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. Email not displaying correctly?
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Optics PhD student Joseph Choi demonstrates the "Rochester Cloak." (Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester.)

'Who needs magic when you have science?'

That was the reaction of Allie Healy of the Syracuse Post-Standard to the Rochester Cloak, which uses four standard lenses and other readily available materials to hide objects from view. Created by John Howell, Professor of Physics, and Optics PhD student Joseph Choi, the device -- a multidirectional `perfect paraxial' cloak -- bends the light passing through the lenses to achieve the cloaking affect.

It has attracted a huge audience online; David Barnstone of University Communications estimates that various videos of the device had attracted 1.8 million viewers -- and growing -- by the start of this week. Not to mention the attention it received in 70-plus major publications and news outlets, including NBC News, Los Angeles Times, Time, Fox News, The Guardian and Huffington Post.

"This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum," said Choi.

Click here to read more, and here to see a video produced by Matthew Mann of University Communications, which had more than 1.2 million views as of yesterday.

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Basics of intellectual property: Why it matters at UR

(This is the second in a series of articles about the importance of intellectual property and its commercialization to the University and its researchers. It is based on a current UR Ventures lecture series, "Intellectual Property and Commercializing Technology" being offered by the office of the AS&E Dean for Research. The next presentation, "Patents and the Patenting Process," will be at noon Oct. 21 in the Gowen Room at Wilson Commons, lunch provided.)

In the current issue of Rochester Review, you can read about "the most ubiquitous innovation you've never heard about" -- the invention of Blue Noise Mask by Kevin Parker, dean emeritus and William F. May Professor of Engineering, and Theo Mitsa, one of his former PhD students.

Blue Noise Mask dramatically improved the way printers, fax machines and computers produced images -- and generated in excess of $30 million in royalties for the University.

Another Blue Noise mask would be very helpful to the University right about now.

"We live in a world with less funding -- of everything," notes Reid Cunningham, IP attorney with UR Ventures, the office that helps University researchers apply for patents and license their innovations.

"Companies are cutting back on their research. And funding for all kinds of research is flat" -- which means it is actually declining when inflation is accounted for.

"The more we can leverage our intellectual property to support labs and to support students, the better off we are as a University," Cunningham added.

UR Ventures helps develop University innovations into valuable products and services. As its website notes, "Technology transfer functions are mandated by federal law. Even if they weren't, we would still do it because it's the right thing to do. Not only does the transfer of technologies make the world a better place, but the revenues generated are unrestricted and support the amazing research of the future. By rewarding our inventors, we also motivate them to solve real-world problems. Finally, the relationships we create help to attract and maintain industrial support for research."

"At UR Ventures, we work with you to think about what we can license out to companies and startups," Cunningham told faculty members and graduate students recently. "The big advantage for you, is that it comes back to the University, back to your lab, and back to you" in the form of royalties.

"This University has made a serious commitment -- much more than most other universities -- to having a real patentable portfolio," he added.

(Next: The value of trade secrets.)

Did you know . . .

Blue Noise Mask, invented by Kevin Parker, Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Engineering and William F. May Professor of Engineering, and by Theophano Mitsa '91 PhD, dramatically improved the quality of images produced by printers, faxes and other devices, and the speed at which they are produced.

It also generated royalties that have benefited the University. For example, $4 million was used to endow two chairs in biomedical engineering -- which was instrumental in securing $6 million from the Whitaker Foundation for what was then a fledgling biomedical engineering department. The funding included a challenge grant that helped construct Goergen Hall -- and helped the Department of Biomedical Engineering flourish.

Royalties from Blue Noise Mask also endowed three professorships in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and were used to establish the Theophano Mitsa and Kevin J. Parker Scholarship Fund.

Parker refers to this as the "virtuous cycle" that occurs when researchers' ideas are translated into products and services, generating royalties that can then be invested in faculty positions and research labs, in turn sparking more innovative ideas, some of which can then be commercialized to generate more royalty revenues. Read more . . .

The science of team science is in its infancy

"There has been a transformation in the scientific community about the importance of teams in the development of solutions to our most complex problems," writes Harriet Kitzman, Co-Director of the University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). "However, in many ways, the culture of academic medical (and health science) centers are yet to be aligned structurally with the ever increasing functions of teams."

Education and research training has focused on preparing students for the "self-sufficient independent scientist role," she notes. "Similarly, academic reward systems have historically centered on the independent contributions of the scientist, many of which are difficult to identify in fully functioning collaborative science teams where novel ideas and approaches come not from individuals but from the synergy that emerges when dynamic ideas are integrated."

She calls for greater attention to the "science of team science" -- understanding why some teams fail, while others are productive and sustained -- and describes how CTSI supports team research in a posting at CTSI Stories.

Rubel, new SBAI director, working to promote research seminar

Nora Rubel, Associate Professor of Religion, has been named director of the University's Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies (SBAI).

In addition to strengthening signature programs like the institute's "Two Icons" lecture on race and gender, and the "Rainbow" lecture on LGBTQI issues, Rubel is working to promote a research seminar where faculty can present their work in progress.

"In a large University like Rochester people aren't always aware of all the work that is going on," says Rubel. "We want people to be able to collaborate on projects through the institute and to encourage their peers to do the same."

In addition to providing a wide range of curricular opportunities for Rochester students and faculty, the institute supports ongoing research through grants in gender and women's studies, graduate teaching fellowships, and awards. Read more about her appointment here.

MIT anthropologist to deliver Morgan lecture

The Morgan Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, honors the memory of Lewis Henry Morgan, the distinguished 19th-century anthropologist and University of Rochester benefactor, and has been presented annually since 1963. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious lecture series in anthropology in North America.

This year's lecture features Stefan Helmreich, the Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology at MIT, discussing "Waves: An Anthropology of Scientific Things," at 7 p.m., Oct. 22 in Lander Auditorium of Hutchison Hall.

NIH webinars focus on peer review

Do you want to learn how to make NIH peer review work for you? Register for one or more of the four "Meet the Experts in NIH Peer Review" webinars provided by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR). This is a new resource for Investigators -- four sessions in November on NIH R15, NIH Fellowships, NIH SBIR/STTR and NIH R01. All sessions are free of charge, but registration is required.

Environmental Health Sciences Center accepting Pilot Project applications

The Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) has funds to support a limited number of meritorious Pilot Projects. The objective of the pilot project should be relevant to the theme of the EHSC, namely "Environmental Agents as Modulators of Human Disease and Dysfunction." Applicants may request a maximum of $30,000 for the duration of one year and must hold a tenure-track position. The deadline for initial applications is Oct. 20. Questions? Contact Michael O'Reilly or Pat Noonan-Sullivan. Read more . . .

Fellowship prepares postdocs and PhD's to be data scientists

The Data Incubator is a six-week fellowship that prepares postdocs and PhDs in STEM + social science fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. The program is free for fellows and supported by sponsorships from employers across multiple industries.

In person (in NYC) and online sections will be offered starting Jan. 5. Anyone within one year of graduating from a PhD program or who has already obtained a PhD is welcome to apply. Applications from international students are welcome.

Introducing a new faculty member

Llerena Searle has joined the Department of Anthropology as an assistant professor. Her research explores the social, cultural, and geographical changes that have accompanied globalization in South Asia and the ways in which capitalist practices shape urban space. She is currently completing a book manuscript (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) based on her ethnographic fieldwork from 2006-8 and 2014. The book explains the rapid growth of Indian cities and the proliferation of new malls, high-rises, and office parks across India by examining the practices and ideas of those who fund real estate projects. Her next project will investigate the reconfigured image of the Indian housewife visible in advertisements for housing. She plans to examine the relationships between this image and emerging ideals of domesticity, class, and gender in Globalizing India. Prior to coming here, Searle taught at Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Rhode Island. She earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Congratulations to . . .

Michelle C. Janelsins, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, who has received an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the highest honor conferred by the National Institutes of Health for young investigators. The five-year grant is for $2.3 million. Read more . . .

Elika Bergelson, a Research Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, who has received a $1.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore how babies acquire language. The NIH has recognized Bergelson as an "exceptional early-career scientist" by naming her one of this year's Early Independence Award recipients. Read more . . .

PhD dissertation defenses

Brandon Rodenburg, Optics, "Communicating with Transverse Modes of Light." 2 p.m., Oct. 17, Morey 321 (NOTE: new location). Advisor: Robert Boyd.

John Frost, Chemistry, "Methods and Reagents for the Post-translational Cyclization of Genetically Encoded Polypeptides." 12:30 p.m., Oct. 23, 2162 Dewey Hall. Advisor: Rudi Fasan.

Graham Marsh, Biomedical Engineering, "Molecular Accessibility: Microvilli and the Endothelial Glycocalyx." 8:30 a.m., Oct. 28, Goergen 101. Advisor: Richard Waugh.

Jeff Ludwig, History, "Christopher Lasch: A Life. Volume One: History as Social Criticism." 1 p.m., Nov. 24, Rush Rhees 361. Advisor: Robert Westbrook.

New date for New Venture Challenge meeting

The next workshop of the New Venture Challenge -- examining project feasibility -- will be held at noon, Oct. 20 in the Institute for Music Leadership office. Free coffee will be provided.

The New Venture Challenge is a contest to encourage new thinking and innovative ideas in music. It gives students an opportunity to develop a project proposal that could result in the launch of a new entrepreneurial initiative. The first prize award is $1000 and second prize is $500.

The IML office is hosting workshops to help students develop projects before proposals are due. A workshop on business plan writing will be held Nov. 3.

Mark your calendar

Today: Veils of Salomé Conference. Dance workshop 2-4 p.m. at Spurrier Hall; Table Top Opera performance of the Strauss opera, 8 p.m. at Interfaith Chapel. Free and open to the public. Read more . . .

Oct. 15: Pre-prosposals due for awards of up to $100,000 from UR Venture's Technology Development Fund for faculty, staff and students to develop technology to a commercial endpoint. Learn more here.

Oct. 17: The Center for Integrated Research Computing (CIRC) symposium. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in URMC 2-6408 (K-207 Auditorium). Ronald Wood, Research Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Urology, and Neurobiology and Anatomy, will describe quantitative imaging opportunities at the UR and provide examples. David Condon from the Department of Chemistry will feature results from molecular dynamics simulations of RNA. Pizza and soda will be served. Read more here.

Oct. 20: Deadline for initial applications for Pilot Projects awarded by the Environmental Health Sciences Center. Projects should be relevant to the theme of the EHSC, namely "Environmental Agents as Modulators of Human Disease and Dysfunction." Read more . . .

Oct. 21: Patents and the Patenting Process. Reid Cunningham, IP attorney, UR Ventures.Noon to 1 p.m., Gowen Room, WIlson Commons. RSVP to

Oct. 22: Morgan Lecture sponsored by Department of Anthropology, featuring Stefan Helmreich, the Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology at MIT, discussing "Waves: An Anthropology of Scientific Things," at 7 p.m. in Lander Auditorium of Hutchison Hall.

Oct. 22: "Intellectual Property: Opportunities for Residents and Fellows," by Tom Guttuso, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Buffalo, and Scott Catlin, UR's Associate Vice President of Innovative Technology. Noon, Helen Wood Hall, 1W304 auditorium. Part of a CTSI skill-building workshop series "Good Advice: Case Studies in Clinical Research, Regulation and the Law." Click here for the full schedule.

Oct. 28: Growing the Next Generation of Community-based Researchers. Office of Faculty Development and Diversity Fall Research Conference. Noon to 5 p.m., Schlegel Hall. Click here for more information and registration.

Oct. 29: The Stanford Friedman Memorial Conference, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Class of '62 Auditorium, will address gaps related to understanding the impact of child and adolescent development and behavior on engaging youth in health promoting behaviors, and the interface of health and behavior in conditions such as conversion reactions. Click here for a link with more information.

Nov. 2: Applications due in several funding categories for the 2014 Pilot Award Program of the University's Center for AIDS Research. Click here to learn more.

Nov. 3: Deadline for initial abstracts for SMD Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) "superpilot" awards. Click here to read the full RFA.

Nov. 11: Technology Commercialization at the University of Rochester. Patrick Emmerling, Licensing Manager, UR Ventures. Noon to 1 p.m., Gowen Room, WIlson Commons. RSVP to

Nov. 13: "The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines." Lecture by Paul Horn '72 (MA) '74 (PhD), Senior Vice Provost and Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, Polytechnic School of Engineering, New York University. 5 p.m., Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees LIbrary. Register by Nov. 3 at or with Meghan Barnhardt at (585) 275-1490.

Dec. 9: How to Find Inventions, What Makes a Good Invention, and How to Find Prior Art. Reid Cunningham, IP attorney, UR Ventures. Noon to 1 p.m., Gowen Room, WIlson Commons. RSVP to

Dec. 10: Celebration of Authorship, featuring printed and electronic books, edited volumes and texts, as well as published compositions and recordings produced by University faculty and staff from all fields. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Hawkins Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library. Click here for more information.

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.