Images of research
When we suffer an injury or infection, T cells, a type of lymphocyte, converge on the affected site to control the problem. But they need help getting through the inflamed tissue that surrounds the site. In a recent study, a team lead by Deborah Fowell, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, showed that in order to reach their destination, T cells were dependent upon integrins -- cell surface molecules that help adjoining cells interact with their surroundings. By shedding light on the way immune cells move through the body's tissues, studies like this one could lead to treatments that stop, slow or speed our body's immune response. That could be especially useful in treating autoimmune diseases and other disorders caused by an overly aggressive immune response. The photo above shows T cells (green) moving through inflamed tissue. Click here to learn more about the research being done by Fowell and her team.
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New structure, focus for tech transfer
As of Oct. 21, the University's Office of Technology Transfer will be URVentures, with a new look, new structure and a renewed focus on technology commercialization. The emphasis will be on getting UR's research discoveries to the public through business formation, technology licensing, and through public disclosure. To celebrate, URVentures is holding a F.I.R.E. Series presentation at 9 a.m., Oct. 21, in the Class of '62 Auditorium to outline the changes and discuss the importance of tech transfer to the university. It is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required -- by Wednesday -- by contacting Karen Grabowski.
Center for Visual Science celebrates 50 years
The Center for Visual Science will celebrate its 50th anniversary Oct. 18–20. The University community is invited to attend several free scientific lectures on Saturday, Oct. 19. Registration is required only if you plan to attend the receptions, lunches, breaks, or dinner (registration fee is $100 and an additional $50 to attend the banquet). Call 275-2459 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
A request for proposals
The Wilmot Cancer Center Pilot and Collaborative Studies funding program has released new requests for proposals in these areas:
Breast Cancer Research to support one innovative research project relating to breast cancer diagnosis, treatment or prevention in the areas of basic, translational, behavioral and epidemiological breast cancer research. Up to $50,000 of funding may be requested for one year.
Basic or Translational Cancer Research to support three separate individual or collaborative projects. Up to $50,000 of funding may be requested for one year.
Behavioral, Clinical, or Epidemiological Cancer Research to support two separate individual or collaborative research projects. Up to $25,000 of funding may be requested for one year.
The implict goal of these awards is to support the development of new projects to reach competitiveness for federal funding. Collaborations are encouraged. Applications are due on Nov. 1, 2013. Contact Pam Iadarola with questions.
Competition focuses on regulatory science
Students at the University of Rochester are invited to participate in a new competition aimed at promoting interest in regulatory science -- the science of developing new tools, standards and approaches to assess the safety, efficacy, quality and performance of FDA-regulated products. Teams of one to four students in the "America's Got Regulatory Science Talent" Competition will develop and present a proposed solution to a current need in regulatory science. The winning teams will have an opportunity to travel to the Washington, D.C./Maryland region to meet with the FDA and present their proposals. Click here to learn more.
The people who can shape your career
The importance of mentors for budding researchers was a recurring theme at last week's Career Development Roundtable for grad students and post docs, offered as part of the fifth annual Lung Research and Trainee Day. In fact, Paige Lawrence, Professor of Environmental Medicine, said "fantastic mentors" have been the "number one thing that helped me move forward in my career."
"I once thought a mentor would be someone much, much more senior than I," added Thomas Mariani, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Environmental Medicine. "But it can mean a peer who is maybe just one step in front of you." Or even younger, Lawrence noted.
Try to find several role models and mentors during your career. Some mentors can shorten your learning curve by providing technical expertise and advising on how to model an experiment; others may open up career options you never knew were there.
They will likely include the faculty members who advise you during your graduate studies, but they may also include experts you meet at conferences -- hence the importance of not being shy about meeting new people.
"Some people mentor you for a short period of time, and they're critical, and some people mentor you for your whole career," Lawrence noted. "But I had no idea who those people were going to be when I crossed paths with them."
The quest for an NSF-GRFP: Tell a compelling story
(One in a series of weekly tips leading up to the deadline to apply.)
The National Science Foundation online guide for applying for a Graduate Research Fellowship lists nine important questions to ask yourself before writing your personal statement. Note the first two questions: "Why are you fascinated by your research area? What examples of leadership skills and unique characteristics do you bring to your chosen field?"
Those word choices -- "fascinated," "leadership," and "unique characteristics" -- are important clues to what the NSF is looking for -- and to how you should present yourself. Your personal statement should:
1. Tell a compelling story that conveys your passion for science, how that passion came about, and how you plan to share that passion in your career.
2. Point out any and all leadership experiences you have had -- in organizations on or off campus, science-related or not -- to establish that you will be capable of having broad impact.
3. Include something unique to yourself that will make your application easy for a panelist to remember after wading through dozens of other applications. For example, Rebecca Kreuzer, an Earth and Environmental Sciences graduate student who received a GRF this year, emphasized in her statement that she was a nontraditional student -- a stay at home mom for 10 years, who raised three children, but also took a leadership role in the local 4H.
"Don't be overly modest," adds Belinda Redden, Director of Fellowships. "You need to say 'Look at me' without being arrogant or overbearing."
Reminder: Deadlines to apply fall Nov. 4-8 depending on the discipline.
Worth pondering ...
Research is essentially a creative process, so is it possible for researchers in a lab or library to gain insights from the lives of people with creative talent in literature or the arts? An article in -- of all things -- Investor's Business Daily, suggests as much and quotes Ralph Locke, Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, in support. The IBD columnist stresses that, in any field, innovation comes from synthesizing the best of many approaches and chooses as his main example Peter Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer of such classics as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Locke then explains that one of the keys to Tchaikovsky's success was his ability to combine native Russian music with Western European traditions to produce innovative works, even though he was initially criticized for doing so among his Russian peers. "Some composers of his day, such as Modest Moussorgsky and Alexander Borodin, disdained professional training and rejected Western methods of musical expression," Locke writes. "But Tchaikovsky was eager to learn what we today would call best practices in this field." The IBD columnist concludes that one lesson from Tchaikovsky's life is to "be open to criticism until you rise beyond its limitations."
Introducing a new faculty member
Razia Akhtar joins the Department of Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology as an assistant professor, after completing a Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Strong Memorial Hospital -- GME Office. Akhtar's main clinical focus involves evidence-based management of patients with hematologic disorders, including those with bleeding/clotting disorders and hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Akhtar received an M.D. from Grenada-St. George's University School of Medicine in 2007.
UR research in the news
Carl R. Hagen, Professor of Physics, is one of six physicists who, within months of each other in 1964, independently published three papers suggesting a mechanism by which particles obtain their mass -- the so-called Higgs Boson. After two of the six -- Francois Englert and Peter Higgs -- received the Nobel Prize on Tuesday, Hagen extended his congratulations to the winners. "I couldn't have imagined 50 years ago, when I was working with my colleagues Gerald Guralnik and Tom Kibble on our paper, that society would spend billions of dollars and that thousands of scientists worldwide would be involved in the search for a particle and a mechanism that stem from those three papers published in 1964," Hagen noted.
The nearby star system Fomalhaut -- of special interest for its unusual exoplanet and dusty debris disk -- has been discovered to be not just a double star, as astronomers had thought, but one of the widest triple stars known, according a paper by Eric Mamajek, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and his collaborators. It was recently accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal, and has received coverage in Science Daily, E-Science News, Universe Today and Space Daily.
A five-year, NIH-funded Medical Center project to create a telemedicine-centric asthma treatment program in Rochester City Schools is featured in a recent Rochester Democrat and Chronicle story. The hope is to reduce student absences from school, emergency room stays, and other costly repercussions of asthma attacks with a program that could be replicated in other communities.
Mark your calendar
Today: "Hepatitis C: From Hippocrates to Cure," distinguished alumnus lecture by Harvey Alter, Chief of Clinical Studies and Associate Director of Research at NIH's Department of Transfusion Medicine, on his work that led to the discovery of Hepatitis C, 10-11:15 a.m., Class of '62 Auditorium.
Today: "Providing Care to Anyone Anywhere," a Telehealth Consortium presentation by Ray Dorsey, Professor of Neurology, 3 to 4 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Room 1-W510. RSVP to Vanessa Desmore.
Sunday, Oct. 13: "60 Years of Innovation," a celebration of the legacy of optics entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, 1-5 p.m., Gleason 318/418. For more information and to RSVP, contact Susanna Virgilio.
Tuesday, Oct. 15: Initial abstracts of proposals due for UR Incubator Program projects through the Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Incubator projects are two-year "super-pilots," intended to accelerate innovative scientific discovery in the life sciences and public health, leading to new independently-funded research programs. Each award will be funded at a maximum level of $125,000 per year for each of two years. Faculty from all UR schools are eligible to apply. Read the new RFA for details.
Thursday, Oct. 17: Writing a Successful Data Management Plan. Carlson Library Rm. 310 from noon to 1 p.m. More and more funders are asking for data management plans with grant applications. This workshop will cover the basics of writing a data management plan, as well as introducing the DMPTool, an online tool that helps you draft DMPs tailored to specific funders' requirements. Feel free to bring your lunch. Get more information and RSVP at our eventbrite page.
Oct. 18: University of Rochester Big Data Forum 2013, starting at 8:30 a.m., Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library. Renowned researchers in data science discuss machine learning, network science, cognitive science, and applications in the health, social, and physical sciences. Limited seating. Reception to follow at Staybridge Suites. Registration is now open.
Oct. 25: Symposium on Multidisciplinary Care in Cancer, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Helen Wood Hall/Evarts Lounge, coordinated by Center for Experiential Learning. The symposium will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders with a shared interest in improving quality of cancer care. These include national and international experts on cancer care, community advocates, health insurance administrators, family care givers and cancer patients themselves. Learn more.
Oct. 25: Applications due for the KL2 Mentored Career Development Program, for slots that begin July 1, 2014. The program supports the career development of new faculty who wish to pursue research careers in multidisciplinary clinical and translational science.
Oct. 29: E-MOMS of Rochester Study, CTSI Seminar Series, 12:15-1:15 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. Diana Fernandez, Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences, and Susan Groth, Associate Professor of Nursing, discuss web and cell phone-based interventions designed to promote healthy behavior for pregnant and postpartum women.
Make a reservation for NSF workshop
The National Science Foundation, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Rochester will hold a one-day workshop on Nov. 8. The workshop will include an overview of the Foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget, and cover the NSF proposal and merit review process and NSF programs that cut across disciplines. Representatives from the seven NSF directorates and the Office of International and Integrative Activities will make presentations on their programs and be available informally and in breakout sessions for discussions of potential research proposals. The workshop will be held at the RIT Inn and Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road. Registration is $30; deadline to register is Nov. 1.
Please send suggestions and comments to Bob Marcotte..