SAVE THE DATE: EIT ICT Labs Partner Event 2015

SAVE THE DATE - the EIT ICT Labs Partner Event 2015 - focus on results, impact and Call 2016! EIT ICT Labs Partner Event 2015 will be held in Trento, Italy on April 15-16 with Action Line Preparation Workshops on [...]
SAVE THE DATE - the EIT ICT Labs Partner Event 2015 - focus on results, impact and Call 2016! EIT ICT Labs Partner Event 2015 will be held in Trento, Italy on April 15-16 with Action Line Preparation Workshops on April 17. The theme of the Partner Event 2015 is "Sustain our Vision" and the programme will focus on the achievements and impact of EIT ICT Labs as well as the Call 2016. Look forward to an engaging and productive event that will cover presentations on the state of affairs, the call process and guidelines, inspirational talks, start-up success stories, workshops and great networking opportunities. The number of participants is limited to 400 people.
EIT ICT Labs aims to ensure participation of all those who wish to attend. However, each event has a limited capacity, and to guarantee a fair balance amongst nodes and partners, EIT ICT Labs may have to restrict attendance.

Priority will be given to those with clear connection to the Call 2016.
Invitations and more information will come in January 2015. EIT ICT Labs.
01

> more news in this sector

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.
03

> more news in this sector

‘Parasitic’ genes let mammals evolve pregnancy

bodyscans_525
University of Missouri

Scans show why maternity clothes don’t fit

  • parasite_UCSB_1
  • eryops_525
  • "I call this the experiment that keeps on giving," says Richard Lenski. "Even after 25 years, it’s still generating new and exciting discoveries. From the models, we can predict how things will evolve—how fit the bacteria will become—if future generations of scientists continue the experiment long after I’m gone." (Credit: Josh Leo/Flickr)
  • monarchs_tree_525
  • Pest control à la nature on coffee farm
    Transposons, also called “jumping genes,” were a key part of the evolution of pregnancy among mammals, report scientists. They found thousands of genes that evolved to be expressed in the uterus in early mammals, including many that are important for [...]
    Transposons, also called “jumping genes,” were a key part of the evolution of pregnancy among mammals, report scientists. They found thousands of genes that evolved to be expressed in the uterus in early mammals, including many that are important for maternal-fetal communication and suppression of the immune system. “…I guess we owe the evolution of pregnancy to what are effectively genomic parasites” Surprisingly, these genes appear to have been recruited and repurposed from other tissue types by transposons—ancient mobile genetic elements sometimes thought of as genomic parasites. “For the first time, we have a good understanding of how something completely novel evolves in nature, of how this new way of reproducing came to be,” says study author Vincent Lynch, assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago.
    “Most remarkably, we found the genetic changes that likely underlie the evolution of pregnancy are linked to domesticated transposable elements that invaded the genome in early mammals. So I guess we owe the evolution of pregnancy to what are effectively genomic parasites.

    ” The study appears online in Cell Reports.
    From people to pigs to platypus To study genetic changes during the evolution of pregnancy in mammals, Lynch and his colleagues used high-throughput sequencing to catalog genes expressed in the uterus of several types of living animals—placental mammals (a human, monkey, mouse, dog, cow, pig, horse, and armadillo), a marsupial (opossum), an egg-laying mammal (platypus), a bird, a reptile, and a frog. Then they used computational and evolutionary methods to reconstruct which genes were expressed in ancestral mammals. The researchers found that as the first mammals evolved—and resources for fetal development began to come more from the mother and less from a yolk—hundreds of genes that are important for cellular signaling, metabolism, and uterine development started to be expressed in the uterus.
    As the eggshell was lost and live-birth evolved in the common ancestor to marsupials and placental mammals, more than 1,000 genes were turned on, many of which were strongly linked to the establishment of maternal-fetal communication.

    As prolonged pregnancy evolved in placental mammals, hundreds of genes began to be expressed that greatly strengthened and elaborated maternal-fetal communication, as well locally suppressing the maternal immune system in the uterus—thus protecting the developing fetus. The team also identified hundreds of genes that were turned off as these lineages evolved, many of which had been involved in eggshell formation.
    “We found lots of genes important for maintaining hormone signaling and mediating maternal-fetal communication, which are essential for pregnancy, evolved to be expressed in the uterus in early mammals,” Lynch says. “But immune suppression genes stand out. The fetus is genetically distinct from the mother.
    If these immune genes weren’t expressed in the uterus, the fetus would be recognized by the mother’s immune system as foreign and attacked like any other parasite. ” Genes get new jobs In addition to function, Lynch and his colleagues investigated the origin of these genes. They found most already had roles in other organ and tissue systems such as the brain, digestive, and circulatory systems.
    But during the evolution of pregnancy, these genes were recruited to be expressed in the uterus for new purposes. They evolved regulatory elements that allowed them to be activated by progesterone, a hormone critical in reproduction.

    The team found that this process was driven by ancient transposons—stretches of non-protein coding DNA that can change their position within the genome.
    ‘Genomic parasites’ Sometimes called “jumping genes,” transposons are generally thought to be genomic parasites that serve only to replicate themselves. Many of the ancient mammalian transposons possessed progesterone binding sites that regulate this process. By randomly inserting themselves into other places in the genome, transposons appear to have passed on this activation mechanism to nearby genes.
    Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of MissouriScans show why maternity clothes don’t fitPrinceton UniversityThe ‘new’ rules all parasites followBrown UniversityWere bones 'Tums' for early land crawlers?Michigan State UniversityNo 'fitness peak' in sight for evolving bacteriaEmory UniversityButterfly genes can’t yet explain migration routesUniversity of MichiganPest control à la nature on coffee farm “Genes need some way of knowing when and where to be expressed,” Lynch says.

    “Transposable elements appear to have brought this information, allowing old genes to be expressed in a new location, the uterus, during pregnancy. Mammals very likely have a progesterone-responsive uterus because of these transposons.
    ” Lynch and his colleagues note their findings represent a novel explanation for how entirely new biological structures and functions arise. Rather than genes gradually evolving uterine expression one at a time, transposable elements coordinated large-scale, genome-wide changes that allowed numerous genes to be activated by the same signal—in this case, progesterone, which helped drive the evolution of pregnancy. “It’s easy to imagine how evolution can modify an existing thing, but how new things like pregnancy evolve has been much harder to understand,” Lynch says.
    “We now have a new mechanistic explanation of this process that we’ve never had before. ” The Burroughs Wellcome Preterm Birth Initiative and the John Templeton Foundation supported the work.

    Source: University of Chicago The post ‘Parasitic’ genes let mammals evolve pregnancy appeared first on Futurity.
    04

    > more news in this sector

  • Gender differences are smaller than we think

    boy_china_525
    Monash University

    Without siblings, China’s kids may fear risk

  • porsche_1
  • chimpanzee mother and baby
  • genderless_shoes_525
  • discouraged woman in an office
  • dating3
    Although gender plays a big part in our identities, new research finds men and woman aren’t as different as we tend to think. Gender stereotypes can influence beliefs and create the impression that the differences are large, says Zlatan Krizan, [...]
    Although gender plays a big part in our identities, new research finds men and woman aren’t as different as we tend to think. Gender stereotypes can influence beliefs and create the impression that the differences are large, says Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University. To separate fact from fiction, Krizan and colleagues conducted a meta-synthesis of more than 100 meta-analyses of gender differences. Combined, the studies they aggregated included more than 12 million people.
    Their report, published in American Psychologist, found an almost 80 percent overlap for more than 75 percent of the psychological characteristics, such as risk-taking, occupational stress, and morality. Simply put, our differences are not so profound.

    “This is important because it suggests that when it comes to most psychological attributes, we are relatively similar to one another as men and women,” Krizan says.
    “This was true regardless of whether we looked at cognitive domains, such as intelligence; social personality domains, such as personality traits; or at well-being, such as satisfaction with life. ” 10 significant gaps The similarities were also consistent regardless of age and over time. However, researchers don’t dispute that men and women have their differences.
    They identified 10 attributes in which there was a significant gap between genders.

    Some of these characteristics fell in line with stereotypes. For example, men were more aggressive and masculine, while women had a closer attachment to peers and were more sensitive to pain.
    If we’re so similar, why do we think we’re different? The purpose of the meta-synthesis was not to identify why men and women are different, but measure by how much. Extremes can be misleading The results contradict what many people think, and Krizan has a few explanations as to why. One reason is the difference in extremes.
    The evidence researchers aggregated focuses on a typical range of characteristics, but on the far end of the spectrum the differences are often exaggerated, Krizan says. “People tend to overestimate the differences because they notice the extremes,” Krizan says. He uses aggression as one example.
    “If you look at incarceration rates to compare the aggressiveness of men and women, the fact that men constitute the vast majority of the prison population supports the idea that men are extremely more aggressive. However, it’s a misleading estimate of how much typical men and women differ on aggressiveness, if that’s the only thing you look at for comparison,” he says.

    Additionally, people notice multiple differences simultaneously, which can give the impression of a larger effect.
    Researchers looked at the average for each trait individually rather than a combination of differences. “The difference on any one trait is pretty small,” Krizan says. “When there are several smaller differences, people might think there’s a big difference because the whole configuration has a different flavor.
    I think they make a mistake assuming that any given trait is very different from typical men to women.

    ” Related Articles On FuturityMonash UniversityWithout siblings, China’s kids may fear riskRice UniversityFlashy spending doesn’t get the girlDuke UniversityGutsy chimpanzee moms with sons are more socialUniversity of RochesterTrait by trait, sexes don’t differ muchTulane UniversityDoes team competition cut women's creativity?Northwestern UniversityWomen less choosy when making first move Researchers also point out that they did not try to determine to what extent these differences reflect real, physical or biological differences between genders. For example, do men tolerate more pain because they believe that is what they should do as a man? Krizan says some behavioral differences may be learned through social roles.
    Although men may be said to come from Mars and women from Venus, these findings remind us that we all come from Earth after all, he adds. Krizan worked on the study with Ethan Zell, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Sabrina Teeter, a graduate student at Western Carolina University.

    Source: Iowa State University The post Gender differences are smaller than we think appeared first on Futurity.
    05

    > more news in this sector

  • It’s time to vote to fight mitochondrial disease

    Niamh lost her battle with mitochondrial disease aged just four-and-a-half
    Niamh lost her battle with mitochondrial disease aged just four-and-a-half Pioneering work carried out at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research has led to the development of IVF techniques that bring hope to families with mitochondrial disease. Next [...]
    Niamh lost her battle with mitochondrial disease aged just four-and-a-half Pioneering work carried out at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research has led to the development of IVF techniques that bring hope to families with mitochondrial disease. Next week, MPs will have the chance to vote to allow further research to be carried out and enable the technique to be licensed (on a case-by-case basis) to allow affected families to have children who are free of debilitating mitochondrial disease. John Williams, Wellcome Trust head of science strategy and impact, explains why it is important that the law catches up with the science… Mutations in the tiny powerhouses in your cells – the mitochondria – can cause serious disease and premature death. These mutations are thankfully rare, but the effect on families can be devastating.
    Researchers at the University of Newcastle have developed a technique that allows faulty mitochondria, which are passed from a mother to her children, to be replaced with healthy ones from a donor. This research is a great example of collaboration and shows what can be achieved when patients and families work closely with insightful and talented researchers and clinicians.

    It is also an excellent opportunity to prove that the UK ecosystem is able to come together and allow pioneering work to be undertaken and to lead into meaningful, potentially game-changing, clinical practice.
    In order not to miss this opportunity, we need the whole of the community to work together, from affected families to researchers – and now, importantly – legislators. Over the past decade, public and scientific consultations have taken place, experts have shared their knowledge and scientific evidence, and families and others have shared their experiences of living with mitochondrial disease. The existing legislation includes appropriately rigorous safety checks and licensing requirements.
    This is not something that we are seeking to change.

    For any new discovery we should of course have a full and open debate, check the evidence, and engage with the public before moving forward – as has been done on the issue of mitochondrial donation. We must also recognise that the pace of scientific discovery can out-pace changes in the law.
    We want to ensure that the law allows further research into mitochondrial donation to be conducted, so that when (and only when) it is deemed to be safe enough to ensure a baby can be born without mitochondrial disease, there is no unnecessary additional delay for patients wanting to use the technique. Now we must trust that those responsible for approving amendments to existing legislation recognise the significance of their decision – not only for the families directly affected by mitochondrial disease – but also to show how the UK supports its world-class scientists. The discussion taking place in the House of Commons on Tuesday 3rd February is one of the critical last pieces in the jigsaw whose picture shows how open-minded, honest and evidence-based discussions enable the UK to be a beacon for translating patient-focussed, curative and health-transforming innovations from lab to clinic.
    This is something that we should be incredibly proud of. Find out more about mitochondrial disease, and how mitochondrial donation could help, on the University of Newcastle research pages and in these previous posts on the Wellcome Trust blog. You can read the proposed amendment to the legislation on parliament’s website.
    If you want to encourage your MP to be present for the discussion and vote you can contact them, parliament’s website provides details on a variety of ways to do so and many MPs are on also on Twitter.

    Image credits: Niamh and Niamh and Alison thanks to Alison Maguire, Needle and egg cell – Wellcome Images, Jigsaw, by Leighton Pritchard on Flickr – CC-BY-NC-SAFiled under: Comment, Funding, Genetics and Genomics, Health, Human Fertilisation and Embyrology Act, Mitochondrial inherited diseases, News, Opinion, Policy, Strategic Awards Tagged: Evidence-based policy, Inherited mitochondrial disease, John Williams, mitochondrial donation, University of Newcastle
    06

    > more news in this sector

    Roadmaps Out of Fantasyland: RWJF’s Outbreaks Report and the National Health Preparedness Security Index

    Outbreaks 2014
    “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras,” the late Theodore Woodward, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, cautioned his students in the 1940s. Woodward’s warning is still invoked [...]
    “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras,” the late Theodore Woodward, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, cautioned his students in the 1940s. Woodward’s warning is still invoked to discourage doctors from making rare medical diagnoses for sick patients, when more common ones are usually the cause. And while many Americans have worried about contracting Ebola—in viral terms, a kind of “zebra”—more commonplace microbial “horses,” such as influenza and measles viruses, continue to pose far greater threats. For instance, a large multistate measles outbreak has been traced to Disneyland theme parks in California—while this year’s strain of seasonal flu has turned out to be severe and widespread.
    One obvious conclusion is that many microbes remain a harmful health menace, expected to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans this year. Another—speaking of Disneyland—is that much of America appears to live in a kind of fantasyland, thinking that it is protected against infectious disease.

    That’s the grim subtext of the 2014 edition of Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases, the annual report released last month by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Millions of Americans could be spared and billions of dollars spent on healthcare could be saved with better infectious disease prevention and control,” the report concludes.

    Consider: One in five Americans gets the flu annually, and up to 49,000 a year die from it. Flu costs the country $10 billion a year in health care spending, and $16 billion in lost earnings. Even though this year’s flu vaccine is less effective than normal due to unanticipated changes in the H3N2 virus, in most years the flu is largely preventable. Yet Outbreaks notes that half of the population was vaccinated against seasonal flu only in 14 states during last year’s flu season—and only about one in four health care workers got a flu shot.
    The failure to vaccinate all pre-school children on time leaves 2 million U. S.

    children a year “unnecessarily vulnerable to preventable illnesses,” the report says.
    According to the CDC, many of those who contracted measles in the current outbreak weren’t vaccinated. And with a growing number of so many unvaccinated children around, the goal of achieving herd immunity is imperiled. Even the best vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective—and the CDC has noted with concern that six people previously vaccinated against measles still fell ill amid the current outbreak.
    The report drives home that “we are only as prepared for these threats as the community that is least prepared among us,” observes Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, director of the Bridging Health and Health Care portfolio at RWJF.

    And Outbreaks identifies scores of other risks beyond common communicable diseases, including food-borne illnesses like salmonella and hospital-acquired infections like MRSA. The report advances a series of recommendations, including modernizing surveillance to allow for better real-time disease tracking, and boosting so-called medical countermeasures—including research on new vaccines, diagnostics, antiviral medications, and antibiotics.
    (Note that, with 2 million Americans falling ill and 23,000 dying each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, President Obama has called for nearly doubling federal spending on fighting antibiotic resistance to $1. 2 billion in fiscal 2016. )            Vulnerability to infectious disease outbreaks is just one aspect of the nation’s health defenses captured in another RWJF-sponsored effort: the National Health Security Preparedness Index.

    A composite of 194 measures, the index depicts the capabilities of the 50 states in six areas: health security surveillance; community planning and engagement; incident and information management; healthcare delivery; countermeasures management; and environmental and occupational health. Thomas V. Inglesby, MD, who directs the UPMC Center for Health Security, and who chaired the steering committee behind the preparedness index, describes it as “the first really comprehensive attempt to measure preparedness in all its dimensions and improve quality over time. ” An interactive map on the index’s web site illustrates which states rank highest, including Virginia, New York, and Utah.
    At the low end are Alaska, Georgia, and Arkansas. Overall, the country scores 7.

    4 out of 10.
    The index didn’t label it as such, but that’s  about a C grade. Not surprisingly, a number of states aren’t happy with the rankings, or their place in them. But the results shed light on what states must do to boost their preparedness, while future installments of the index will also help policy-makers gauge progress, Inglesby says.
      In other words, think of the preparedness index as a road map for helping us get out of fantasyland, and confront reality on the critical topic of health security.

    Join a Live Chat with Disease Surveillance Experts What have we learned from recent infectious disease outbreaks, like Ebola and H1N1? On Friday, February 6, the Foundation will host an online chat with notable disease prevention experts on the state of preparedness in America, including a discussion about the new National Health Security Preparedness Index. Register for the online event .
    07

    > more news in this sector

    Astellas Pharma and Immunomic Therapeutics Announce Exclusive License for JRC2-LAMP-vax, a Vaccine for Japanese Red Cedar Pollinosis

    Hershey, PA & Rockville, MD and Tokyo, Japan.  January 30, 2015 – Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immunomic Therapeutics”), a company developing next generation vaccines based on the LAMP-vax platform, and Astellas Pharma Inc. (“Astellas”) today announced they have entered into [...]
    Hershey, PA & Rockville, MD and Tokyo, Japan.  January 30, 2015 – Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immunomic Therapeutics”), a company developing next generation vaccines based on the LAMP-vax platform, and Astellas Pharma Inc. (“Astellas”) today announced they have entered into an exclusive license agreement for Japan to develop and commercialize JRC2-LAMP-vax, Immunomic Therapeutics’ vaccine designed to treat allergies induced by Japanese red cedar pollen.
    The companies expect to initiate a Phase 1 trial of JRC2-LAMP-vax in Japan as soon as it is ready. Under the agreement, Astellas is responsible to develop and commercialize JRC2-LAMP-vax in Japan, where Japanese red cedar pollinosis is endemic.

      Immunomic Therapeutics will receive $15 million upon the execution of the agreement.
    Immunomic Therapeutics potentially will also receive up to $55 million in total development and regulatory milestone and technology transfer payments as well as tiered double-digit royalties on net sales of the product. Astellas will fund clinical trial development costs and supporting development expenses for Japan. Immunomic Therapeutics also granted Astellas an exclusive option to negotiate a license for additional LAMP-vax DNA vaccines to treat allergy indications other than Japanese red cedar pollinosis in Japan.
    “Our Japanese red cedar allergy vaccine therapy, JRC2-LAMP-vax, will provide millions of allergic subjects with a truly novel solution with a long-lasting disease treatment,” said Dr.

    William Hearl, President and CEO of Immunomic Therapeutics. “We are very pleased to be partnering with Astellas, a global pharmaceutical leader, to deliver this treatment to market.
    Throughout our global partnering effort, Astellas has consistently proven to be proactive, thoughtful and innovative partner that is committed to developing new medicines and technologies. ” “Immunomic Therapeutics uses a novel vaccine technology, LAMP-vax platform that will offer the next generation vaccines for allergy,” commented Kenji Yasukawa, Ph. D.
    , Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, at Astellas, “we are very excited to partner Immunomic Therapeutics and we hope that we will deliver to patients a safe and game-changing therapeutic approach with short administration period for Japanese red cedar pollinosis from which almost one-quarter of the population in Japan are suffering. ” This agreement reflects Astellas’ commitment to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products.   The impact of this transaction has been accounted in revised Astellas’ forecasts for fiscal year ending March 2015, which was announced on October 31st, 2014.
    About Japanese Red Cedar Allergies The Japanese red cedar tree is an economically and culturally important tree in Japan, however, it’s pollen has resulted in the sensitization of an estimated 26. 5% of the Japanese population, significantly increased from 16.

    2% as of 1998 (Practical Guideline for the Management of Allergic Rhinitis in Japan, 2013)  During pollen season, each tree can produce up to 2 kg of pollen that readily disperse over vast areas.

    The pollen is believed to deliver a two-part allergenic punch: the pollen surface is coated with highly allergenic Cry j 1 protein and upon contact with a mucosal surface, the pollen grain lyses to release abundant Cry j 2 protein contained within the pollen grain. About LAMP-vax™ platform Lysosomal Associated Membrane Protein (LAMP) is a glycoprotein found on the lysosomal membrane. LAMP-vax DNA vaccines utilize the natural biochemistry of LAMP to intersect with the process that Antigen Presenting Cells, APCs use to internalize, digest, and present exogenously derived antigens to the immune system as part of the lysosomal/MHC-II complex. The result is enhanced antigen presentation and a greatly enhanced immune system response to a vaccine.
    Upon immunization with a LAMP-vax DNA vaccine, APCs take up the DNA and produce the encoded protein sequence inside the cell as part of a fusion protein with LAMP.   In this way, LAMP-vax DNA vaccines activate APCs to the immunized antigen(s) through the CD4+ helper T-cell pathway.

    LAMP-vax DNA immunization contrasts with the immune response to conventional DNA vaccines, which are processed and primarily presented through MHC-I and elicit a cytotoxic T response.
    LAMP-vax DNA plasmids show no decrease in CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell response yet also feature a CD4+ response. This initiates a more complete immune response including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory. About JRC2-LAMP-vax JRC2-LAMP-vax has been developed based on LAMP-vax platform of which exclusive and worldwide license is granted to Immunomic Therapeutics by Johns Hopkins University.
    It is made up of two DNA plasmids encoding the two major cedar allergens, Cry j 1 and Cry j 2, each encoded as fusion proteins with LAMP for the conversion of the immune system response from a TH2/ IgE allergen response to a TH1/ IgG antigen response with the concomitant elimination of allergy symptoms.

    Current treatments for Japanese red cedar pollinosis are palliative and require long-term, costly treatment options. The market opportunity for JRC2-LAMP-vax is to provide long-lasting symptom relief in a short, convenient dosing regimen.
    About Immunomic Therapeutics Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (Immunomic Therapeutics) is a privately-held clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to pioneering vaccines that transform lives. It is headquartered in Hershey, PA with lab facilities in Rockville, MD.
    Immunomic Therapeutics develops next-generation vaccines based on patented LAMP Technology. Its LAMP-vax vaccine platform significantly increases immune response to nucleic acid vaccines and simplifies vaccine design and delivery for safer, more cost-effective therapies. Its LAMP constructs have been validated in human clinical trials for cancer and have been applied to targets like allergy, cancer and infectious diseases.
    By 2020, Immunomic Therapeutics expects to have regulatory approved products in pollen, cancer, food and animal health. For information about Immunomic Therapeutics and LAMP Technology, visit www.

    immunomix.
    com. About Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas Pharma Inc.
    , located in Tokyo, Japan, is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals.

    Astellas has approximately 18,000 employees worldwide. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in Urology, Immunology (including Transplantation) and Infectious diseases, Oncology, Neuroscience and Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Complications and Kidney diseases.
    For more information on Astellas Pharma Inc. , please visit our website at www. astellas.
    com/en. x  x  x .
    08

    > more news in this sector

    Value of U.S. Mineral Production Increases Despite Lower Metal Prices

    Summary: The estimated value of mineral production increased in the United States in 2014, despite the decline in price for most precious metals, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015. Contact Information: [...]
    Summary: The estimated value of mineral production increased in the United States in 2014, despite the decline in price for most precious metals, the U. S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015.

    Contact Information: Steven Fortier ( Phone: 571-386-8587 ); Elizabeth Sangine ( Phone: 703-755-5960 ); Hannah Hamilton ( Phone: 703-314-1601 ); The estimated value of mineral production increased in the United States in 2014, despite the decline in price for most precious metals, the U. S. Geological Survey announced today in its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015. The estimated value of mineral raw materials produced at mines in the United States in 2014 was $77.
    6 billion, an increase of 4. 6 percent from $74.

    2 billion in 2013.
      U. S. economic growth supported the domestic primary metals industry and industrial minerals industry, however, weak global economic growth and the strong U.
    S.

    dollar limited U. S.
    processed mineral exports, which decreased to $108 billion in 2014 from $129 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, low-priced metal imports increased during most of 2014. The annual report from the USGS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2014 mineral production data for the world.
    It includes statistics on about 90 mineral commodities essential to the U. S. economy and national security, and addresses events, trends, and issues in the domestic and international minerals industries.
    "Decision-makers and policy-makers in the private and public sectors rely on the Mineral Commodity Summaries and other USGS minerals information publications as unbiased sources of information to make business decisions and national policy," said Steven M. Fortier, Director of the USGS National Minerals Information Center.

    Mineral commodities remain an essential part of the U.
    S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product at several levels, including mining, processing and manufacturing finished products. The United States continues to rely on foreign sources for raw and processed mineral materials.
    In 2014, the supply for more than one-half of U.

    S. apparent consumption of 43 mineral commodities came from imports, increasing from 40 commodities in 2013.
    The United States was 100 percent import reliant for 19 of those commodities, including indium, niobium, and tantalum, which are among a suite of materials often designated as “critical” or “strategic. ” Mine production of 13 mineral commodities was worth more than $1 billion each in the United States in 2014. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, copper, gold, cement, construction sand and gravel, iron ore (shipped), industrial sand and gravel, molybdenum concentrates, phosphate rock, lime, salt, zinc, soda ash, and clays (all types).
      The estimated value of U. S. industrial minerals mine production in 2014 was $46.
    1 billion, about 7 percent more than that of 2013.   The estimated value of U.

    S.
    metal mine production in 2014 was $31. 5 billion, slightly less than that of 2013. These raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $697 billion.
    These mineral materials, including aluminum, brick, copper, fertilizers, and steel, plus net imports of processed materials (worth about $41 billion) were, in turn, consumed by industries that use minerals to create products, with a value added to the U.

    S. economy of an estimated $2.
    5 trillion in 2014. The construction industry continued to show signs of improvement in 2014, being led by nonresidential construction, with increased production and consumption of cement, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and gypsum mineral commodities. In 2014, 12 states each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities.
    These states were, in descending order of value—Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, California, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Wyoming and Colorado. The mineral production of these states accounted for 62 percent of the U. S.
    total output value. The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment.

    The USGS National Minerals Information Center collects, analyzes, and disseminates current information on the supply of and the demand for minerals and materials in the United States and about 180 other countries.
    The USGS report Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015 is available online. Hardcopies will be available later in the year from the Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents. For ordering information, please call (202) 512-1800 or (866) 512-1800 or go online.
    For more information on this report and individual mineral commodities, please visit the USGS National Minerals Information Center.

    .
    09

    > more news in this sector

    Cosmic inflation remains undiscovered

    A new study puts earlier discovery claims into perspective. A previous study claiming the discovery of gravitational waves as cosmic inflation’s fingerprint has most likely been over-interpreted, scientists found in a joint analysis between the Planck and BICEP2 experiments. The [...]
    A new study puts earlier discovery claims into perspective. A previous study claiming the discovery of gravitational waves as cosmic inflation’s fingerprint has most likely been over-interpreted, scientists found in a joint analysis between the Planck and BICEP2 experiments. The new study, whose key results were released today in statements from the European Space Agency and the National Science Foundation, did not find conclusive evidence of cosmic inflation. Cosmic inflation is the exponential growth of the universe within the first few fractions of a second after the big bang almost 14 billion years ago.
    “This joint work has shown that [the earlier claims are] no longer robust once the emission from galactic dust is removed,” says Jean-Loup Puget, principal investigator of Planck’s High Frequency Instrument at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France, in the statements. “So, unfortunately, we have not been able to confirm that the signal is an imprint of cosmic inflation.

    ” “These results have important consequences for the entire research field,” says Planck project scientist Jan Tauber from ESA.
    “They will impact how future experiments searching for cosmic inflation will be designed. ” Controversial cosmic pattern In the 1980s, physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde developed the theory of cosmic inflation. This rapid expansion would have left its mark in the form of a pattern in the cosmic microwave background—faint light left behind from just after the big bang.
    The BICEP2 experiment was designed to search for this pattern.

    Last March, BICEP2 scientists announced that they had found the characteristic pattern, and that it was even more pronounced than expected. If this interpretation turned out to be confirmed, it would be direct evidence of cosmic inflation.
    However, scientists began to raise the concern that the pattern found by the BICEP2 study could have been caused by something else, such as dust in our own galaxy. The BICEP2 researchers were aware that dust might give them a false signal. To minimize this possibility, they located their experiment at the South Pole and pointed their telescope at a part of the sky that was considered particularly “clean.
    ” Then, in their analysis, the researchers carefully subtracted possible dust signals based on various theoretical models and earlier dust measurements. “However, we did not have a precise dust map of the sky at the time,” says Chao-Lin Kuo, a BICEP2 lead scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, a joint institute of Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Six months later, the Planck collaboration published the missing map, which showed that at least a significant portion of the BICEP2 signal came from dust.
    “The Planck results demonstrated that no place in the sky is free of dust and that you have to deal with it accordingly," Tauber says. Joining forces To find out whether the BICEP2 signal was more than just background, the two experiments combined forces.

    “We gave our data to the Planck team and vice versa,” says KIPAC’s Jaime Tolan, a member of the BICEP2 analysis crew.
    “Each team then analyzed the other group’s data using its own analysis tools. ” The Planck satellite, which surveyed the entire sky from 2009 to 2013, had analyzed cosmic light of different colors, or wavelengths. Because the signal components—dust and primordial gravity waves—have a different color spectrum, scientists could compare the measurements at different wavelengths to determine how much of the signal came from dust.
    The key result of the new study is a measurement of how likely it is that the BICEP2 pattern is caused by cosmic inflation.

      “The amount of gravitational waves can probably be no more than about half the level claimed in our earlier study,” says Clem Pryke, a principal investigator of BICEP2 at the University of Minnesota, in the statements. The results do not completely rule out that the gravitational wave signal could still be there; however, it is not very likely that most of the BICEP2 signal was caused by it.
    Future experiments will be able to use the information from Planck to subtract dust backgrounds from their signal and to adjust their observation strategies. “BICEP3, for instance, will be using a wavelength that is much less sensitive to dust than the one used by BICEP2,” says KIPAC researcher Walter Ogburn, a member of the BICEP2 team. Deployed last November, the successor experiment of BICEP2 will start looking for signs of cosmic inflation during the next Antarctic winter.
    The BICEP2/Planck collaboration has submitted a paper to the journal Physical Review Letters, and a preprint will be available on the arXiv next week. Like what you see? Sign up for a free subscription to symmetry! .
    10

    > more news in this sector

    PNNL recognized for moving biofuel, chemical analysis innovations to market

    Developing renewable fuel from wet algae and enabling analysis of complex liquids are two of the latest innovations Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has successfully driven to the market with the help of commercial partners. As a result, the Federal Laboratory [...]
    Developing renewable fuel from wet algae and enabling analysis of complex liquids are two of the latest innovations Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has successfully driven to the market with the help of commercial partners. As a result, the Federal Laboratory Consortium has honored the Department of Energy national laboratory with two 2015 Excellence in Technology Transfer awards. The consortium is a nationwide network that encourages federal laboratories to transfer laboratory-developed technologies to commercial markets. The consortium selected PNNL's two technologies from 57 nominations nationwide to be among 16 winners.
    PNNL has earned a total of 81 such awards since the program began in 1984. The 2015 awards will be presented April 29 at the consortium's annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

    Renewable fuel from algaeProcess efficiently turns algae into biocrude oil Scientists and engineers at PNNL have created a process that produces biocrude oil minutes after they pour in a slurry of green algae.
    The continuous process uses heat and pressure to chemically and physically change the algae to biocrude, mimicking the way Earth made crude oil millions of years ago. The biocrude can then be turned into aviation fuel, gasoline and diesel using conventional refining technology. PNNL teamed with Utah-based Genifuel Corporation to ready this technology for industry-their collaborative research led to two joint patents.
    With the new designs, Genifuel built a pilot plant for Reliance Industries Ltd.

    in Colorado, where the company plans to test the technology before producing renewable biofuel on a larger scale. Unlike traditional extractions methods, which separate lipids out of algae to make biodiesel, PNNL's process converts whole algae into biocrude, fuel gas and usable byproducts.
    This doubles the yield of biofuel from algae and cuts the cost of production by 86 percent. The process can be applied to other forms of wet materials as well, such as sludge from wastewater, dairy farms or food processing, increasing the potential impact of this technology. More companies have approached Genifuel about using PNNL's process.

    The team recognized for transferring this process includes: PNNL's Doug Elliott, Dan Anderson, Todd Hart, Andy Schmidt and Eric C. Lund; and James Oyler, president of Genifuel Corporation. The Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technology Office provided funding to develop the algae-to-biocrude process. A window into liquid analysisSALVI enables instruments to view wet samples In the vacuum of instruments like scanning electron microscopes, liquid samples boil away, evaporating before they can be studied.
    Now PNNL's System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface, or SALVI, allows these instruments to-for the first time-image liquid samples in real time and a realistic environment. The idea for SALVI came when PNNL scientists wanted to study atmospheric particles called aerosols, but they quickly realized their device could help other researchers gain new insights about nanoparticles, bacteria, cells, batteries and more.

    To make their technology available for the broader scientific community, PNNL worked with Pennsylvania-based Structure Probe Inc.
    The analytical equipment supplier licensed the associated patents and adapted PNNL's design to offer a commercial product called Wet Cell II. The first orders of their product will ship this year. SALVI is small enough to fit in your hand.
    The device can take as little as two drops of a sample and flow that liquid through a channel to a window the size of a pinhole.

    There, the ion beam of an instrument can analyze the sample. The small window and flow reduce evaporation in a vacuum.
    PNNL won an R&D 100 Award for SALVI, naming it one of the 100 most innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs in 2014.

    The team recognized for transferring SALVI to the market includes: PNNL's Xiao-Ying Yu, Bruce Harrer and Zihua Zhu; and Li Yang, former PNNL scientist. Gene Rodek of Structure Probe Inc. also played an important role in bringing the technology to the commercial market. SALVI was developed in collaboration with scientists at EMSL, DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory user facility at PNNL.
    11

    > more news in this sector

    Modeling Oncor's distribution network: a "reality check" that improves reliability

    Few utilities have a larger or more complex distribution network than Oncor Electric Delivery -- serving more than 7 million customers in Texas, with over 102,000 miles of distribution lines and 4 million network nodes. To help ensure that [...]
    Few utilities have a larger or more complex distribution network than Oncor Electric Delivery -- serving more than 7 million customers in Texas, with over 102,000 miles of distribution lines and 4 million network nodes. To help ensure that power keeps flowing, Oncor has created a detailed, dynamic, near-real-time model of its entire distribution network. On Feb. 5 at DistribuTECH, Larry Kohrmann, Senior Distribution Operations Manager for Oncor, will explain how this model was created, how it works, and how it has enhanced Oncor's operations.
    According to Kohrmann, modeling a distribution network is a major undertaking -- but it offers substantial advantages over mere monitoring. Modeling the network allows tools such as distribution network applications or an outage management system (OMS) to provide a clearer "reality check" of what's happening on an network -- enabling more accurate deployment of resources when restoring power.

    "For example, if we have an outage, or need to reconfigure some feeders, a model would tell us with reasonable accuracy how much load we are moving between switches," said Kohrmann.
    Also, modeling provides more accurate fault detection and deployment of repair teams. "It's a reality check on the outage management system," Kohrmann said. "If a customer experiencing an outage has been connected to the wrong transformer, that can cause the OMS to incorrectly show where an outage is.
    With our model, it's less likely that we'd send a crew out on a wild goose chase.

    "A distribution network model also can provide more accurate information for customers, especially estimates of power restoration times. This, in turn, tends to improve customer satisfaction indices -- important to both utilities and regulators.
    Furthermore, modeling supports simulation -- allowing utility staff to virtually "try out" certain measures (such as repairing equipment, rerouting power, switching or replacing assets) to predict likely effects. Data support from OMNETRIC GroupOncor built its own distribution network model, with assistance from OMNETRIC Group (a joint venture between Siemens and Accenture). Jayapal Parakkuth, OMNETRIC's Vice President for Grid Operations, clarified the practical daily value of simulation.
    "If I'm about to open a switch, I'd want to study what might happen, what ripple effects might arise on the network. You can test that in the model," he said. Kohrmann agrees.
    "This isn't just about outage management," he said. "Every day we have planned outages and planned switching.

    We would like to be able to simulate these tasks in our model as part of our routine operations.
    "Large numbers of Oncor staff across many departments "touch" the model on a daily basis. Also, the model continuously receives and analyzes data from many sources across the network (smart meters, grid sensors and more) -- as well as from interconnected IT systems, such as outage management. With so many variables, maintaining the model's accuracy is a paramount priority and challenge.
    Kohrmann explained that Oncor uses advanced analytics and data cleanup tools for every aspect of the model.

    They also perform ongoing field verification, and run error-detecting scripts. "This database is big, really big," said Kohrmann.
    "Every time the model gets touched -- by a developer or operator -- those changes get tracked and resolved to keep the model accurate. "Besides responding to outages and keeping customers informed, a distribution network model can also support network planning -- an increasingly challenging task, with the fast rise of distributed generation. Vasan Krishnaswamy, OMNETRIC's Vice President of Analytics, observed that such modeling can help utilities make both daily and long-term decisions about system loading.
    It can also support predictive maintenance and network expansion -- by analyzing trend data for, say, how often certain transformers have been overloaded. Many utilities don't have robust in-house capacities to handle big data and advanced modeling. OMNETRIC Group works with utilities to provide tools and expertise for data analytics and cleansing.
    "It's not practical to construct a model for a large network feeder by feeder," said Parakkuth. "Using the right data tools significantly speeds up the process.

    "What's next for Oncor's distribution network model? Simply to keep it running, and keep it accurate.
    "This will always be a work in progress," said Kohrmann. "A model like this is never really finished. "More about Siemens at DistribuTECH 2015.
    12

    > more news in this sector

    GE Researcher: Putting GE Beliefs into Action

    Several weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Global Leadership Meeting held near Lake George, New York. As a first time attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect or how, if at all, I would be able [...]
    Several weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Global Leadership Meeting held near Lake George, New York. As a first time attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect or how, if at all, I would be able to adequately relay my experience to the members of my laboratory or my project teams. Fortunately, I was unnecessarily worried, because after having some time to personally reflect on the GLM, and then participating in my own Technology Organization’s GLM, I came away with a strong sense of two important themes that truly resonated with me as a leader in GE Global Research. Both of these themes are related to our culture as a company and are encapsulated, perhaps not obviously, in the GE Beliefs.
    Like many other engineers and scientists working at GE Global Research, I consider myself a bit of a technology maven; constantly curious about technology being developed both inside and outside of our company, especially disruptive technologies. Disruption is like a game where strategy and speed are always in tension – part chess, part race – and I am passionately energized by it.

    In this light, it’s not surprising that the first thing that struck me during the GLM was the focus on some of the new technology thrusts happening within GE.
    Changing the technology landscape Of particular note is the pursuit of a bold strategy to marry the digital and physical sciences in an aggressive bid to disrupt the industrial markets we play in. We’re calling it the industrial internet and, at its core, is the concept of pairing up the “internet of things” that has taken the consumer market by storm, with our company’s deep and longstanding expertise in complex, physical engineering. This is more than just a science project; it’s an adaptation to the changing technology landscape.
    The rise of big data analytics and the confluence of the physical and digital is something that we’ve recognized as essential to staying relevant in an extremely fast-moving industrial landscape.

    Hearing the great talks about this emerging technology at the GLM, and understanding the scope of our investments in this area, helped reinforce a core tenet of GE’s that has always motivated me as an employee: we’re taking an offensive position in this technology area, and we’re doing so to lead, not to follow. We’re attempting to disrupt the landscape, and we’re playing to win.

    To me, this truly epitomizes the GE Belief: Learn and Adapt to Win, and is just one example of the many ways for how we’re doing it as a company. Thinking and acting as one team Another element of the GLM that resonated with me centered on the recurring theme of collaboration. Now more than ever, with innovation happening at an unprecedented rate, we need to think and act as one team within GE. Regardless of our function, our experience, or our technology area, it is essential to acknowledge that everyone on our team brings something of value to the goals we’re striving to accomplish.
    Sure, when things are moving fast, it might seem easier to go it alone – but if we don’t take the time to embrace and empower one another, we will undoubtedly be disadvantaged against our competitors who are working equally hard to innovate. I’m a big believer in teamwork, and am inspired every day by the teams we’ve built to solve some of the world’s toughest technology problems.

    In my view, the words reflected in the GE Belief: Empower and Inspire Each Other perfectly captures the spirit of teamwork and collaborative culture we must continue to foster within GE. As a lab manager and project leader, I know that this can begin with me. In short, my takeaways from the GLM revolved around our cutting-edge technology and our people, the two things that have made GE the company that it is today. Every day, I’m personally inspired by those around me; the people on my teams; and the tough technical challenges we’re trying to overcome together at Global Research.
    Being able to see, firsthand, our GE Beliefs being put to practice at the top levels of leadership underscored the fact that the way we approach new and exciting problems in technology, together, isn’t anything new – it’s simply the way we work.

    The post GE Researcher: Putting GE Beliefs into Action appeared first on GE Global Research.
    13

    > more news in this sector

    Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Ethicists Question Impact of Hospital Advertising

    Hospital Advertising
    By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 If you have ever "googled" illness symptoms and possible treatments, you are not alone. A national Pew Research Center survey indicated that 72 percent of adults searched the Internet for health information in the past [...]
    By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 If you have ever "googled" illness symptoms and possible treatments, you are not alone. A national Pew Research Center survey indicated that 72 percent of adults searched the Internet for health information in the past year. But, how reliable is that information and what are the ethical implications? In a commentary piece published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Carnegie Mellon University's Alex John London and the University of Pittsburgh's Yael Schenker question the impact of health information that is available online, specifically hospital advertisements. London and Schenker argue that while the Internet offers patients valuable data and tools — including hospital quality ratings and professional treatment guidelines — that may help them when facing decisions about where to seek care or whether to undergo a medical procedure, reliable and unbiased information may be hard to identify among the growing number of medical care advertisements online.
    "The marketing objective of selling services by making them seem attractive to consumers can create tensions or outright conflict with the ethical imperative of respect for persons, since the latter requires that patients make medical decisions in light of balanced information about the full range of risks and benefits associated with their care," said London, professor of philosophy in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy.

    Referencing a research article in the same journal issue that found hospital websites failed to disclose risk information for transaortic valve replacement (TAVR), a recently approved procedure to treat patients whose aortic valve does not open fully, London and Schenker pinpoint four risk concerns for patients seeking medical information online: 1. Identifying Advertising — Hospital websites often have the appearance of an education portal, leaving patients to assume that the information presented is informational, not persuasive. 2. Finding Unbiased Information — Unlike FDA-regulated direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs, hospital advertising is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and subject to the same "reasonable" standards applied to advertisements for common consumer goods such as cars and cereal.
    While hospital advertisements may describe specific medical interventions that entail significant risks, there is no legal requirement that these risks be disclosed. 3.

    Recognizing Incomplete or Imbalanced Information — Poor-quality medical information is hard to recognize unless the person reading it is a trained clinician.
    4. Influence on Health Care Decisions — As patients seek out information online, the quality of their decision-making and care choices will be influenced by the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information they are likely to encounter. To begin to fix the risk to patients seeking medical information online, London and Schenker recommend to clearly label hospital websites as advertisements; allocate resources to created balanced online informational tools; and focus future attention on not only the content of health care advertising but its impact.

    For more information, visit http: //www. hss. cmu. edu/philosophy/faculty-london.
    php. ### In a commentary piece published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Carnegie Mellon's Alex John London and Pitt's Yael Schenker question the impact of health information that is available online.

    14

    > more news in this sector

    Some Unconventional Approaches to Stress: Pioneering Ideas Podcast Episode 7

    A man asking for money on the subway this week told me how Hurricane Sandy led to a series of events that left him stressed out by the challenges of putting food [...]
    A man asking for money on the subway this week told me how Hurricane Sandy led to a series of events that left him stressed out by the challenges of putting food on the table for his children. Recessions, hurricanes, violence—how many ways can we count that add stress to our lives? Whether dealing with economic stress, the stress of caring for an aging parent, or even the stress of keeping up with email, research shows that all of it affects our health.

    As Alexandra Drane, a guest in the latest episode of RWJF’s Pioneering Ideas podcast, puts it: “When life goes wrong, health goes wrong. ” This episode of the Pioneering Ideas podcast explores unconventional approaches to tackling stress­—and other health problems—with energizing possibilities that could also transform health and health care. From monitoring electricity use as a way of helping the elderly stay in their homes, to measuring the indirect health effects of social services (what if heating assistance led to greater medication adherence?), these conversations offer cutting-edge ideas for building a Culture of Health. Listen now, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you can easily keep up with new episodes, as well as past episodes.

    In this episode: Cutting-Edge Approaches to Helping the Elderly Age in Place: How can tracking electricity usage help senior citizens age in place—and reduce stress for caregivers? Listen in as my colleague Paul Tarini and Paul Tang, MD, MS, of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation talk about innovations coming out of the linkAges Connect program, which RWJF supports.

    How Understanding Scarcity Can Help Build a Culture of Health: Harvard economist and TED speaker Sendhil Mullainathan chats with me about how the ideas in his book with co-author Eldar Shafir, Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives, apply to transforming health and health care.

    Personal Essay: When Life Goes Wrong, Health Goes Wrong: “We need to formally acknowledge that helping someone survive a divorce is just as important as helping someone with their diabetes,” argues entrepreneur and speaker Alexandra Drane in her personal vision for building a Culture of Health. Let me know what you think about the ideas in this episode. How do they relate to pioneering work you’re doing? What possibilities do they suggest to you? What questions do they inspire? Let’s keep the conversation going. Leave a comment below, or tweet me at @lorimelichar—you can use the hashtag #RWJFPodcast.
    And if you’ve got a pioneering idea for building a Culture of Health, I encourage you to learn more and submit a proposal. .

    15

    > more news in this sector

    Live webcast, Feb. 4: How utilities can benefit from disruptive change

    Disruption is hitting the utility industry from almost every direction -- bringing both challenges and opportunities. The key to effective response for utilities is to switch from a defensive attitude to a proactive one. At DistribuTECH 2015, John Cooper [...]
    Disruption is hitting the utility industry from almost every direction -- bringing both challenges and opportunities. The key to effective response for utilities is to switch from a defensive attitude to a proactive one. At DistribuTECH 2015, John Cooper of Siemens Business Transformation will lead a discussion about disruption and innovation with utility industry experts:REGISTER NOW FOR LIVE WEBCAST: When Grid Optimization is Not Enough: Making Cents of Disruptive Change Feb 4, 9:30 a. m.
    PST (UTC -8)"For the first time, building-based energy systems can partially or wholly replace the power that customers have been getting from utility grids," said Cooper. "The old utility business model relied on recovering big expenditures over 30 years from a dependent rate base.

    The advent of distributed generation has challenged the ability of utilities to make long-term investments.
    "As utilities consider how to move forward, Cooper encourages them to think more in more evolutionary terms. "Grid optimization" (through automation, digitalization and smart technologies) is an increasingly key concept; the "smart grid" is just one aspect of this overall digital strategy. This can help fuel an innovation spiral in the utility industry.
    Disruptive technologies that will impact the grid include distributed energy resources and energy efficiency measures -- such as renewables, fuel cells, microturbines, radiant barriers in attics, windows with photovoltaic film, small combined light, heat and power, and many other building based technologies.

    Right now, many utilities still view the impact of these technologies mainly as a threat to revenue. However a mindset shift -- from being merely a seller of electric power, to providing the most optimized and reliable power grid -- can reveal new revenue opportunities.
    "Managing the grid remains a core part of the utility business. Utilities still need to be the best grid operators possible. They need to make the grid more reliable, and to lower the cost of operation," said Cooper.
    Nearly all of the technologies being promoted at DistribuTECH are focused on grid optimization, he observed -- which can empower utilities to turn disruption into opportunity. However, utility regulation generally has lagged behind the pace of technological and business change. Cooper argues that the window is closing for utilities to capitalize on disruptive industry trends, while remaining intact as businesses.
    He suggests that utilities consider becoming more active and collaborative regarding regulatory change. In a forthcoming white paper, The Art of Managed Transition, Cooper examines the nature of utility industry disruption in detail, and outlines a roadmap to strategic change.

    Also, later this year, the second edition of Cooper's book, The Advanced Smart Grid: Edge Power Driving Sustainability (co-authored with Andres Carvallo), will feature a major rewrite of Chapter 6, on distributed energy resources and industry disruption. "If utilities want to stay in the driver's seat of the power industry, they will need to manage business transformation -- so that change happens according to their preferred process, in what may be called a 'managed transition,'" Cooper said. "Utilities can leverage disruptive trends -- which will happen anyway -- to their business advantage. Don't build a wall to keep the surf out; get good at surfing.
    "More about Siemens at DistribuTECH 2015.
    16

    > more news in this sector

    CLIC prototype operational

    CLIC workshop 2015 (Image: Noemi Caraban Gonzalez) At the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) test facility you see none of the heavy-duty steel pipes that characterise the dipole magnets of the LHC. Instead – true to the acronym– you find [...]
    CLIC workshop 2015 (Image: Noemi Caraban Gonzalez) At the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) test facility you see none of the heavy-duty steel pipes that characterise the dipole magnets of the LHC. Instead – true to the acronym– you find a compact accelerator module, fed by high-power waveguides, cables and cooling tubes, which sits elegantly on a custom-made mechanical structure that can be moved in all directions to ultra-high precision. The module will test out all the little details that turn a metal structure into a functioning accelerator part – frequency, losses, damping, acceleration, deceleration. CLIC is one of the potential follow-up projects to the LHC, alongside the International Linear Collider and the Future Circular Collider studies.
    It is designed to produces head-on collisions between electrons and positrons accelerated in a 50-kilomtre-long straight line using a unique acceleration technique where one particle beam drives another like a gigantic power converter. The project published its Conceptual Design Report in 2012, proving that the technologies planned for this ultra-precise machine are working.

    Now it is in a project preparation phase, where these technologies are tested, improved, made more efficient and more reliable, and where physicists and engineers take a closer look at the cost of the individual components.
    All this is where the new module comes in. It’s the first module that has been integrated into the test facility and has all the functions of future CLIC modules. Many of the different techniques and technologies needed for CLIC’s sophisticated drive-beam acceleration – where one beam of electrons pushes another by transferring its energy – have been tested individually in the past.
    The CLIC researchers have proven that they can generate the high-current drive beam; that they can accelerate it and slow it right down again for the energy transfer to the main beam; that the beam can have the designated gradient and quality; and that the energy from the drive beam can actually be transferred to the main beam at the right frequency through the power-extraction and transfer structures.

    They have also shown that the accelerating structure can reach a gradient of 105 MV/m at a pulse length of 240 nanoseconds and with a low breakdown rate in separate high-power tests. Now the CLIC team have put it all together in the prototype module, added CLIC-type alignment systems, accelerating structures with higher-order-mode damping, and integrated diagnostics tools such as wakefield monitors – and they are testing it with beam.
    “It’s a complex system, and our very first experiments look promising,” says CERN’s Steffen Doebert, who is part of the team that developed the module. “We have to check all the connections and calibrate the module before installing a second super accelerating structure consisting of two accelerator units. ” The two super structures will be installed on the same girder and then tested with beam (another two modules are being built and will be tested without beam).
    With the help of the diagnostic tools integrated into the module, which can detect very small fields, the researchers know where the beam is at any time within the structure. They can also make beam-based corrections thanks to a very precise alignment system developed by the CERN Metrology Group and a silicon carbide support that can be adjusted in all directions. “After all we need to be precise down to ten microns,” says Doebert.
    The module development has been a large effort within the CLIC collaboration with contributions from outside institutions and CERN groups. Their annual collaboration meeting took place at CERN this week, 26 - 30 January 2015.

    .
    17

    > more news in this sector

    Game On

    "Why is my heart broken?" asked Dani Belko, a producer at Schell Games, as she played a videogame called "A Plug's Life" on a large screen in Carnegie Mellon University's Hunt Library. Controlling a small electrical socket (with a [...]
    "Why is my heart broken?" asked Dani Belko, a producer at Schell Games, as she played a videogame called "A Plug's Life" on a large screen in Carnegie Mellon University's Hunt Library. Controlling a small electrical socket (with a comically split heart) around a virtual world, she was play-testing games as part of this year's Global Game Jam, the world's largest game creation event where people created and shared games online over 48 hours. This year's theme was "What Do We Do Now?" Some 25,000 people created more than 5,000 games in 78 countries Jan. 23-25.
    At CMU's Pittsburgh campus, students formed eight teams. The Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe) served as host, keeping students fed and caffeinated.

    Tom Corbett, special faculty from Electronic Arts, organized the local event, which served as the first assignment for his course in game design.
    "The opportunity to host the Global Game Jam was an obvious exercise for students in the game programming, design and production courses of the IDeATe minors as well as for students in the graduate program of the Entertainment Technology Center. The jam provided further experience to our students on how to quickly generate innovative ideas in games and prototype them through teamwork," said Thanassis Rikakis, vice provost for Design, Arts and Technology. Teams received the theme on Friday night and set to work.
    "The scope is very important when you only have 48 hours.

    I showed them 'Call of Duty' and said, 'You're not doing that. ' I showed them 'Angry Birds' and said, 'Maybe you're doing one level of this,'" Corbett said.
    Teams mixed designers, programmers and artists. The team behind "A Plug's Life" started with a large idea board, where everyone brainstormed and looked for similar themes. They decided to turn the traditional video game on its head.
    "You'll actually rotate the entire environment instead of us giving you abilities like jumping," said Jacob Slone (CS'16). The animated socket begins by falling endlessly into an abyss until the player figures out to turn the screen to land. As Belko noticed, the socket has a broken heart as it journeys to find its true love — a plug.
    Another team started its process around how the members wanted players to feel. "We didn't want frustrated bewilderment, but more of 'What's going on and how do I deal with it?'" said Tom Garncarz (DC'17).

    The team created "You Have to Die," a tongue-in-cheek rendering of a character being reincarnated.
    During one level, players became an ant whose goal was to be eaten by a bird. Another level turned players into a potato that must roll across a counter into a boiling pot. Most teams pulled all-nighters Saturday.
    For testing, Corbett pulled in a panel that included Daragh Byrne, Intel special faculty with IDeATe; Matt Stewart, co-founder of Digital Dream Labs; and Belko.

    At the end of the weekend, Corbett announced the winners of the audience's and judges' choices. "You Have to Die" swept both categories.
    "You all now have a completed game in your portfolio that you can talk about and the battle scars to prove it," Corbett said. "And yes, we have class tomorrow morning. "Check out the games (and play them).
    Related Links IDeATe Entertainment Technology Center CMU-Q hosts third annual national 'Hackathon'.
    18

    > more news in this sector

    Image of the Week: Medicine Corner India

    Medicine Corner
    Our image of the week shows an old Hakim (a practitioner of traditional medicine) as he looks out of his shop at the hustle and bustle of the street outside. The photograph was taken near Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, [...]
    Our image of the week shows an old Hakim (a practitioner of traditional medicine) as he looks out of his shop at the hustle and bustle of the street outside. The photograph was taken near Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, India. India has a long history of traditional medical knowledge systems such as Ayurveda and Unani and many are still widely practiced today. The country has been a pioneer in medical science, but high-quality, universal healthcare for the masses remains elusive.
    Some studies suggest there may only be one formally trained physician per 8,000 villagers in India, and that informal practitioners like hakims, roadside dentists and bonesetters outnumber qualified doctors 23 to 1. This photograph is one of many stills taken by award-winning audio-visual act BLOT! during their research for a new music video exploring India’s informal health sector.

    The video was commissioned by Wellcome Collection as the first part of a new Wellcome Collection global project called ‘Medicine Corner’ – a yearlong programme of cultural activity that will celebrate and interrogate India’s diverse cultures of medicine.
    The project launched this week in Chennai with a live performance by BLOT! and will culminate in a major exhibition in Mumbai in January 2016. Along the way the project will involve many different artists, practitioners and partners, including the British Council, the Dharavi Biennale. It will explore health practices, healing and well-being, and examine the challenges and opportunities of health care in India in the 21st century.
    BLOT!’s video is a “light-hearted audio-visual journey that revolves around select, splendid street-doctors, quacks and messiahs of India”.

    To experience it for yourself, visit the Medicine Corner India website. Filed under: Public Engagement, Wellcome Collection, Wellcome Featured Image Tagged: India, Medicine Corner, Wellcome Collection .
    19

    > more news in this sector

    Looking at the smart home and wondering about the smart enterprise

    business questions.png
    I came across this post about a self-actualization-house and it made me wonder about the application of these techniques within an enterprise. The concept of this house definitely takes the concept of an environmental view of the IoT to [...]
    I came across this post about a self-actualization-house and it made me wonder about the application of these techniques within an enterprise. The concept of this house definitely takes the concept of an environmental view of the IoT to a whole new level. Although the concept of a house that can create energy and address its needs would be nice for an enterprise as well, there are so many more resources that enterprises consume that needs to be optimized beyond just energy. With the use of analytics and other techniques having a ‘dumb’ enterprise may be just as unacceptable as the ‘dumb’ house in the article.
    Business process autopilots will be as common as thermostats. I’ve not really thought about the needs from the same level of stage 1-8 that the article has done for the house but I can see it coming.

    Taking the articles final thoughts and replacing: Born -> HiredHome -> BusinessLive -> WorkFamily -> Co-workersLeads to an interesting perspective of the enterprise of tomorrow.
    20

    > more news in this sector

    « Back to main news page

    Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next