy holder shall be stated. Holders of depository receipts represented by proxy shall issue dated and signed power of attorney for the proxy. If the power of attorney is issued on behalf of a legal entity, a certified copy of a registration certificate or a corresponding document for the legal entity shall be appended. The power of attorney in original and, where applicable, the registration certificate should be submitted to the Company by mail at the address set forth above well in advance of the Meeting. The form to use for a power of attorney can be found on www.vostokemergingfinance.com. Holders of depository receipts who hold their receipts through nominees (Sw. förvaltare) must request a temporary registration of the voting rights in order to be able to participate at the Meeting. Holders of depository receipts who want to obtain such registration must contact the nominee regarding this well in advance of Friday, 12 May 2017. Voting forms will be distributed to the holders who have complied with the above requirements and the voting form must be brought to the Meeting. 1.             Election of Chairman for the Meeting. 4.             Election of one or two persons to check and sign the minutes. 5.             Resolution that the Meeting has been duly convened. 7.             Presentation of the annual report and the auditor’s report as well as the consolidated annual report and the consolidated auditor’s report. (a)           the adoption of the profit and loss account and the balance sheet as well as the consolidated profit and loss account and the consolidated balance sheet ; and (b)           the appropriation of the Company’s results according to the adopted balance sheet. 9.             Determination of the number of Directors and auditors. 10.          Determination of remuneration to the Directors and the auditors. 13.          Resolution regarding remuneration principles for the senior management. The Nomination committee consisting of Vipul Pandey (Libra Advisors), who replaced Ranjan Tandon (Libra Advisors) on 18 April 2017, Håkan Berg (Swedbank Robur Funds), Mark Lynch (Wellington Management) and Lars O Grönstedt, (Chairman of the Board), proposes that Jesper Schönbeck, member of the Swedish Bar Association, is elected as Chairman for the Meeting. The appropriation of the Company’s results (item 8b) The Board of Directors proposes that no dividend is paid to the shareholders and that the Company’s results are brought forward. Election of Directors and auditors etc. (items 9-11) -       that the Board of Directors shall consist of six (6) Directors without any deputy members; -        election of Ranjan Tandon and re-election of all of the current Directors, Lars O Grönstedt, Per Brilioth, David Nangle, Voria Fattahi and Milena Ivanova, for the period until the end of the next Annual General Meeting; -        that the Meeting appoint Lars O Grönstedt to be Chairman of the Board of Directors; -        a total Board remuneration (including remuneration for the work within the committees of the Board) of SEK 1,200,000, of which SEK 400,000 shall be allocated to the Chairman of the Board of Directors and SEK 200,000 to each of the other Directors who are not employed by the Company; -        that the members of the Board of Directors be permitted, in line with Swedish market practice, to invoice the Company for their Board fees in an amount that is cost neutral to the Company, provided any Director who does so is solely liable for any tax effects; and -        that the Company’s auditor, the registered audit company PricewaterhouseCoopers AB be re-elected until the end of the next Annual General Meeting and remunerated upon approval of their invoice. Ranjan Tandon is Founder and Chairman of Libra Advisors, a New York hedge fund established in 1990, which was converted to a family office in 2012. Barron’s had consistently ranked Libra – a long/short fund with a focus on domestic and emerging market equities, in the top 100 Hedge funds. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Ranjan Tandon has a degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in Chemical Engineering. He has held several operating positions with DCM in India and Halliburton in Europe; was CFO of InterMarine in Texas; and a financial Executive with Merrill Lynch before following his passion for investing. Ranjan Tandon is a Board Member of the NYU Tandon Engineering School (5,500 students), the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy and has made leadership gifts to the Harvard Business School and Yale University. For information about the current Directors proposed for re-election, please see the Company’s website, www.vostokemergingfinance.com. The Nomination Committee proposes the following procedure for appointing a Nomination Committee for the purposes of the Annual General Meeting in 2018 as per the following: A Nomination Committee shall be convened by the Chairman of the Board and be comprised of up to four representatives chosen from among the largest holders of depository receipts and the Chairman of the Board. The ownership shall be based on the statistics from Euroclear Sweden AB over holders of depository receipts as per the last business day in August 2017. The names of the members of the Nomination Committee shall be announced as soon as they have been appointed, which shall take place no later than six months prior to the Annual General Meeting in 2018. In case of a material change in ownership prior to completion of the work to be performed by the Nomination Committee, it shall be possible to change the composition of the Nomination Committee. The Nomination Committee’s mandate period extends up to the appointment of a new Nomination Committee. The Nomination Committee shall appoint a Chairman among them. If the representatives cannot agree upon appointment of Chairman, the representative representing the holder of depository receipts with the largest number of votes shall be appointed as Chairman. The Nomination Committee shall prepare proposals for the following decisions at the Annual General Meeting in 2018: (i) election of the Chairman for the Meeting, (ii) election of Directors, (iii) election of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, (iv) remuneration to the Directors, (v) election of the Company’s auditors (vi) compensation to the Company’s auditors, and (vii) proposal for how to conduct the nomination process for the Annual General Meeting in 2019. The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves to approve the following management remuneration principles. The remuneration to the Managing Director and other members of the senior management shall consist of fixed salary, variable remuneration, other benefits and pension benefits. Except for the Managing Director, the senior management currently includes two individuals. The total remuneration shall correspond to the prevailing market conditions and be competitive. The fixed and variable remuneration shall correspond to the respective individual’s responsibility and authority. The variable component should, in the first instance, be covered within the parameters of the Company’s option plan and the Company’s depository receipts incentive programme and shall, where payable in other instances, be subject to an upper limit in accordance with market terms and specific objectives for the Company and/or the individual. The period of notice of termination of employment shall be three to six months in the event of termination by the member of the senior management. In the event of termination by the Company, the total of the period of notice of termination and the period during which severance compensation is payable shall not exceed 12 months. Pension benefits shall be either benefit-based or contribution based or a combination thereof, with individual retirement ages. Benefit based pension benefits are conditional on the benefits being earned during a predetermined period of employment. The Board of Directors shall be entitled to deviate from these guidelines in individual cases should special reasons exist. The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves on a long term incentive programme for up to seven employees in Vostok Emerging Finance (“LTIP 2017”) in accordance with the below. LTIP 2017 is a three year performance based incentive program which is substantially the same as the depository receipt based incentive programme from 2016 (“LTIP 2016”). The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves to adopt LTIP 2017. LTIP 2017 is proposed to include up to seven current or future employees in Vostok Emerging Finance. The participants in LTIP 2017 are required to invest in Vostok Emerging Finance by acquiring shares in the form of depository receipts in Vostok Emerging Finance (“Saving DRs”). These Saving DRs are received by way of purchase of depository receipts (representing shares in Vostok Emerging Finance) at market value or transfer of depository receipts that such participant already holds in accordance with the terms set out under “Personal investment” below. The participants will thereafter be granted the opportunity to receive depository receipts free of charge in accordance with LTIP 2017, so called “Performance DRs” in accordance with the terms set out below. In the event that delivery of Performance DRs cannot be achieved at reasonable costs, with reasonable administrative efforts or due to market conditions, participants may instead be offered a cash-based settlement. In order to participate in LTIP 2017, the participant must have made a private investment by (i) purchase of depository receipts (representing shares in Vostok Emerging Finance) at market value and for a value of up to SEK 750,000[1]  depending on the participants’ position in Vostok Emerging Finance in accordance with what is further described below, or (ii) by transfer of depository receipts that such participant already holds (provided that the participant holds at least 100% of annual net base pay in depository receipts) for a value of up to SEK 750,000[2]  depending on the participants’ position in Vostok Emerging Finance in accordance with what is further described below. For each Saving DR held under LTIP 2017, the Company will grant the participants ten rights to Performance DRs, meaning rights to receive Performance DRs free of charge (“Rights”). The number of Performance DRs each participant’s Saving DRs entitles to depends on the Company’s fulfilment of the performance conditions. A participant cannot receive more than ten Performance DRs per Saving DR. The maximum amounts for the personal investments are based on an assumed market price of Vostok Emerging Finance’s depository receipts of SEK 1.68. The market price of the depository receipts may have increased or decreased by the time of the personal investment and the Board of Directors is authorised to change the maximum amount of the personal investment to take into account any material changes to the price of Vostok Emerging Finance’s depository receipts, in order to give as positive effects as possible for depository receipt holders in the Company. Subject to the fulfilment of the entry level of the performance based conditions for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019 and provided that the participant has kept its investment in Saving DRs during the period from the day of allocation of the Rights until the day of the release of the interim report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2020 (the vesting period) and, with certain exceptions, kept its employment within the Vostok group and not given notice of termination at such point in time, two Rights per Saving DR will vest and each Rights will entitle the participant to receive one Performance DR free of charge. The number of Performance DRs each of the participant’s Saving DR entitles to depends on the Company’s fulfilment of the performance conditions during the measurement period. The performance conditions are based on the Net Asset Value per share (“NAV per share”). The determined levels of the conditions include an entry, a target and a stretch level as regards the number of Rights that vest. The entry level constitutes the minimum level which must be exceeded in order to enable vesting of Rights. If the entry level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive two Performance DRs per Saving DR. If the target level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive five Performance DRs per Saving DR. If the stretch level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive ten Performance DRs per Saving DR. The Board of Directors intends to disclose the outcome of the performance based conditions in the annual report for the financial year 2019. The Rights shall be governed by the following terms and conditions: ·       Rights are granted free of charge as soon as possible after the annual general meeting 2017. ·       Vest following the publication of the Company’s interim report for the period 1 January – 31 March 2020 (the vesting period). ·       May not be transferred or pledged. ·       Two Rights per Saving DR will vest and each Right will entitle the participant to receive one Performance DR after the end of the vesting period, if the entry level of the performance-based conditions has been fulfilled and the participant, at the time of the release of the interim report for the period 1 January – 31 March 2020, with certain exceptions, maintains its employment within the Vostok group, has not given notice of termination and maintains the invested Saving DRs. ·       In order to align the participants’ and the depository receipt holders’ interests, the Company will compensate the participants for any dividends paid during the three year vesting period. Compensation will only be made for dividend resolved after the time of allocation. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for preparing the detailed terms and conditions of LTIP 2017, in accordance with the mentioned terms and guidelines. To this end, the Board of Directors shall be entitled to make adjustments to meet foreign regulations or market conditions. The Board of Directors may also make other adjustments if significant changes in the Vostok group or its operating environment would result in a situation where the decided terms and conditions of LTIP 2017 no longer serve their purpose. The participants are divided into different categories and in accordance with the above, LTIP 2017 will comprise the following number of Saving DRs and maximum number of Rights for the different categories: •           the CEO: may acquire up to SEK 750,000 worth of Saving DRs[3] within LTIP 2017, entitling the holder to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR; •           other members of management than the CEO (two individuals): may acquire up to SEK 150,000 and SEK 50,000 worth of Saving DRs[4] respectively within LTIP 2017, entitling the holders to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR; •           other employees (four individuals): may acquire up to SEK 25,000-250,000 worth of Saving DRs[5] within LTIP 2017, entitling each holder to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR. LTIP 2017 will be accounted for in accordance with IFRS 2 which stipulates that the Rights should be recorded as a personnel expense in the income statement during the vesting period. The costs for LTIP 2017 is estimated to amount to approximately SEK 6.75 million, excluding social security costs, calculated in accordance with IFRS 2. The costs for social security charges are calculated to approximately SEK 2.12 million, based on the above assumptions. In addition to what is set forth above, the costs for LTIP 2017 have been based on that LTIP 2017 comprises up to seven participants and that each participant makes a maximum investment. If the maximum result is reached, and all invested Saving DRs are retained under LTIP 2017 and a fulfilment of the performance conditions of 100 percent, the maximum cost of LTIP 2017 as defined in IFRS 2 is approximately SEK 13.5 million and the maximum social security cost is estimated to approximately SEK 4.24 million. The costs are expected to have a marginal effect on key ratios of the Vostok group. Upon maximum allotment of Performance DRs, 8,035,700 depository receipts representing shares in the Company may be allocated within the framework of LTIP 2017, which would correspond to approximately 1.21 percent of the share capital and the votes in the Company. 5,080,000 depository receipts, which comprise currently outstanding options under the 2015 Incentive Program (including 3,405,000 allocated options and 1,675,000 options that have not yet been allocated), maximum allotment of 11,315,790 depository receipts under LTIP 2016 and maximum allotment of 8,035,700 depository receipts within the framework of LTIP 2017, would correspond to approximately 3.69 percent of the share capital and the votes in the Company. To ensure delivery of Performance DRs under LTIP 2017, the Company intends to hedge LTIP 2017 with either repurchased depository receipts, by entering into a swap agreement or other similar agreement with a third party or by taking other measures deemed necessary by the Company. The rationale for the proposal The objective of LTIP 2017 is to create incentives for the management to work for a long-term development in the Company. Furthermore, LTIP 2017 shall create conditions for retaining competent employees in the Vostok group through the offering of competitive remuneration. LTIP 2017 has been designed based on the view that it is desirable that employees within the group are depository receipt holders in the Company and that they see that working with a long term horizon pays off. Participation in LTIP 2017 requires a personal investment in Saving DRs. By offering an allotment of Performance DRs which are based on performance based conditions, the participants are rewarded for increased depository receipt holder value. Further, LTIP 2017 rewards employees’ loyalty and long-term value growth in the Company. Against this background, the Board of Directors is of the opinion that the adoption of LTIP 2017 will have a positive effect on the Vostok group’s future development and thus be beneficial for both the Company and its depository receipt holders. The Company’s Board of Directors has prepared LTIP 2016, on which LTIP 2017 is based, in consultation with external advisors. LTIP 2017 has been reviewed by the Board of Directors at its meeting on 19 April 2017. Other incentive programs in the Company Below are summaries of the current outstanding incentive programs in the Company. For more information about the incentive programs, please see the annual report 2016. The incentive program, that was authorised by a Special General Meeting in Vostok New Ventures Ltd on June 9 2015 and adopted by resolution of the sole member of the Company on the same day, entitles present and future employees to be allocated call options to acquire shares represented by depository receipts in the Company. The incentive plan includes granting of not more than 2,000,000 (post rights issue 5,080,000) options. A total of 3,405,000 options are currently outstanding. The options life is until 8 September 2020, 31 July 2021 and 24 November 2021 and the options may be exercised during a period of three months starting five years from the time of grant. In the event all options are fully exercised, the holders will acquire shares represented by depository receipts corresponding to a maximum of approximately 2.7 (post rights issue: 0.8) percent of the share capital in the Company. At the 2016 annual general meeting held on 19 May 2016, it was resolved to implement a depository receipt-based long-term incentive program for management and key personnel in the Vostok Emerging Finance group. The program runs from 1 January 2016 through 31 March 2019, and encompasses a maximum of 11,315,790 depository receipts, corresponding to a dilution of 1.7 percent of the total number of shares outstanding. Program participants purchase depository receipts in the Company, and for each purchased depository receipt is entitled to receive a number of additional depository receipts, so-called performance depository receipts, free of charge, subject to fulfilment of a performance condition set by the Board of Directors on the basis of the Company’s Net Asset Value per share. Resolution in accordance with the Board of Directors’ proposal in respect of item 14 requires support of shareholders representing not less than half of the votes cast as well as of the shares represented by depository receipts represented at the Meeting. The annual accounts and the auditors’ report will be available at the Company’s office at Hovslagargatan 5 in Stockholm, Sweden and at its website www.vostokemergingfinance.com. The Board of Directors of Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd. For further information please contact: Björn von Sivers, Investor Relations: +46 (0)8 545 015 50 Vostok Emerging Finance is an investment company with the goal of investing in early stage modern financial services companies across emerging and frontier markets. VEF trades in Sweden on Nasdaq First North under the ticker VEMF SDB. Vostok Emerging Finance’s Certified Adviser on Nasdaq First North is Pareto Securities AB. [1] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt. [2] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt. [3] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt [4] Corresponding to 29,760 and 89,285 depository receipts respectively based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt [5] Corresponding to 14,880-148,810 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Notice is hereby given to the holders of depository receipts in respect of shares in Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd (“Vostok Emerging Finance” or the ”Company”) that an Annual General Meeting (the “Meeting”) of shareholders shall be held on Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 10 am CEST at Advokatfirman Vinge, Norrlandsgatan 10 in Stockholm, Sweden. Holders of depository receipts wishing to attend the Meeting shall: (1)           be listed in the register of holders of depository receipts kept by Euroclear Sweden AB on Friday, 12 May 2017; and (2)           notify the Company of the intention to attend the Meeting not later than Friday, 12 May 2017 by mail at the address Computershare AB, Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd Annual General Meeting, Box 610, SE-182 16 Danderyd, Sweden, by telephone +46 771 24 64 00 or by e-mail to agm2017@vostokemergingfinance.com. The holder of depository receipts shall state his or her name, personal or company identification number, address as well as telephone number. If a holder of depository receipts intends to be represented by proxy, the name of the proxy holder shall be stated. Holders of depository receipts represented by proxy shall issue dated and signed power of attorney for the proxy. If the power of attorney is issued on behalf of a legal entity, a certified copy of a registration certificate or a corresponding document for the legal entity shall be appended. The power of attorney in original and, where applicable, the registration certificate should be submitted to the Company by mail at the address set forth above well in advance of the Meeting. The form to use for a power of attorney can be found on www.vostokemergingfinance.com. Holders of depository receipts who hold their receipts through nominees (Sw. förvaltare) must request a temporary registration of the voting rights in order to be able to participate at the Meeting. Holders of depository receipts who want to obtain such registration must contact the nominee regarding this well in advance of Friday, 12 May 2017. Voting forms will be distributed to the holders who have complied with the above requirements and the voting form must be brought to the Meeting. 1.             Election of Chairman for the Meeting. 4.             Election of one or two persons to check and sign the minutes. 5.             Resolution that the Meeting has been duly convened. 7.             Presentation of the annual report and the auditor’s report as well as the consolidated annual report and the consolidated auditor’s report. (a)           the adoption of the profit and loss account and the balance sheet as well as the consolidated profit and loss account and the consolidated balance sheet ; and (b)           the appropriation of the Company’s results according to the adopted balance sheet. 9.             Determination of the number of Directors and auditors. 10.          Determination of remuneration to the Directors and the auditors. 13.          Resolution regarding remuneration principles for the senior management. The Nomination committee consisting of Vipul Pandey (Libra Advisors), who replaced Ranjan Tandon (Libra Advisors) on 18 April 2017, Håkan Berg (Swedbank Robur Funds), Mark Lynch (Wellington Management) and Lars O Grönstedt, (Chairman of the Board), proposes that Jesper Schönbeck, member of the Swedish Bar Association, is elected as Chairman for the Meeting. The appropriation of the Company’s results (item 8b) The Board of Directors proposes that no dividend is paid to the shareholders and that the Company’s results are brought forward. Election of Directors and auditors etc. (items 9-11) -       that the Board of Directors shall consist of six (6) Directors without any deputy members; -        election of Ranjan Tandon and re-election of all of the current Directors, Lars O Grönstedt, Per Brilioth, David Nangle, Voria Fattahi and Milena Ivanova, for the period until the end of the next Annual General Meeting; -        that the Meeting appoint Lars O Grönstedt to be Chairman of the Board of Directors; -        a total Board remuneration (including remuneration for the work within the committees of the Board) of SEK 1,200,000, of which SEK 400,000 shall be allocated to the Chairman of the Board of Directors and SEK 200,000 to each of the other Directors who are not employed by the Company; -        that the members of the Board of Directors be permitted, in line with Swedish market practice, to invoice the Company for their Board fees in an amount that is cost neutral to the Company, provided any Director who does so is solely liable for any tax effects; and -        that the Company’s auditor, the registered audit company PricewaterhouseCoopers AB be re-elected until the end of the next Annual General Meeting and remunerated upon approval of their invoice. Ranjan Tandon is Founder and Chairman of Libra Advisors, a New York hedge fund established in 1990, which was converted to a family office in 2012. Barron’s had consistently ranked Libra – a long/short fund with a focus on domestic and emerging market equities, in the top 100 Hedge funds. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Ranjan Tandon has a degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in Chemical Engineering. He has held several operating positions with DCM in India and Halliburton in Europe; was CFO of InterMarine in Texas; and a financial Executive with Merrill Lynch before following his passion for investing. Ranjan Tandon is a Board Member of the NYU Tandon Engineering School (5,500 students), the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy and has made leadership gifts to the Harvard Business School and Yale University. For information about the current Directors proposed for re-election, please see the Company’s website, www.vostokemergingfinance.com. The Nomination Committee proposes the following procedure for appointing a Nomination Committee for the purposes of the Annual General Meeting in 2018 as per the following: A Nomination Committee shall be convened by the Chairman of the Board and be comprised of up to four representatives chosen from among the largest holders of depository receipts and the Chairman of the Board. The ownership shall be based on the statistics from Euroclear Sweden AB over holders of depository receipts as per the last business day in August 2017. The names of the members of the Nomination Committee shall be announced as soon as they have been appointed, which shall take place no later than six months prior to the Annual General Meeting in 2018. In case of a material change in ownership prior to completion of the work to be performed by the Nomination Committee, it shall be possible to change the composition of the Nomination Committee. The Nomination Committee’s mandate period extends up to the appointment of a new Nomination Committee. The Nomination Committee shall appoint a Chairman among them. If the representatives cannot agree upon appointment of Chairman, the representative representing the holder of depository receipts with the largest number of votes shall be appointed as Chairman. The Nomination Committee shall prepare proposals for the following decisions at the Annual General Meeting in 2018: (i) election of the Chairman for the Meeting, (ii) election of Directors, (iii) election of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, (iv) remuneration to the Directors, (v) election of the Company’s auditors (vi) compensation to the Company’s auditors, and (vii) proposal for how to conduct the nomination process for the Annual General Meeting in 2019. The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves to approve the following management remuneration principles. The remuneration to the Managing Director and other members of the senior management shall consist of fixed salary, variable remuneration, other benefits and pension benefits. Except for the Managing Director, the senior management currently includes two individuals. The total remuneration shall correspond to the prevailing market conditions and be competitive. The fixed and variable remuneration shall correspond to the respective individual’s responsibility and authority. The variable component should, in the first instance, be covered within the parameters of the Company’s option plan and the Company’s depository receipts incentive programme and shall, where payable in other instances, be subject to an upper limit in accordance with market terms and specific objectives for the Company and/or the individual. The period of notice of termination of employment shall be three to six months in the event of termination by the member of the senior management. In the event of termination by the Company, the total of the period of notice of termination and the period during which severance compensation is payable shall not exceed 12 months. Pension benefits shall be either benefit-based or contribution based or a combination thereof, with individual retirement ages. Benefit based pension benefits are conditional on the benefits being earned during a predetermined period of employment. The Board of Directors shall be entitled to deviate from these guidelines in individual cases should special reasons exist. The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves on a long term incentive programme for up to seven employees in Vostok Emerging Finance (“LTIP 2017”) in accordance with the below. LTIP 2017 is a three year performance based incentive program which is substantially the same as the depository receipt based incentive programme from 2016 (“LTIP 2016”). The Board of Directors proposes that the Meeting resolves to adopt LTIP 2017. LTIP 2017 is proposed to include up to seven current or future employees in Vostok Emerging Finance. The participants in LTIP 2017 are required to invest in Vostok Emerging Finance by acquiring shares in the form of depository receipts in Vostok Emerging Finance (“Saving DRs”). These Saving DRs are received by way of purchase of depository receipts (representing shares in Vostok Emerging Finance) at market value or transfer of depository receipts that such participant already holds in accordance with the terms set out under “Personal investment” below. The participants will thereafter be granted the opportunity to receive depository receipts free of charge in accordance with LTIP 2017, so called “Performance DRs” in accordance with the terms set out below. In the event that delivery of Performance DRs cannot be achieved at reasonable costs, with reasonable administrative efforts or due to market conditions, participants may instead be offered a cash-based settlement. In order to participate in LTIP 2017, the participant must have made a private investment by (i) purchase of depository receipts (representing shares in Vostok Emerging Finance) at market value and for a value of up to SEK 750,000[1]  depending on the participants’ position in Vostok Emerging Finance in accordance with what is further described below, or (ii) by transfer of depository receipts that such participant already holds (provided that the participant holds at least 100% of annual net base pay in depository receipts) for a value of up to SEK 750,000[2]  depending on the participants’ position in Vostok Emerging Finance in accordance with what is further described below. For each Saving DR held under LTIP 2017, the Company will grant the participants ten rights to Performance DRs, meaning rights to receive Performance DRs free of charge (“Rights”). The number of Performance DRs each participant’s Saving DRs entitles to depends on the Company’s fulfilment of the performance conditions. A participant cannot receive more than ten Performance DRs per Saving DR. The maximum amounts for the personal investments are based on an assumed market price of Vostok Emerging Finance’s depository receipts of SEK 1.68. The market price of the depository receipts may have increased or decreased by the time of the personal investment and the Board of Directors is authorised to change the maximum amount of the personal investment to take into account any material changes to the price of Vostok Emerging Finance’s depository receipts, in order to give as positive effects as possible for depository receipt holders in the Company. Subject to the fulfilment of the entry level of the performance based conditions for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019 and provided that the participant has kept its investment in Saving DRs during the period from the day of allocation of the Rights until the day of the release of the interim report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2020 (the vesting period) and, with certain exceptions, kept its employment within the Vostok group and not given notice of termination at such point in time, two Rights per Saving DR will vest and each Rights will entitle the participant to receive one Performance DR free of charge. The number of Performance DRs each of the participant’s Saving DR entitles to depends on the Company’s fulfilment of the performance conditions during the measurement period. The performance conditions are based on the Net Asset Value per share (“NAV per share”). The determined levels of the conditions include an entry, a target and a stretch level as regards the number of Rights that vest. The entry level constitutes the minimum level which must be exceeded in order to enable vesting of Rights. If the entry level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive two Performance DRs per Saving DR. If the target level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive five Performance DRs per Saving DR. If the stretch level is reached or exceeded, each participant will receive ten Performance DRs per Saving DR. The Board of Directors intends to disclose the outcome of the performance based conditions in the annual report for the financial year 2019. The Rights shall be governed by the following terms and conditions: ·       Rights are granted free of charge as soon as possible after the annual general meeting 2017. ·       Vest following the publication of the Company’s interim report for the period 1 January – 31 March 2020 (the vesting period). ·       May not be transferred or pledged. ·       Two Rights per Saving DR will vest and each Right will entitle the participant to receive one Performance DR after the end of the vesting period, if the entry level of the performance-based conditions has been fulfilled and the participant, at the time of the release of the interim report for the period 1 January – 31 March 2020, with certain exceptions, maintains its employment within the Vostok group, has not given notice of termination and maintains the invested Saving DRs. ·       In order to align the participants’ and the depository receipt holders’ interests, the Company will compensate the participants for any dividends paid during the three year vesting period. Compensation will only be made for dividend resolved after the time of allocation. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for preparing the detailed terms and conditions of LTIP 2017, in accordance with the mentioned terms and guidelines. To this end, the Board of Directors shall be entitled to make adjustments to meet foreign regulations or market conditions. The Board of Directors may also make other adjustments if significant changes in the Vostok group or its operating environment would result in a situation where the decided terms and conditions of LTIP 2017 no longer serve their purpose. The participants are divided into different categories and in accordance with the above, LTIP 2017 will comprise the following number of Saving DRs and maximum number of Rights for the different categories: •           the CEO: may acquire up to SEK 750,000 worth of Saving DRs[3] within LTIP 2017, entitling the holder to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR; •           other members of management than the CEO (two individuals): may acquire up to SEK 150,000 and SEK 50,000 worth of Saving DRs[4] respectively within LTIP 2017, entitling the holders to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR; •           other employees (four individuals): may acquire up to SEK 25,000-250,000 worth of Saving DRs[5] within LTIP 2017, entitling each holder to allotment of not less than two and up to ten Rights per Saving DR. LTIP 2017 will be accounted for in accordance with IFRS 2 which stipulates that the Rights should be recorded as a personnel expense in the income statement during the vesting period. The costs for LTIP 2017 is estimated to amount to approximately SEK 6.75 million, excluding social security costs, calculated in accordance with IFRS 2. The costs for social security charges are calculated to approximately SEK 2.12 million, based on the above assumptions. In addition to what is set forth above, the costs for LTIP 2017 have been based on that LTIP 2017 comprises up to seven participants and that each participant makes a maximum investment. If the maximum result is reached, and all invested Saving DRs are retained under LTIP 2017 and a fulfilment of the performance conditions of 100 percent, the maximum cost of LTIP 2017 as defined in IFRS 2 is approximately SEK 13.5 million and the maximum social security cost is estimated to approximately SEK 4.24 million. The costs are expected to have a marginal effect on key ratios of the Vostok group. Upon maximum allotment of Performance DRs, 8,035,700 depository receipts representing shares in the Company may be allocated within the framework of LTIP 2017, which would correspond to approximately 1.21 percent of the share capital and the votes in the Company. 5,080,000 depository receipts, which comprise currently outstanding options under the 2015 Incentive Program (including 3,405,000 allocated options and 1,675,000 options that have not yet been allocated), maximum allotment of 11,315,790 depository receipts under LTIP 2016 and maximum allotment of 8,035,700 depository receipts within the framework of LTIP 2017, would correspond to approximately 3.69 percent of the share capital and the votes in the Company. To ensure delivery of Performance DRs under LTIP 2017, the Company intends to hedge LTIP 2017 with either repurchased depository receipts, by entering into a swap agreement or other similar agreement with a third party or by taking other measures deemed necessary by the Company. The rationale for the proposal The objective of LTIP 2017 is to create incentives for the management to work for a long-term development in the Company. Furthermore, LTIP 2017 shall create conditions for retaining competent employees in the Vostok group through the offering of competitive remuneration. LTIP 2017 has been designed based on the view that it is desirable that employees within the group are depository receipt holders in the Company and that they see that working with a long term horizon pays off. Participation in LTIP 2017 requires a personal investment in Saving DRs. By offering an allotment of Performance DRs which are based on performance based conditions, the participants are rewarded for increased depository receipt holder value. Further, LTIP 2017 rewards employees’ loyalty and long-term value growth in the Company. Against this background, the Board of Directors is of the opinion that the adoption of LTIP 2017 will have a positive effect on the Vostok group’s future development and thus be beneficial for both the Company and its depository receipt holders. The Company’s Board of Directors has prepared LTIP 2016, on which LTIP 2017 is based, in consultation with external advisors. LTIP 2017 has been reviewed by the Board of Directors at its meeting on 19 April 2017. Other incentive programs in the Company Below are summaries of the current outstanding incentive programs in the Company. For more information about the incentive programs, please see the annual report 2016. The incentive program, that was authorised by a Special General Meeting in Vostok New Ventures Ltd on June 9 2015 and adopted by resolution of the sole member of the Company on the same day, entitles present and future employees to be allocated call options to acquire shares represented by depository receipts in the Company. The incentive plan includes granting of not more than 2,000,000 (post rights issue 5,080,000) options. A total of 3,405,000 options are currently outstanding. The options life is until 8 September 2020, 31 July 2021 and 24 November 2021 and the options may be exercised during a period of three months starting five years from the time of grant. In the event all options are fully exercised, the holders will acquire shares represented by depository receipts corresponding to a maximum of approximately 2.7 (post rights issue: 0.8) percent of the share capital in the Company. At the 2016 annual general meeting held on 19 May 2016, it was resolved to implement a depository receipt-based long-term incentive program for management and key personnel in the Vostok Emerging Finance group. The program runs from 1 January 2016 through 31 March 2019, and encompasses a maximum of 11,315,790 depository receipts, corresponding to a dilution of 1.7 percent of the total number of shares outstanding. Program participants purchase depository receipts in the Company, and for each purchased depository receipt is entitled to receive a number of additional depository receipts, so-called performance depository receipts, free of charge, subject to fulfilment of a performance condition set by the Board of Directors on the basis of the Company’s Net Asset Value per share. Resolution in accordance with the Board of Directors’ proposal in respect of item 14 requires support of shareholders representing not less than half of the votes cast as well as of the shares represented by depository receipts represented at the Meeting. The annual accounts and the auditors’ report will be available at the Company’s office at Hovslagargatan 5 in Stockholm, Sweden and at its website www.vostokemergingfinance.com. The Board of Directors of Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd. For further information please contact: Björn von Sivers, Investor Relations: +46 (0)8 545 015 50 Vostok Emerging Finance is an investment company with the goal of investing in early stage modern financial services companies across emerging and frontier markets. VEF trades in Sweden on Nasdaq First North under the ticker VEMF SDB. Vostok Emerging Finance’s Certified Adviser on Nasdaq First North is Pareto Securities AB. [1] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt. [2] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt. [3] Corresponding to 446,430 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt [4] Corresponding to 29,760 and 89,285 depository receipts respectively based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt [5] Corresponding to 14,880-148,810 depository receipts based on an assumed price of SEK 1.68 per depository receipt.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

The report US Test Preparation Market to 2021' is a comprehensive study on test preparation for various standardized tests in the US. The report discusses the current and forecasted market size of test preparation space, followed by the key trends, as well as drivers that will impact growth of the sector. It discusses the five forces analysis of test preparation, as well as the PEST analysis of the US, with respect to the test preparation market. The report follows the NAICS code 611691 (Exam Preparation & Tutoring Industry), and also mentions the key test preparation players in the US. There is a major difference between the dynamics of test preparation space for school and undergraduate education - and postgraduate and higher education. Since more students, in case of school and undergraduate education, take full-time coaching and private tutoring, the average fee for the same is high, and the average price of books and online study material is low. While, in case of postgraduate and professional education, the average price of books and online study material is high, as more test takers prefer them over full-time coaching and private tutoring. The sector is witnessing several trends, such as colleges and universities dropping standardized tests, increasing competition from free substitutes, and online test preparation providers from across the globe. Key Topics Covered: 1. Market size of US test preparation sector 2. Types of Test Preparation for Standardized Tests 3. Forecasted Market Size of US Test Preparation Sector 4. Drivers Impacting growth of US Test Preparation 5. Trends in the US Test Preparation Space 6. Five Forces Analysis of the US Test Preparation Sector 7. Pest Analysis of US Test Preparation Sector 8. List of Players Companies Mentioned - ACT - Admissions Hero - American Council on Education  - Anna Maria College  - Apollo Global Management  - Association of American Medical Colleges  - Atlas Venture - Barron's Educational Series  - Boston Latin School - College Board  - CollegeVine - Columbia University  - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  - Huntington Learning Center  - Kaplan Test Prep  - Khan Academy - Knewton - McGraw-Hill Education  - National Center for Fair & Open Testing - OpenEd - Pacific Metrics - PrepFactory - Princeton University - ST Unitas - Shmoop - Square Peg Capital - TPR Education - TestMax - University of Delaware - Varsity Tutors - Veritas Prep  - WeSpeke - Worcester State University  - Yale University - gWhiz For more information about this report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/987k6q/us_test Research and Markets Laura Wood, Senior Manager press@researchandmarkets.com For E.S.T Office Hours Call +1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call +1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900 U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907 Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716 To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-states-test-preparation-market-2017-2021---research-and-markets-300446137.html


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.24-7pressrelease.com

WESTPORT, CT, May 08, 2017-- "Patients considering cosmetic eyelid surgery or even non-surgical facial rejuvenation with BOTOX Cosmetic or tightening, volumizing gel fillers should work closely with their plastic surgeon to carefully share the results they are hoping to achieve in terms of their overall facial aesthetics," explained Cesar Sierra, M.D., a Fairfield County Cosmetic & Reconstructive Eye Plastic Surgeon."Probably because of too much advertising by cosmetic product companies as well as physicians and even spas and salons, we see many patients who schedule a consultation and simply state, "I am here for BOTOX or eyelid surgery" when in fact they haven't yet fully explored what they are hoping to achieve in terms of overall facial appearance," shared Dr. Sierra. "Taking the time to help patients identify both their areas of concern as well as the overall image they want to project is critical for each individual and varies a great deal. For many, our approach is to restore their natural, refreshed, youthful appearance by gently tightening, volumizing and lifting the delicate eye, facial features and chin. For men in particular, we often have to work in order maintain an energetic, masculine but softened ruggedness. Thorough discussion and expectation setting with each patient is the key to patient satisfaction. Sometimes patients want a blepharoplasty when we can confidently provide their desired look with non-surgical injectable treatments. In other instances patients request BOTOX for forehead wrinkles and slightly droopy eyelids when a minimally invasive invisible endoscopic brow lift will give them a smooth refreshed appearance for years to come. Understanding clear patient goals and expectations for the overall facial appearance lets us guide them in the best approach for satisfaction," explained Dr. Sierra.About Cesar Sierra, M.D., F.A.C.S.Cesar Sierra, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a cosmetic & reconstructive ophthalmic plastic surgeon practicing in Westport, Connecticut and holding an academic appointment at Yale University School of Medicine as Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology where he teaches surgeons techniques of eye and facial plastic surgery. Dr. Sierra provides facial rejuvenation for men and women using non-surgical treatments & injections to minimize or eliminate the effects of aging. These include treatment for dark circles, eyelid bags, creases, folds, fine lines and wrinkles. His areas of surgical expertise include blepharoplasty "eyelifts" or cosmetic eyelid surgery for baggy, puffy eyelids, brow and minimally invasive endoscopic forehead surgery to lift troublesome areas. He has special expertise in eyelid surgery to correct ptosis or "droopy" eyelids, minimally invasive endoscopic tear duct surgery and repair of eyelids that unnaturally turn inward or outward as well as eyelid and orbital reconstruction after trauma or ocular tumor surgery.With a practice location at 125 Kings Highway N., Westport, Connecticut 06880 and comfortable, close to home ambulatory surgery center locations at Wilton Surgery Center, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897 and the Surgery Center of Fairfield County, 112 Quarry Road, Trumbull, Connecticut 06611, Cesar Sierra, M.D., F.A.C.S. is conveniently located for patients from throughout southern Connecticut and Fairfield County, and Westchester and Dutchess County, New York.To learn more about facial rejuvenation, cosmetic eyelid surgery or other types of cosmetic and reconstructive eye plastic surgery visit http://www.cesarsierramd.com , Google+ or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cesarsierramd For additional information, contact:Natalie Devine, 125 Kings Highway N., Westport, Connecticut 06880, info.sierra.md@gmail.com , (P) 203-226-1696.Cesar Sierra, M.D. is a Cosmetic Eyelid, Orbital & Reconstructive Eye Plastic Surgeon who specializes exclusively in the eyelids and facial areas around the eyes. Dr. Sierra is trained as both an eye surgeon and cosmetic & reconstructive ophthalmic plastic surgeon. His areas of expertise include blepharoplasty "eyelifts" or cosmetic eyelid surgery for baggy, puffy eyelids, brow and forehead surgery to lift troublesome areas. He has special expertise in eyelid surgery to correct ptosis or "droopy" eyelids, minimally invasive endoscopic tear duct surgery and repair of eyelids that unnaturally turn inward or outward as well as eyelid and orbital reconstruction after trauma or ocular tumor surgery.In addition to surgery, Dr. Sierra provides facial rejuvenation for men and women using non surgical treatments & injections to minimize or eliminate the effects of aging. These include treatment for dark circles, eyelid bags, creases, folds, fine lines and wrinkles. His approach for women is to restore their natural, refreshed, youthful appearance by gently tightening, volumizing and lifting the delicate eye, facial features and chin. For men, Dr. Sierra strives to maintain an energetic, masculine but softened ruggedness. Depending on your areas of concern this may require BOTOX injections alone or in combination with gel fillers and tightening injections such as Juvederm, Restylane , Radiesse or Kybella to create the desired result.Dr. Sierra earned his Medical Degree from Universidad Central Del Caribe School of Medicine where he was elected a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He then completed a Residency in Ophthalmology at Yale-New Haven Hospital where he received the Marvin L. Sears Award for Clinical Excellence followed by an ASOPRS (American Society of Ophthalmic Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery) accredited Fellowship at Kresge Eye Institute & William Beaumont Hospital in greater Detroit, Michigan. He is certified by and a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Sierra continues his dedication to the field of surgery by teaching surgeons procedures and techniques of cosmetic and reconstructive orbital and eye plastic surgery as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.Dr. Sierra is certified by and a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the American College of Surgeons and Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology. He is an attending surgeon at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and Norwalk Hospital.SOURCE: Medical Management Services Group, L.L.C.


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

CRANBURY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OncLive®, a leading digital provider of resources and information to oncology professionals, is thrilled to present State of the Science Summit™: Head and Neck Cancers, at 5:00p.m. on April 20, 2017 at Hilton Stamford in Stamford, Connecticut. Dr. Barbara Ann Burtness, professor of medicine, disease aligned research team leader with Head and Neck Cancers Program, and co-director of Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Yale School of Medicine, will lead the summit along with medical experts and faculty members from Yale University. The four-hour educational summit is designed to help oncologists and will discuss key topics such as immunotherapy, radiation therapy advances, smoking cessation, and lymphedema and physical therapy. Additionally, attendees will receive the opportunity to hear the following prominent thought leaders lend their expertise and insights to the conversation: State of the Science Summit™ is a premier conference series hosted by OncLive® with medical experts from across the nation. Aiming to discuss the current treatment options, the summit integrates academic and community-based physicians and healthcare professionals across key disciplines that range from medical and surgical oncology and hematology. Registration is free of charge and open to all healthcare professionals. For more information and for registration please visit www.onclive.com/meetings/soss or contact Allison Cooper at: ACooper@curetoday.com. A digital platform of resources for practicing oncologists, OncLive.com offers oncology professionals information they can utilize to help provide the best patient care. OncLive® is the official website for Michael J. Hennessy Associates’ Oncology Specialty Group, which publishes OncologyLive®, Oncology Nursing News®, Oncology Business Management™ and more. Michael J. Hennessy Associates, Inc. is a full-service health care communications company offering education, research, medical media, including curetoday.com and CURE® magazine, the largest U.S. consumer publication focused entirely on cancer. Combining science and humanity to make cancer understandable, CURE® reaches patients, cancer centers and advocacy groups.


"Practicing mindfulness helps to reduce stress and enhance attention – factors critical to a child's success, not only in school but later in life," says Marc Brackett Ph.D., Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. "The challenge is ensuring that students, regardless of where their school is located, have the opportunity to benefit from mindfulness. ClassDojo provides an exciting opportunity to extend the powerful benefits of mindfulness to tens of millions of students." ClassDojo also conducted a new, national survey which found that even though only 13% of teachers and parents report having a mindfulness practice at their school, 70% want one. "Learning to center yourself, stay focused, and be aware of others' feelings are all things I know will benefit my students far into the future," said Cindy Price a first grade teacher in Delaware. "When my class found out the ClassDojo monsters would be talking about mindfulness, they were so excited they did research into it ahead of time and found some 'mindful yoga' poses to do in preparation!" ClassDojo's previous activity series on Growth Mindset and Empathy have been seen by 1 in 3 kids under the age of 14 in the U.S. "When ClassDojo's series on Growth Mindset and Empathy came out, my daughter insisted on having us watch the series and do the activities together at home," said Clarissa Miles a parent in Tennessee. "As a parent, knowing I can have these incredible memories and bonding moments with my daughter is really special." As with ClassDojo's previous collaborations with Stanford (PERTS) and Harvard (Making Caring Common Project), the Mindfulness activities will be made available to all ClassDojo classrooms around the world. "We believe that to help teachers create incredible classrooms at scale, classrooms need to have access to the best ideas in the world," said Chris Frank, head of research at ClassDojo. "In partnering with Yale, we have the ability to help millions of kids learn about mindfulness – from the US to Turkey to South Korea. For many of them, May will be the month of Mindfulness: we can't wait to see the reaction!" ClassDojo now reaches 90% of K-8 schools in the U.S. as well as schools in over 180 countries. "The companies that get my attention are the ones transforming education at an unprecedented scale. ClassDojo is that company," said Deborah Quazzo, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at GSV Acceleration. "This partnership with Yale is another step towards ClassDojo's vision of helping any teacher, anywhere, create an incredible, modern classroom." ClassDojo: Mindfulness will begin on May 8, with activity guides and short videos for home and school released over the course of following two weeks. For more information on ClassDojo's Mindfulness activities, please visit https://www.classdojo.com/ideas and https://www.classdojo.com/about. About ClassDojo ClassDojo's mission is to give teachers, parents, and students the power to create incredible classrooms. Founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco, California, ClassDojo is a communication platform that helps teachers, parents, and students share what's happening during the school day through photos, videos, and messages. It is helping teachers in every country in the world transform their students' educational experience by enabling them to create incredible, modern classrooms. Today, 90% of K-8 schools in the U.S., as well as a further 180 countries, have joined ClassDojo. To learn more, visit: https://www.classdojo.com/ or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. About the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Emotions drive learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, and health. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a healthier, and more equitable, productive, and compassionate society, today and for future generations. We conduct research and design educational approaches that support people of all ages in developing emotional intelligence and the skills to thrive and contribute to society. We do this work because the well-being and sustainability of our society depends on each of us using our emotions intelligently. To learn more, visit: http://ei.yale.edu/ or Facebook and Twitter. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/classdojo-and-yale-join-forces-to-bring-mindfulness-to-millions-of-kids-around-the-world-300452863.html


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.24-7pressrelease.com

SCOTTSDALE, AZ, May 04, 2017-- John Glyndon Bruhn is a celebrated Marquis Who's Who biographee. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to name Dr. Bruhn a Lifetime Achiever. An accomplished listee, Dr. Bruhn celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field.An esteemed and prominent figure in his industry, Dr. Bruhn most recently served as provost and dean of Pennsylvania State University.In addition to his status as Lifetime Achiever, Dr. Bruhn has previously received the Frances Young Community Heroes Award, the Pluralism Award from The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, the Catherine and Nicholas C. Leone Award, and the Career Development Award from the National Heart Institute. Dr. Bruhn has also been a fellow of the World Health Organization, John Fogarty International, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Commonwealth Fund of Yale University.. Furthermore, Dr. Bruhn has been a featured listee in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who in the South and Southwest.In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, John Glyndon Bruhn has been featured on the Marquis Who's Who Lifetime Achievers website. Please visit http://whoswholifetimeachievers.com/2017/03/15/john-glyndon-bruhn/ to view this distinguished honor.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Researchers identified one damaged, or mutant, “high confidence” risk gene for Tourette syndrome as well as three others they believe are genes whose mutation is a probable risk for the disorder. These findings, published in Neuron, are important because the genetics of Tourette syndrome has been a mystery. The goal of the continuing study is to identify inherited factors that play a role in causing Tourette’s and other related disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “This research is the first of its kind establishing Tourette disorder as a genetic disease similar to other neuropsychiatric disorders like autism, where not just one gene has been identified as the cause,” says Jay Tischfield, a professor of genetics at Rutgers University and a senior author of the study. “We are confident that this new information will lead us to the genetic and brain pathways that cause this disorder and enable the development of more effective treatments.” The Tourette International Collaborative Genetics (TIC Genetics) study is the largest and most comprehensive genomic analysis conducted. The research began a decade ago when Rutgers started collaborating with New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. to establish the NJCTS Cell and DNA Repository. The study included 311 families involved with TIC Genetics in which the child had Tourette syndrome but neither parent did. Another study was done through the Tourette Association of America International Consortium for Genetics with 173 similar families and found the same results. The one damaged gene that was identified as having a high risk for Tourette syndrome, called WWC1, is involved in brain development and memory. Two of the other damaged genes considered to be probable risks for the disorder are involved in brain circuitry and the third is involved in gene expression which allows a cell to respond to its changing environment. “The fact of finding this one gene in two families would be like lightning striking the same individual twice,” says Gary Heiman, associate professor in the genetics department in the School of Arts and Sciences and a senior author on the project. “And it is the reason why it is crucial for us to continue studying families affected by this often debilitating disorder.” In conducting the study, blood samples were collected from family members to identify rare genetic mutations that are not inherited from their parents but occur spontaneously in affected individuals at birth. While many inherited diseases, such as sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis, are caused by mutations to a single gene, this new research indicates that Tourette syndrome, like other neuropsychiatric disorders, is the result of multiple gene mutations. Rutgers researchers and their colleagues estimate that there are approximately 400 mutated genes that could pose a risk for Tourette syndrome, which affects one out of 100 people. The neuropsychiatric disorder—linked to problems in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain responsible for voluntary motor control, procedural learning, and eye movement, as well as cognitive and emotional function—is characterized by grimacing, eye blinking, and shoulder shrugging. It is often accompanied by co-occurring conditions, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or attention deficit disorder. Faith Rice, director of NJCTS, and mother of an adult son with the disorder, says those involved in this study are grateful to have been a part of the research. “It is very empowering for families to be involved in something that will make a difference,” says Rice. “Many are calling me and telling me that for the first time, this is giving them hope.” The scientists say more samples from families, in which only one child is affected with Tourette’s and both parents are available to participate, are needed to better understand how these and other damaging mutations lead to Tourette disorder. “I want to thank all the individuals with Tourette disorder and their family members from New Jersey, around the country, in Europe and South Korea for their participation and advocacy,” says Heiman. “Progress has been slow and disappointing up until now. But I think this research will lead to the development of more specific treatments that are personalized for individuals or groups of people.” Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. funded the research. Researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick; University of California, San Francisco; Massachusetts General Hospital; the University of Florida; Yale University; and other institutions across the world participated in the study.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Former President George H.W. Bush, who is hospitalized in Houston, is said to have an estimated net worth of $25 million as of 2013. George H.W. Bush, 92, the 41st president of United States between 1989 to 1993, has been hospitalized in Houston as he is suffering from pneumonia; however his sickness hasn't stopped the high-spirited former president to share a picture of father-son moments. George H.W. Bush tweeted a photo Thursday with a very special visitor, his son and former President George W. Bush. George H.W. Bush, who was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital last Friday for treatment of a persistent cough, hasn't been keeping too well this year. This is the second time this year that he has been admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. There had been no improvement in his health condition and he would remain in the hospital till at least Friday, his spokesperson told CBS News. Read: George HW Bush In Stable Condition But In Intensive Care During Trump's Inauguration Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton visited George H.W. Bush in Houston, Texas, for their annual lunch. The duo caught up on some good time as Clinton had tweeted a photo. As of 2013, George H. W. Bush, had an estimated net worth of $25 million. Bush came from a family with a tradition of public service. He graduated from Yale University, after which, he and his family moved to West Texas. He joined the oil industry and by the age of 40, he had already become a millionaire. He married Barbara Pierce George in 1945, with whom he has six children named George, Pauline, John, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. George and Barbara Bush live in Houston, and also own the famous family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, which is also their summer home. The home, which is is owned by the Walker’s Point Family Limited Partnership, was worth $8.4 million in 2010 and the Bush family paid $53,000 in taxes annually. The main home was built in 1920 and has 7,000 square feet, Seacoastonline reported. According to a report of the New York Times in 1988, George H. W. Bush was not that wealthy as he was thought to be because of his bearing, his privileged upbringing and his years in the oil business in Texas. Although, he was affluent with holdings worth slightly more than $2 million, he was not as rich as former President Ronald Reagan, who was likely worth almost $4 million when he became president. And Reagan's wealth was far less than the Roosevelts, the Kennedys or other politicians with huge family fortunes. Since the time Bush entered public office, his holdings did not keep pace with inflation. Most of the increase in his assets in 1980s resulted from buying and selling houses when he and his family moved. ''Making money - that hasn't been part of his life's work at all,'' Bush's brother Jonathan — an investment manager in New York City who handled George Bush's investments for a time — had told the Times. ''He had enough money to be in a public career, and that's all that mattered to him," Jonathan had said. In the recent few years, Bush has been suffering with health issues. He revealed several years ago that he suffered with a form of Parkinson's disease that deprived him from walking. He uses a wheelchair or a scooter to get around. In December 2014, he was hospitalized after experiencing shortness of breath, and the following July he fell at his home in Kennebunkport, breaking the C2 vertebrae in his neck. However, the injury did not result in any neurological problems, his spokesman had said at the time, according to CNN. Few days before President Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony, both Bush and Barbara were admitted to hospital. Bush was not expected to attend the ceremony due to health reasons. He had also sent a letter Jan. 10, apologizing for missing the ceremony and saying that he and Barbara "wish you the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country."  Trump had responded on Twitter, wishing the couple a speedy recovery and thanking them for their note, according to reports.


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

Morgan Stanley, Piper Jaffray & Co. and Barclays Capital Inc. are acting as joint book-running managers for the proposed offering. William Blair & Company, L.L.C. is acting as lead manager.  Needham & Company, LLC is acting as co-manager. The offering will be made only by means of a prospectus.  When available, copies of the final prospectus related to the offering may be obtained from the offices of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10014; or from Piper Jaffray & Co., Attention: Prospectus Department, 800 Nicollet Mall, J12S03, Minneapolis, MN 55402, or by telephone at (800) 747-3924, or by email at prospectus@pjc.com; or from Barclays Capital Inc., c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, telephone: (888) 603-5847, e-mail: Barclaysprospectus@broadridge.com. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with, and declared effective by, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Copies of the registration statement can be accessed through the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. Biohaven is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a portfolio of innovative, late-stage product candidates targeting neurological diseases, including rare disorders. Biohaven has licensed intellectual property from companies and institutions including Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca AB, Yale University, Catalent, ALS Biopharma LLC and Massachusetts General Hospital.  Biohaven is a company organized under the laws of the British Virgin Islands and its United States operations are based in New Haven, Connecticut. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/biohaven-announces-pricing-of-initial-public-offering-of-common-shares-300451520.html


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

LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has released its list of Connecticut’s best colleges and universities for 2017. Of the 19 four-year schools that made the list, Yale University, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, University of Hartford and University of Connecticut scored highest. Of the 12 two-year schools that were also included, Capital Community College, Manchester Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Three Rivers Community College and Gateway Community College were the top five schools. A full list of the 31 schools is included below. “As Connecticut’s job market fluctuates, many people consider earning a certificate or degree to help change or bolster their career,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.org. “These Connecticut schools have proven themselves with solid educational programs, but have also taken extra steps to provide resources that translate into career success for students.” To be included on Connecticut’s “Best Colleges” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also scored on additional metrics such as employment resources, academic counseling, financial aid availability, annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering college, 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 Connecticut” list, visit: The Best Four-Year Colleges in Connecticut for 2017 include: Albertus Magnus College Central Connecticut State University Connecticut College Eastern Connecticut State University Fairfield University Goodwin College Mitchell College Quinnipiac University Sacred Heart University Southern Connecticut State University Trinity College University of Bridgeport University of Connecticut University of Hartford University of New Haven University of Saint Joseph Wesleyan University Western Connecticut State University Yale University The Best Two-Year Colleges in Connecticut for 2017 include: Asnuntuck Community College Capital Community College Gateway Community College Housatonic Community College Manchester Community College Middlesex Community College Naugatuck Valley Community College Northwestern Connecticut Community College Norwalk Community College Quinebaug Valley Community College Three Rivers Community College Tunxis 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 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The National Academy of Sciences announced today the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,290 and the total number of foreign associates to 475. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States. Newly elected members and their affiliations at the time of election are: Bates, Frank S.; Regents Professor, department of chemical engineering and materials science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Beilinson, Alexander; David and Mary Winton Green University Professor, department of mathematics, The University of Chicago, Chicago Bell, Stephen P.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, department of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Bhatia, Sangeeta N.; John J. (1929) and Dorothy Wilson Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Buzsáki, György; professor, Neuroscience Institute, departments of physiology and neuroscience, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City Carroll, Dana; distinguished professor, department of biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City Cohen, Judith G.; Kate Van Nuys Page Professor of Astronomy, department of astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Crabtree, Robert H.; Conkey P. Whitehead Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Cronan, John E.; professor and head of microbiology, professor of biochemistry, and Microbiology Alumni Professor, department of microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Cummins, Christopher C.; Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Darensbourg, Marcetta Y.; distinguished professor of chemistry, department of chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station DeVore, Ronald A.; The Walter E. Koss Professor and distinguished professor, department of mathematics, Texas A&M University, College Station Diamond, Douglas W.; Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, The University of Chicago, Chicago Doe, Chris Q.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor of biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene Duflo, Esther; Co-founder and co-Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Edwards, Robert Haas; professor of neurology and physiology, University of California, San Francisco Firestone, Mary K.; professor and associate dean of instruction and student affairs, department of environmental science policy and management, University of California, Berkeley Fischhoff, Baruch; Howard Heinz University Professor, department of social and decision sciences and department of engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Ginty, David D.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Glass, Christopher K.; professor of cellular and molecular medicine and professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego Goldman, Yale E.; professor, department of physiology, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia González, Gabriela; spokesperson, LIGO Scientific Collaboration; and professor, department of physics and astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Hagan, John L.; John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law, department of sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Hatten, Mary E.; Frederick P. Rose Professor, laboratory of developmental neurobiology, The Rockefeller University, New York City Hebard, Arthur F.; distinguished professor of physics, department of physics, University of Florida, Gainesville Jensen, Klavs F.; Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Kahn, Barbara B.; vice chair for research strategy and George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Kinder, Donald R.; Philip E. Converse Collegiate Professor of Political Science and Psychology and research scientist, department of political science, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Lazar, Mitchell A.; Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, and director, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia Locksley, Richard M.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of medicine (infectious diseases), and Marion and Herbert Sandler Distinguished Professorship in Asthma Research, University of California, San Francisco Lozano, Guillermina; professor and chair, department of genetics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Mavalvala, Nergis; Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics and associate head, department of physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Moore, Jeffrey Scott; Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry, department of chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Moore, Melissa J.; chief scientific officer, mRNA Research Platform, Moderna Therapeutics, Cambridge, Mass.; and Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Nunnari, Jodi M.; professor, department of molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis O'Farrell, Patrick H.; professor of biochemistry and biophysics, department of biochemistry and biophysics, University of California, San Francisco Ort, Donald R.; research leader and Robert Emerson Professor, USDA/ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit, departments of plant biology and crop sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Parker, Gary; professor, department of civil and environmental engineering and department of geology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Patapoutian, Ardem; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor, department of molecular and cellular neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Pellegrini, Claudio; distinguished professor emeritus, department of physics and astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles Pikaard, Craig, S.; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; and distinguished professor of biology and molecular and cellular biochemistry, department of biology, Indiana University, Bloomington Read, Nicholas; Henry Ford II Professor of Physics and professor of applied physics and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Roediger, Henry L.; James S. McDonnell Distinguished and University Professor of Psychology, department of psychology and brain sciences, Washington University, St. Louis Rosenzweig, Amy C.; Weinberg Family Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences, and professor, departments of molecular biosciences and of chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Seto, Karen C.; professor, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, Conn. Seyfarth, Robert M.; professor of psychology and member of the graduate groups in anthropology and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Sibley, L. David; Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor in Molecular Microbiology, department of molecular microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Spielman, Daniel A.; Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, departments of computer science and mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Sudan, Madhu; Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Tishkoff, Sarah; David and Lyn Silfen University Professor, departments of genetics and biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Van Essen, David C.; Alumni Professor of Neurobiology, department of anatomy and neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Vidale, John E.; professor, department of earth and space sciences, University of Washington, Seattle Wennberg, Paul O.; R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena Wilson, Rachel I.; Martin Family Professor of Basic Research in the Field of Neurobiology, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Zachos, James C.; professor, department of earth and planetary sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Newly elected foreign associates, their affiliations at the time of election, and their country of citizenship are: Addadi, Lia; professor and Dorothy and Patrick E. Gorman Chair of Biological Ultrastructure, department of structural science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (Israel/Italy) Folke, Carl; director and professor, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden (Sweden) Freeman, Kenneth C.; Duffield Professor of Astronomy, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Weston Creek (Australia) Lee, Sang Yup; distinguished professor, dean, and director, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea (South Korea) Levitzki, Alexander; professor of biochemistry, unit of cellular signaling, department of biological chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Israel) Peiris, Joseph Sriyal Malik; Tam Wah-Ching Professorship in Medical Science, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China (Sri Lanka) Robinson, Carol Vivien; Dr. Lee's Professor of Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, England (United Kingdom) Thesleff, Irma; academician of science, professor, and research director, developmental biology program, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki (Finland) Underdal, Arild; professor of political science, department of political science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (Norway) The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine -- provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.


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

Internationally recognized outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, best known for its Bean Boot, and legendary customer service continues its national retail expansion with the announcement of a new retail store in New Haven, Connecticut, scheduled to open the summer of 2018. The L.L.Bean store will be located at The Shops at Yale, featuring a blend of stores, boutiques, award-winning restaurants, museums, events, concerts and more. The nearly 9,000 square-foot, two-level store will feature an assortment of active and casual apparel and footwear, as well as a variety of outdoor lifestyle gear. The store will employ approximately 60 people and will exist as a community outdoor resource for high-quality gear and apparel, as well as technical expertise and knowhow. This will be L.L.Bean’s 36th retail store outside of Maine. “This will be an exciting new location, with a bustling student population combined with all of the vibrant, dynamic facets The Shops at Yale offers,” said Ken Kacere, senior vice-president and general manager of retail at L.L.Bean. “New Haven is an energetic city, with plenty of cultural and cosmopolitan amenities, yet it also boasts an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities within proximity, like cycling the Farmington Canal, paddling on the Quinnipiac River, or hiking in East Rock Park. Adding all of this up and we know it’s going to be great home for us.” As part of its overall national retail expansion plan, L.L.Bean made the decision to continue to expand its presence into Connecticut due to the store’s proximity to several abundant natural resources and multiple opportunities for many outdoor activities, a population base that not only enjoys regularly engaging in a variety of outdoor pursuits, but one that also has a high-degree of awareness of and affinity for L.L.Bean. The store will allow the people of greater New Haven and beyond to experience first-hand everything the legendary outdoor retailer offers: quality merchandise, exemplary customer service, a welcoming shopping environment and an ethos to always do what’s right by its customers, employees, the environment, and the community. L.L.Bean also operates full retail stores in Danbury and South Windsor as well as an outlet store in Orange. Of particular note will be the inclusion of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools, which will offer demonstrations, clinics and introductory hands-on courses for a variety of outdoor activities, all designed to make it easy for people to engage in outdoor recreation for health, fitness, and recreation. L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools’ courses are offered at every L.L.Bean Retail Store. In 2016, over 150,000 people participated in these programs. “We are delighted to announce that L.L.Bean will be joining the Broadway Shopping District at The Shops at Yale in the summer of 2018. The addition of L.L.Bean will create approximately 60 new jobs in New Haven and will continue to add to the vibrancy and unique mix of national, regional and local retailers in downtown New Haven,” said Lauren Zucker, Yale University’s Associate Vice President for New Haven Affairs and University Properties. “Yale University’s community investment program supports the growth of New Haven businesses, reinvigorating New Haven’s downtown, creating jobs, and expanding the city’s tax base.” About L.L.Bean, Inc. L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. Still family owned, Shawn Gorman, great grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean continues to uphold the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past five years, L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. L.L.Bean operates 34 stores in 16 states across the United States, along with 25 stores in Japan. The 220,000-sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at http://www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.

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