PhD and Postdoc Positions in Nanoscience

The Munich-based Center for NanoScience (CeNS) announces its 2015 call for applications for PhD and postdoc positions. Outstanding candidates in the fields of natural sciences and life sciences from all around the world are invited to submit their application. The PhD [...]
The Munich-based Center for NanoScience (CeNS) announces its 2015 call for applications for PhD and postdoc positions. Outstanding candidates in the fields of natural sciences and life sciences from all around the world are invited to submit their application. The PhD and postdoc positions will start between May and October 2015. The 5 PhD and 2 postdoc positions offer excellent re­search conditions and multidisciplinary education within the stimulating scientific environment of the Center for NanoScience, the Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), and the Collaborative Research Centers SFB 863 and SFB1032.
  CeNS is looking for highly motivated applicants with excellent grades and a strong scientific interest who are enthusiastic about the multidisciplinary activities of CeNS. Deadline for applications is February 10th, 2015.

Further information and details about the application process and the available research projects can be found on www.
cens. de/careers/international-call-for-phd-students-and-postdocs.
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Urban Life and Mobility - EIT ICT Labs Results Day

On December 18, with our research, industry and academic partners, our start-ups and our students, all engaged into innovation and entrepreneurship, we are delighted to invite you to join, meet and discover who we are and what we do, along [...]
On December 18, with our research, industry and academic partners, our start-ups and our students, all engaged into innovation and entrepreneurship, we are delighted to invite you to join, meet and discover who we are and what we do, along Urban Life & Mobility area. EIT ICT Labs was set up in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), as an initiative of the European Union. It is an organisation dedicated to innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It is located in 9 countries and 13 cities in Europe, including Paris, Rennes and Sophia Antipolis in France.
At EIT ICT Labs, we strongly believe that Europe is what we do and we are putting all our efforts building up the place that will make the difference. We are also well aware that this is urgent time for doing, so as to recover economic growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life.

On December 18, we will present you some of our results, illustrated through disruptive activities in Urban Life & Mobility, one of our innovation areas.
It does not only deal with Smart Cities, but mostly with Smart Citizens. The emergence of new behaviours is at the origin of new business models, resulting in value creation and renewed city governance. We look forward to meeting you, so as to do even more together.
Stéphane AmargerEIT ICT Labs Paris Node Director Gilles BétisUrban Life & Mobility Action Line Leader EIT ICT Labs See full programme and registration HERE.

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Genes link human speech and bird song

bots_bab3
University of Pennsylvania

Baboons that bond make better moms

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  • "If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species," says Travis Thomas. "The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go." (Credit: Gary Tucker/USFWS/Flickr)
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  • "For the first time we've found that almost every complex disease has a unique set of associations with single-gene diseases. This essentially gives us 'barcodes' of specific gene loci, which we can use to help untangle the complex genetics of complex diseases," says Andrey Rzhetsky. (Credit: Roger Gordon/Flickr)
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    As part of a huge effort to sequence and compare the entire genomes of 48 species of birds representing every major order of the bird family tree, researchers have found that vocal learning evolved twice—or maybe three times—among songbirds, parrots, [...]
    As part of a huge effort to sequence and compare the entire genomes of 48 species of birds representing every major order of the bird family tree, researchers have found that vocal learning evolved twice—or maybe three times—among songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds. Even more striking is that the set of genes involved in each of those song innovations is remarkably similar to the genes involved in human speaking ability. “We’ve known for many years that the singing behavior of birds is similar to speech in humans—not identical, but similar—and that the brain circuitry is similar, too,” says Erich Jarvis, an associate professor of neurobiology at the Duke University Medical School and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “But we didn’t know whether or not those features were the same because the genes were also the same.
    ” Now scientists do know, and the answer is yes—birds and humans use essentially the same genes to speak. The findings are part of a package of eight scientific papers in a December 12 special issue of Science and 21 additional papers appearing nearly simultaneously in Genome Biology, GigaScience, and other journals.

    Jarvis’ name appears on 20 papers and he is a corresponding author for 8 of them.
    The Jarvis lab prepared DNA of many of the species, using bird flesh collected over the past 30 years by museums and other institutions around the world. All of this meticulous and somewhat tedious work has given Jarvis and hundreds of colleagues around the world a crack at an unprecedented amount of genomic data generated by BGI in China. The whole-genome comparison of the 48 bird species required new algorithms written at the University of Illinois and University of Texas that ran for 400 years of CPU time on three supercomputers in the US.
    Of the 29 papers covering everything from penguin evolution to color vision, eight are devoted to bird song.

    Song and speech One of the new papers in Science reports that there is a consistent set of just over 50 genes that show higher or lower activity in the brains of vocal learning birds and humans. These changes were not found in the brains of birds that do not have vocal learning and of non-human primates that do not speak, according to this Duke team, which was led by Jarvis; Andreas Pfenning, a graduate of the PhD program in computational biology and bioinformatics (CBB); and Alexander Hartemink, professor of computer science, statistical science, and biology.
    “This means that vocal learning birds and humans are more similar to each other for these genes in song and speech brain areas than other birds and primates are to them,” Jarvis says. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of PennsylvaniaBaboons that bond make better momsTexas A&M UniversityHumans and Neanderthals interbred 10,000 years earlierDuke University'Dinosaurs of turtle world' count on rivers for survivalGeorgia Institute of TechnologyFor tiny critters, Gulf spill clean-up killsUniversity of ChicagoGenetic map helps untangle 'complex diseases'Iowa State UniversityMenopause only happens to humans (lucky us) These genes are involved in forming new connections between neurons of the motor cortex and neurons that control the muscles that produce sound. A companion study by another CBB doctorate, Rui Wang, looked at the specialized activity of a pair of genes involved in the regions of the brain that control song and speech.
    This study, appearing in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, found that these genes are down- and up-regulated in one brain region of song-learning birds during the juvenile period of their vocal learning, changes that last into adulthood. This study, and that of Pfenning, hypothesize that changes in these genes could be critical for the evolution of song in birds and speech in humans. “You can find those same genes in the genomes of all species, but they’re active at much higher or lower levels in the specialized song or speech brain regions of vocal learning birds and humans,” Jarvis says.
    “What this suggests to me is that when vocal learning evolves, there may be a limited way in which the brain circuits can evolve. ” The parrot speech center Another paper in Science from Duke, led by post-doc Osceola Whitney, Pfenning, Hartemink, and Anne West, an associate professor of neurobiology, looked at gene activation in different areas of the brain during singing.

    This team found activation of 10 percent of the expressed genome during singing, with diverse activation patterns in different song-learning regions of the brain.
    The diverse gene patterns are best explained by epigenetic differences in the genomes of the different brain regions, meaning that individual cells in different brain regions can regulate genes at a moment’s notice when the birds sing. Among the three main groups of vocal learning birds, parrots are clearly different in their ability to mimic human speech. Mukta Chakraborty, a postdoc in the Jarvis lab, led a project that used the activity of some of the specialized genes to discover that the parrot’s speech center is organized somewhat differently.
    It has what the researchers call a “song-system-within-a-song-system” in which the area of the brain with different gene activity for producing song has an outer ring of still more differences in gene expression.

    Parrots are very social animals, Chakraborty says, and having the ability to quickly pick up “dialects” of parrot speech may account for their super-charged speech center. The “shell” or outer regions were found to be proportionally larger in the parrot species, which are believed to have the highest vocal, cognitive, and social abilities.
    These species include Amazon parrots, the African Grey and the Blue and Gold Macaw. Jarvis was also part of a team with Claudio Mello and his PhD student Morgan Wirthlin at Oregon Health & Science University that found ten more genes that are unique to song-control regions of songbirds. This paper appears in BMC Genomics.
    A paper in Science led by Zhang, Gilbert, and Jarvis found the genomes of vocal learners are more rapidly evolving and have more chromosomal rearrangements compared to other bird species. This genomic comparison also found similar changes occurred independently in in the song-learning area of different birds’ brains. Singers in the lab Jarvis says that knowing more of this history of how speech evolved in birds makes vocal learning birds even more valuable model organisms for helping to answer the questions he and other researchers are addressing about human speech.
    “Speech is difficult to study in human brains,” he says. “Whales and elephants learn speech and songs, but they’re too big to house in the lab.

    Now that we have a deeper understanding of how similar birdsong brain regions are to human speech regions at the genetic level, I think they’ll be a better model than ever.
    ” Jarvis co-led the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium with Guojie Zhang of the National Genebank at BGI in China and the University of Copenhagen and M. Thomas P. Gilbert of the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
    His Duke lab contributed to preparing samples, sequencing and annotating the genomes, performing the analyses, and coordinating the overall project.

    Source: Duke University The post Genes link human speech and bird song appeared first on Futurity.
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  • 3D maps find ‘loops’ in human genome

    watermelon_wedges_525
    Cornell University

    Team cracks open watermelon genome

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  • The white-striped morph of the white-throated sparrow, left, and the tan-striped morph, right. The two morphs and the resulting color difference occur in both sexes. (Credit: Brent Horton)
  • "The pollen baskets are much less elaborate or completely absent in bees that are less socially complex," says Zachary Huang. "We conclude that the evolution of pollen baskets is a major innovation among social insects and is tied directly to more-complex social behaviors." (Credit: Zachary Huang)
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    Scientists have assembled the first high-resolution, 3D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation—a kind of “genomic origami” that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. A central goal of the [...]
    Scientists have assembled the first high-resolution, 3D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation—a kind of “genomic origami” that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. A central goal of the project was to identify the loops in the human genome. Loops form when two bits of DNA that are far apart in the genome sequence end up in close contact in the folded version of the genome in a cell’s nucleus. Related Articles On FuturityCornell UniversityTeam cracks open watermelon genomeUniversity of California, Davis20 food bugs join huge genome databaseBrown UniversityMutation timing counts for tuberous sclerosisEmory UniversityWhy sparrow 'morphs' differ as parents and fightersMichigan State UniversityWhy queen honey bees don't have 'pollen basket' legsNorthwestern University'Worry' genes may stifle risky investments Researchers used a technology called “in situ Hi-C” to collect billions of snippets of DNA that were later analyzed for signs of loops.
    The team found that loops and other genome folding patterns are an essential part of genetic regulation. “More and more, we’re realizing that folding is regulation,” says co-first author Suhas Rao, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Genome Architecture.

    “When you see genes turn on or off, what lies behind that is a change in folding.
    It’s a different way of thinking about how cells work. ” Co-first author Miriam Huntley, a doctoral student at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, says, “Our maps of looping have revealed thousands of hidden switches that scientists didn’t know about before. In the case of genes that can cause cancer or other diseases, knowing where these switches are is vital.
    ” Hi-C methodology Senior author Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of genetics at Baylor and of computer science and computational and applied mathematics at Rice University, says the work began five years ago, shortly after he and his colleagues at the Broad Institute published a groundbreaking study introducing the Hi-C methodology for sequencing genomes in 3D.

    “The 2009 study was a great proof of principle, but when we looked at the actual maps, we couldn’t see fine details,” Aiden says. “It took us a few years to get the resolution to a biologically usable level.
    The new maps allow us to really see, for the first time, what folding looks like at the level of individual genes. ” The work to refine Hi-C and produce full-genome maps with gene-level resolution continued when Aiden moved to Houston in 2013, established the Center for Genome Architecture at Baylor, and joined the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice. Aiden credits Rao and Huntley with leading the effort, which involved a team of 11 researchers at Rice, Baylor, Broad, and Harvard.
    In addition to the challenge of overhauling the Hi-C experimental design, the team faced significant computational hurdles. “In 2009, we were dividing the genome into 1-million-base blocks, and here we are dividing it into 1,000-base blocks,” says Huntley, who is a student of Aiden’s. “Since any block can collide with any other block, we end up with a problem that is a millionfold more complicated.
    The overall database is simply vast. ” Finding the loops Identifying the loops themselves was yet another challenge.

    “Ordinary computer CPUs (central processing units) are not well-adapted for the task of loop detection,” Rao says.
    “To find the loops, we had to use GPUs, processors that are typically used for producing computer graphics. ” Fortunately, the group benefited from resources provided by NVIDIA, which named Aiden’s lab a GPU Research Center in 2013 and provided essential hardware for the project. Huntley says new methods were also developed to speed the data processing and reduce experimental “noise,” irregular fluctuations that tend to obscure weak signals in the data.
    “We faced a real challenge because we were asking, ‘How do each of the millions of pieces of DNA in the database interact with each of the other millions of pieces?'” Huntley says.

    “Most of the tools that we used for this paper we had to create from scratch because the scale at which these experiments are performed is so unusual. ” The big-data tools created for the study included parallelized pipelines for high-performance computer clusters, dynamic programming algorithms, and custom data structures.
    Rao says the group also relied heavily on data-visualization tools created by co-authors Neva Durand and James Robinson. “When studying big data, there can be a tendency to try to solve problems by relying purely on statistical analyses to see what comes out, but our group has a different mentality,” Rao says. “Even though there was so much data, we still wanted to be able to look at it, visualize it, and make sense of it.
    I would say that almost every phenomenon we observed was first seen with the naked eye. ” The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Human Genome Research Institute, NVIDIA, IBM, Google, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and the McNair Medical Institute supported the work, which appears in Cell.

    Source: Rice University The post 3D maps find ‘loops’ in human genome appeared first on Futurity.
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  • PNNL talks climate, carbon, drinking water and the nexus of health & environment at AGU

    Scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will present a variety of research at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which runs Monday, Dec. 15 through Friday, Dec. 19 at the Moscone Convention Center in San [...]
    Scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will present a variety of research at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which runs Monday, Dec. 15 through Friday, Dec. 19 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

    Noteworthy PNNL research presentations include the following topics: Diesel pollution heats up the Arctic Circle Even in the remote Arctic Circle, sooty pollution from diesel-burning cars and trucks can have a significant impact on the climate. Soot, also known as black carbon, stands out among the bright, white snow and ice that covers most of the Arctic. Its tiny dark particles easily absorb sunlight, which heats the snow and ice it sits on and further exacerbates climate change. The Russian city of Murmansk is home to 300,000 people and is the largest Arctic city, making it an ideal spot to examine soot in the Arctic.
    PNNL researchers worked with colleagues from Russia's Murmansk State Technical University to conduct a detailed regional inventory of soot emissions from diesel sources. They found the local mining industry, which relies on many diesel-powered vehicles and machines to extract and transport ore, produces 70 percent of the area's black carbon emissions.

    The inventory will help inform the development of emission-reducing policies in Russia and other Arctic countries.
    Friday, Dec.

    19, 11: 50 a. m.

    - 12: 05 p. m. , Moscone West 3010, A52D-07, Meredydd Evans, "Black Carbon Emissions from Diesel Sources in the Largest Arctic City: Case Study of Murmansk" Sequestered carbon leaks likely won't hurt drinking water As governments and industry look to deep underground storage of carbon dioxide as a possible way to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, researchers at PNNL are studying if CO2 could cause harm underground. The team studied whether CO2 leaked from a sequestration site below an aquifer could increase contaminants such as arsenic and cadmium in drinking water.
    CO2 by itself isn't harmful — after all, we drink it in soda. Yet once dissolved, it increases the acidity of groundwater enough to change how it reacts with minerals and contaminants.

    Experimenting on sediment samples from aquifers above potential sequestration sites in Kansas and Texas, the researchers found the overall change in chemistry was not harmful.
    The results suggest that CO2 bubbled into the aquifer in Kansas would not release contaminants found naturally in the sediments. Even if CO2 leaked into the aquifer together with storage contaminants, the gas did not prevent these sediments from sucking out the contaminants like a sponge. Experiments on samples from the Texas aquifer found CO2 dissolves calcite present in the sediments — effectively stabilizing groundwater in a way that discourages contaminant release.
    The team suggests studying every potential sequestration site before use, because variability in sediment composition could make a difference.

    In addition to this experimental research, PNNL is modeling reactions as a part of a larger project to assess the environmental impacts of carbon sequestration. Tuesday, Dec.
    16, 8 a. m.

    - 12: 20 p. m. , Moscone West, Poster Hall; and 5:30 — 5:45 p. m.
    , Moscone West, 3018, H21A-0702, Amanda Lawter, "Evaluataing Risks of Sequestered CO2 on Groundwater Quality: the Combined and Separate Effects of CH4, As, and Cd" A whole new meaning for "shade" trees - Gases from trees affect regional climates Imagine the smell of pine wafting from a forest.   That smell is part of a bouquet of biogenic volatile organic compounds emitted in huge amounts from a variety of plants — and field studies show they can have a significant impact on regional climates.

    In polluted air these BVOCs create a lot of aerosols — up to half or more of all particles in the air.
    These particles create something of an umbrella that reflects the sun's light back to space cooling the earth's surface. In certain areas, this effect could be completely masking the effects of warming due to increased CO2 levels. If the polluted air is cleaned, this mitigating effect would go away and the warming would be greater than currently observed.
    Data from PNNL studies and others will be used to improve representation of these processes in climate models.

    Friday, December 19, 11: 05 a. m.

    - 11: 20 a. m. , Moscone West 3006, A52F-04, Alex Guenther, "Biogenic VOC and Climate" Uniting environmental and health research Environmental and health science communities are separate by design-one focuses on a body of work the size of a planet; the other on a much smaller, though equally complex, fleshy subject. But scientists can learn more about how the environment impacts human health if these two fields collaborate more often, says Ghassem Asrar.
    As director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration of PNNL and the University of Maryland, Asrar is no stranger to organizing impactful research-in fact, he will receive an AGU Ambassador Award this year for such leadership.

    Yet he and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health face a unique challenge: bringing together two fields that have their own jargons and research methods. Once united, the teams could make discoveries like how pollutants in smog, Saharan dust, and natural pollen combine to affect respiratory health, or how multiple environmental factors impact the spread of infectious diseases, a major risk to human health. Asrar and his colleagues are promoting a holistic approach to research on the multifaceted topic of environment and human health. Wednesday, Dec.

    17, 8: 45 a. m.

    - 9: 00 a. m. , Moscone West 3012, A31K-04, Ghassem Asrar, "A Holistic Approach to Climate and Health Research: Respiratory and Infectious Diseases" Even with global warming cold air outbreaks will remain Just because the climate is warming doesn't mean Cold Air Outbreaks are going away, especially in Southwestern Canada and Northwestern United States. Overall, global climate models agree that there will be a dip in the duration of Cold Air Outbreaks across North America, but the percentage of decrease is consistently smaller from Western Canada to the Upper Midwest of the United States — a region with a higher number of CAOs historically.
    PNNL researcher Yang Gao and colleagues found that increased frequency of atmospheric blocking over Alaska, Yukon and the Gulf of Alaska may contribute to CAO events in the future in those areas. Using a high resolution regional climate model, the PNNL study shows that despite a general decrease in mean snowfall in a warmer future climate, snow cover in the mountainous west that precedes the onset of CAO will still play a role in the development of CAO events in future.

    Monday, December 15, 2014 1: 40 p. m.

    - 6: 00 p. m.

    Moscone West Poster Hall: GC13H-0761, Yang Gao, "Persistent Cold Air Outbreaks over North America Under Climate Warming"
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    Potential climate change impacts: a global, multi-sectoral assessment

    Recent graduate Anna Feeney is currently working at CEH, helping us to prepare content for our new website (more on that in the New Year!). Anna has been getting to know our science by reading some of the recent peer-reviewed [...]
    Recent graduate Anna Feeney is currently working at CEH, helping us to prepare content for our new website (more on that in the New Year!). Anna has been getting to know our science by reading some of the recent peer-reviewed outputs authored by CEH scientists.

    Here she describes one paper which caught her eye: “A new paper recently published in the journal Climatic Change explores some future climate change scenarios, and translates projected changes in meteorological conditions into a range of different impacts that might affect the day-to-day lives of millions of people. The work was led by Professor Nigel Arnell from the University of Reading. It uses a “pattern-scaling” technique to capture the main features of available climate models from around the world including the IMOGEN model developed by CEH’s Dr Chris Huntingford, who is also a co-author of the article. The research team used 21 climate models and four possible socio-economic tracks to examine a whole host of sectors such as water resources and agriculture.
    According to the authors it is potentially one of the most multi-dimensional, wide-ranging studies into climate change impacts to date. The four socio-economic pathways represent potential future societal habits, each taking into account possible changes in consumption patterns, socio-economic behaviour and corresponding levels of carbon emissions.

    After combining this information with the 21 different climate change models, changes to climate could be estimated at regional levels at three different milestones: 2020, 2050, and 2080. >Aerial views during an Army search and rescue mission show damage from Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast, Oct. 30, 2012. US Air Force photo by Master Sgt Mark C Olsen (in public domain).
    Under one projection for 2050, a sea level rise of 12-32cm is projected which could lead to about 450 million people potentially struggling with increased river flooding, about 1 billion other people possibly feeling increased water stress, and each year an extra 1. 3 million of those living near the coast could be flooded.

    The authors conclude that a planet that is on average 2.
    2C warmer would mean that more energy would be consumed in cooling efforts, although that increase in consumption would be offset by reduced need for heating during the colder seasons. Of particular note is that most areas would experience a fall in crop productivity, with implications for the global food supply chain. A striking conclusion of the report is that, for many impacts, differences between driving climate models are actually more significant than the difference between the socio-economic forcing scenarios.
    This is mirrored in the IPCC reports, where although all models agree on at least some level of global warming, when it comes to expected changes in rainfall patterns (a key determinant for many impacts of concern) there are large parts of the world with very little agreement.

    It is hoped that increased data availability will be able to narrow down predictions of global water systems and that the overall uncertainty will eventually become much smaller. For the present at least, however, adaptation policy determining how to live with climate change will have to keep in mind the complex nature of climate models and their current uncertainties, as well as the multiple potential scenarios based on how much fossil fuel is burnt in to the future.
    ”Anna Feeney The open access paper can be read online. Full paper reference: Arnell, N. W.
    , Brown, S. , Gosling, S. N.
    , Gottschalk, P. , Hinkel, J.

    , Huntingford, C.
    , … & Zelazowski, P. (2014).

    The impacts of climate change across the globe: A multi-sectoral assessment. Climatic Change, 1-18.

    doi: 10. 1007/s10584-014-1281-2Staff page of Dr Chris Huntingford, CEH.
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    Image of the Week: Prof John O’Keefe receives his Nobel Prize

    John O'Keefe
    The image of the week is Professor John O’Keefe, being awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shares with Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser. The Wellcome Trust has supported O’Keefe’s work for over ten years and [...]
    The image of the week is Professor John O’Keefe, being awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shares with Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser. The Wellcome Trust has supported O’Keefe’s work for over ten years and he is Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour. The Nobel Laureates discovered a positioning system, the ‘inner GPS’ in the brain, which makes it possible for us to orient ourselves in space. In 1971, John O’Keefe discovered the first component of the positioning system, called ‘place cells’.
    He found that a type of nerve cell in an area of the brain called the hippocampus was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places.

    O´Keefe concluded that these place cells formed a map of the room, laying the foundation of our understanding of how our brains form a picture of space and how we navigate.

    During the Award ceremony in Stockholm on Wednesday, Professor Ole Keihn, Member of the Nobel committee for Physiology or Medicine, presented the award and said “Through brilliant experiments, you have given us new insight into one of the greatest mysteries of life: how the brain creates behaviour and provides is with fascinating mental proficiencies”.

    In his Nobel speech, O’Keefe had an important message:  “In this era of growing xenophobia it’s important to remember that science is the quintessential international endeavour… As scientists we believe that the future great contributions to our understanding of the physical and the biological world can come from citizens of any country from any part of the world. ” On learning about the award, Director of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar, said “I am absolutely thrilled that John O’Keefe, our close colleague at the Wellcome Trust, has won the Nobel Prize. John’s work, which the Trust is proud to have supported for over ten years, has transformed our understanding of how the brain represents space. He is also a truly exceptional scientist and it is an honour for me to have worked closely with him over the last year.
    “On behalf of myself and the Wellcome Trust I am delighted to offer our very warmest congratulations to John. ” You can find out more about John O’Keefe’s discovery in this press release, read or watch his speech from the Banquet ceremony or watch the full ceremony on the Nobel Prize YouTube channel.

    Image Credit:  © Nobel Media AB – Alexander MahmoudFiled under: Event, Wellcome Featured Image Tagged: John O'Keefe, Nobel Prize
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    Carnegie Mellon's Andreea Deciu Ritivoi Receives NEH Fellowship

    Andreea Ritivoi
    By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094                        The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Carnegie Mellon University's Andreea Deciu Ritivoi a research fellowship to explore how the concept of "captive nations" emerged in early Cold [...]
    By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094                       The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Carnegie Mellon University's Andreea Deciu Ritivoi a research fellowship to explore how the concept of "captive nations" emerged in early Cold War political discourse, and how their liberation only appeared as an American responsibility.

    Ritivoi's project, "Captive Nations: American Democracy in the Cold War and the Politics of Rescue," will begin in January 2015. The current cycle of NEH funding supports a wide range of projects, including research fellowships and awards for faculty, traveling exhibitions, the preservation of humanities collections at smaller institutions, and training programs to prepare libraries, museums and archives to preserve and enhance access to their collections. "NEH grants play a critical role in making the insights afforded by the humanities available to all to help us better understand ourselves, our culture, our society," said NEH Chairman William Adams. Ritivoi, a professor of English in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will use the award to research the way American political actors engaged with Central and East European refugees to uncover how the notion of captive nations came to be widely accepted.
    Understanding its origins will shed light on how the politics of rescue — through aid and warfare — became more than just a U. S.

    political agenda, but a strategy that involved a trans-national political network of exiles, migrants, governments, media and the intelligentsia.
    Ritivoi hopes to recreate the network in order to examine how historical conditions and patterns of language emerge and lead to long-term political effects. "I am delighted that the NEH has awarded Professor Ritivoi a highly competitive fellowship for her scholarship on the Cold War and its continuing political legacy," said Chris Neuwirth, head of the Department of English. "Professor Ritivoi's tracing of a political vocabulary that is still operating and influencing international relationships and the role of Western democracies in global politics today will make a significant contribution to Carnegie Mellon's mission of bringing humanistic perspectives to our understanding of cultures and societies.
    " Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

    For more information on Ritivoi, visit http: //www. cmu. edu/hss/english/people/faculty/bios/andreea-deciu-ritivoi. html.

    Related Article: Andreea Deciu Ritivoi Analyzes Foreigners' Perspectives on American Politics in New Book ###
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    CERN’s Large Hadron Collider gears up for run 2

    The Large Hadron Collider is preparing for running at higher energy in 2015 (Image: Maximilen Brice/CERN) CERN today announced at the 174th session of the CERN Council that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is gearing up for its second three-year [...]
    The Large Hadron Collider is preparing for running at higher energy in 2015 (Image: Maximilen Brice/CERN) CERN today announced at the 174th session of the CERN Council that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is gearing up for its second three-year run. The LHC is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world and the whole 27-kilometre superconducting machine is now almost cooled to its nominal operating temperature of 1. 9 degrees above absolute zero. All teams are at work to get the LHC back online and the CERN Control Centre is in full swing to carry out all the requested tests before circulating proton beams again in March 2015.
    Run 2 of the LHC follows a 2-year technical stop that prepared the machine for running at almost double the energy of the LHC’s first run. “With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries,” says CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer.

     “I’m looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us”.
    For the first time on 9 December 2014, the magnets of one sector of the LHC, one eighth of the ring, were successfully powered to the level needed for beams to reach 6. 5 TeV, the operating energy for run 2. The goal for 2015 will be to run with two proton beams in order to produce 13 TeV collisions, an energy never achieved by any accelerator in the past.
    “After the huge amount of work done over the last two years, the LHC is almost like a new machine,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology Frédérick Bordry.

     “Restarting this extraordinary accelerator is far from routine. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we will be on schedule to provide collisions to the LHC experiments by May 2015”.
    ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb, the four large experiments of the LHC, are also undergoing major preparatory work for run 2, after the long shutdown during which important programmes for maintenance and improvements were achieved. They will now enter their final commissioning phase. .
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    White House Official Announces Launch of Higher Education Alliance for Maker Education

    MakeSchools logo
    By Abby Simmons, 412-268-4290 John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, announced the launch of the Make Schools Alliance this week while visiting Atlanta. Carnegie Mellon University is among founding members of the alliance [...]
    By Abby Simmons, 412-268-4290 John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, announced the launch of the Make Schools Alliance this week while visiting Atlanta. Carnegie Mellon University is among founding members of the alliance and led development of MakeSchools. org, a one-stop online resource for sharing best practices in Maker education. "We are excited to join higher education institutions across the country in responding to President Obama's call to expand Maker initiatives.
    Collaboration is at the core of the Maker Movement, and we look forward to using MakeSchools. org to stimulate discussion about the impact of Making on learning and innovation," said Farnam Jahanian, CMU's vice president for research.

    Members of the alliance — universities, community colleges, art and design schools — are seeking to provide students with spaces, projects and mentors to engage in hands-on Making activities and boost their interest and persistence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
    The National Science Foundation provided funding for the creation of MakeSchools. org, a project directed by Daragh Byrne, Intel Special Faculty for Physical Computing, Responsive Environments and Emerging Media with CMU's School of Architecture and IDeATe Network. Today, the online platform details nearly 50 higher education institutions' initiatives, programs and collaborations.
    "Both the NSF and community support of MakeSchools.

    org is critical to increasing awareness of the transformative potential of Making on our campuses. We're working to showcase how Making is an enormous catalyst for innovation that leads to economic, societal and community impact," Byrne said.
    Earlier this month, alliance members met with federal agencies in Washington, D. C. , to explore potential avenues for broadening accessibility and participation in Making in communities across the country.
    In the months ahead, the alliance plans to expand the number of higher education institutions highlighted on MakeSchools. org and launch a national student Maker initiative aimed at increasing student interest in STEM, integrative arts and design fields, and aiding in college preparation. ###.
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    Events - VERA (Forward Visions on the European Research Area) – Final Conference - 21-22 January 2015, Brussels

    This conference will be the final event of the VERA Forward Visions on the European Research Area project. It is targeted at policy makers at the European level concerned with Science, Technology and Innovation Policies (STIP) and at stakeholder groups [...]
    This conference will be the final event of the VERA Forward Visions on the European Research Area project. It is targeted at policy makers at the European level concerned with Science, Technology and Innovation Policies (STIP) and at stakeholder groups having followed and participated in VERA activities before. It is open to experts and everybody interested in the subject. The VERA foresight process focuses on the European Research and Innovation Landscapes and Governance in 2030.
    It is - inspired by profoundly different future scenarios - an exercise to look for policy issues we need to prioritize today.

    In that sense, we are trying to build a consensus among STI stakeholders: Looking out for those issues which appeared repeatedly in the different VERA backcasting approaches with stakeholders in focus groups and the VERA sympo­sium as well as in a policy “lensing” analysis done by the VERA team. The conference will offer these insights relevant for all STI policy makers, and it shall feed and inspire structured debates about the future of the European Research Area (ERA) and the political and societal priorities underpinning its (r)evolution.

    For more information: Stephanie. Daimer@isi. fraunhofer. de and Domenico.
    Rossetti-di-Valdalbero@ec. europa.

    eu.
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    Your opinion about the importance of coastal and beach water quality

    Your opinion about the importance of coastal and beach water quality
    Why is there so much foam on the beach and what is that stinking smell of the sea? How do these large amounts of green algae come in fishnets? How is that certain cultured mussels are not suitable for [...]
    >>Why is there so much foam on the beach and what is that stinking smell of the sea? How do these large amounts of green algae come in fishnets? How is that certain cultured mussels are not suitable for consumption? Scientists from various institutes and research disciplines working together within the framework of the European project ISECA want to respond to these and other questions. They would also want to know how these problems are experienced by you, as coastal resident, tourist, sailor, fisherman or other user. Completing the online survey will only take 10 minutes of your time, but makes a big difference for the ISECA scientists who want to get a view on the public perception around this issue….
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    Signs of Ancient Mars Lakes and Quakes Seen in New Map

    Geological Mapping of Hills in Martian Canyon
    High-resolution geological mapping based on images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests lakes and "marsquakes" were part of the vast Valles Marineris canyon system.
    High-resolution geological mapping based on images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests lakes and "marsquakes" were part of the vast Valles Marineris canyon system. .
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    VLIZ Communication Award 2015

    VLIZ Communication Award 2015
    As a young marine scientist or engineer you undoubtedly perform fascinating research in the field of coastal and marine science. But does your knowledge reach the public at large? Flanders Marine Institute engages to coach one young scientist in [...]
    >>As a young marine scientist or engineer you undoubtedly perform fascinating research in the field of coastal and marine science. But does your knowledge reach the public at large? Flanders Marine Institute engages to coach one young scientist in a communication action….
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    Researchers create enormous simulation of proton collisions

    Researchers create enormous simulation of proton collisions December 12, 2014 Scientists from Argonne and the University of Chicago have created one of the world's largest samples of Monte Carlo simulated proton-proton collisions. The data sample contains 400 million events, each [...]
    Researchers create enormous simulation of proton collisionsDecember 12, 2014Scientists from Argonne and the University of Chicago have created one of the world's largest samples of Monte Carlo simulated proton-proton collisions. The data sample contains 400 million events, each of which contains 5500 particles on average, totaling more than 2 trillion generated particles. .
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    ESA and Omega: a watch for astronauts

    Swiss watchmaker Omega has announced a new version of its historic space watch, tested and qualified with ESA’s help and drawing on an invention of ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy.
    Swiss watchmaker Omega has announced a new version of its historic space watch, tested and qualified with ESA’s help and drawing on an invention of ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy. .
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    GE Board of Directors Approves 5% Increase in Quarterly Dividend

    FAIRFIELD, Conn.—December 12, 2014—The Board of Directors of GE (NYSE: GE) today raised the Company’s quarterly dividend 5%, or $0.01 per outstanding share of the Company’s common stock, to $0.23 per outstanding share of the Company’s common stock. The Board [...]
    FAIRFIELD, Conn. —December 12, 2014—The Board of Directors of GE (NYSE: GE) today raised the Company’s quarterly dividend 5%, or $0. 01 per outstanding share of the Company’s common stock, to $0. 23 per outstanding share of the Company’s common stock.
    The Board declared that the dividend is payable January 26, 2015 to shareowners of record at the close of business on December 22, 2014. The ex-dividend date is December 18, 2014.

     .
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