In this edition of Research Connections, find links to researchers in the news, updates on important deadlines, and more news for University of Rochester researchers.
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chalkboard Leila Nadir, at left, assists an OS Fermentation Workshop participant at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. Nadir and Peppermint call themselves "social practice" artists as opposed to studio artists. "Our art doesn't exist without social interaction," Nadir says.

A collective, participatory approach to research

When Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint do research, they don't disappear into a lab or a studio for a year, then write a paper and present their findings at a formal conference or transport what they have created to a gallery.

As social practice artists, their research evolves in informal public scenarios, like the OS Fermentation Workshops described in a recent issue. The unexpected reactions and input of participants are just as important as the pedagogical platform that Peppermint, an assistant professor of art and digital media studies, and Nadir, a lecturer in sustainability studies, bring to the event.

"As members of the public exchange information and learn new information through the platform that we've established, we, as the artists, are also learning at the same time, and that collective energy becomes the art work," Nadir explains.

This is reflected, for example, in the blackboards (like the one shown above) used during the fermentation workshops to jot down the ideas and concepts that emerge, which Peppermint and Nadir then exhibit in their gallery exhibitions.

Peppermint and Nadir work in a relatively new art medium called Social Practice, which emphasizes the collaboration of individuals, communities and institutions in creating participatory art that deals with social issues. The California College of Arts began a master's program in social practice in 2005, and other institutions have since followed suit.

The OS Fermentation Workshop is one example of this type of work, which is also sometimes called social sculpture — a term coined by German artist Joseph Beuys for "artwork that takes place in the social realm . . . that requires social engagement, the participation of its audience, for its completion," as art historian Alan Moore has described it.

The "art" created by the OS Fermentation Workshop, for example, is not limited to what happens during the workshop itself, but can also happen "later down the road," when the people who have participated go home, take care of the microbial culture, cultivate their fermented food for two weeks, and then consume it, Peppermint noted.

"Sometimes what we do gets referred to as activist art, but I am somewhat uncomfortable with that term," Peppermint added. "Of course, there is a social change element to what we do. But I think of what we do as more of an 'assist' or a way to reach out and inform communities rather than delivering a specific political message or solution."

"Once people have their creativity engaged, once they experience where food comes from, and how they can make everything from their own apps to pickles, they're going to think about that, and they're going to change their habits in some way. Our role is to create a platform for that transformation."

In the meantime, Peppermint and Nadir will continue to "learn as we go," Nadir said. "Each of our projects is research for the next one. We don't know what comes next."

Do you have an interesting photo or other image that helps illustrate your research? We would like to showcase it. Send a high resolution jpg or other version, along with a description of what it shows, to

CTSI seeks applications for pilot, incubator awards

The University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute is accepting applications for awards to begin on July 1, 2016, in two funding programs. Initial abstract submissions are due on Dec. 7.

The Pilot Studies Program supports translational and clinical research that moves new discoveries along the translational continuum to humans and the community. Clinical and community based research, practice-based research, and health services research proposals are also encouraged. Priority will be given to multidisciplinary research teams, and to proposals with a substantial component of or impact on population health.

The Pilot Studies Program provides awards in four categories: Faculty Pilots (1 year, $50,000), Trainee Pilots (1 year, $25,000), Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods Pilots (1 or 2 years, $35,000) and UNYTE Pilots (1 year, $50,000), which must involve faculty from the University and at least one other member of the UNYTE Translational Research Network.

For more information and to download the RFA, click here.

The Incubator Program (2 years, $125,000/year) supports the development of promising clinical and translational research within the institution, where larger, carefully targeted investments can accelerate progress and create stand-alone research programs. A major priority for the CTSI is the active support of research collaborations via cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the support of research that addresses significant problems related to population health.

For more information and to download the RFA, click here.

New NIH requirements for grant applications

NIH has begun a new initiative designed to improve the rigor of experimental design in research, and to increase the reproducibility of scientific experiments. Investigators will be required to explicitly discuss and address three areas in the Research Plan and add an attachment addressing "Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources." These changes will be explicitly included in the new Study Section proposal review and scoring criteria. Click here to read more about the specific requirements.

Japanese filmmaker here for screening

Filmmaker Yuki Kokubo will introduce and answer questions about her feature-length debut Kasamayaki ("Made in Kasama") at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16 at Hoyt Auditorium. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film is a personal documentary about returning to Japan to reconnect with her parents in a rural artist community just 90 miles from the Fukushima nuclear reactors devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It will be preceded by Tomonari Nishikawa's experimental short sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars, which was produced by burying a 35mm motion picture film negative approximately 15 miles from the site of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant one sunset to sunrise in the summer of 2014.

This event is connected to Joel Neville Anderson's Fall 2015 course "Women's Personal Cinema" at the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies, where Kokubo will be joining as visiting filmmaker Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2-3:15 p.m. Email if you are interested in participating.

Introducing a new faculty member

Stephen Kleene has joined the Department of Mathematics as an assistant professor. Kleene's research is principally in geometric analysis and differential geometry, with an emphasis on the theory of minimal surfaces and mean curvature flow and related equations. Some of his recent work has been focused in the construction of various examples of solitons for the mean curvature and related flows, which arise as singularities. He was a visiting member of the mathematics department at Brown University during the 2014–15 academic year and a National Science Foundation Fellow/CLE Moore Instructor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2010 to 2014. He completed his PhD at Johns Hopkins University in 2010.

Congratulations to . . .

Two University of Rochester physics professors, Steven Manly and Kevin McFarland, as well as two postdocs and a former graduate student, who are among the laureates of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The researchers are part of the T2K collaboration, a physics experiment based in Japan that studies neutrinos. The prize, presented by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, was awarded "for the fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics." The $3 million prize is shared with four other international experimental collaborations studying neutrino oscillation. Read more . . .

David Paul '16M (MD) is the first Rochester medical student to receive the William and Charlotte Cadbury Award from the National Medical Fellowships and Association of American Medical Colleges. He is being honored for his scientific achievements and his ongoing mentorship to Rochester city school students. Read more...

UR research in the news

Scientists have studied curiosity since the 19th century, but combining techniques from several fields now makes it possible to study curiosity with full scientific rigor, according to the authors of a new paper. Benjamin Hayden and Celeste Kidd, researchers in brain and cognitive sciences, propose that scientists use these techniques to focus on curiosity's function, evolution, mechanism, and development, rather than on what it is and what it isn't. "Curiosity is a long-standing problem that is fascinating, but has been difficult to approach scientifically," said Hayden, an assistant professor and co-author of a "Perspective" article published in Neuron. "Researchers have developed formal and quantifiable techniques for studying curiosity, and we think it's worth getting the word out. There are people working in a number of disciplines who may not be aware of each other's work, but who should be." Read more . . .

While the spotlight of autism research generally shines on children, research at the Medical Center shows that adults with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to suffer serious health problems like seizure disorders and depression. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, reveals a need for greater advocacy and awareness to ensure that adults with autism have access to appropriate and effective care. Lead author is Robert J. Fortuna, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in Primary Care; senior author is Philip W. Davidson, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Psychiatry. Read more...

PhD dissertation defense

Alejandro Aviles-Reyes, Microbiology & Immunology, "Characterization of the Streptococcus mutans collagen binding protein Cnm: from post-translational modification to its role in infection." 9 a.m., Nov. 23, 2015, K-307 (3-6408). Advisor: Jose Lemos.

Mark your calendar

Today: University-wide research conference to promote diversity and inclusion through the advancement of scholarship and showcasing University scholarly activity. To register or for more information about the conference, please visit Diversity at the University. #URDiversity #HipHopEd

Today: Deadine for students to submit completed information sheets for the "America's Got Regulatory Science Talent" Competition to be held at UR on Dec. 8, 2015. Click here for complete information and instructions on how to apply.

Nov. 14: Healthcare Deep Data Dive, exploring innovative and effective uses of health data to improve patient outcomes. 8 a.m., Saunders Research Building. Learn more here.

Nov. 16: Noon deadline to apply to the University's I-Corps Site program for grants of up to $3,000. For University students, staff and faculty interested in entrepreneurship training and in identifying and developing valuable product opportunities from their academic research. Read more here.

Nov. 18: Clinical Trial Misconduct: Case Study: Repercussions for changing data, supplying missing data, fabricating data. Presented by Rachel Biemiller and Aileen Shinaman, Office of Counsel. Noon to 1 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium, 1w-304. Part of the series: Good Advice: Case Studies in Clinical Research, Regulation, and the Law.

Nov. 18: Genomics, Informatics and Personalized Medicine: The Hope and the Hype, presented by Helene R. McMurray, Head, Bioinformatics Consulting and Education Service, Edward G. Miner Library, and Assistant Professor, Biomedical Genetics, and Craig A. Mullen, Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division and Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, and Oncology. 4-5:30 p.m. Center for Experiential Learning, CEL Room 2-7520. Part of Faculty Development Seminar and Workhop Series.

Nov. 19: Strategies for Ethnic Minority Recruitment and Retention in Clinical Research, presented by Karen A. Reifenstein, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing; Mary G. Carey, Associate Professor of Nursing, Director of Clinical Nursing Research Center; and Catherine M. Thomas, Administrator, Department of Medicine - Hematology/Oncology. Noon to 1:30 p.m. HWH Fiaretti Room (1W501). Diversity Seminar Series.

Nov. 19: Deadline to register for "Transforming Population Health Research: Advances, New Methods, and Community Partnerships," the next UNYTE Scientific Session, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dec. 3, in the Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. Read more . . .

Nov. 23: Deadline for University research mentors to apply for UR Mentors, a new faculty development program designed to build and support a community of Master Mentors. Click here for further details.

Dec. 1: World AIDS Day Scientific Symposium sponsored by the Center for AIDS Research, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Class of '62 Auditorium and Flaum Atrium. Registrations for the poster session should be sent to Laura Enders by Nov. 16. Click here for more information and the registration form.

Please send suggestions and comments to Bob Marcotte. You can see back issues of Research Connections, an index of people and departments linked to those issues, and a chronological listing of PhD dissertation defenses since April 2014, by discipline.

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Rochester Connections is a weekly e-newsletter 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.