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This image shows John Gower preparing to shoot the world, and by extension, the wicked people who inhabit it. The globe is in three sections, each representing an element -- earth, air and water. SOURCE: Glasgow Univ. Lib., MS Hunter 59 (T.2.17) folio 6v.

International conference will bring John Gower scholars to River Campus

Scholars and students from as many as 20 countries will converge on the River Campus June 30 to share their research -- and excitement -- in the 3rd International Congress of the John Gower Society, entitled John Gower: Language, Cognition, and Performance.

John Gower, a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, is one of the major Ricardian poets of 14th century England. He was admired by his contemporary Chaucer and influenced such later writers as William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, John Milton, and Ben Jonson.

His three major works are written in the three languages that were current in 14th century England -- Latin (Vox Clamantis), Old French (Mirour de l'Omme) and Middle English (Confessio Amantis). Gower was one of the greatest storytellers of the 14th century.

But Gower also was a political analyst with a profound interest in law and institutions. Gower "helps us better understand the trilingual political and cultural context through which these languages work together," said Kara McShane, a UR graduate student helping to mount the conference. "Gower is very involved in political questions, in questions of growing nationalism," she noted. Gower is the only English poet to provide a detailed personal account of the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, as well as a complex allegory on the overthrow of Richard II. "He examines historical moments that give us insights into the institutions and political systems and questions that are still with us," McShane notes.

About the conference

The four-day conference is expected to attract up to 150 attendees. Aspects of language, cognition, and performance in Gower scholarship will be examined in four plenary lectures and more than 30 panel sessions, said Pamela Yee, a UR graduate student who is helping to organize the event. Each session will involve three to four presenters and a brief Q & A conversation. Presenters include distinguished scholars from North America, England, Europe, and Asia.

Most sessions will be held in Rush Rhees Library. The conference agenda includes:

1. Plenary addresses by Helen Cooper (Cambridge and Oxford University), Derek Pearsall (Harvard and York University), Ardis Butterfield (Yale University and University of London), and Russell Peck (University of Rochester).

2. A concert at the Memorial Art Gallery featuring the music of Guillaume de Machaut, a French contemporary of Gower, followed by a plenary panel on French in England.

3. A session on the creative uses of Gower, including a machinima presentation of three of Gower's tales by Sarah Higley (University of Rochester) and a reading by Bruce Holsinger from his new novel A Burnable Book, a historical thriller in which Gower plays a central role.

4. An exhibit featuring digitized reproductions of medieval Gower manuscripts, illustrations from these manuscripts, and important editions of Gower's major works in Rare Books and Special Collections at Rush Rhees.

5. A Genesee River boat ride aboard the Sam Patch, in recognition of Gower's interest in rivers.

6. A trip to Genesee Country Village and Museum for those who remain in Rochester on July 4.

Click here for more information; direct questions to

(Next: Why UR is an appropriate site for the conference.)

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Global economy exacerbated friction between colonists and England

(This is the second of three installments based on Prof. Thomas Slaughter's new book, Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution.)

People didn't drink tea in 17th century America, but by the middle of the 18th century a great many colonists did so -- and were addicted to caffeine. What does that have to do with the American Revolution?

A good deal, notes Thomas Slaughter, the Arthur R. Miller Professor of History, whose new book Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution comes out this month.

"A lot of the more interesting recent scholarship has focused on the growth of a global interconnected market economy in the 18th century, something historians have not really focused on until the last 20 years," Slaughter explains. "We've got these far flung European empires that are bringing tea, spices and cloth from Asia, and selling manufactured products. It's the kick off to the Industrial Revolution, and the American colonies are a central player in the growth of that market economy; they are participants in, beneficiaries of, and often, as some of them would say, victims of it."

"What happens when you have a complex international market economy -- in which Dutch bankers lend money to English merchants to purchase products in Asia and transport manufactured goods across the world -- is that the little guy at the end of the line no longer has the kind of control over prices or availability and also tends to be involved in a whole lot more debt," Slaughter said.

And American colonists "often felt they were at the end of the line, at the periphery of the Empire."

This larger context helps explain the economic and social forces that drove the colonists and the British apart. For example:

1. "The theory of empire was that raw products would be produced in the colonies, shipped back to Europe, where manufactured goods would be created," Slaughter explains. "And there was an attempt to protect those different parts of the economy. Americans resisted that; they wanted to start manufacturing products themselves, which got them into an area of political conflict that couldn't have existed prior to the 18th century."

2. With the global market economy came a proliferation of consumer goods. "People were now buying goods that colonists didn't even know existed fifty years earlier. The first time that teapots arrive, nobody even knows what a teapot is," Slaughter notes. "By the third quarter of 18th century, people consider drinking tea a right, and tea itself becomes heavily politicized, because the government tries to tax it and from there you find that these goods become the centerpiece of politics because people connect them to rights and privileges."

(Next: How historical research has changed in recent decades.)

Eight projects picked for 2014-2015 University Research Awards

University Research Awards, previously known as Provost Multidisciplinary Awards, provide seed money on a competitive basis for innovative research projects that are likely to attract external support when sufficiently developed.

Proposals are evaluated on whether the projects promise to solve a problem of intellectual or scientific importance, are well-designed and feasible, offer opportunity for involvement of students, and clearly show how outcomes should lead to external funding. Proposals are also evaluated on whether applicants are qualified to see the project to a successful conclusion and whether the budget request is appropriate.

The awards for 2014-15 total nearly $500,000 in funding, half from President Seligman's Strategic Opportunities Fund and the other half as a match by the participating (awarded) schools.

The recipients are:

Virtues as Moral-Psychological Constructs: Randall Curren, Professor and Chair of Philosophy; Richard Ryan, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Education; Laura Wray-Lake, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Testing the "Epigenetic Hypothesis of Aging": Vera Gorbunova, Professor of Biology and Dirk Bohmann, Professor of Biomedical Genetics.

Localization of Proteins in the Synapse using Super-Resolution Optical Imaging of Quantum Dots: Todd D. Krauss, Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Professor of Optics and Harris A. Gelbard, Professor and Director, Center for Neural Development and Disease, and Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Microbiology and Immunology.

Computerized Natural Language Processing of De-Identified Medical Records to Identify Autism Spectrum Disorder: Jiebo Luo, Professor of Computer Science and Tristram Smith, Professor of Pediatrics.

Effect of influenza virus RNA secondary structure on the host innate response to infection and virus replication: Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology; Douglas H. Turner, Professor of Chemistry; and Stephen Dewhurst, Vice Dean for Research and Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology.

Carotid Disease, Elastography and Inflammatory Markers: Giovanni Schifitto, Professor of Neurology and Imaging Sciences and Director of the Clinical Research Center; Marvin Doyley, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering; Sanjay Maggirwar, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Curtis Benesch, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Director, Stroke Center, Strong Memorial Hospital; Xing Qiu, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, and Vikram Dogra, Professor of Imaging Sciences, Urology & Biomedical Engineering and the Director of Ultrasound Division.

Nanostructured Terahertz Emitter & Detector for Security and Biosensing: Roman Sobolewski, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Physics and Senior Scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Gary Wicks, Professor of Optics.

Untangling Entanglement: Nick Vamivakas, Assistant Professor of Quantum Optics & Quantum Physics, and Joseph Eberly, the Andrew Carnegie Professor of Physics and Professor of Optics.

In upcoming issues, we'll take a closer look at these in a series called "Promising Projects."

Kieburtz discusses CTSI's mission to "Connect. Learn. Get help."

"So in a sense, who is the CTSI? It's no one and it's everyone. It's no one person, but there are lots of people who it supports."

Intrigued? Click here for an overview of the role played by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute in an interview between Karl Kieburtz, CTSI director, and Sean Dobbin at CTSI Stories.

Researchers, did you know . . .

NIH is planning a roll-out of the modified biosketch for all NIH grant applications planned for FY 2016 and beyond. The new guidelines will allow up to five pages. Researchers will be allowed to describe up to five of their most significant contributions to science, the influence of their contributions on their scientific field, and any of the effects of those contributions on health or technology, and provide a link to all their publications in SciENcv or MY Bibliography. Read more here.

Database will show pilot funding opportunities

The office of the Senior Associate Dean for Basic Science Research is compiling a database of the pilot funding opportunities, prizes and awards that are available to researchers within the University of Rochester. If you manage or are involved with any of these types of programs please forward the program information to Catherine Muzytchuk.

Symposium examines early-life antecedents of child health, disease

The Department of Pediatrics will host a mini symposium entitled "Early-life Antecedents of Children's Health and Disease" from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 26 in the Class of '62 Auditorium. Keynote speaker Edward R.B. McCabe, Senior Vice President and Medical Director of the March of Dimes, will discuss that organization's support of research on polio, folic acid-deficiency, newborn screening, and preterm birth. Nine other speakers will discuss how environmental exposures adversely influence children's health, and how new multi-disciplinary approaches and innovative research efforts are being developed to address this growing concern. A link to the list of speakers can be found here.

Stem Cell Symposium is June 27

The 4th Annual URMC Stem Cell Symposium, starting at 10 a.m. June 27 in the Class of '62 auditorium, will include presentations, a poster session, and prizes. Keynote speaker Gordon Keller, Professor of Biomedical Physics at the University of Alberta, will present "Modeling human development and disease with pluripotent stem cells." Cash prizes will be awarded for graduate student and post doc posters. Please submit the poster registration form to Daina Bullwinkel no later than 8 a.m. June 17.

Congratulations to . . .

Ron Goettler, the James N. Doyle, Sr. Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simon Business School, who has been announced as the school's senior associate dean for faculty and research, succeeding Rajiv Dewan, effective with the coming academic year. Goettler's research spans quantitative marketing, industrial organization, and finance, with an emphasis on structural econometric methods to understand consumer and firm behavior. He is particularly interested in high-tech industries, focusing on the relationship between competition and innovation and on the marketing of new products.

Deborah Hudson, a PhD candidate in counseling and counselor education at the Warner School of Education, who has received the 2014 Dissertation Award from the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) for a project that explores the use of an integrative therapy approach in the treatment of personality disorders.

In the news . . .

Companions often speak on behalf of patients during discussions of cancer treatment and prognosis, even when the patient is present and capable of speaking on his or her own behalf, according to a new study by the Wilmot Cancer Institute and UR Family Medicine, the Research@URMC blog reports. So much so that the companion sometimes claims to represent the patient's views and hinders a complete picture of the patient's own perspective. The study, led by Benjamin Mazer, a fourth-year medical student, and Ronald Epstein, Professor of Family Medicine, Oncology, and Director of the Center for Communication and Disparities Research, was published recently in the journal, Patient Education and Counseling. Although preliminary, the study might guide family members to be better advocates by avoiding "pseudo-surrogacy," and guide physicians to recognize behaviors that silence patients' voices.

A study from School of Medicine and Dentistry researchers describes how exposure to air pollution early in life produces harmful changes in the brains of mice, including an enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia. "Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution may play a role in autism, as well as in other neurodevelopmental disorders," said Deborah Cory-Slechta, Professor of Environmental Medicine and lead author of the study.

Mark your calendar

June 11: Annual Health Professions' Faculty Development Colloquium, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A professional development conference for faculty, educators, health care professionals, and trainees, advancing quality and best educational practices. Keynote speaker is Richard I. Levin, Director and co-founder of the Harvard Medical School Cambridge Integrated Clerkship. Click here for the full program and to register. Please contact the Office for Faculty Development with any questions.

June 19: "Research in the New Age," a mini summer institute, 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the University of Rochester (exact location will be sent to those registered). It will help URMC investigators, clinicians and trainees increase their knowledge of the developments, opportunities and challenges emerging in T2-T4 research, including methods and approaches to garnering new sources of funding. Click here for more information and to register by June 13.

June 26: Department of Pediatrics mini symposium, "Early-life Antecedents of Children's Health and Disease." Keynote speaker Edward R.B. McCabe, Senior Vice President and Medical Director of the March of Dimes. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Class of '62 Auditorium. A link to the full list of speakers can be found here.

June 27: The 4th Annual URMC Stem Cell Symposium. Keynote speaker Gordon Keller, Professor of Biomedical Physics at the University of Alberta. Also presentations, a poster session, and prizes. Submit the poster registration form to Daina Bullwinkel by 8 a.m. June 17.

Aug. 4: Deadline for proposals for the first disabilities studies cluster symposium, "Complicating Normalcy: Disability, Technology, and Society in the 21st Century," which will be held Nov. 14. Click here to learn more.

Please send suggestions and comments to Bob Marcotte. To see back issues, click here.

Copyright 2013, All rights reserved.
Rochester Connections is a weekly e-newsletter for all faculty, scientists, post docs and graduate students engaged in research at the University of Rochester. You are receiving this e-newsletter because you are a member of the Rochester community with an interest in research topics.