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In the Headlines

January 2015

USA TODAY (January 20)

Scientists make metal surfaces water-repellent

droplets bouncing off a small metal plateTwo University of Rochester scientists have found a way of using powerful laser beams to make metal surfaces last longer and be more suitable for a wide range of practical purposes. "We change the nature of the metal surface so that they can repel water," said Chunlei Guo, who is a professor of optics and physics at UR.

(Also reported in: BBC News, CNN, Gizmodo UK, The Economist, ABC News,, Gizmag, The Weather Channel,, Huffington Post UK, Newsweek, The Daily Mail (UK), Discovery News, BBC News Scotland, 13WHAM-TV, WHEC-TV, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Science Daily, Science Daily, Headlines & Global News, Time, Popular Science, The Christian Science Monitor, The Week, The Nation, National Monitor, The Independent (UK), UPI, Irish Examiner,, Live Science,, The Globe and Mail (video), Newsledge, SlashGear, UberGizmo, Lab Manager Magazine, Radio New Zealand, Syracuse Post Standard, Time Warner Cable News, WROC-TV, Discovery News, Nature World News, Business Insider, America Herald, Geek, Tech Fragments, Design ENGINEERING, CNET News and more)

Time Magazine (January 26)

Rings Like Saturn's, but Supersized

rings around a planetThink you've seen big rings in our own solar system? Not even close. When the University of Rochester's Eric Mamajek tells other astronomers about the object he and his colleagues discovered about 430 light-years from Earth, they tend to be skeptical - very skeptical. And no wonder: What he's found is a giant ring system, sort of like Saturn's, but some 200 times bigger, circling what may be an exoplanet between ten and 40 times the size of Jupiter. If you put these rings in our own Solar System, they'd stretch all the way from the Earth to the Sun, a distance of 93 million miles (150 km). And what's more, there's evidence that the rings are sculpted by at least one exomoon, something that also happens at Saturn, but not remotely on this scale.

(Also reported in: BBC News, The Independent, Washington Post, USA Today, UPI, Daily Mail (UK), Discovery News, CNET News, Palm Beach Post, India Today, International Business Times UK, Fox News, Forbes, The Christian Science Monitor, Space Daily, Democratic Underground, States Chronicle, 13-WHAM TV, WXXI News, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Huffington Post, Yahoo! Finance, io9, SlashGear, , National Geographic, Popular Science, The Weather Channel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia Broadcasting Corporation, The Australian (video), Astronomy Magazine, WROC-TV )

The New York Times (January 17)

Is a Climate Disaster Inevitable?

graphic of sun over lone treeAdam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a co-founder of NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog and the author of “About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang.” OUR galaxy, the Milky Way, is home to almost 300 billion stars, and over the last decade, astronomers have made a startling discovery — almost all those stars have planets. The fact that nearly every pinprick of light you see in the night sky hosts a family of worlds raises a powerful but simple question: “Where is everybody?” Hundreds of billions of planets translate into a lot of chances for evolving intelligent, technologically sophisticated species. So why don’t we see evidence for E.T.s everywhere? The physicist Enrico Fermi first formulated this question, now called the Fermi paradox, in 1950. But in the intervening decades, humanity has recognized that our own climb up the ladder of technological sophistication comes with a heavy price. From climate change to resource depletion, our evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis. In the wake of this realization, new and sobering answers to Fermi’s question now seem possible.

(Also reported in: The New York Times Sunday Review)

CNN (January 7)

Experts invent invisibility cloak

man with lens which makes his eye 'disappear'Researchers at the University of Rochester create a 3-D, transmitting, continuously multidirectional cloaking device.

(Also reported in: Chicago Sun-Times, The Inquisitr, WZVN-TV, Las Vegas Review Journal, Uproxx, Mic, Red Orbit, MTV, WJTC-TV UTV 44 Mobile (AL), The Mary Sue )

NBC News (January 13)

New AIDS Vaccine Comes in a Capsule

capsule with anti-AIDS pillWanted: Volunteers to test an experimental new AIDS vaccine that is needle-free. The catch? You have to be willing to stay locked up in your room for 12 days. The new vaccine comes in a capsule and it's made using a common cold virus called an adenovirus, genetically engineered with a tiny piece of the AIDS virus. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are testing it in their specially designed facility usually used to test live influenza vaccines. The trial, which started Tuesday, is being paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We've had success doing this before. The facility is very nice," says Dr. John Treanor, a vaccine expert at Rochester who's helping lead the study.

(Also reported in: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, WHEC-TV, Time Warner Cable News, 13WHAM-TV, WROC-TV, Fort Collings Examiner, Medical Xpress, CCTV-America )

Pacific Standard (January 27)

The Koch Brothers' Influence Will Go Way Beyond the 2016 Campaign

American flag and moneyThe Koch brothers are reportedly raising nearly $900 million for the 2016 presidential election. Recent research suggests this money could impact politics at every level. This latest case of the Koch brothers is an extremity, of course, but it ties in to the national trend of unloading cash on political campaigns. So how does that kind of large-scale spending affect our politicians-to-be? Rest assured (or maybe stay disturbed), money can determine a party’s agenda, keep legislation off the floor, and, perhaps most significantly, determine certain bills’ language, according to a 2012 study by Lynda Powell, a political science professor at the University of Rochester. Analyzing legislators from all 50 states, Powell found that the real danger wasn’t so much who is getting elected, but rather how earmarked legislation might benefit special interest groups. Powell’s research dealt with state legislators, but her discovery that campaign money holds more value in states with well-paid legislators and professional leadership structures certainly raises an eyebrow; Washington, D.C., is, after all, the most professional leadership structure, with the highest paid legislators.

Fox News (January 6)

More evidence against keeping electronics in kids’ bedrooms

boy reading an iPad in bedParents concerned about their children not getting enough sleep may want to remove televisions and other small electronics from the kids’ bedrooms, according to a new study. Children who slept with televisions or other small-screened devices in their bedrooms ended up getting less sleep than children without those electronics in the room, researchers found. It’s already known that televisions in children’s bedrooms are linked to worse sleep, said Dr. Heidi Connolly, head of sleep medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York. “The novel thing in this study is that it’s not just TV, it’s other screens,” said Connolly, who wasn’t involved with the new study.

(Also reported in: Capital OTC,, Huffington Post )

The Washington Post (January 2)

How brick-and-mortar stores can survive the Internet shopping craze

people shopping at retail marketBy George Cook George Cook is an executive professor of marketing and psychology at University of Rochester. Department stores and other brick-and-mortar retailers registered another lackluster holiday shopping season, while online sales have remained upbeat since Cyber Monday. As more consumers spend a larger share of their dollars online, does this signal the days of shopping at department stores and shopping malls are numbered? Cyber Monday sales this year were up 8.7 percent compared with 2013, led by a sharp increase in mobile transactions according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Sales over mobile devices jumped 29 percent. That’s a sharp contrast with the mostly bad news for brick-and-mortar stores, which saw about 6 million fewer shoppers over the Thanksgiving weekend, with overall spending down about 11 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.

(Also reported in: The Conversation )

WXXI PBS News (January 26)

Connections: Why Do Some Parents Skip Vaccinations?

Listen Listening... / 51:01 Why are some parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids? We're following the news of the Measles outbreak at Disneyland. The number of cases has grown to 81. Doctors are concerned about parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children in particular. Our panel will address vaccination, this case, and whether we're more likely to see similar stories as a result of the anti-vaccine movement. Our panel includes: Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg, pediatric infectious disease specialist at UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital Dr. Paul Graman, Clinical director of the infectious diseases division at UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital

BBC News (January 28)

Why we gamble like monkeys

We often make stupid choices when gambling, says Tom Stafford, but if you look at how monkeys act in the same situation, maybe there’s good reason. When we gamble, something odd and seemingly irrational happens. Why do people act this way time and time again? We can discover intriguing insights, it seems, by recruiting monkeys and getting them to gamble too. If these animals make dumb choices like us, perhaps it could tell us more about ourselves. The reason the result is so interesting is that monkeys aren't taught probability theory as school. They never learn theories of randomness, or pick up complex ideas about chance events. The monkey's choices must be based on some more primitive instincts about how the world works – they can't be displaying irrational beliefs about probability, because they cannot have false beliefs, in the way humans can, about how luck works. Yet they show the same bias. An experiment reported by Tommy Blanchard of the University of Rochester in New York State, and colleagues, shows that monkeys playing a gambling game are swayed by the same hot hand bias as humans. Their experiments involved three monkeys controlling a computer display with their eye-movements – indicating their choices by shifting their gaze left or right. In the experiment they were given two options, only one of which delivered a reward. When the correct option was random – the same 50:50 chance as a coin flip – the monkeys still had a tendency to select the previously winning option, as if luck should continue, clumping together in streaks.

(Also reported in: Red Orbit, Esquire )

The Atlantic Magazine (January 8)

The King, the Conspiracies, and the American Dream

"He stood for rock 'n' roll at a time when rock 'n' roll was rebellion, but I think Elvis stood for so many more things than that," said John Covach, a professor of music theory at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. "He was a southern kid, so he came from very humble roots. He became very popular and very rich and very famous. In this country, that's the American Dream. And that's the Elvis story."

(Also reported in: The Huffington Post)

National Geographic International (January 24)

Measles Are Back: Key Questions and Answers on Disease, Vaccinations

The battle against measles in the United States was considered won 15 years ago. Starting in 2000, virtually all new cases of measles came from abroad, and the disease was no longer regularly seen in the U.S. But around 60 people have contracted measles in the U.S. since just last month - most of them at two Disney theme parks in California. Parents of children that are too young to be vaccinated are being told to avoid those parks, and the state's department of health is warning other Californians who are unvaccinated to avoid public places that might draw international travelers. The outbreak has renewed criticism of the anti-vaccine movement, which is relatively popular in Orange County, where Disneyland is located. At some schools in the county, - as many as 60-80 percent of students had missed at least some of their vaccinations. In 2000 measles were declared eliminated from the United States "not that we were never seeing any measles, just that there wasn't transmission going on in our country," says Ann Marie Pettis, director of infection prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a board member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. "We saw primarily isolated cases after that."

(Also reported in: 13WHAM-TV ) (December 29, 2014)

A Provocative New Way To Think About Dementia

Just about everything you think you know about Alzheimers disease and other dementias is wrong. And because the conventional wisdom is so off-track,so are the ways we - both family members and professionals respond to those with dementia. That's Dr. G. Allen Powers' provocative message. He wants us to stop thinking that people with dementia are victims of a terrible debilitating disease that destroys their memory and perception. Instead, Power argues, dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world. In his new book Dementia Beyond Disease, Power argues that people with dementia are not psychotic or delusional. Rather, they see the world differently than others. Powers goal is not to treat a disease. It is to improve the well-being of those who have it. And unlike drug therapies, which have been high-cost failures, Power identifies dozens of ways that may enhance the lives of those with dementia. Dr. Power, who I have gotten to know through his work with the Eden Alternative group, is a passionate voice for those with dementia. A board-certified geriatrician and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, Al has spent two decades working in long-term care and rehabilitation, most recently at St. Johns Home in Rochester, N.Y.

Washington Post (January 8)

National Symphony Orchestra charms Central Union Mission with low brass

As part of the National Symphony Orchestra's "In Your Neighborhood: From Brookland to NoMa' series, three trombone players and one tuba player formed a quartet to play in front of the mainly homeless crowd before lunch Tuesday. The informal setting provided a humbling look at how the power of music can make even the most marginalized members of the community feel like they belong and are a part of something larger, even if their everyday lives don't indicate such. The rest of the event played out in similar fashion, switching back and forth between loud "right on!" comments and people enjoying the serenity of the moment with their heads bowed. There was enthusiastic applause after each song. The selections ranged from traditional orchestral music to other more "funked up" jams that got heads bobbing. "Trombone Institute of Technology" a song titled after a joke by students at the Eastman School of Music, in the same New York town as the Rochester Institute of Technology was particularly popular.

The Huffington Post (January 9)

6 Toxic People Who May Be Sabotaging Your Happiness

I once read a quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn that blatantly stated, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." It's an alarming thought -- shouldn't you be your own person, and not the sum of those around you? However, if you think about it, Rohn's theory kind of makes sense. We're influenced by our environment, which undoubtedly includes the people in it. If one of our "five people" wants to go out on a Saturday night, chances are we will, too. If they have a specific opinion on how to handle a conflict, chances are we share those same thoughts. But what happens when one of your "five" is someone who just isn't good for you? "These kind of relationships can be devastating," Harry Reis, Ph.D., a social interaction researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, tells The Huffington Post. "There are just some relationships that can be harmful to our health. They put you in emotional -- and sometimes physical -- distress."

Huffington Post Canada (January 22)

Study Suggests It's OK For Pregnant Women To Eat Fish

Eating fish during pregnancy could be beneficial after all, say researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center who voyaged to the Seychelles to study the benefits of nutrients found in fish and the risk associated with mercury exposure. Over three decades, more than 1,500 mothers and their children were observed, with results indicating that eating fish in as many as 12 meals per week does not lead to defects in the developing fetus. "These findings show no overall association between prenatal exposure to mercury through fish consumption and neurodevelopmental outcomes," says Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., and associate professor in the University of Rochester.

(Also reported in: Food World News, Doctors Lounge, Malay Mail Online,, Medbroadcast )

The Conversation (January 14)

It seems little is certain in life but death, taxes and auto recalls

AUTHOR George Cook Executive Professor of Marketing and Psychology at University of Rochester The US’s top auto safety agency last week fined Japanese car company Honda Motor a record US$70 million for failing to report hundreds of fatal accidents and injuries over the last 11 years. The unfiled claims included eight from the scandal over Takata airbags exploding violently when they deploy. Five deaths have been linked to that problem. At the same time, back in Detroit, General Motors CEO Mary Barra vowed to put the automaker’s own safety crisis – including a record number of recalls in 2014 – behind it. The company had to recall millions of small cars for defective ignitions switches that could shut off the engine and disable airbags. In 2015 US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials say they expect the number of recalls will surpass last year’s record of more than 60 million vehicles, from GM’s faulty ignitions to Takata’s exploding airbags.

MSN (January 6)

Is the U.S. Prepared for a Growing Population of Adults with Autism?

Early intervention programs are available in every state for any child under age 3 who demonstrates a developmental delay, regardless of whether parents have health insurance, thanks to a federal mandate, which requires states to cover the costs of these programs if parents cannot afford them. What programs states are required to cover can vary, but no matter the technique, early intervention therapies all seek to help combat symptoms while the brain is still taking shape. "The brain is not fully connected at birth," says Susan Hyman, an autism expert in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "As the brain continues to mature, it makes new neural connections and gets rid of unused ones over the first several years of life."

The Economist (January 29)

An awful hole

Why more Americans are killing themselves BEING depressed is like having a terrible headache, says one Atlanta businessman. Except that a few days of rest do not stop the pain: “You’re just expected to keep going.” Trying to “man up”, he sought little help for his condition, choosing to hide it instead. “It all gets so debilitating that you don’t want to go on,” he explains. What drives people to self-destruction? Those who suffer from depression are, unsurprisingly, most at risk. The suicide rate also rises when times are hard. During the Depression it jumped to a record 19 per 100,000. It grew after the recent financial crisis too. “Even just uncertainty over employment” makes people worry a lot, notes Yeats Conwell, a psychiatrist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre. The over-75s have historically been most likely to kill themselves, especially if they are lonely or ill. But now it is the middle-aged who are most at risk. In 2012 the suicide rate for Americans aged 45-54 was 20 per 100,000—the highest rate of any age group. For those aged 55-64 it was 18; for the over-65s it was 15. The middle years can be stressful, because that is when people realise that their youthful ambitions will never be fulfilled.

Seattle Times (January 17)

Home-field advantage for Hawks - oddsmakers think there’s something to it

Across all sports, Home-field advantage has gotten weaker in recent years because of the amount of player movement, said Jeremy Jamieson, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester. In a 2010 paper, he suggested that the longer a group of players is together, the greater advantage they'll have playing at home, bonding with one another and with their community.

USA Today (January 29)

Marrow transplant frees sickle cell sufferer from pain

Sometimes it's a vicious ambush, fast and pulsating. Sometimes it settles in slowly and stays for days, throbbing deep in the bones. Sometimes the pain is in one spot. Sometimes it's in three. Sometimes it's everywhere, hundreds of knives, jabbing and cutting from head to toe, grinding down the body and foreclosing on any hope for the future. The National Institutes of Health estimates that more than 90,000 Americans have the disease, the vast majority of them African-Americans. "A lot of these genetic diseases need to be championed by someone with a lot of money to get more exposure or awareness or money for research," said Dr. Jeff Andolina, a pediatric hematologist at University of Rochester Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital. "Sickle cell anemia (hasn't gotten) that attention."

(Also reported in: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle )

Columbian (January 15)

Playing video games boosts brain's ability to learn

Blowing away enemy soldiers and aliens may be good for the brain, as researchers have found that fast-paced action video games improve a player's learning ability. People who play video games such as Activision Blizzard Inc.'s "Call of Duty" are better able to multitask, perform cognitive tasks such as rotating objects in their minds and focus and retain information better than nonplayers, said Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York. They also have better vision. The reason is the games help people learn, even those who aren't regular players. "People who play action video games get better much faster," said Bavelier, who has a joint appointment at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. The skills are seemingly unrelated to each other and hard to practice, she said.

USA Today (January 15)

3-D technology becoming common in dental offices

A pizza? Try half an hour, and that's counting delivery. Eyeglasses? Easy for places that have their own in-house lab. A dental crown? Wielding a 3-D scanner that looked like a bulky electric toothbrush, dentist Randy Raetz spent a few minutes in a patient's mouth one morning last week, getting three-dimensional images of a set of front teeth, the opposing arch, and how they fit together in a bite. One visit, a couple of hours, and a patient leaves with a new crown. Making digital images of mouths "instead of those gooey, gag-inducing, "bite down on this" molds" and automating the making of dental crowns has been a booming area of dentistry in recent years, said Carlo Ercoli, chairman of the prosthodontic postgraduate training program at the University of Rochester's Eastman Institute for Oral Health.

Medical Xpress (January 14)

US slipping as global leader in medical research

Once the undisputed center of global innovation in medicine, the U.S. is steadily losing ground to Asia and Europe and will, if trends continue, relinquish its leadership in the coming decade. That is the conclusion of an analysis appearing today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "U.S. medical research remains the primary global source of new discoveries, drugs, medical devices, and clinical procedures," said University of Rochester neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., a co-author of the study. "However, a decade of unprecedented growth in research activity has been followed by a decade of steady decline which now leaves open the possibility that other nations could assume global leadership given their increasing investment in biomedical research."

Fox News (January 26)

Breast cancer patients may lack knowledge of their tumors, study says

Women with breast cancer often don't know what kind of tumors they have, a new study found. For the new study, published in the journal Cancer, Freedman and her colleagues asked 500 women from northern California about their breast cancers, which had been diagnosed between 2010 and 2011. Overall, only 8 percent of women correctly answered all four questions, but the lack of knowledge was more pronounced among minority women, the researchers report. Dr. Michelle Shayne of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health, "Breast cancer patients in general are a very savvy group of individuals." They "tend to read a lot and bring a lot of clippings in to their oncologist and ask a lot of questions," she said, so the study findings surprised her.

(Also reported in:, Asia One, New York Daily News )

History News Network (January 9)

The radical historians lose again

In the early 1970s, the New Left radicals were a minority in the profession, which was dominated by established mainstream historians like John K. Fairbank, Richard Hofstadter, and C. Vann Woodward, old-style liberals who adhered to a strict separation of politics and history. The Radical Caucus, born in late December 1969, was at first composed largely of University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students. But even then, left-wing historians were beginning to gain university appointments. One of them—Marxist Eugene D. Genovese, at the University of Rochester—argued that leftist historians should defend the university and seek to hold it to its own highest standards. The New Left preferred to confront the university and expose its links to other so-called oppressive American institutions.

WalletHub (January 7)

2015's Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job

It’s a new year, which, for many, is also a time to renew one’s goals. Some will resolve to make small changes while others might consider overhauling their lives. But among the most popular New Year’s resolutions, finding a job or getting a better one consistently makes the list. Assistant Dean and Director, Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center, University of Rochester Burton Nadler What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades? Sadly, this commonly asked question causes more harm than good. Given we cannot truly predict field growth, and diversity of student intellectual, academic and personality profiles, "what's hot and what's not" questions should never inspire career goal setting or goal attainment. The inability of students/candidates to express field, function and firm focused goals, then take steps to attain those goals are the biggest challenges. Students/Candidates who take advice to "stay open," without focusing on specific academics that target career fields, job functions, and related firms, are, ironically, "closing" themselves to opportunities. Bull's eye targeted academics, internships and more yield success!!!! But, many well-meaning, yet unaware faculty, advisors, deans, as well as bloggers and writers give bad strategic advice. Employers seek focus and specialized training, not (although one can use vague surveys that seem to cite contrary views) generalized adaptable individuals. (January 14)

Blood Test for Brain Injury May Not Be Feasible

Complications involving the brain’s unique waste removal system – the existence of which has only recently been brought to light – may thwart efforts to identify biomarkers that detect traumatic brain injury (TBI). That is because proteins that are triggered by brain damage are prevented from reaching the blood system in levels necessary for a precise diagnosis. Tens of millions of dollars have been invested by the U.S. government and the private sector in recent years in an effort to develop a simple blood test that can help physicians quickly and accurately gauge the extent of neurological damage after a blow to the head. However, a new study conducted in mice and published today in the Journal of Neuroscience appears to indicate that these efforts may face significant hurdles. “These findings show that a blood-based biomarker for TBI is unlikely to be effective for routine clinical use,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the study. “Both the injury itself and the clinical approach to TBI can impair the ability of the brain to remove waste, resulting in variable and – for the purpose of detection and diagnosis – unreliable protein levels in the blood.”

(Also reported in: Science Codex )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 28)

Drumming up, sorting out the stuff of a lifetime

History is made up of stuff. Letters, books, pictures, snare drums, stuff. "For some reason, I never threw anything away," says John H. Beck as he looks at his history, his stuff. In love with the drums, Beck sought out teachers locally, though he soon had exhausted their expertise. Eventually, he would take a bus 200 miles to Pittsburgh to stay at the YMCA and study at a drum shop. In 1951, he arrived at the Eastman School, with the ultimate goal of being a drummer in a band, a younger Gene Krupa. "Once I got to Eastman, I realized there were guys out there named Beethoven, Bach. I got hooked on classics," he says. So there's stuff from his days at Eastman and then from his four years with the Marine Corps Band, when he played at the White House and Ike and Mamie and all sorts of visiting dignitaries danced. In 1959, Beck came back to Eastman, this time as a teacher of percussion, something he would do for 49 years. Never resting, he also was a percussionist and timpanist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for 44 years.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 28)

Rochester-area colleges see donations boost

Three area schools "the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology and Hobart and William Smith Colleges" all saw robust gains in charitable donations in 2014, according to a report released Wednesday. The $120 million in donations to the University of Rochester for the 2013-14 fiscal year ranked No. 4 among colleges and universities in the state behind only Cornell, Columbia and New York University. Thomas Farrell, senior vice president and chief advancement officer at the University of Rochester, described 2013-14 as the "most successful fundraising year in our history," with donations from 51,000 contributors.

WXXI PBS News (January 20)

Connections: Considering A More Plant-Based Diet

Listen Listening... / 50:52 A discussion of developing a more plant-based diet regimen. We're post-holidays, and everyone is joining gyms... and some people are doing "juice cleansing." A discussion of what the science says about that, and we'll talk about how to build a permanent eating regimen that is more plant-based. Panel in studio: Dr. Vicky Hsiao, UR Medicine endocrinologist Rachel Reeves, UR Medicine dieticians

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 9)

URMC to study HIV and heart disease

A 50-year-old person living with HIV and being treated with anti-retroviral drugs may have the blood vessels of someone much older with the heart disease and stroke risk to prove it. "We're trying to understand how that happens," said Dr. Giovanni Schifitto, a University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist who is co-leading a $3.8 million study into premature vascular aging among HIV-positive individuals. "How is it possible? What is the drug doing that may be facilitating this aging of the blood vessel?" Schifitto is part of a team of doctors and engineers in a $3.8 million study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute who will use blood work and a new imaging technique to look at the neck artery. The team consists of three other UR researchers and one former URMC researcher now at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

(Also reported in: WXXI, Rochester Business Journal )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 25)

Eastman Opera Theater Presents 20th-century Work

For opera lovers more familiar with extravagant dramas with large casts and elaborate sets, Eastman Opera Theatre will provide a notable change of pace this week when it presents a distinctive double bill of 20th-century works in the Eastman School Annex A804. The Annex, an intimate studio performance space that accommodates only about 60 audience members, will be the site of fully staged productions of Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine (The human voice) and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. Both are one-act works featuring two alternating casts, all under the stage direction of second-year master’s student Spencer Reese and the musical direction of pianist Ksenia Leletkina, who also serves as Eastman’s opera coach. The performances will run for four nights, beginning Thursday, Jan. 29.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 16)

Woman to Watch: Jane Possee

In 1975, when Jane Possee signed on to coach the University of Rochester's women's basketball and field hockey teams, the state of women's sports was quite different than it is today. From the outset, Possee was determined to effect change. The differences between women's and men's teams at UR were significant: two different programs, two different gyms, two different levels of team travel, accommodations and budget. It was three years after the Title IX anti-discrimination act was passed, and Possee seized the chance to advocate for women's sports. Possee played a major role in opening up new opportunities for the university's female athletes, such as daily practice schedules, use of the alumni gym and full-time coaches. Today, Possee is the UR's associate director for recreation. She has won numerous awards for her efforts, including the 2014 Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award from UR, Rochester's Press-Radio Club's Jean Giambrone Service Award, and the Katherine Ley Award from the Eastern College Athletic Conference — the highest award the ECAC presents to a female athletics administrator.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 25)

Sunday's area college roundup

Freshman Lauren Deming hit a runner in the lane with 3.8 seconds left to lift the University of Rochester to a 55-54 win over Case Western Reserve on Sunday in a University Athletic Association women's basketball game at the Louis Alexander Palestra. Deming, a Waterloo grad, finished with seven points and four rebounds. Al Leslie led Rochester (10-6, 2-3 UAA) with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists. Leslie converted 10 of 11 attempts from the free-throw line. Ally Zywicki chipped in 10 points and Kelsy Hurley (Honeoye Falls-Lima) grabbed five rebounds for the Yellowjackets. UR ended the game on an 8-0 run over the final two minutes. The Yellowjackets trailed by as many as 17 points with 15:42 left in the second half. UR utilized a 16-0 run later in the second half to gain momentum.

WXXI (January 12)

Internet Spreads Terrorist Narrative But Cultural Understanding Remains A Powerful Tool

Since the shootings in Paris, many are wondering whether an attack on US soil will follow. According to experts, many complex cultural and societal factors shape the likelihood of similar events. Emil Homerin is a professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. He says that in the wake of the terrorist attacks in France, people should resist the urge to draw immediate parallels here. "For a number of reasons -- because of our own involvement in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan -- people have taken this issue and taken it out of its local context and I think that's sad."

WXXI (January 28)

More Lead on Porches Than in Homes, Study Finds

Porches on older homes can be a significant source of lead dust, according to a recent study. Katrina Korfmacher is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at University of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center. She participated in the study, in which samples were taken from 79 houses across Rochester. Laws regulating lead in households have focused mainly on the interior of the home, but this study shows homeowners need to be mindful of their exterior environment as well. Korfmacher says in urban environments, where kids use the porch as a front yard, they can increase their risk of exposure to this harmful neurotoxin.

(Also reported in: Medical Xpress, )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 17)

Firm's high-tech gear battles concussions

As the two boys sparred inside the Aquinas Institute gymnasium, Dave Robertson watched ringside, offering encouragement and coaching to his son: "Get out of the corner! Keep your hands up!" This week, young Robertson and most of his teammates were fitted with high-tech headbands, equipped with sensors that help coaches, trainers and parents evaluate the blows students receive each time they step in the ring. The Linx IAS, a product of Rochester-based BlackBox Biometrics, is one of many such wearable technologies flooding the market. The sophisticated technology is another tool for helping protect athletes and refine their training highlighting, for example, which boxers take the most hits to the head, and thus need to work on keeping their hands up. But when it comes to integrating technology, sport and health science, gaps remain. "We are still, as a scientific field, trying to establish a relationship between hits to the head and something bad to the brain," said Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, who has served as an adviser to BlackBox and is an emergency medicine professor with a concussion and research program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

(Also reported in: NY State Sportswriters Association, MedPage Today )

Global Times (December 31, 2014)

The life of a hermit comes at a steep price

I came across an article titled "Mountain huts preferable to urban rat race" in the Global Times about China's hermit lifestyle on December 24, reminding people of not blindly chasing after the absolute isolation of the hermit. I agree with the author that there can be other ways of life in a Chinese society which is obsessed with material goods. I'd also like to point out that not everyone can afford the hermit lifestyle. Indeed, a hermit lifestyle is always associated with wealth. "From millionaire to mountain air: Wealthy tycoon gives away fortune to become rural hermit" read a recent headline, referring to one of China's wealthiest men who chose to live in a remote mountain hovel. Such a figure can hardly keep low-profile. For ordinary people, such lifestyles can be seen as luxurious. John Osburg, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester, recently observed in an interview with The New York Times that many of China's nouveau riche have turned toward Buddhism and other forms of spiritual fulfillment and it is the wealthy that are "competing over who patronizes the most powerful monk." After all, for those who have to work hard to make a living and whose family wealth cannot stretch to mere whims, being a hermit may be a costly choice, and certainly not one that anyone with dependents can justify.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 11)

Mary Chao: Several family-friendly restaurants close

Drive along Mt. Hope Avenue near the University of Rochester and you'll notice a village has sprung up in the urban landscape. Indeed, College Town is near completion. In the past few months, several retailers have moved into the mixed-use facility designed to provide University of Rochester, University of Rochester Medical Center and the community a central place to dine and shop. College Town is one of the biggest retail projects in the city, McCarthy said, noting that it is on land owned by the University of Rochester and not a city-sponsored project. College Town is intended to be a destination site for the entire region, McCarthy said. The city conducted extensive traffic studies and planned for sufficient parking for the shopping village, including a parking garage, he added. Retail development near universities is a national trend, with the shopping centers designed to make life easier for students to get what they need or want.

WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester (January 19)

Eastman Dental Brightens Smiles on Special Olympians

There was a reason for dozens of Special Olympians to smile Sunday. With free dental screenings performed by Eastman Dental's experts, dental residents and students got hands-on training to increase awareness and their comfort level among dental providers. The athletes said to have enjoyed the event as well.

(Also reported in: Time Warner Cable News )

Democrat & Chronicle (January 9)

Insights of UR's congressional expert go online

University of Rochester political science professor Richard F. Fenno Jr. says that the best way to learn about members of Congress is to spend time with them in their districts. Fenno has a reputation for being the dean of scholars of Congress by his innovative way of looking at its members and committees. His method of research, commonly called “soak and poke,” was a breakthrough in political science — the idea of becoming immersed in a representative’s district or senator’s state and poking around for clues about what’s important. Fenno, who turned 88 years old last month, joined the UR faculty in 1957, and while he retired from teaching a decade ago, he shows up at one of his offices on the UR River campus most weekdays. After Fenno took on the senior status title of “professor emeritus,” he donated 79 boxes of his speeches, notes from interviews, letters and drafts of essays and articles to UR. The Richard F. Fenno Jr. Papers are maintained and made accessible by the University of Rochester’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation at Rush Rhees Library on the college’s River Campus.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 9)

Eastman sophomore headlines Warfield concert

William Warfield's legendary career was built on diversity, and Alicia Rosser will have that in mind Sunday for William Warfield: A Legacy in Music, a concert supporting the William Warfield Scholarship Fund. Rosser, a sophomore at the Eastman School of Music, headlines the 4 p.m. Sunday show in the school's Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. The 19-year-old Maryland native will perform Handel's "Alma Mia," Schubert's "Die Forelle" and Mozart's "Deh Vieni, Non Tardar." But as Warfield also did during his varied career, Rosser will perform some popular tunes as well: "Shellin' Peas" and Jerome Kern's "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," from the musical Show Boat, the film version of which helped make Warfield one of the world's best-known baritones. The Warfield Fund has been awarded since 1977 to African-American classical voice students at Eastman. Among the recipients have been soprano Claron McFadden, who performs in operas and as a recitalist in Europe; lyric soprano Nicole Cabell, the 2005 winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition; and bass-baritone Jamal Moore, who as a member of the University of Rochester a cappella group The YellowJackets, featured on the performance-reality TV show The Sing-Off in 2011.

WXXI (January 5)

Connections: Science Roundtable January 2015

During this science roundtable we talk about climate change, global warming, and how nitrous oxide plays a role in the planet's warming with University of Rochester Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Vas Petrenko.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (January 4)

The unexpected pleasures of mentoring

Stephen Dewhurst, ROC Almost 20 years ago, I started mentoring a young city school student. He was nine years old, and he wanted to be a scientist one day. Lots of kids have similar dreams, but in many cases they lack access to the opportunities and role models that might show them the way. So Tony started coming to my lab every month, and kept coming all through middle school and high school - often walking the two miles from his home near Clara Barton School No. 2. Last week, I sat down for coffee with the young man that boy grew up into. He’s smart, funny, close with his family, and has a moral compass and personal values that I respect. Professionally, he is living his dream, working as an engineer at IBM. And along the way, he graduated from UR with Master’s degrees in both Electrical and Computer Engineering and in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (January 4)

UR professor provides historical lens for the present

University of Rochester history professor Thomas P. Slaughter is a firm believer that history is a good way to start understanding today's problems. Some of his six books have looked at flash points in history - be it the American Revolution, a rebellion against a tax on liquor during the early days of the Republic, or armed resistance to an effort to put the shackles back on escaped slaves. "The history profession has grown quite specialized, but Tom has broken down artificial barriers between fields "and creatively blends the social, cultural and political," said UR history professor Joan Shelley Rubin about her colleague. Slaughter has an eye for making the past accessible to the public in an original way.

WHEC TV NBC 10 (January 12)

Court rules all NYS students must be vaccinated before attending school

A controversial topic is renewed again after a recent ruling by a federal appeals court. The court ruled all children in New York State must be vaccinated before attending school. The attorney representing parents who decided not to have their children vaccinated says all parents should have a choice. But doctors say vaccines do far more good than harm and should be required. Pediatrician Doctor Cynthia Rand at Golisano Children's Hospital says she knows firsthand vaccines save lives. Vaccines are really the best public health measure that we have in this century, says Dr. Rand.

Rochester City Newspaper (January 21)

ART | Wayne Higby

World-renowned ceramist Wayne Higby's work references imagery of vast canyons, time-scarred rock cliffs, and meandering, sparkling bodies of water. "I strive to establish a zone of quiet coherence; a place full of silent, empty space where finite and infinite, intimate and immense intersect," he says. The first retrospective of Higby's work will open this week at Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue), featuring 55 ceramic pieces created between 1967 through 2012. Also included in the show are his studies for the largest hand-cut porcelain architectural installation in the world: the monumental Earth Cloud wall sculpture at Alfred University's Miller Performing Arts Complex.