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Grads@Rochester: News for University of Rochester Graduate Students (Dec. 14, 2014)
year in pictures, diversity conference proposals, Eastman Grammy nods, College Town addition, finals week,  PhD defenses
News and Announcements

A Look Back at the Year That Was

Take a look back at 2014 through photos and top news stories from the University.

Diversity Conference Call for Proposals

Graduate students are invited to submit proposals for workshops and posters at the University’s 2015 diversity conference, which will take place Friday, April 17. This year's conference, “From Bystander to Ally,” focuses on intersecting identities, social justice, and unconscious bias. Workshop proposal submissions can showcase best practices, research, outreach strategies, training methods, and other topics related to the theme. Read more about the theme and proposal process.

Q&i Service to Launch in Carlson Library

When you return for the spring semester, you’ll notice a new service at Carlson Library called “Questions and Information,” or “Q&i.” Like Q&i in Rush Rhees Library, Q&i in Carlson will be an easy-to-navigate, all-purpose service point at the existing circulation desk. Library staff members with a broad range of knowledge and expertise will be available to assist you seven days a week, and librarians will offer enhanced, individualized support for research and scholarship, both in-person and virtually.

Eastman School Artists Earn Grammy Nominations

Paul O'Dette, professor of lute, and mastering engineer Bob Ludwig '66E, '01E (MM) are among the Eastman School artists nominated in the 57th annual Grammy Awards. Read more...

Health Insurance Post Graduation

If you are insured by the University-sponsored Aetna Student Health insurance plan and are graduating in December, your coverage will end Wednesday, Dec. 31. Read more...

Open Letter Books Awarded NEA Grant

Open Letter Books, the University’s literary translation press, has received one of this year’s largest Arts Works grants in literature from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $60,000 grant will support the publication and promotion of several books in 2015, including Rochester Knockings, a novel based on the Rochester-based religious movement of Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters.

Program Prepares Students for Careers Outside Academia

The University's Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (URBEST) program seeks to better prepare graduate students and postdoctoral trainees in biomedical research for careers outside of academia. Fill out the survey-application here. The final date to apply is Friday, Dec. 19.

University Renews Fringe Festival Commitment

The University has renewed its commitment to the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival for next year's festival, Sept. 15–26. The University presents work by students, faculty, and staff from the River Campus and the Eastman School at the annual fall festival.

Chinese Government Scholarship Available

The Chinese Government Scholarship, sponsored by the Chinese Scholarship Council in China and the Chinese Consulate in New York, provides an opportunity for one year of study in either Mandarin or an academic discipline through one of the approved participating universities.  The scholarship is open to undergraduates in their final year of study or current graduate students. The University is allowed to nominate one candidate and two alternates. Contact the Office for Global Engagement with any questions.

New Campus Cable TV Service Coming Soon

A new cable TV service will be rolled out across the River Campus beginning Dec. 29. The change will affect all residential halls, fraternity housing, other on-campus housing, and any other River Campus buildings currently receiving cable and data services from Time Warner Cable. The Eastman School, University Park, Whipple Park, Brooks Crossing, Riverview, and the Maisonettes will not be affected.  The new service will feature an expanded channel lineup including channels from Direct TV, MTVU, and several foreign language channels. Full details are available on the UR Cable TV website. If you have previously subscribed to premium TV, Road Runner, digital phone services, or a set-top box service through Time Warner, these will no longer work on the River Campus and you should contact Time Warner customer service to discontinue the service. Contact the IT Help Desk at 275-2000 with any questions about the new service.

Survey: Technology Vending Machine Coming Soon

The UR Tech Store will be installing a vending machine in the IT Center in January to help meet your tech needs at any time, day or night. The vending machine will accept Flex and credit card payments. Store staff welcome your feedback on the types of products you would like to see in the vending machines. Complete the short survey on the new UR Tech Store Facebook page, or email suggestions to

Moe's to Open in College Town

Moe's Southwest Grill is scheduled to open in College Town on Thursday, Dec. 18.

Grads@Rochester Takes a Break

Grads@Rochester will be on hiatus for the next few weeks. It will return to your inbox Sunday, Jan. 11. Send submissions to

This Week
Study Space, Snacks, and Solace during Finals Week

River Campus libraries offer the following services during finals week.
Extended Hours: Rush Rhees Library is open 24/7 through Saturday, Dec. 20. The Art/Music Library and the POA Library will have extended hours.
Study Breaks: Carlson Library will serve snacks and desserts on Monday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m. on the second floor. Rush Rhees Library will serve snacks and pizza on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. in the Welles-Brown Room. Granola bars and fruit will be available through Friday, Dec. 19, beginning at 9 p.m. in Q&i and in the Gleason Library in Rush Rhees.
Free Coffee: The POA Library and Carlson Library are serving free coffee throughout exam week.
Pet a Therapy Dog: “PAWS” to relieve stress by petting a therapy dog on Monday, Dec. 15, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Friedlander Lobby of Rush Rhees.
Encouragement: Find inspiration for yourself and your fellow students through the “Take an Encouragement” program. Through Monday, Dec. 22, write some motivational words on a Post-It and then take one for yourself. Stations will be located throughout the libraries.

Upcoming PhD Thesis Defenses

The following PhD defenses are scheduled this week.
Vijaya Balakrishnan, biomedical genetics, "Regulation of Autophagy and Lysosome Integrity by Plac8 in Cancer," Monday, Dec, 15, 11 a.m., Upper Auditorium (3-7691), Medical Center. Advisor: Harmut Land.
Hsi-Min Hsiao, pathology and laboratory medicine, "Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators in the Resolution of Lung Inflammation," Tuesday, Dec. 16, 9 a.m., Upper Auditorium (3-7691), Medical Center. Advisor: Patricia Sime.
Rajashri Sridharan, biochemistry and biophysics, "Relationship between Receptor Occupancy and Signaling Responses in Ste2p, a G Protein Coupled Receptor in Saccharomyces cerevisiae," Tuesday, Dec. 16, 10 a.m., Neuman Room (1-6823), Medical Center. Advisor: Mark Dumont.
Fen Qiu, chemistry, "Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production," Tuesday, Dec. 16, 12:30 p.m., Hutchison Hall 473. Advisor: Todd Krauss.
Jordan Aldersley, biomedical genetics, "Shared Role for Critical Mediator Genes in Ras-dependent and Ras-independent Malignant Cell Transformation," Tuesday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m., Ryan Case Method Room (1-9576), Medical Center. Advisor: Harmut Land.
Cunming Liu, materials science, "Exciton Relaxation and Electron Transfer Dynamics of Semiconductor Quantum Dots," Wednesday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m., Hopeman Engineering Building 224. Advisor:Todd Krauss.
Peter McCarthy, optics, "Gradient-Index Materials, Design, and Metrology for Broadband Imaging Systems," Thursday, Dec. 18, 9 a.m., Goergen Hall 108. Advisor: Duncan Moore.
Zexuan Dong, materials science, "Electrospinning and Characterization of Composite Membranes for Biomedical Applications," Thursday, Dec. 18, 9 a.m., Hopeman Engineering Building 224. Advisor: Yiquan Wu.
Konstantinos Menychtas, computer science, "Fair, Protected OS-level Scheduling for Fast Computational Accelerators," Thursday, Dec. 18, 9:30 a.m., Computer Studies Building 703. Advisor: Michael Scott.
Denise Skrombolas, microbiology and immunology, "Development and Characterization of Protease Activated Cytokine Fusion Proteins," Thursday, Dec. 18, 2:30 p.m., Auditorium K207 (2-6408), Medical Center. Advisor: John Frelinger
Li Lu, computer science, "Designing for the Simple Case in a Parallel Scripting Language," Friday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m., Computer Studies Building 703. Advisor: Michael Scott.
Seyed Hashemi Rafsanjan, physics, "Theory of Multipartite Entanglement for X-states," Friday, Dec. 19, 2 p.m., Bausch and Lomb Hall 375. Advisor: Joseph Eberly.

Day of the Dogs

Relieve some of the stress of finals Monday, Dec. 15, the “Day of the Dogs.” “PAWS for Stress Relief,” hosted by the UHS Health Promotion Office, Healthy Monday, and Active Minds will be held in the Goergen Athletic Center lobby from 6 to 7:30 p.m. You can also visit dogs in the front lobby of Rush Rhees Library from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The program at the library, which is sponsored by UR PAWS and Sigma Delta Tau, will include snacks.

Healthy Monday Sendoff

Build your own trail mix with the Healthy Monday team from 3 to 4 p.m. or 8 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15, outside the tunnel entrance by ITS. Stop by, build a snack, and enjoy! For more information on Healthy Monday check out the group's Facebook page.

Rochester in the News
Mice Injected with Human Brain Cells Get Smarter, Scientists Say

Washington Post (Dec. 9)
The altered mice still have mouse neurons—the “thinking” cells that make up around half of all their brain cells. But practically all their glial cells, the ones that support the neurons, are human. “It’s still a mouse brain, not a human brain,” says Steve Goldman, the Dean Zutes Chair in Biology of the Aging Brain, Medical Center Distinguished Professor in Neurosciences, and codirector of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine. “But all the non-neuronal cells are human.”

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