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Latest Brown University Stories

Theta Brainwaves Reflect Ability To Overcome Built-in bias
2013-05-08 08:55:51

Brown University Vertebrates are predisposed to act to gain rewards, and to lay low to avoid punishment. Try to teach chickens to back away from food in order to obtain it, and you'll fail, as researchers did in 1986. But (some) humans are better thinkers than chickens. In the May 8 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers show that the level of theta brainwave activity in the prefrontal cortex predicts whether people will be able to overcome these ingrained biases when doing so...

How Some Leaves Get Fat: It's In Their Veins
2013-04-11 15:35:43

Brown University A "garden variety" leaf is a broad, flat structure, but if the garden happens to be somewhere arid, it probably includes succulent plants with plump leaves full of precious water. Fat leaves did not emerge in the plant world easily. A new Brown University study published in Current Biology reports that to sustain efficient photosynthesis, they required the evolution of a fundamental remodeling of leaf vein structure: the addition of a third dimension. Leaves, after all,...

2013-03-22 09:56:34

In the four years since Brown University established the Initiative to Maximize Student Development in its life sciences Ph.D. programs, enrollment and academic achievement among underrepresented minority students has increased markedly, according to new data published in the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education. A new paper in the peer-reviewed journal CBE–Life Sciences Education describes a Brown University program that has significantly improved recruiting and performance of...

New Study Suggests Misregulated Genes May Play Big Role In Autism
2013-03-21 12:52:01

Brown University A new study finds that two genes individually associated with rare autism-related disorders are also jointly linked to more general forms of autism. The finding suggests a new genetic pathway to investigate in general autism research. The genes encode the proteins NHE6 and NHE9, which are responsible for biochemical exchanges in the endosomes of cells. Mutations in the NHE6 gene are a direct cause of Christianson Syndrome, while mutations in the NHE9 gene lead to a...

2013-03-07 11:22:19

In a new study in Neuron, scientists identified specific key steps in the chain of events that causes stress-related drug relapse. They identified the exact region of the brain where the events take place in rat models and showed that by blocking a step, they could prevent stress-related relapse. All too often, stress turns addiction recovery into relapse, but years of basic brain research have provided scientists with insight that might allow them develop a medicine to help. A new study...

Simulating Climate Change Using New Technique
2013-03-05 13:13:13

Brown University Statistical physics offers an approach to studying climate change that could dramatically reduce the time and brute-force computing that current simulation techniques require. The new approach focuses on fundamental forces that drive climate rather than on “following every little swirl” of water or air. And yes, there´s an app for that. Scientists are using ever more complex models running on ever more powerful computers to simulate the earth´s...

Optical Devices Could Be Improved With New Technique
2013-03-05 11:08:59

Brown University Understanding the source and orientation of light in light-emitting thin films – now possible with energy-momentum spectroscopy – could lead to better LEDs, solar cells, and other devices that use layered nanomaterials. A multi-university research team has used a new spectroscopic method to gain a key insight into how light is emitted from layered nanomaterials and other thin films. The technique, called energy-momentum spectroscopy, enables researchers...

Genome Police Undermined By Selfish Gene
2013-03-05 10:58:36

Brown University Biologists have been observing the “selfish” genetic entity segregation distorter (SD) in fruit flies for decades. Its story is a thriller among molecules, in which the SD gene destroys maturing sperm that have a rival chromosome. A new study reveals a tactic that gives SD´s villainy an extra edge. For a bunch of inanimate chemical compounds, the nucleic and amino acids caught up in the infamous “selfish” segregation distorter (SD) saga have...

Novel Wireless Brain Sensor Unveiled
2013-02-28 11:18:44

Brown University A team of neuroengineers based at Brown University has developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons in freely moving subjects. Several copies of the novel low-power device, described in the Journal of Neural Engineering, have been performing well in animal models for more than year, a first in the brain-computer interface field. Brain-computer interfaces could help people with...

2013-02-15 15:19:12

Digesting lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of biomass, is a limiting step to producing a variety of biofuels. Researchers at Brown have figured out the microscopic chemical switch that allows Streptomyces bacteria to get to work, breaking lignin down into its constituent parts. Microorganisms that can break down plant biomass into the precursors of biodiesel or other commodity chemicals might one day be used to produce alternatives to petroleum. But the...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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