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Latest Brown University Stories

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2011-05-04 09:45:00

The thylacine had the head and body of a dog, but its striped coat resembled a cat and it carried its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. These enigmatic, iconic creatures of Australia and Tasmania have been given conflicting names such as the "marsupial wolf" and the "Tasmanian tiger." Researchers at Brown University may have discovered the answer as to what type of creature the extinct thylacine was. Bones of the thylacines, along with other dog-like and cat-like animals such as pumas,...

2011-04-25 16:14:36

Call them the Jason Bournes of the bacteria world. Going "off the grid," like rogue secret agents, some bacteria avoid antibiotic treatments by essentially shutting down and hiding until it's safe to come out again, says Thomas Wood, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. This surreptitious and elaborate survival mechanism is explained in the online April edition of "Nature Chemical Biology," which details the research of Wood and his...

2011-04-20 13:08:06

With certain variations people will stick longer with instructions that contradict experience Researchers at Brown University have found that specific genetic variations can predict how persistently people will believe advice they are given, even when it is contradicted by experience. The story they tell in a paper in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience is one of the byplay between two brain regions that have different takes on how incoming information should influence thinking....

2011-04-18 21:17:52

Teens and adolescents who believe that they matter to their family - that is, they feel the make a difference in the family's daily doings- are significantly less likely to threaten or engage in family violence, according to a new study by Brown sociologist Gregory Elliott. The findings are published in the Journal of Family Issues. Adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members, according to a new study led by...

2011-04-04 22:17:27

'Cold sores' connected to cognitive decline Laboratories at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Brown University, and House Ear Institute (HEI) have developed a new technique to observe herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) infections growing inside cells. HSV1, the cause of the common cold sore, persists in a latent form inside nerve cells. Re-activation and growth of HSV1 infections contribute to cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. Details are published in the March 31 issue...

2011-03-29 13:34:35

An international research team led by Brown University has amassed the largest evolutionary tree (phylogeny) for plants. It has learned that major groups of plants tinker with their design and performance before rapidly spinning off new species. The finding upends long-held thinking that plants' speciation rates are tied to the first development of a new physical trait or mechanism. Results are published in the American Journal of Botany. Just as a company creates new, better versions of a...

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2011-03-25 10:45:44

Demonstrating an important milestone for the longevity and utility of implanted brain-computer interfaces, a woman with tetraplegia using the investigational BrainGate* system continued to control a computer cursor accurately through neural activity alone more than 1,000 days after receiving the BrainGate implant, according to a team of physicians, scientists, and engineers developing and testing the technology at Brown University, the Providence VA Medical Center, and Massachusetts General...

2011-03-22 16:07:16

In recent years, researchers have worked to develop more flexible, functional prosthetics for soldiers returning home from battlefields in Afghanistan or Iraq with missing arms or legs. But even new prosthetics have trouble keeping bacteria from entering the body through the space where the device has been implanted. "You need to close (the area) where the bacteria would enter the body, and that's where the skin is," said Thomas Webster, associate professor of engineering and orthopaedics at...

2011-03-21 13:05:56

Romping clumps of misfolded proteins are prime suspects in many neurological disorders including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease. Those diseases are devastating and incurable, but a team of biologists at Brown University reports that cells can fix the problems themselves with only a little bit of help. The insight suggests that there are more opportunities to develop a therapy for protein misfolding than scientists had thought. "There are multiple steps that you could...

2011-03-15 15:18:10

Brown University biologist uses sophisticated genomic and computational techniques in a study of deep-sea creatures to examine the origins of a diversity of life The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named its awardee for this year's Alan T. Waterman Award: Casey Dunn, a biologist at Brown University. Dunn's work involves genome analyses to better understand relationships between groups of animals.  He investigates the origins of biological complexity through work with deep-sea...