In the Headlines
SELECTED NEWS COVERAGE:
The Washington Post (December 9)
What would Stuart Little make of it? Mice have been created whose brains are half-human. As a result, the animals are smarter than their siblings. The idea is not to mimic fiction but to advance understanding of human brain diseases by studying them in whole mouse brains rather than in laboratory dishes. The altered mice still have mouse neurons — the “thinking” cells that make up around half of all their brain cells. But practically all their glial cells, the ones that support the neurons, are human. “It’s still a mouse brain, not a human brain,” says Steve Goldman of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “But all the non-neuronal cells are human."
(Also reported in: Christian News Network, Red Orbit, Chandigarh Tribune, MedCity News, Australia Mercury, The Telegraph (UK), The Daily Mail (UK), Smithsonian Magazine, CNET News, NewScientist, Deccan Chronicle, Times Live, The Escapist, Sierra Leone Times )
Discovery News (December 19)
Some technologies, like solar power, which have been around for decades made shining breakthroughs this year, while others you may have never heard of, like quantum teleportation, came on strong. Check out ten technologies from 2014 that never let up the entire year. Slide 9: Cloaking Cloaking technology is ubiquitous in science. We have the evil Romulans from Star Trek, who can cloak their spaceship at a moment's notice, and we have Harry Potter's cape, which can turn the wearer invisible. In science, however, cloaking technology is still new. Up until this year, most researchers had some success cloaking parts of the light spectrum not visible to the human eye. They found a way to hide a 3-D object from magnetic waves, cloak sound, hide metal objects from a magnetic field and make an entire city impervious to the seismic waves from an earthquake. But this year, we finally got our wish. Researchers at the University of Rochester used simple, inexpensive, off-the-shelf components to hide objects in the visible spectrum of light. Instead of using expensive "meta-materials" used by other scientists interested in cloaking objects, John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester, and graduate student Joseph Choi combined four optical lenses to bend light and send it through the center. It's not perfect yet, but demonstrates that some of the most difficult problems often have simple solutions.
BBC (December 5)
Do you ever brag about how little sleep you need or how well you handle daily stress? Maybe you should rethink the bravado. Excess stress and sleep deprivation are more than just health concerns. They could also be silently derailing your ascent up the professional ladder. It’s a topic several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on this week. Here’s what two of them had to say. There are, of course, reasons we need sufficient sleep to perform better. “New research from the University of Rochester provides the first direct evidence for why your brain cells need you to sleep,” wrote Bradberry. “The study found that when you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you're awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you're asleep. So when you don't get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think — something no amount of caffeine can fix,” Bradberry wrote.
The Daily News (December 6)
Former White House speechwriter Curt Smith’s most recent book revisits the time in his professional life when he experienced his greatest success, working for President George H.W. Bush. “George H.W. Bush, Character at the Core,” also looks back at Smith’s most painful low, when Bush failed in his 1992 re-election bid and lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. Smith, a Caledonia native, was Bush’s speechwriter for four years. The author, in his notes at the beginning of the book, writes, “History will ask how the Operation Desert Storm hero got 37.5 percent of the vote in 1992.” The nation’s 41st president — Bush 41, as Smith calls him in the book, as opposed to the son, Bush 43 — was the last of the World War II generation to serve in the White House. Bush 41 was the embodiment of the ideals of the so-called Greatest Generation, a man of principle, character, manners, and old money, who was also Eastern Establishment and a World War II hero — he was a pilot who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. Smith wrote Bush’s Desert Storm speech that included the line, “This aggression will not stand.” Eighteen months later Bush lost his bid for a second term in office, when Bill Clinton took 43 percent of the vote and third-party candidate Ross Perot got 19.5 percent. Perot, a conservative, siphoned votes away from the GOP base and probably cost Bush the election, Smith said. Smith said he did not speak with Bush when writing the book but did mail the former president a copy of it. He got a letter back last week in which Bush 41 wrote, “I never read anything, but I’m going to read this,” Smith said. The author, a Rochester resident, is a senior lecturer at University of Rochester. He and his wife have two children, Olivia, 15, and Travis, 14.
Architectural Digest (December 4)
Few spaces combine visual splendor and colorful history like America's great old theaters 9. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater, Rochester, NY Industrialist George Eastman built his eponymous and opulent theater in 1922 as a fundraising movie palace, its proceeds going to his namesake music conservatory (based at the University of Rochester, New York). The voluminous performance space, designed by McKim, Mead & White, originally contained 3,352 seats, a Maxfield Parrish painting, and a 35-foot-tall chandelier that weighed 5,000 pounds. All students at the Eastman School of Music have the opportunity to perform in the space, renamed Kodak Hall in 2009, and the venue is also the principal hall for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. 10. In 2004 the Eastman Theater's stage was replaced, and its hall acoustics were substantially improved.
Forbes.com (December 29)
Just about everything you think you know about Alzheimer's 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 Power's 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. John's Home in Rochester, N.Y.
New York Times (December 16)
John Osburg, 39, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester, is the author of Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich, based on research he conducted in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu. The book paints a detailed picture of the complex ways in which men and women try to buy favors and get ahead in business ventures, often by courting government officials at night clubs and often over drinking and sex. It also describes a milieu beset by anxiety over whether their gains can last. In the first part of an interview, Mr. Osburg discussed how embedded corrupt practices are in China, the prospects for change after President Xi Jinping's crackdown on graft and why so many rich Chinese are emigrating. In a second part, he will discuss his latest research on the surprising turn that many of China's new rich have made toward Tibetan Buddhism and other forms of spiritual fulfillment.
CBS News (December 5)
When Danny Pszczolkowski and his sweetheart Esther FitzRandolph walked down the aisle last weekend, they did so in the usual way, but in a most unusual place -- a hospital chapel. Broken hearts on the mend "It just seemed like the obvious place to be married when our love started here," said FitzRandolph. As we first reported a couple months ago, Esther -- who was divorced -- and Danny -- a life-long bachelor --met at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. They were both there for follow-up appointments after their heart transplant surgeries. They were both having complications, and they were both depressed. But after they started dating they started improving. So quickly, their doctors couldn't believe it. Cardiologist Dr. Leway Chen said he and his staff didn't know about the romance. "We talked and said, 'Yea, she's doing better now, I wonder why. And yes, he's been more active and involved in his care, I wonder why,'" said Chen. Today Dr. Chen gives full credit to the healing power of love.
(Also reported in: WHP CBS Ch32 TV )
Huffington Post (December 31)
So, in this struggle it appears that those with the "anti-science" minds, and ruder comments or more poison pens are winning. Or, maybe they have already won -- at least for the time being. That's the position that Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester takes in his New York Times op-ed in August of this year. Professor Frank writes, "...Instead of sending my students into a world that celebrates the latest science has to offer, I am delivering them into a society ambivalent, even skeptical about the fruits of science." He continues, "Our society no longer values the integrity of scientific fact."
Poets & Quants (December 12)
For business schools competing strenuously for students, a pool of very bright, high-performing potential applicants appears to offer salvation – and rankings glory. And when that pool contains millions of individual saviors, why, it makes sense to dip right in and start hauling them out. The problem is, when you’re talking about business schools recruiting foreign students, there’s a stiff price to pay for short-term gains, says the new dean of the University of Rochester Simon Business School, where foreign students, mostly from Asia, make up about 40% of the student population. SIMON DESERVES BETTER? For Simon Dean Andrew Ainslie, who started there in July, the school ranks lower overall than it should, considering that Businessweek ranks it at No. 20 for intellectual capital. “It’s a rock star faculty,” Ainslie says. “I walked through the doors and spent a few months looking at things. We’ve been playing a short-term game.”
Slate Magazine (December 1)
The first thing to realize about this method is that not every parent might consider the elite college in Parchments study particularly elite. Along with the likes of Columbia and Amherst, Barrons top tier includes schools like the University of Rochester, University of Richmond, the Webb Institute (a small engineering college), and the University of Miami. By most sane standards, these are very good colleges. But in the eyes of a hypercompetitive helicopter parent in a wealthy suburban school district (or, worse yet, one with kids at an expensive private school) they might not make the grade.
The Atlantic Magazine (December 5)
At 5 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, February 8th, 1587, Mary Stuart lay fully dressed on her four-poster bed in Fotheringhay Castle in eastern England. Around her were her ladies-in-waiting, Jane Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle, who had both donned black mourning clothes. Outside, Mary could hear the hammering from the scaffold being erected. The 44-year-old had been imprisoned for 18 and a half years. Later that day, she would be put to death for the attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth I. Moments before she was to be executed, Mary asked if her ladies-in-waiting could remove her black dress. Beneath her black dress, she was wearing all red: a crimson velvet petticoat, sleeves, and satin bodice, matching her auburn hair. But the symbolism of the color red also permeates our lives in more subtle ways. In fact, research has shown that it may have the power to influence our psyches, desires, and behaviors. Conversely, though, red has also been linked to “avoidance motivation,” or a heightened desire to avoid failure. In a 2007 study, Andrew Elliot, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, administered exams bound in different-colored packets. He found that when given the choice between answering an easy question with a low payoff or a moderately difficult question with a higher payoff, people with red packets tended to go for the easy question, while those with packets of other colors more frequently chose the moderately difficult questions—and, as a result, those with red scored significantly worse.
(Also reported in: The Express Tribune )
News-Medical.net (December 11)
An interdisciplinary team of neuroscientists and neurosurgeons from the University of Rochester has used a new imaging technique to show how the human brain heals itself in just a few weeks following surgical removal of a brain tumor. In a study featured on the cover of the current issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team found that recovery of vision in patients with pituitary tumors is predicted by the integrity of myelin--the insulation that wraps around connections between neurons--in the optic nerves. "Before the study, we weren't able to tell patients how much, if at all, they would recover their vision after surgery," explained David Paul, an M.D. candidate in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and first author of the study.
The New York Times (December 19)
By ADAM FRANK “Waking, Dreaming, Being” begins with an appreciation of neuroscience’s revolutionary impact on our understanding of the brain. Armed with high-resolution digital tools, researchers have mapped critical steps in cognition and vision, language and even memory. The success of these studies, however, leads some to claim them as proof in favor of “neuro-reductionism” — the proposition that we’re all nothing but the goop of our brains. From this standpoint, minds are never more than just brain function. Once the working brain stops working, our consciousness ends, we end, end of story. This training makes contemplative practice unlike anything in the neuroscientist’s toolbox. Neuroscience’s reliance on instrumented, third-person descriptions from brain scans means the essential and essentially nuanced experience of subjectivity is filtered out. As Thompson insists, our consciousness — our self — is simply not the kind of “thing” science is used to studying. The book’s title underscores Thompson’s thematic approach. Sections on “Waking” explore normal cognitive function underpinning day-to-day activity. Thompson walks us through the Abhidharma school of Buddhism. For the Abhidharma, our perceived stream of consciousness can be resolved into bursts of attention or “mind moments.” Thompson shows us modern neuroscience experiments that seem to support this discrete nature of perception. Adam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and the author of “About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang.”
Chicago Tribune (December 19)
Christina Smith has been principal flutist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 1991 and was guest principal flutist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's recent European tour. She will reunite with the CSO and music director Riccardo Muti in late January for concerts at Orchestra Hall and then Carnegie Hall in New York. Although most of her peers play modern flutes, her instrument goes way back. Instrument: It's one of six handmade vintage Powells that was made by Verne Q. Powell, the founder of the Powell flute company. I believe the one that I have is actually the first of six that he handmade, and it was made in 1938. Distinctive features: It's unusual because it's solid platinum, and flutes usually come apart in three pieces, but this one only comes in two pieces. They call it a one-piece body. It has a really long case because of that. Its first player: This flute was made for a very famous flutist and teacher named Joseph Mariano, who was the flute teacher at the Eastman School of Music for many, many years. So it was owned by him. It was played by him. It's kind of neat. We don't have the history with woodwind instruments like Stradivarius violins do or anything like that, but it's a very special instrument. For a woodwind instrument, something made in 1938 is very old to be playing today.
MSNBC (December 12)
Welcome to Women in Politics: College Edition, where promising women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the country will be featured on msnbc.com over the course of the year. Alexandra Poindexter has been nominated by the University of Rochester as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics. As part of a new series at msnbc, “Women of 2014,” these hand-selected women become part of a larger discussion of women candidates and women’s issues on a national level. “Women of 2014” is a home for all women in politics – notably those in some of the year’s most pivotal races – with newsmaker interviews, profiles, photos, a Twitter trail following more than 35 candidates, and deep dives into the key conversations. From the Ivy Leagues to the Big Ten to liberal arts colleges and beyond, young women are making a difference across the country – meet them here!
England Daily Mail (December 27)
Are some people BORN to make more fat cells? Researchers find protein that could control weight loss and lead to radical new treatments for obesity
An estimated 60 million people are defined as clinically obese in the United States. Diseases associated with obesity include Type 2 diabetes, various heart conditions and some cancers. Worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers say the obesity epidemic is growing fastest in well-developed regions such as Asia, Latin America, and parts of the Middle East. "We believe that weight gain is not necessarily just a result of eating more and exercising less," said lead author Richard Phipps of the University of Rochester. "Our focus is on the intricate network involved in fat cell development." The Rochester team discovered that a protein, Thy1, has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target, according to a study published online this month by the FASEB Journal.
Daily Finance (November 26)
It's that warm and fuzzy time of year when you may be thinking of donating to charity. After all, you're a good person. It's the right thing to do. And sure, there's also a little matter of getting a tax deduction -- assuming you've picked a charity the Internal Revenue Service recognizes. "It pays to donate reasonably big-ticket items if you can," says George Cook, an executive professor at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester in New York. "For example, a complete bedroom set can get you up to a $1,000 write-off. Complete dining room sets may get you up to $90. Computers, copiers, televisions and refrigerators in working order might get you $250. Working washing machines can be up to $150." And just as charities will do with cars, "many charitable organizations will come to your residence and pick up heavy-duty, bulky items, such as furniture. Just call and schedule a pickup, and they will haul it away," Cook says.
(Also reported in: WTOP 103.5 FM (DC) )
The Daily Mail (UK) (December 11)
Lead author Dr John Markman, of the University of Rochester, said: 'Chronic low back pain is one of the most common reasons why older adults go to the doctor and lumbar stenosis is the leading indication for surgery in this age group.' Doctors have looked for alternatives to opioids, a group of drugs used to control pain but that are addictive and have many side effects, he said. So they have increasingly turned to drugs like pregabalin to help patients manage their pain, even though there has been no credible evidence to show they are effective for this problem, he added. He continued: 'Given the cost and potential side effects associated with pregabalin, it is critical that we understand the efficacy of this drug.' 'This study convincingly demonstrates a lack of relief with pregabalin for the walking pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis.' The study was published in the journal Neurology.
Huffington Post (December 3)
Even before I interviewed Mark Powell, a Ford Foundation award-winning conductor and popular instructor in the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music, I already knew I would be talking to one of the true luminaries on the national discussion about leadership in the arts. Still yet, I had no idea that I was going to be hearing from a man so dedicated to artist empowerment and so committed to the process of molding a stunningly capable and magnanimous musician; the one capable of impacting far beyond the music on the page and into the hearts of the audience members who come to hear them, as well as the staff that they might one day lead. Up for discussion on this occasion was the trending and blending of entrepreneurship into arts curriculum on the university level.
Daily News & Analysis (November 30)
A new study has provided a deeper insight into what could be the average lifetime of species like humans, who are extremely technologically advanced. Homo sapiens and their energy-gobbling technologies are changing the very ecology of the Earth. But even as these human-caused changes unfold, some wonder whether humans have doomed themselves to extinction. University of Washington astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and Adam Frank, a University of Rochester astrophysicist and a UW alumnus, suggested that this might not be the first time where the primary agent of causation is knowingly watching it all happen and pondering options for its own future.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 21)
Kyle Psaty, a 30-year-old professional who moved to Pittsford from Boston less than two years ago, wants to develop roots here. As the product marketing director at Brand Networks, a software firm, Psaty is very attuned to digital technology and had a chance last month to give some friendly advice to the new director of the Memorial Art Gallery, Jonathan Binstock. "How do we find more of a way to personalize the experience at the MAG?" said Psaty. "My millennial generation experiences the world through our mobile phones and we'd like him to take that into account as he imagines the future of the MAG." Binstock, who convened the brainstorming session with Psaty and a handful of other young professionals, is eager to hear more, especially since the vast majority of the MAG's members are older than 45. "People of this generation are engaged in the world in a different way. Part of that engagement is being an active participant," said Binstock about the young adults. The MAG's efforts to reach out to the millennial generation are representative of a wide-ranging push by museums, businesses, governments and other institutions to reach out to young adults.
Rochester Business Journal (November 21)
At 26, Alexander Pena, a first-generation Mexican American, seeks to make classical music as accessible for others as it was for him. The Eastman School of Music became a major focus after Pena’s teacher and Dawkins, an alumna, recommended it. He also liked that he could study both performance and music education, an option not available everywhere. “My teacher spoke so highly of Eastman and how the type of person that comes out of Eastman is actually a wonderful worker and colleague and friend,” he says. “I heard it from numerous people as I was getting older and older that an Eastman musician is a capable musician, somebody who is collaborative. There’s this big stress on creating the well-rounded musician, the entrepreneur—not just the player, not just the technician.” The program reflects the type of community engagement George Eastman had in mind when he founded the RPO and established the Eastman School. Collaborating institutions include the school, its community music school, the RPO, the University of Rochester, the city of Rochester and its Department of Recreation and Youth Services, Rochester City School District and Hochstein School of Music and Dance.
Sampsonia Way Magazine (December 17)
Chad W. Post has carved out an important space for international literature. He is the publisher at the University of Rochester’s Open Letter Books, which publishes ten titles in translation each year. He also edits, blogs, and reviews books for Three Percent, bringing attention to international literature that might otherwise be overlooked. In the following interview, Post discusses the landscape of international literature, the impact of his organization’s work, and his hopes for the future of translation and world literature. Open Letter’s website states that you search for works that are “extraordinary and influential.” What is extraordinary and influential about the books you are publishing this year? Is there anything that particularly distinguishes them from books Open Letter has published in the past? I think our aesthetic has been pretty consistent throughout our six years of publishing. All of our books are well-crafted, interesting, enjoyable reads, some of which fill in gaps in knowledge about a particular aesthetic/literary scene (like Macedonio Fernandez’s Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel)) and others are more of-the-moment, like Street of Thieves. Exceptional is sort of a code word for unique. We don’t want to publish the Estonian Jonathan Franzen. We want to publish the future Estonian Nobel Prize winner who is adding something to the world literature conversation.
GPS Daily (November 27)
By solving a six-dimensional equation that had previously stymied researchers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln physicists have pinpointed the characteristics of a laser pulse that yields electron behavior they can predict and essentially control. Starace and Ngoko Djiokap co-authored the study with colleagues from Russia's Voronezh State University; the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester (N.Y.); and Denmark's Aarhus University.
MedPage Today (December 27)
With no clearly proven treatments available for progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), the door has been opened for what are usually called alternative or complementary therapies. One that has gained many adherents in the MS community is the Wahls Protocol, a regimen of diet, exercise (including electrical neuromuscular stimulation), and meditation techniques. MedPage Today asked for comments from its eponymous developer, Terry Wahls, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. Wahls is an MS patient and devised the protocol initially for herself. On her website, she claims to have climbed out of a wheelchair and improved enough to complete an 18-mile bike ride within 1 year. MedPage Today also contacted neurologists at academic medical centers to ask for brief comments on the Wahls Protocol. Not surprisingly, their assessments were more cautious: "Wellness promotion approaches including a healthful diet, exercise, and stress reduction are widely recommended by MS experts to their patients. That said, neither Dr. Wahls' program, nor any other wellness regimen, regardless of how thoughtfully conceived and well intentioned, has been proven rigorously to alter the MS disease process in randomized, controlled trials such as those required by the FDA for the approval of new therapies. Naturally, we all want people with MS to feel better and do better, but we ought to be cautious about possibly promoting false hope." -- Andrew Goodman, MD, University of Rochester in New York.
WXXI (December 22)
A local foundation is announcing a $1 million gift in support of a new University of Rochester building that will include an autism clinic. The grant comes from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation and it will support the building set to break ground next spring along East River Road in Brighton. The first two floors of the building will be used for outpatient imaging. The third floor will house the William and Mildred Levine Autism Clinic. Todd Levin is president of the foundation as well as Alleson Athletic, and his son was diagnosed with autism at age 2. The new clinic will focus primarily on the needs of children and families affected by autism, but it will also enhance the care of children with other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Rochester Business Journal (November 7)
For nearly seven years, Jonathan Binstock barely felt the earth beneath his feet. As senior vice president and specialist in modern and contemporary art with Citi Private Bank’s art advisory and finance group, Binstock was in near-constant transit to all corners of the globe. He would travel across Europe and Asia, working with clients and their families to build personal art collections, and also work with Citi’s art finance program to assess the quality of artwork. Eventually, a desire to stay put led Binstock to the Memorial Art Gallery, where in July he was named director. Binstock succeeded Grant Holcomb, who retired in July after close to three decades in the position.
WXXI (December 30)
Rochester's Favorite Books 2014! We talk to community leaders about their favorite book in 2014. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why. 14:30: It's Rochester's favorite books 2014 and our next guest is the president of the University of Rochester, Joel Seligman. President Seligman nice to talk to you again. Seligman: Great to talk to you, Evan. Dawson: Your favorite book of 2014 is? Seligman: The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. Dawson: Tell us about why. Seligman: I view this as a bookend to a wonderful biography Walter wrote a few years back on Steve Jobs. This was in effect the story of Steve and how among other things he created what was then the largest corporation in the world with Apple and certainly one of the most innovative, but it was an extraordinary biography. 1:25: My next guest is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, and you have certainly seen and heard his name whether it's on this program, NPR or other places, maybe you've read his work. His name is Adam Frank, and he's on the line with us now. Adam nice to talk to you. Frank: It's a great pleasure. Dawson: And your favorite book of 2014 is what? Frank: I'm going to actually break the rules, and I'm going to throw two down. The first is an old book, the Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. It's just a beautiful both travel log and book about a man's spiritual journey.
Rochester Business Journal (December 10)
Local lawmakers are pushing for passage of a federal bill that has many items in it that could help the region. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced that the omnibus spending bill—a must-pass bill that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year—includes $1.1 billion in funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. It is an increase of $100 million over last year’s allocation. Also included in the omnibus bill is a $68 million allocation for the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics, which is a $4 million increase over this year. The bill could be voted on by both the House and Senate as early as this week.
(Also reported in: WHEC-TV )
Wall Street Journal (December 17)
Norwest Venture Partners’ portfolio company iCardiac Technologies Inc. may have a way to help pharmaceutical companies detect which experimental drugs might flat line over cardiac concerns. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company recently completed a study in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which demonstrated that cardiac toxicity in drugs can be detected much earlier in the development process than previously thought by medical professionals. Making this determination earlier allows pharmaceutical companies to either terminate the development process or continue with clinical trials. iCardiac said its new method allows cardiac safety screening to be brought forward by several years, to the first phase of drug testing where a small group of subjects will be tested. iCardiac executives said the testing’s accuracy wouldn’t be compromised despite the small sample size, as it incorporates a vast pool of data collected in the past 25 years by the University of Rochester on the natural variability of QT intervals in individual patients.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (December 17)
For decades, researchers have been seeking a blood test that could diagnose a concussion and tell whether it is severe enough to cause lasting brain damage. Every year, a million people in the U.S. "many of them young athletes" are hit on the head, causing the mild brain trauma known as concussion. Although most recover within hours or days, a minority suffer lasting symptoms of brain injury such as headaches, confusion, depression and irritability. Several other potential concussion markers have been evaluated but have drawbacks, said Jeffrey J. Bazarian, an emergency medicine physician and concussion expert at the University of Rochester. For example, he discovered that a nervous system protein that surges after a concussion also rises after a marathon or bone fracture. Contact sports are being played differently now. "Athletes get hit a lot more," Bazarian said. A protein like (SNTF) is so desperately needed. We need a way to pull athletes out of a game, prick their finger, and not even ask them their symptoms. We need to take the guesswork out of diagnosing concussion.
Democrat & Chronicle (December 22)
Think of it as Downton Abbey on the Genesee, a story spanning four generations about two of the most influential families in Rochester history: the Sibleys and the Watsons. At the center of this tale is a woman from the Sibley family's second generation here. Born to great wealth but visited often by sorrow, she quietly enriches the cultural life of the city one painting, one museum at a time. The story of Emily Sibley Watson (1855-1945) is being told again in timeline form on the website of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery, the institution she founded in 1912. A work in progress and a labor of love, the timeline "at http://mag.rochester.edu/timeline/family-history-esw/" brings clarity to a saga that can seem too tangled to unravel, if only because everybody in the story appears to be a Sibley or a Watson or, like Emily, both at the same time. The timeline's creators, Lu Harper, the MAG's librarian, and Marjorie Searl, the MAG's chief curator before her retirement last year, have done their best to keep the players straight.
(Also reported in: WROC TV CBS 8 )
WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester (December 4)
Al Leslie and Ally Zywicki combined for 47 points to power the University of Rochester to an 88-79 victory over St John Fisher in the semifinals of the Wendy's College Classic at RIT on Thursday night. Rochester (7-0) will play in Saturday's championship game at RIT at 5:30 pm against either second-seeded Roberts Wesleyan, which defeated third-seeded SUNY Geneseo, 67-64, in overtime. Rochester is the top seed. The Yellowjackets are ranked 22nd in the USA Today/WBCA Division III poll and are among others getting votes in the D3hoops.com poll.
(Also reported in: 13WHAM-TV )
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 9)
Opera superstar/former Monroe County resident Renee Fleming next audience will be British royal couple William and Kate. The soprano is scheduled to perform Tuesday night at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art at a formal, high-priced scholarship fundraiser for the University of St. Andrews, the Scottish higher education institution where Kate Middleton "now the Duchess of Cambridge" and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge" met. Fleming, widely considered one of the world's greatest sopranos, grew up in Churchville and is a graduate of Churchville-Chili High School and Eastman School of Music.
(Also reported in: WXXI )
WROC TV CBS 8 Rochester (December 2)
On the heels of World AIDS Day, students at the University of Rochester are showcasing some important AIDS research they've been working on. It's part of the school's AIDS symposium. About three dozen students presented posters and papers focused on the disease. Professors say AIDS is still a huge issue and research like this is important. Our next generation is really still critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS and I think they're going to be the ones who will ultimately see an end to this, said Professor Michael Keefer.
Science Codex (December 28)
Trans-gender people have great risk of suicide, as do military veterans in modern times. It is therefore no surprise that veterans of the U.S. armed forces who have received a psychological diagnosis consistent with transgender status are more likely to have serious suicidal thoughts and plans and to attempt suicide. A new study shows that this group has a higher risk of suicide death than the general population of veterans, as described in an article in LGBT Health. Based on data gathered from the VA National Patient Care Database from 2000-2009, John Blosnich, PhD, MPH and coauthors from VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and University of Pittsburgh (PA), University of Rochester (NY), VA Central Office (Washington, DC), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN), and VISN2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention (Canandaigua, NY), determined that while the suicide death rate among veterans with transgender-related diagnoses was higher than for veterans in general, it was similar to the suicide death rate for veterans with serious mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia. The authors report their findings in the article "Mortality among Veterans with Transgender-Related Diagnoses in the Veterans Health Administration, FY2000-2009."
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 18)
GYN cancer doctors healing through music Music is an approachable way for patients to express the emotional challenges that accompany a cancer diagnosis and treatment, said panelist Rosemary Obi, a licensed music therapist at Golisano Children's Hospital. Rochester's Vicki Zaleski, another panelist who completed treatment for ovarian cancer almost a year ago, said she found listening to music on headphones helped her cope with the stress of chemotherapy. But music is not the only way that patients cope, said Dr. Cynthia Angel, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester. For some, it's travel. For others, it's spending time with grandchildren or friends, enjoying art or knitting. One criticism Angel had about the movie and the band is the name, No Evidence of Disease, which is not the outcome for all patients. “I have seen it time and time again that the patients who make plans and do what they love, do better and live longer.”Dr. Cynthia Angel, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UR.
New York Times (December 25)
Several of the year's most intriguing auction lots emerged out of the blue, little known to experts until the sales were announced and then in some cases canceled. The objects "which include Egyptian cosmetic pots, a Navajo code talker's uniform, a suffragist's letters and a teenage Civil War soldier's memorabilia" are headed for public display by the institutions that snapped them up before they could be scattered. Here are some highlights: University of Rochester Descendants of the suffragist Rachel Foster Avery preserved letters and photos that she exchanged with Susan B. Anthony, along with some family china printed with suffragist slogans. The women detailed their plans for traveling, lecturing and lobbying for women's suffrage, and expressed their concern for each other. Avery referred to Anthony as her "beloved and revered second mother," and Anthony called her young friend "my darling first adopted niece." When Avery was pregnant (she had three daughters), Anthony urged her not to exhaust herself. In August, American Eagle Auction & Appraisal Company and the Super Auction planned to sell the collection as separate lots in Ann Arbor, Mich. The University of Rochester persuaded the companies to call off the sale (estimates had ranged up to about $10,000 per letter). The university paid an undisclosed sum for the paperwork, which has yellowed and turned brittle with age. The letters are being transcribed and digitized for the university's already substantial Anthony collection, which includes loans from the nearby National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.
Time Warner Cable News (December 16)
The cafeteria of East High School was packed Tuesday night with parents, students and teachers all waiting to hear what the future holds for their beloved school. "I believe we have some hope with this partnership with the University of Rochester," said Board of Education Vice President Cynthia Elliott. For three years, East High was failing to make any academic progress, so the State Education Department stepped in and gave district leaders five options. One of those options was to close the high school but, district leaders took a different route. Now for the first time ever, the University of Rochester will serve as an Educational Partnership Organization, or EPO. U of R has created a new plan that will hopefully put the struggling school back on track. One part is to downsize the school by 400 students and add 16 more teachers. Each student will be a part of a "family group," where they will get special mentoring.
Universe Today (December 22)
I need to get something off my chest. A month or so ago I was sitting in a classroom surrounded by 10 peers. For the first time this semester we had the opportunity to spend the entire day discussing astronomy. And I was thrilled to dive into that brilliant subject, which I have adored for most of my 26 years. But it didn’t take long before the day turned sour. Most of my classmates touched on one common theme: why should we care about astronomy when it has no practical applications? It’s a concern I have seen time and time again from students, museum guests, and readers alike. It’s true that astronomy has few practical applications and yet somehow its advances benefit millions of people across the world. Work itself is inherently valuable and it is somehow connected to our very existence. It stands alone and not as a path toward a paycheck or a practical application. Countless studies show just this. In one famous example, psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, both from the University of Rochester, asked two groups of college students to work on various puzzles. One group was paid for each puzzle it solved. The other group wasn’t. Deci and Ryan found that the group that was paid to solve puzzles quit the second the experiment was over. The other group, however, found the puzzles intrinsically fascinating, and continued to solve the puzzles well after finishing the experiment. The second group found joy in the puzzles even when — and perhaps because — there was no monetary value to gain. There’s mindfulness in the act of work itself.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 15)
Sibley's former Tea Room restaurant will be the new headquarters for the High Tech Rochester business incubator - expected to open in early 2016. "When you walk into this space, you are going to be able to feel the energy ... and the potential," said James Senall, president of High Tech Rochester. "It's going to be awesome." High Tech Rochester's Business Accelerator promises to create 1,000 jobs over the next five years. "This is a very important step," said Joel Seligman, addressing Monday's news conference as president of the University of Rochester and co-chairman of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council. "But it's just a step. We have a long way (to go) for the full revitalization of Rochester. "Let's be tireless."
The Epoch Times (December 28)
The mysterious holes of Pisco Valley, Peru. Antarctica’s Shift? All maps from this time contain some inaccuracies. Coastlines were often exaggerated in size, for example, because navigators needed to know in particular detail what they would encounter there. It’s possible cartographers also supplemented what hadn’t actually been observed with what they imagined should be there. For example, Piri Reis’s depiction of North America is very inaccurate, but it provides the same information as many other maps of the time. One theory is that these maps show Asia where North America should be, since hopes were still high that a route to Asia may be found through the Atlantic, though Europeans had begun to explore the continent standing in their way. Distortion, however, is not the explanation Hapgood gave for the northern positioning of Antarctica. Hapgood hypothesized that the land masses shifted. Modern studies refute Hapgood’s theory to a certain extent, but they do show that such movement in the Earth’s crust can occur, especially pushing landmasses from the poles toward the equator, just as Antarctica would purportedly have been pushed toward the equator. John A. Tardunu, a geophysicist at the University of Rochester, has said the poles have not deviated by more than 5 degrees over the past 130 million years. True polar wander is generally held to occur at a rate of 1 degree per million years.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 15)
Health care's big mystery is what it actually costs to provide the services we receive. We know the charge to us or our insurer. We know what ultimately is paid. It seems the medical/industrial complex likes to keep us in the dark. But we mushrooms get a little sunlight when providers want something. In New York, health systems that want major upgrades have to file a certificate of need with the state Department of Health. It's a complicated, confusing process to follow, but worth the effort because it forces providers to reveal some things they'd rather not like how much money is involved. UR Medicine's Wilmot Cancer Institute wants to buy a radiation oncology practice. As part of that purchase, it will add chemo services. UR Medicine: Currently the practice makes $284,248, provides 11,715 treatments at a cost of $188.09 per treatment. UR projects in the first full year of the new practice doing medical and radiation, it will make $769,779, perform 13,003 treatments at cost of $282.94. By year three, it will make $1.6 million, perform 13,915 treatments at a cost of $273.87 per treatment. At a time when health system leaders talk about reducing the cost of health care without saying what that cost is, these types of applications do the talking for them. Let's show we're listening.
(Also reported in: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle )
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 11)
Down one year, up the next. It's been something of a roller-coaster ride for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council when it comes to year-to-year state funding for its economic development plans. The good news is that 2014 has been an up year. The regional council Thursday was awarded $80.7 million by the state and named a top performer among 10 councils competing for an extra chunk of millions. This year's performance confirms, in a way, the council's approach to focusing first on bringing high-tech tenants to the former Kodak Park in Rochester and then highlighting ongoing downtown redevelopment, the wealth of local colleges and universities and the increasingly important optics and photonics sectors. For instance, the former Kodak Park, now the Eastman Business Park, has been repopulated with cutting-edge businesses. Downtown redevelopment, including an upgrading of the Sibley Building, is an impressive reality. The University of Rochester and IBM have a $100 million supercomputer project going. The Rochester Institute of Technology's campus seemingly is growing overnight.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 13)
Ana b’Koach is a Jewish prayer made up of 42 letters, written in seven sentences of six words each. The sentences, attributed to first century sage Rabbi Nchunyah Ben HaKana, correspond to the seven days of the week, seven angels and more symbolism. The first letters of each of the words are encoded within the first 42 letters of Genesis — and they date back to creation. Each line also has words that correspond to the six surfaces of a cube. Perfect as inspiration for abstract art like Robert Kirschbaum’s “The 42-Letter Name,” an exhibit in Memorial Art Gallery’s Lockhart Gallery through April 12. The exhibit’s backbone consists of prints from Kirschbaum’s book of the same name and builds from there with three sculptural works from his Devarim series of machines aluminum forms. For “The 42-Letter Name,” Kirschbaum selected 42 of the 60 to 70 drawings that make up his Devarim series to create his folio. The 42 letters consist of the first letter of each word in Ana b’Koach.
Examiner.com (December 16)
The weather has turned colder. The leaves only crunch underfoot if they're frozen. Otherwise they're a slick mess. Are you looking for something to do that doesn't force you to brave the crush of holiday shoppers at the mall? Why not head to the Memorial Art Gallery? With a sizable permanent collection and traveling displays, there's always something new to see. Their current display of Golden Book artwork charming, surprising, educational, and is sure to please all ages. Hurry in, because this exhibition is only open through January 4th, 2015.
Penfield Post (December 2)
For the third time in the last four seasons, the University of Rochester field hockey team had two athletes honored as Longstreth/NFHCA Division III All-Americans. Junior Tara Lamberti, of Penfield, was one of the players recognized as a Second Team All-American. The other player was junior Michelle Relin, of Lititz, Pennsylvania. Lamberti and Relin are the eighth and ninth Rochester field hockey All-Americans, joining Nancy Melvin in 1984, Celinda Fletcher and Rachel Cahan in 2006, Allison Beardsley and Anna Dobrzynski in 2011 and Madison Wagner and Katie Flaschner in 2012.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 10)
Simone Johnson, a sophomore at the University of Rochester, knows plenty of people of other races on campus. She sits with them in class and passes them in the halls, and she's confident most of them are open-minded about diversity and racial equality, as she is. But. "At the end of the day, you see black people sitting with black people and white people sitting with white people," she said. "It's not that I don't want to (mix with other races), or that other kids don't want to. That's just the way people are." Growing up 'post-racial,' teens suddenly find a world that isn't. It's an interesting paradox: even as younger people increasingly abandon the overt racism of previous generations, social segregation remains stubbornly in place. Research shows that teenagers are much more likely to make friends with those who share their skin color or ethnicity, just as their parents and grandparents before them.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 13)
Cancer care continues to expand in Genesee County, as officials at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia received approval this month for a nearly $6.5 million project to add radiation services. Hospital president Dan Ireland said a groundbreaking could happen in March or April, and the comprehensive cancer center could open by October. The project involves purchase of a linear accelerator as well as construction of an 8,498-square-foot addition to the hospital to house the radiation machine as well as existing medical oncology and infusion services. Approval for UMMC comes several weeks after UR Medicine received the OK to spend $4.4 million to buy and renovate a radiation oncology practice and add medical oncology. Renovations to the structure at 262 Bank St., renamed Wilmot Cancer Institute Batavia, are expected to be completed sometime after the first of the year, and the chemotherapy services are expected to start in the spring.
Time Warner Cable News (December 8)
It was a special reunion for a man who was given the gift of life and the complete stranger who made the donation. In December, Jim Hayton, 55, received a new kidney. Wednesday, he was able to say thank you. Donna Germane, 47, works with doctors in North Syracuse who specialize in kidney care. Seeing the effects of kidney disease first hand, she decided to become an organ donor. Just days after Germano learned she was a match for Hayton; the operation was performed at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (December 27)
The week after Christmas stirs fond early motherhood memories for me because it meant a reprieve from standing outside in the cold at the Goodman Street train yard. That is where parents of train-obsessed children often end up when the Edgerton Model Railroad Room isn't open. The mecca of them all is the Edgerton Model Railroad Room, a massive train layout that sits in the basement of the Edgerton Community Center on Backus Street. This train room, with its dozens of train cars zipping through massive layouts based on the four seasons, was billed as "model railroad heaven" when it was launched by the city and the Police Athletic League in 1950. The goal was to give kids a fun project to work on, thereby keeping them off the streets. By the turn of the century, its trains had fallen on tough times. The city would open the room around Christmas, but didn't really have anyone who could fix and maintain the trains. Many of them were placed in stacks in storage. About five years ago, a group of volunteers formed the Edgerton Model Railroad Club and got to work rehabbing them. Members of the club are handy with wires, but not necessarily oil paint. So they will need some help for their next restoration project, cleaning and repairing the 60-year-old murals that offer a historic backdrop to the train layouts. Looking at these murals is like stepping into a time machine, says Nolan. For example, the summer layout depicts the Hylan Airfield, which used to sit on the property that is now Marketplace Mall. The mural of downtown shows a skyline without the Xerox or Bausch and Lomb buildings. On the Edgerton Model Railroad Club's website, you can glide your cursor over pictures of the murals and learn interesting facts about the buildings depicted, like the fact that the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library contains 50 bells imported from the Netherlands that weigh 6,668 pounds.