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In the Headlines

SELECTED NEWS COVERAGE:
April 2015

Wall Street Journal (April 29)

Benefits of Breathing: Beijing’s Olympic Babies Born Heavier, Study Finds

Chinese mother and baby
Parents in Beijing may wish the Olympics were held every day. A study released in a scientific journal on Tuesday finds that women who were pregnant during the 2008 Beijing Olympics – when aggressive measures by the Chinese government over a seven-week period significantly reduced air pollution – gave birth to heavier and presumably healthier babies. “These findings not only illustrate one of the many significant health consequences of pollution, but also demonstrate that this phenomenon can be reversed,” said David Q. Rich, an epidemiologist with the University of Rochester Medical Center and lead author of the study, in a statement.

(Also reported in: ABC News, The Guardian, Newsday, South China Morning Post, The Independent, The Australian )

New York Magazine (March 31)

Meet the Star of TED 2020: A Glass App That Coaches You As You Talk

graphic showing speed and volume indicatorsDeveloped by a team at the University of Rochester’s Human-Computer Interaction Group, the system is called Rhema, and it works by recording a speaker, analyzing the volume and rate of the recorded words, and immediately displaying recommendations for changes. Speaking too slow? Rhema will tell you to speed up. Beginning to whisper? Rhema will tell you to get louder.

(Also reported in: Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, The Financial Express, Times of India, MSN, Zee News, India Hindustan Times, Product Design & Development, Gizmag, The Asian Age, Engadget, WXXI )

Science Magazine (April 10)

Plaque-busting nanoparticles could help fight tooth decay

wideview teeth xray
Nanotechnology might soon save you a trip to the dentist. Researchers have developed tiny sphere-shaped particles that ferry a payload of bacteria-slaying drugs to the surface of the teeth, where they fight plaque and tooth decay on the spot. The approach could also be adapted to combat other plaquelike substances, known as biofilms, such as those that form on medical devices like orthopedic implants. Before the nanoparticles make their way onto pharmacy shelves, they first must pass muster in human tests. Because the nanoparticles would likely be swallowed after they've done their work, researchers would have to ensure they didn't cause any ill effects. Still, "it's exciting to think about the possibilities," says biomedical engineer Danielle Benoit of the University of Rochester in New York, one of the senior authors on the study. She suggests that these nanoparticles could be added to mouthwash, toothpaste, or gels that would be applied to the teeth. "We really believe that given a couple weeks [or months] of treatment, you would be able to get rid of the biofilm altogether," reducing the need for dentists to scrape away plaque, Benoit says, which would be awesome."

(Also reported in: Device Space, Medagadget.com )

The Wall Street Journal (April 13)

Apps to Track Exercise, Sleep Help Patients Participate in Clinical Trials

hand holding smartphone with health apps
Steven DeMello, like many people, uses a smartphone to keep a calendar, take notes, create artful photographs and listen to music. Recently, he began using it for a new purpose: to participate in a clinical trial. Three times a day, the retired health-care executive, who is 60 years old and has Parkinsons disease, performs four tests using an app on his iPhone that records his results and provides feedback to researchers—and to him—on how his Parkinsons symptoms affect his daily life. With Parkinsons disease patients, mobility is a main concern. For patients who live, say, in New Jersey or on Long Island, the idea of getting into the city to an academic center is way too overwhelming, said Todd Sherer, head of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research in New York, which is involved with several online research initiatives. But if you can bring the technology to their house, they are very excited to participate. Smartphones also offer the capability to track peoples symptoms and activities continuously in their daily lives. Patients say symptoms fluctuate over the course of a day, but weve never had a way of measuring that, said Ray Dorsey, a University of Rochester researcher who heads the Parkinsons app study. With a smartphone, patients and researchers can observe symptoms that may change hourly and see how the changes correlate with factors such as exercise, meal times and medication dose. The phone also objectively records measurements of activities—minutes of exercise, steps walked, hours of sleep—which in conventional studies are typically obtained from less-reliable patient recall.

(Also reported in: BDlive )

U.S. News & World Report (April 1)

Behind the Music: Conservatives and Country Music's Complex History

country band and American flag
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says he became a die-hard country music fan in the days after 9/11 because he thought it was way more patriotic than rock. Not surprising: one of the era’s biggest radio hits, Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” was written in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Country music has long been associated with the right side of the political aisle -- so much so that when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, said in 2003 that she was ashamed that President George W. Bush was from Texas-- country music fans revolted, to put it mildly. They smashed Dixie Chicks CDs in the streets and country stations banned their music, a hit from which the band never recovered. “There’s a very strong historical thing” that goes along with country music, says John Covach, a pop music historian and director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester in New York. He says the relationship between country music and conservativism began in the 1950s, when Billboard and Cash Box -- the Spotify and Pandora of the day -- assigned cultural identity to musical genres: pop music for whites, rhythm & blues for African Americans, country for rural dwellers. The result, he says, was fairly predictable: Country was identified with red states before we even knew red states existed. “It fits in with the Republican philosophy, which embraces individualism, gun rights, good people and good times,” Covach says.

Bloomberg News (April 21)

One Way Business Schools Attract Black Students: With Black Students

Simon business students
Nate Kumapayi thought he might have trouble getting into business school. His grade point average was unremarkable, his Graduate Management Admission Test scores were middling, and his résumé consisted of two years of entry-level sales jobs. When he was accepted to the School of Management at Yale University, he didn’t think he could be more elated—until, several months later, he got in to the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. Simon has a lower profile than the Ivy League behemoth, but it boasts something unusual among American MBA programs: a large cohort of black students. “I wanted to go to a school where there were going to be people like me,” says Kumapayi. In spite of the challenges, Simon and a handful of schools have still managed to cultivate fairly diverse student bodies.

U.S. News & World Report (March 27)

Could a Diet Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?

healthy meal with veggies and fish
The MIND diet combines aspects of the better-known Mediterranean diet with certain features of the so-called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, both of which call for high consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fish. But while the MIND diet stresses the importance of plant-based foods, green leafy vegetables and blueberries, it does not push much consumption of fruit, fish, dairy or potatoes. One expert said he was intrigued by the findings. "The protective impact they found is significant and substantial enough to make you do a little bit of a double-take," said Dr. Anton Porsteinsson, director of the Alzheimer's care, research and education program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York. "With a diet like this it seems that it's never too late to start," Porsteinsson said. "And that's a very important message."

(Also reported in: Health Finder, WLBT NBC 3, KTBC (FOX 7) Austin, myfoxny.com )

NPR (March 31)

How Many Stars Are There?

stars
We feel the great loneness of night under the dark sky, just as we feel the power of its great open wonder. More than any other experience, the night sky is the locus of our deepest (and often most unanswerable) questions. But some questions about the night sky have straightforward answers, even if what those queries return remains pretty mind-blowing. "How many stars are up there?" spills out easily for anyone standing under the night sky. "Are there more stars than grains of sand on a beach? Are there more stars than people who have ever lived?" Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described "evangelist of science." You can keep up with more of what Adam is thinking on Facebook and Twitter: @adamfrank4.

(Also reported in: Oregon Public Broadcasting, WXXI PBS News )

New York Daily News (April 6)

University of Rochester student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

A student at the University of Rochester’s River Campus has tested positive for bacterial meningitis. No other cases at the university have been identified, the memo added, but the school's health services team is working with the Monroe County Department of Public Health to identify individuals who may have come into contact with the student.

(Also reported in: Democrat & Chronicle, Time Warner Cable News, WXXI, 13WHAM-TV,WHEC-TV )

Fox News (April 6)

Grandparenting in moderation might help keep the mind sharp

A small Australian study finds that grandmothers who take care of their grandchildren one day a week do better on cognitive tests than peers who mind grandkids more often, or not at all. Researchers say the brain benefits from this form of “grandparenting” may come not just from having social engagement, but “active” engagement in those relationships. “The party line on this from geriatricians like me is that some form of social engagement seems to be absolutely essential for maximizing the chances you will have good brain function for those years,” said Hall, who directs the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

(Also reported in: Channel News Asia, Newsmax.com, GMA News, Kentucky Post Pioneer, Ahram Online )

Democrat & Chronicle (April 2)

Politicos make photonics push again

Rochester's Washington D.C. delegation is again throwing its political weight behind New York landing a federally created center for photonics manufacturing. U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Steuben County, were the lead signatories on a letter this week to U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter backing the application by the SUNY Research Foundation — an application that includes everyone from the University of Rochester and SUNY Polytechnic Institute to Rochester Institute of Technology. The letter includes House members from several other states but "We are united in our belief the New York-led proposal provides ... the best chance to make a transformational investment" that could greatly ramp-up the nation's photonics abilities and know-how. U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County, also signed. The White House last year announced that through the U.S. Defense Department it would put $110 million toward creation of a high-tech Institute for Manufacturing Innovation with a focus on photonics. It has to be matched by $110 million in non-federal funding. The deadline for applications was Tuesday, with the final selection expected to come in June.

(Also reported in: Rochester Business Journal, Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester Business Journal, WHEC-TV, WXXI, Corning Leader )

Rochester Business Journal (March 27)

$11 million pledge pushes UR above $1.2 billion goal

A multimillion-dollar commitment by a well-known philanthropic couple on campus puts the University of Rochester over the top of its largest fundraising campaign in its history. Robert and Pamela Goergen have committed $11 million to the university’s Institute for Data Science, President Joel Seligman announced this week during a board of trustees leadership retreat. The Goergens’ pledge not only puts the university over its $1.2 billion initial goal but also far ahead of the campaign schedule. “When we publicly launched the Meliora Challenge campaign, I said that together we would make history. Now, fewer than four years later, I am delighted that we have achieved our initial goal,” Seligman said. “We still have far to go. Great university campaigns typically exceed their initial goals by 10 to 20 percent. Over the next 15 months, we have the opportunity to build on our momentum and take our university to the next level.”

Scientific American (April 27)

Does Artificial Food Coloring Contribute to ADHD in Children?

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese—that favorite food of kids, packaged in the nostalgic blue box—will soon be free of yellow dye. Kraft announced Monday that it will remove artificial food coloring, notably Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 dyes, from its iconic product by January 2016. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains artificial food dyes are safe but some research studies have found the dyes can contribute to hyperactive behavior in children. Bernard Weiss, professor emeritus of the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center who has researched this issue for decades, says he is frustrated that the FDA has not acted on the research showing the connection between artificial dyes and hyperactivity. "All the evidence we have has showed that it has some capacity to harm," he says.

(Also reported in: Salon )

WXXI PBS News (March 31)

U of R President Joel Seligman Talks About East H.S. & The Future Of Education

Addressing Rochester Rotarians on Tuesday, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman said that K-12 education is in crisis. Seligman says graduation rates in inner cities across the country are tragically low, and that the achievement gap costs the U.S. billions of dollars a year. Just as importantly, he says, failed opportunities follow a student forever. Seligman says U of R educators have their work cut out for them as the university gets ready to assume control at East High School. Seligman is treating this takeover like a step into the future of education.

(Also reported in: 13 WHAM-TV, WHEC-TV, Time Warner Cable News, WHAM 1180, WHAM TV ABC 13, WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester )

Democrat & Chronicle (March 30)

UR dean receives White House award

A dean at the University of Rochester is one of 15 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Beth Olivares will receive her award at the White House later this year. Since July, she has served as dean for diversity initiatives in arts, sciences and engineering and continues to head the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity at UR. In addition to being honored at the White House, the award winners receive awards of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

(Also reported in: WROC-TV, Kansas City infoZine,, National Science Foundation, New Orleans NOLA Live )

Democrat & Chronicle (April 6)

First look at College Town's Constantino's Market

Community and neighborhood leaders received a first look Monday at the new Constantino's Market in Rochester's College Town development. Set to open to the public on Thursday, the 21,000-square-foot store will be the first supermarket in the Upper Mt. Hope corridor since Wegmans Food Market closed over a decade ago. Schumer secured more than $740,000 in federal funds in September to jump-start the construction of this grocery store, working with the nonprofit Action for a Better Community, Constantino's and the University of Rochester to secure these funds. Area neighbors think a grocery store is long overdue. With many college students and seniors living in the area, an urban grocery store where residents can walk to do their shopping is crucial for the neighborhood, said Dan Hurley, president of the Upper Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association. Café opens in College Town, too Saxbys Coffee opened Monday on Mt. Hope Avenue in College Town, across from Constantino's. The café, which will bring 30 new jobs to the area, offers a variety of espresso drinks, loose leaf teas, smoothies and frozen yogurt.

(Also reported in: WROC-TV, 13WHAM-TV, WXXI, Cleveland.com )

Rochester Business Journal (April 13)

Pair of donations totaling $2.5M to support URMC

Two area couples have announced gifts totaling $2.5 million to support the University of Rochester Medical Center research and teaching. Internist Lawrence Chessin M.D. and wife Rita have pledged $1.5 million to help establish a School of Medicine and Dentistry endowed professorship, URMC officials said Monday. That news follows the announcement of a $1 million pledge by American Rock Salt Co. LLC co-CEO Joseph Bucci and his wife, Elaine, to support URMC research.

Christian Science Monitor (April 18)

'Scientific wonderland' expected as spacecraft approaches Pluto

A planet redder than Mars? Rivers of liquid neon flowing across the surface? A subsurface ocean? A binary planet in a solar system filled with soloists? "It sounds like science fiction," notes planetary scientist Alan Stern. But it's not. It's Pluto, or at least inferences or speculations about Pluto astronomers have drawn from their ever-shifting vantage point, currently some 3 billion miles away. So many questions surround the system that it presents "a scientific wonderland," says Dr. Stern, lead scientist for the $700-million NASA mission, known as New Horizons. At the same time, the system is located at the inner edge of a poorly known region known as the Kuiper Belt. Pluto and moons Charon, Kerbos, Hydra, Styx, and Nix are ambassadors for the belt's myriad inhabitants. These include objects comparable in size to Pluto all relics from the early phases of planet formation in the solar system. One sign that the excitement is building: Like expectant parents, scientists are trying to figure out what to name the features they discover from craters, chasms, or ice volcanoes on the surfaces of Pluto and Charon to any additional moons they may find. Be careful what name you pick; you'll have to live with it, cautions Eric Mamajek, an astronomer at the University of Rochester. With help from astronomy students, he and 10 colleagues from the US, Mexico, and France shipped a proposed naming scheme to the IAU early last year and posted the proposal on line two weeks ago.

WXXI PBS News (April 17)

UR Laser Lab Avoids $7M Cut

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says the importance of this lab cannot be overstated. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter announced she has helped prevent over $7 million dollars in cuts from the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics yearly budget. "This importance of this lab cannot be overstated, and that is why I advocate in Washington every year for continued funding."

(Also reported in: WROC-TV )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 12)

Two families tied by one heart

Claude Brown sat on an operating table at Strong Memorial Hospital in late 2010 in a hospital gown, fitted with an IV line, waiting for a phone call. A phone call that would signal the replacement of his body's lifeblood. In six months waiting for a heart at Strong in 2010, he'd had two false alarms minutes before surgery was to begin - one heart was unhealthy, the other too big. The anesthesiologist suddenly started fitting the mask on Brown's face. "Wait a minute, what are we doing?" Brown asked. The anesthesiologist took Brown's hand. "This is it,' he said. Brown and wife Molly didn't have time that day to learn the full story of his second heart, but they learned all of it Saturday when the family of the donor, who the Browns had been corresponding with via letters for years, walked through a Rochester hotel room door. The families agreed months ago to meet and walk together in Sunday's Rochester River Run/Walk 5K, sponsored by the Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital to benefit organ transplant patients.

(Also reported in: Buffalo News, WHEC-TV, 13WHAM-TV, wivb.com )

WHAM TV ABC 13 Rochester (April 13)

3D printer helps save woman's life

Doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital used a 3D printer to help save a Brighton woman's life. "This is an amazing advance when you consider the rapid pace of technology and possibilities for the future," said UR Medicine heart surgeon Peter Knight, M.D., who performed the procedure with interventional cardiologist Thomas Stuver, M.D., of Rochester Cardiopulmonary Group, supported by the UR Medicine Heart & Vascular cardiac catheterization team.

(Also reported in: WHEC-TV, Plastics Today )

MSN (April 3)

This Is Your Heart on Alcohol

Most people are aware of the obvious effects of alcohol on the body. Drinking too much can alter your judgment and reflexes or, over time, cause weight gain and lead to alcoholism. One of the key points to remember with alcohol is that moderation is crucial. According to the National Institutes of Health, for healthy people, low-risk drinking is no more than seven drinks in a week. And in any one day, low-risk means no more than four drinks for men; for women, no more than three. But research shows that too much of a good thing gets risky. One study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center illustrates the different effects of moderate and binge drinking. Researchers fed mice the equivalent of either two drinks daily, seven drinks on two days of the week (simulating weekend binge drinking), or no alcohol. Compared to the mice that had no alcohol, mice that had moderate alcohol showed 40 percent lower levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, in lab tests. In addition, HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, increased after moderate alcohol intake. And further, the amount of plaque in the arteries was reduced, as was inflammation. The mice given high levels of alcohol also had an increase in good cholesterol, but the other markers for heart disease like bad cholesterol increased too, by 20 percent, while plaque and the number of inflammatory cells grew.

Chronicle of Higher Education (April 6)

Career-Office Director Seeks Jobs for Every Last Polar Bear, and Other News About People

Wanted: a Rise in Prestige Andrew S. Ainslie, who became dean of the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School last July, is intent on raising the school in national rankings, and he doesn’t hesitate to say so. "If you don’t have a strategic goal," he says, "you end up fumbling." He has heard, for instance, much discussion among business deans about reducing enrollment to draw students with higher GPAs and GMAT scores. That might yield an immediate bump in the rankings, he notes, but could be harmful in the long term. What’s more, he says, "your alumni are your best possible support group for pulling people into companies, and obviously the more alums you have, the easier that becomes." So he hopes that over the next five years, he can increase the size of the entering class of full-time M.B.A. students, which was around 120 last year, to 150.

WXXI PBS News (April 7)

Former Eastman Music School Director Robert Freeman Honored

A longtime former director of the Eastman School of Music has been honored for his contributions. A dedication ceremony held Tuesday at the Sibley Music Library on Gibbs Street named the atrium of that library after Freeman. He also received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Rochester.

WXXI (April 14)

Coming up on Connections: Tuesday, April 14th

In our second hour, the best television theme song ever might be the score for House of Cards, and the composer is an Eastman grad who is coming back to Rochester. Jeff Beal is responsible for the haunting score that has captivated the binge-watching House of Cards crowd (including the host of Connections). He and his wife are very much a team in life and in work, and their partnership began when they met at Eastman 25 years ago. We'll talk House of Cards, composing for television, his history in Rochester, and the big public event that will cap off his trip. In studio: Jeff Beal, composer Joan Beal, vocalist Donald Hunsberger, professor emeritus of conducting at Eastman

(Also reported in: Rochester City Newspaper )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 7)

The Real Cost of University Research

Biomedical research at our nation's leading research universities and teaching hospitals is largely funded by grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as by internal University funds that make up the difference between the real cost of that research and what the NIH is willing - or able - to pay for it. In recent years, that gap has been growing as the NIH budget has shrunk. According to a recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Huron Consulting Group, the average U.S. medical school currently invests an additional $0.53 for every dollar of research support that it receives - which amounts to an average investment of $111 million per year, from each medical school. This is one of the reasons why university endowments and capital campaigns matter so much, and why private philanthropy is so important to academic research. Without that support, institutions like the University of Rochester simply could not sustain the world class research that they do.

Time Warner Cable News (April 3)

University of Rochester Medical Center's Unique Program to Treat Colon Cancer Patients

After a patient is diagnosed with colon cancer, a unique program at the University of Rochester Medical Center is helping make sure he or she gets a tailored treatment plan. Once diagnosed, Speranza said URMC runs a program like no other in the region to treat patients. "We have a multi-disciplinary team where we have radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, pathologists; we all meet every week to discuss every cancer case. We collaborate with them and this collaboration helps improve patient outcomes."

WHAM 1180: Eyes on the Future (April 22)

Hubble Space Telescope's 25th Anniversary

Duncan Moore of the University of Rochester and Lee Feinberg of NASA discuss the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope and the lessons learned from this significant contribution to space exploration. Guests: Duncan Moore of the University of Rochester and Lee Feinberg of NASA

Rochester City Newspaper (April 22)

Most valuable player

Over his six-decade career, bassist Ron Carter has been part of some of the greatest bands in jazz history. He's played with Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, and many more. He has received just about every honor awarded in his field. But when he is inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame Sunday, it will be a special occasion. Carter came to Rochester from Ferndale, Michigan, to attend the Eastman School of Music in the mid 1950's.

NPR (April 23)

Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25 Years In Space

ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Back when I was a young astrophysics grad student, I tried to make it home a couple times a year. At meals with some of my extended family, one of my great-aunts would invariably ask why at age 28 I was still in school. I'd tell her about my work studying the evolution of stars, how they're born, how they die. But no matter how poetic or uplifting I tried to make my explanations, she'd always bring the conversation to an abrupt halt with the same question - so, what's it good for? Then NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope. Once the high-def images of multi-hued interstellar clouds and swirling galaxies began landing on magazine covers, I didn't need to justify astronomy to my aunt, or anyone else, for that matter. Measured in terms of raw discoveries, Hubble is the most successful scientific instrument in history. Adam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester.

(Also reported in: WHAM 1180 )

WXXI (April 21)

NY Med Schools Struggle to Compete for Top Biomedical Researchers

Without additional state funding New York Medical School officials say they won’t be able to attract or keep world class researchers. Albany lawmakers have rejected their 50 million dollar request to fund recruitment and retention efforts. Dr. Stephen Dewhurst is Vice Dean for Research at the U of R’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. He says he’s lost colleagues because of lack of funding for faculty development.

Rochester Business Journal (April 23)

University of Rochester creates Humanities Center

The University of Rochester announced the creation of a Humanities Center. I am delighted by the establishment of the Humanities Center, UR president Joel Seligman said. It is an essential step in elevating the role of the humanities at a time when they are under pressure elsewhere.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 21)

UR appoints dean of arts and sciences

Gloria Culver, who has served as interim dean of the University of Rochester's School of Arts & Sciences, has been named to that position on a permanent basis. Culver, who began serving as interim dean last July, was praised by UR President Joel Seligman, who in a statement said that she had done an excellent job as interim dean.

Fauquier Now (April 28)

Money in politics: What do donations accomplish?

An unethical, quid pro quo relationship between legislators and their donors is hard to prove and, experts say, unlikely for the vast majority of lawmakers. Every year in Virginia, hundreds of millions of dollars get donated to politicians running for local, state or federal offices. Everyone agrees that candidates need money to get their names out and win elections, but opinions differ on the lasting effect a check in the pocket of a politician can have. The commonwealth puts no limit on the amount of money an individual or business can donate to a politician. The system relies on disclosure of campaign donations and gifts to prevent unethical relationships from forming. Lynda W. Powell, author of “The Influence of Campaign Contributions in State Legislatures,” said most politicians “might not be aware of influence.” “Even the best intentioned legislator might be unknowingly influenced by listening to one side of the case more than the other,” Ms. Powell, a political science professor at the University of Rochester, said in an interview.

The Daily Galaxy (March 28)

Astronomers Debate: "How Long Can a Technology-Based Civilization Last?" (Weekend Feature)

"We have no idea how long a technological civilization like our own can last," says University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank. "Is it 200 years, 500 years or 50,000 years? Answering this question is at the root of all our concerns about the sustainability of human society. Are we the first and only technologically-intensive civilization in the entire history of the universe? If not, shouldn't we stand to learn something from the past successes and failures of other species?" Human-caused climate change, ocean acidification and species extinctions may eventually threaten the collapse of civilization, according to some scientists, while other people argue that for political or economic reasons we should allow industrial development to continue without restrictions. In a new paper, two astrophysicists argue that these questions may soon be resolvable scientifically, thanks to new data about the Earth and about other planets in our galaxy, and by combining the earth-based science of sustainability with astrobiology. In their paper, which appears in the journal Anthropocene, Frank and co-author Woodruff Sullivan call for creation of a new research program to answer questions about humanity's future in the broadest astronomical context. The authors explain: "The point is to see that our current situation may, in some sense, be natural or at least a natural and generic consequence of certain evolutionary pathways."

Fox News (April 23)

Extreme 'morning sickness' tied to children's neurological problems

The children born to women who suffered severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are more likely to be diagnosed with neurological developmental disorders, according to a small U.S. study. Early onset of the nausea and vomiting - within the first five weeks of gestation - was significantly tied to the likelihood of a child having a developmental delay. The new study doesn't say whether early treatment may reduce the risk of these neurologic delays, said Dr. Lorlai Thornburg, a high-risk pregnancy expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

(Also reported in: Newsmax.com, New York Daily News )

Rochester City Newspaper (April 10, 2015)

Opera Review: Eastman Opera Theatre presents "Our Town"

Grover's Corners, according to author Thornton Wilder, represents everyone's "home town". In Thursday night's performance of "Our Town'" by the Eastman School of Music Opera Theatre, the lighting took on a special significance for scene placement as images from Rochester's past were projected on the back wall of the bleak staging of chairs and ladders. The onstage singing is always more melodic and familiar to our ear than the orchestra. "Our Town" made me feel as if I should go back to my library, and look at the collection of songs that I have by Rorem, whom Time Magazine has called "the world's best composer of art songs."

Vaccine News Daily (April 9, 2015)

University of Rochester testing new oral HIV vaccine

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are halfway through the study of an oral HIV vaccine, one designed to prevent HIV infection. The University of Rochester in New York is the only center in the world testing this vaccine. The new oral vaccine, administered in tablet form, has several advantages over other oral vaccines and especially those given by needle, Dr. John Treanor, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at University of Rochester Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, recently told Vaccine News Daily.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 15, 2015)

Couple hopes to enrich lives with new cancer center

If Carl Myers needs a hospital, he wants one that's close. Keeping a full range of services nearby is one reason the Livingston County resident and his wife contributed a couple of years ago to the construction of a new emergency department at Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital and why they recently donated $2 million to help create a regional cancer center at the Dansville hospital. The center is a collaboration among UR Medicine's Wilmot Cancer Institute, Jones Memorial Hospital in Allegany County and Noyes and was announced Wednesday.

(Also reported in: : Rochester Business Journal, 13WHAM-TV, WXXI, Elmira Star-Gazette, Time Warner Cable News, Wellsville Daily Reporter )

Rochester City Newspaper (April 22, 2015)

Most valuable player

Over his six-decade career, bassist Ron Carter has been part of some of the greatest bands in jazz history. He's played with Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, and many more. He has received just about every honor awarded in his field. But when he is inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame Sunday, it will be a special occasion. Carter came to Rochester from Ferndale, Michigan, to attend the Eastman School of Music in the mid 1950's.

WHEC-TV (April 15, 2015)

A sneak peek into the new Golisano Children's Hospital

A new building is helping Golisano Children's Hospital help even more children. Even before construction is complete, that is evident almost when you step off the elevator onto one of the hospitals eight floors. Every floor is based on a theme from the wildflowers you would see in a grassy field to skyscrapers on the higher floors. The pictures and murals aren't high on the walls at adult eye level, but in places where a three-year-old could see. Dr. Schor says it's a place the community can be proud of. "The amazing, groundbreaking treatment that they did for Anders, the radiation, the chemotherapy and the stem cell transplants," says Swanson. "Those are things we have accessible to us this close to home; it's amazing, it’s beyond fantastic." The hospital is just $7 million short of its goal to help build the hospital.

E-Science News (April 24, 2015)

Generating broadband terahertz radiation from a microplasma in air

Researchers at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. In a paper published this week in Optica, Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang demonstrate that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air -- first pioneered in 1993 -- can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now. Ph.D. student and lead author Buccheri explains that they exploited the underlying physics to reduce the necessary laser power for plasma generation. He adds that it could potentially be improved for applications in the monitoring of explosives or drugs. "I wanted to see if by creating a plasma with a laser in one of these "weirder" polarization states I could make the terahertz emission more efficient," said Buccheri. "That didn't work. But when I understood why it didn't work, I really understood the underlying physics."

Rochester Business Journal (March 27, 2015)

Changing needs spur shifts in graduate programs

Graduate school programs are more important today than at almost any time before, Wendi Heinzelman says. The dean of graduate studies for arts, sciences and engineering at the University of Rochester says that in many disciplines, a graduate degree has become almost a necessity to advance in the field. She even goes so far as to say that “the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s degree.” But as these programs take on a new importance, Heinzelman and other local experts note a shift toward programs that offer students more widely applicable skills. Graduate school enrollment trends also show that students want programs to move beyond rigid disciplines and offer skills that address real-world problems. This trend has been pushing enrollment at many local institutions. “The sort of programs we’ve developed in the last five years have been more specialized and dedicated, like a master’s degree in alternative energy that is looking at different ways to generate energy,” Heinzelman says. “We also have programs in technical entrepreneurship and management, for those with tech backgrounds (who) are looking to get more entrepreneurial experience.”

Rochester City Newspaper (April 29, 2015)

LECTURE | "In Conversation" with Bill Flanagan

Author and MTV executive Bill Flanagan will sit down with John Covach, director for the University of Rochester's Institute for Popular Music, on Wednesday, April 29, to talk about his career in the music industry. The talk is part of the Institute's "In Conversation" series. According to Covach, these lectures allow students to "hear about the way the music business works from the successful people who have seen it from the inside." The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Strong Auditorium, UR's River Campus. Lecture is free and open to the public.

Rochester Business Journal (April 21, 2015)

$1 million gift to transform UR Library

Evans and Susanna Lam have committed $1 million to the River Campus Libraries to establish the Evans and Susanna Lam Library Revitalization Fund. The fund will support the modernization of the patron services area in Rush Rhees Library, which will be named Evans Lam Square. “Everyone who uses the library will benefit from this innovative project. They are making a difference with their generosity,” University of Rochester president Joel Seligman said.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 27, 2015)

Having a baby after 35

Mariah Carey did it. So did Drew Barrymore. And Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, Salma Hayek and Savannah Guthrie. They all had babies after age 35; Carey and Guthrie were 42 when they became first-time moms. “For many women today, motherhood is only part of a larger identity,” says Dr. Neil Seligman, assistant professor of OB/GYN at University of Rochester Medical Center and a maternal fetal medicine specialist at UR Medicine. His colleague Dr. Bala , associate professor of OB/GYN at URMC and a reproductive endocrinologist at UR Medicine’s Strong Fertility Center, agrees. “The average age in our clinic is closer to 40 years old. In fact, it’s more common that women are in their 40's. It’s not at all unusual.” And clearly, thanks in part to scientific advances, mid-life pregnancy is possible for women who want to first pursue an education and establish themselves professionally and financially — or who don’t meet Mr. Right in their 20's.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 23, 2015)

Parents should beware of e-cigarettes

Plumes of smoke from cigarettes dangling from the lips of smokers were a more common sight decades ago, and so was gagging from the smoke before the Clean Indoor Air Act banned smoking from virtually all workplaces. The sharp increase in use of e-cigarettes among youth should give parents pause, and mom and dad should be wary of e-cigarettes use by their children. Not only is it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 in New York state, the potential long-term health effects of use also are currently unknown. Electronic cigarettes are small, battery-operated devices that vaporize flavored nicotine that is inhaled. Earlier this year, a University of Rochester Medical Center study said that emissions from e-cigarette aerosols and flavorings damage lung cells by creating harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissue.

Rochester City Newspaper (April 1, 2015)

Breaking boxesSound ExChange

Depending on who you ask or when you ask the question you'll get a variety of explanations of what the Sound ExChange Project really is: A local contemporary classical ensemble; a chamber group; an artist collective; composers; curators; educators; community-investors. At its very core, Sound ExChange is a group of seven young Eastman graduates who are looking for new ways to present music and connect with audiences. It could be through the use of interactive technology and social media, close collaborations with diverse community arts groups, passionately-performed contemporary works, or its residency with the ROCmusic program, but Sound ExChange wants to break down any barriers that exist between the audience's world and their own.

Rochester City Newspaper (March 30, 2015)

Writing in ROC: Five local authors Rochesterians should have on a bookshelf

Jennifer Grotz Jennifer Grotz, an award-winning poet and writer, moved to Rochester from Texas seven years ago to take a job as an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester. "I've written quite a few poems with snow in them since my arrival," she joked. Poems from her many collections have been featured in The New Yorker as well as the Best American Poetry anthologies in 2000, 2009, and 2011. She also recently won a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a $25,000 fellowship that she said has allowed her to concentrate on her poems in a way she hadn't been able to previously. Joanna Scott Scott grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Rochester since the late 1980's. She has published 11 books, a mix of novels and collections of stories, to critical acclaim. Her list of awards and honors is not short — she is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, just to name a few. In addition to her impressive list of accolades, Scott told City, via email, "I once received a really nice letter from Jacqueline Onassis after she'd read a story of mine in The Paris Review. That was pretty cool!" Scott is a professor of English at the University of Rochester and teaches courses in fiction writing, and modern and contemporary literature. Currently, the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation at Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester is hosting an ongoing exhibit called "To Travel Is To Live," which features many of the letters, diaries, and pictures that inspired Scott's most recent novel, "DePotter's Grand Tour." "The curators have done a terrific job arranging the materials," she said.

Money Magazine (April 15, 2015)

HOW TO TELL IF THERE IS A MARKET

MEET CONSUMERS. Get feedback on your idea through sites like AYTM.com, UsabilityHub.com, and UserTesting.com (plans start around $50). Better yet, organize a focus group of target clients, says George Cook, a marketing prof at University of Rochester. You might start with people who’ve commented on your competitors’ Facebook pages. (See page 40)

Democrat & Chronicle (April 5, 2015)

Lost at sea, found in fiction

The portrait over the fireplace mantle had been staring down at Joanna Scott since she was a little girl. "I knew of him and knew he had disappeared at sea," she says. "It really haunted me." The bearded stranger, her great-grandfather Armand de Potter, had left behind clues to his life. Some were tucked away in what the family called The Gilt Cabinet, "a hodgepodge of objects, buttons with portraits painted on them, carved ivory," Scott says. The man who had collected these curios, she was told, had been an archaeologist. Much of what is known of this mysterious man is fabrication, a history he invented himself. Truth and his fictions collide in Scott's latest novel, De Potter's Grand Tour. The trail has grown cold, but much of the evidence she gathered over her five-year investigation into his life is laid out at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library in the exhibit, "To Travel is to Live." It was the motto of her great-grandfather, whose final destination appears to have been the bottom of the Aegean Sea. When Scott overheard one of the agents remarking, "writers should never live in New York," she took that advice, settling into Rochester in the late '80s after the University of Rochester offered her an English-professor position. Her husband, James Longenbach, is also a Trinity graduate, although they actually met in Rome, on the school's Study Abroad program; he's also an English professor at UR, a poet and writer of critical works on heavyweights such as Ezra Pound and W.B. Yeats.

WXXI PBS News (April 14, 2015)

Coming up on Connections: Wednesday, April 15th

Second hour: Updating stem cell research efforts Then, in our second hour, we're getting up-to-speed on stem cell research. The debate was raging a decade ago: embryonic vs. adult stem cells. Many local scientists pushed for more opportunity to gain access to embryonic stem cells, given the potential to attack disease. How is research progressing? What's next? Mark Noble will deliver a presentation later this month at the Rochester Academy of Medicine titled, "My Child Does Not Have Time for Your Ethics!" In studio: Mark Noble, professor of genetics; neurobiology and anatomy at URMC Richard Dees, ethicist at the University of Rochester Related Program:Connections

WXXI (March 27, 2015)

WXXI-TV Wins Four Telly Awards

WXXI has won four Telly awards – three bronze awards for its national health care series, Second Opinion, and a fourth bronze for its documentary Music for Life: The Story of New Horizons. The Telly Awards Competition recognizes distinction in local, regional, and cable TV programs and commercials, as well as video and film productions. The award winning episodes were “Childhood Cancer,” “Addiction to Pain Medications,” and “PTSD.” Second Opinion is produced in partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center and West 175 Productions. Music for Life: The Story of New Horizons shares the heartwarming stories of a group of seniors who rekindled, or found for the first time, their passion for music and performing through the formation of the New Horizons band. The documentary was funded in part by Eastman School of Music, New Horizons, and the Waldron Rise Foundation.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 18, 2015)

Book looks at civil rights through Poitiers films

At a time when the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s changed the face of America, Sidney Poitier was probably the most visible black actor in the movie industry. With Poitier in leading roles, audiences saw how blacks and whites could strike up friendships, overcome prejudice and set examples of harmonious behavior. In a new book, The Poitier Effect: The Melodrama and Fantasies of Reconciliation, University of Rochester professor Sharon Willis maintains that while Poitier's films provide a lens for viewing the possibilities of improved race relations, this perspective doesn't tell the whole story.

(Also reported in: Standard Bulletin )

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 16, 2015)

Bryant: 5 experiments kids can do at UR on Saturday

I have never made elephant toothpaste. Nor have I had the opportunity to use a robot arm, turn water into blood, or freeze anything in liquid nitrogen. So I am hoping that they let parents participate at Family Science Day at the University of Rochester this Saturday. "There are a lot of cool ways to get kids to see what science has to offer," said STEM Initiative vice president Palak Patel, a sophomore who is studying public health and biology.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 20, 2015)

Woman to Watch: AnnaLynn Williams

As an undergraduate student, AnnaLynn Williams was first introduced to the disciplines of public health and epidemiology. She immediately knew that she had found her life’s path. “I am particularly interested in epidemiology research” — the study of the causes and transmission of disease in specific populations — Williams said. At first, Williams attributed her excessive fatigue, tendency to bruise easily and frequent illnesses to working part-time while attending graduate school. But when she had difficulty swallowing and was too frail to hold a toothbrush in her hand, she went to see her doctor. Tests revealed that she had acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. After receiving one month of high-dose chemotherapy, Williams returned to her studies while continuing her chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. But when lab results revealed that she had a relapse, the search for a bone marrow donor began through the aegis of Be the Match, a national marrow donor program. In March of 2010, a match was found. Today, Williams continues to be cancer-free and is studying for her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Rochester.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (April 27, 2015)

Healthy Life: Prenatal fears fact and fiction

"Pregnancy is a challenging time because you recognize that you don't have a ton of control," said Dr. Loralei Thornburg, a high-risk pregnancy expert and assistant professor at the UR Medicine. "When women are pregnant, they reach out for different things to try to exert some control." Before making any decisions about what she should or should not do, a pregnant woman needs good information. "Don't consult Dr. Google," said Dr. Maggie Vill, a high-risk pregnancy expert at The Women's Health Center at Rochester General Hospital and assistant clinical professor at the University of Rochester. "So much of the information we find online is not valid. What they need to do is ask their doctor."

Rochester City Newspaper (April 8, 2015)

UR students serve the uninsured

About two dozen men and women fought through an early March snowstorm to get something that many people take for granted: medical care. They filed downstairs to the basement of Asbury First United Methodist Church in southeast Rochester, where the University of Rochester and church officials have set up a small health clinic. The examination room previously a storage area reeked of rubbing alcohol and latex. The Asbury clinic on East Avenue is one of three UR Well Student Outreach clinics in Rochester operated by medical students. The patients students saw more than 900 last year usually don't have health insurance and can't afford to pay for services.

WXXI PBS News (April 13, 2015)

Coming up on Connections: Monday, April 13th

First hour: Equal Pay Day 2015 Second hour: The rise of local singing competitions In our first hour: Equal Pay Day 2015. Is there a gender pay gap in the Rochester area? We could soon find out, thanks to a new study. Tuesday, April 14th marks Equal Pay Day, which is a day meant to signify how much longer a woman would have had to work to equal what a man made in 2014. Our guests include: Catherine Cerulli, Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester Then in our second hour, local singing competitions under the microscope. Who needs American Idol when you have Classical Idol? Who needs X Factor when you have Lotte Lenya? In all seriousness, it's a big week for some talented contestants. Contestants from all over the world gather in Rochester for a chance to become the next Classical Idol. In studio: Kim Kowalke, professor of musicology at Eastman

(Also reported in: Fox Rochester, WHEC TV )

Education News (April 27, 2015)

Parent Training May Improve Autistic Childrens Behavior

New insights from a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association may play a role in helping parents improve the behavior of autistic children. Jim Alger of Tech Times writes that parents who were part of a weeks-long training program structured to assist them in managing their children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders saw more reductions in disruptive episodes compared with parents who received only educational materials and no training. This trial was the largest of any behavioral intervention methods studies ever attempted with children with autism with about 200 children from 3 to 7 and their parents taking part. The participants were divided into two groups. Half of the parents were involved in a 24-week training program which taught hands-on techniques like using visual aids, how to spot triggers, and discovering which autistic behaviors should be addressed and which should not. For the training in Rochester, lead researcher Tristam Smith, Ph.D. of the University of Rochester says the results showed a 47% reduction in tantrums, aggression, and self-injury in children ages 3 and 6. Dr. Smith added that the trial will prove that by intervening when the children are young, some of the later, more intensive interventions can be avoided.

WXXI PBS News (April 22, 2015)

Study Shows Effectiveness of Parental Training to Reduce Behavioral Problems in Autistic Children

A promising new study, conducted partly in Rochester, may give hope to the parents of autistic children. The research looked at ways a training program could help parents and other caregivers reduce problem behaviors in kids on the autism spectrum. Local lead researcher Tristam Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester says the 24-week course resulted in a more than 47-percent reduction in tantrums, aggression and self-injury in children between the ages of 3 and 6.

(Also reported in: Chipley Bugle )

Democrat & Chronicle (April 4, 2015)

Saturday's area college results

Madeline Levy scored a game-high four goals for the University of Rochester, which defeated William Smith for the first time in 34 years, 9-4, on Saturday in a women's lacrosse game. Jamie Wallisch added three goals and an assist and Lauren Basil had two goals and an assist for the Yellowjackets (6-5).

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (March 29, 2015)

Sundays area college results

Sam Slutsky knocked in seven runs to power the University of Rochester to a doubleheader sweep of Bard in Liberty League baseball on Sunday. Brian Munoz hit two home runs, each in Game 2, and finished with six RBI on the day for UR (7-7, 3-1), which won 16-9 and 21-7.

Democrat & Chronicle (April 8, 2015)

Teens win business contest with mouth guard freshener

A pair of teens with a business plan for a mouth guard freshener won a Shark Tank-style competition Tuesday. Taylor Quinton, 16, of Pittsford, and Max Breit, 15, of Rochester, founders of the company called Fresh-Fixx, will advance to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholars Northeast Regional College Scholarship competition in May. They were among 21 students in grades six through 12 representing 12 businesses and social movements from the YEA class at the University of Rochester. Each team had six minutes to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges that also decided how much funding to invest in each idea.

(Also reported in: Democrat & Chronicle, Worcester County Times )

Senior Journal (April 25, 2015)

Grandparents help grandkids succeed by providing summer books, reading to the youngest

Want to be a better grandparent? Who doesn’t? Here are a couple of ideas being presented today that can put you at the top of the class. Giving your school age grandchildren books as school ends for the summer can help them avoid the “summer slide.” And, if you go the extra mile and read to the youngest ones, new research says you will enhance their reading skills. "Reading proficiency is a critical skill and an important determinant of health. However, many students, particularly low-income students, struggle," said lead researcher Erin Kelly, M.D., a fourth-year medicine-pediatrics resident at the University of Rochester in New York.

(Also reported in: : Science 2.0, Science Codex, University Herald )