| News On Campus
Students Win Marshalls
Professors Awarded Packards
A Virtual Job Search
Multicultural Hub Opens
From Here to Timbuktu
Playing Sick, Well
Frank H. Cassell
Jerome B. Cohen
Carl P. Duncan
John L. Savage
Tough News about HIV-1
Clean, Lean Machine
A Clear View
A One-in-a-Million Face
Gifts and Grants
Ghanian Exchange with NU
Bioengineer Ed Grant
Construction cranes are looming over Northwestern, with more expected soon.
Work is already under way on major expansions of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and of Arthur Andersen Hall, home to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. And starting later this spring, construction will begin on a major science building in Evanston.
The six-story, $25 million addition to Andersen will provide offices, classrooms, seminar rooms and study areas for faculty and students. The new space will allow the economics department to have its offices and classrooms together on the third floor. Kellogg will occupy the rest of the building.
A significant expansion and renovation to the Block Museum will greatly increase the museum's gallery space and provide much-needed room for lectures and classes. The cost of the project is approximately $8 million.
A $4 million gift from Paul Leffmann will be used toward the renovation of the existing space in the museum's lower level and first floor and the addition of a 12,000-square-foot second floor.
The first floor of the renovated museum will feature a gallery and a 165-seat auditorium for classes and lectures. The second floor will include two additional galleries, one for rotating exhibitions, and another, the Leffmann Gallery, for the work of fiber artist Theo Leffmann, the donor's late wife. The second floor also will include a print and drawing study center, a library, a smart classroom/electronic gallery and offices for the museum staff.
When the University built the landfill campus 35 years ago, the first building constructed on what was then 84 acres of blank canvas was the Vogelback Computing Center. In January, demolition work began on Vogelback to make way for the Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly.
The $28.8 million center will integrate research and development by faculty from chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, pathology, molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry, chemical engineering, medicine, materials science, civil engineering and other disciplines.
In addition, Northwestern and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare are collaborating on a medical research facility on the Evanston campus next to the Materials and Life Sciences Building. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare has made a $17.5 million total contribution toward the construction of the 166,000-square-foot life sciences building and to programs at Northwestern's Medical School.
The ENH contribution includes a $10 million gift for the building, $3 million for the Medical School in support of medical genetics research and a $4.5 million investment in space in the new building.
The estimated cost of the state-of-the-art facility, to be known initially as the Northwestern University-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Building, is more than $60 million. The research center is designed to foster the interaction between scientists at the two institutions and to advance biomedical research through the integration of basic scientific discoveries with clinical investigations.
Research areas will include molecular biology, genomics, cell biology, neurobiology, developmental biology and reproductive biology. Groundbreaking is planned for the fall, with completion in 2002.
Construction also is expected to start next fall on a new home for the Medill School of Journalism's broadcast journalism and integrated marketing communications programs and on a major medical research facility on the Chicago campus.
From left, University President Henry Bienen; Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate in medicine and former director of the National Institutes of Health; and Mark R. Neaman, president and CEO, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, announce a joint University-hospital project.
Two Students Win Marshalls
For the first time in Northwestern history, two undergraduates Megan Anne McCarville of Evanston and Mark Andrew DePristo of Boston have won prestigious Marshall Scholarships in the same year.
Marshalls are given annually to no more than 40 students nationwide who wish to study in Great Britain. Recipients are selected on the basis of their scholastic attainments as well as other activities and achievements.
The two-year scholarships, worth about $50,000, include support for tuition, fees and travel costs.
McCarville, a senior majoring in economics in the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will work toward a master's degree at the London School of Economics. "I plan to study international health policy and medicine, specializing in pediatrics," she says. "I hope to become involved in organizing and providing health care for international health relief efforts, especially those that address infectious diseases."
Last year, McCarville volunteered for five months with the Frontier Nursing Service in eastern Kentucky.
DePristo, a Weinberg senior majoring in computer science and mathematics, will study at Cambridge University, focusing on theory and implementation of programming languages. His goal is to earn a doctorate in computer science and ultimately to conduct fundamental research in computer science at a university or in an industrial or government research laboratory.
At Northwestern, DePristo worked on a research project in neurobiology, helping to develop new methods of data analysis on the neural firing rate of monkeys.
Hui Cao, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and Amy C. Rosenzweig, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, are recipients of highly regarded five-year Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering.
The $625,000 grants were made possible by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Only 22 others from universities around the country received the awards.
Every year, the foundation invites presidents of 50 selected universities to nominate two young professors doing innovative research in the natural sciences or engineering. This year, both Northwestern nominees were chosen by the foundation's fellowship advisory panel.
Cao's research focuses on cavity quantum electrodynamics in semiconductor structures. She is working on the development of mirrorless lasers that take advantage of light scattering in highly disordered or strongly scattering media, such as powders.
Rosenzweig is an expert in the structure and biochemistry of metalloenzymes and will use the fellowship to study biological catalysts found in methanotrophs, microorganisms that use methane as their sole source of carbon and energy. An understanding of these catalysts could lead to the development of improved industrial catalysts and make methane a realistic alternative energy source.
Visit the UCS Home page
Virtual Job Search
Thanks to University Career Services' new Web-based NU Career-Trak System, Northwestern students hunting for jobs and summer internships need not go further than their computers to get one step closer to employment.
One part of the CareerTrak program, JOBTRAK, lists internships and full-time job openings, while the other, InterviewTRAK, enables registered students to sign up for interviews with companies that recruit on campus. In addition, the University Career Services Web site at www.stuaff.northwestern.edu/ucs gives students access to Career Search, an even larger employer database.
The UCS Web-based system also allows students who are off campus on different programs to keep up with their job and internship searches from afar. And for all students both on and off campus the time and money saved online makes the new system invaluable.
As the University's face changes to more closely match a multicultural United States, Northwestern administrators are dealing with the challenge to make all students, faculty and staff welcome on campus.
Toward that end, 14 student groups that had been scattered throughout the Norris University Center packed up their offices last fall and headed temporarily to a new Multicultural Center at 1936 Sheridan Road, where each group moved into private office spaces. In addition, the organizations share a conference area and a nondenominational room specifically designed for prayer and spiritual reflection.
Eventually, the center will return to Norris as a unit following renovations that are currently in the planning stage.
"[The center] is a place for people to come together and work together across traditional boundaries," says Margaret Barr, vice president for student affairs.
Alianza, formerly known as Casa Hispana, is one of the groups that relocated to the Multicultural Center. Dinorah Sanchez, a junior and president of the organization, which works for the advancement of the Latino community on and off campus, appreciates having a permanent central location, which may help attract new members. "This way, if anyone wants information, they can just walk in and know where to find us," Sanchez says.
The Multicultural Center also houses the offices of Audrey Daniel, director of the center; Melda Potts, coordinator of African American Outreach; and Beatrice Figueroa, coordinator of Latino/Hispanic Outreach.
On a related note, more than 200 members of the Northwestern community attended the University's first annual Diversity Conference last fall. The daylong event featured speakers such as Chicago Housing Authority CEO Phillip Jackson and panels on topics ranging from racial coverage in the Daily Northwestern to educational inequalities and the needs of gay and lesbian students. An exhibition of cultural art was also displayed.
Until recently, faculty members within departments and occasionally school deans have been the only ones to provide academic advice to students.
In 1998, Stephen Fisher, associate provost, and Mary Desler, assistant vice president for student affairs, began conducting focus groups with seniors to find ways to augment the advising. The result is the Academic Advising Center, which joined the new Multicultural Center on Sheridan Road last fall.
Under the traditional system, students wanting to take advantage of programs in other schools or to transfer into a different school sometimes found it difficult to get essential information about degree requirements. The new advising center is staffed with professionals who are trained to deal with the subtleties of inter-school transfers, joint degree requirements and the advising process in general.
"Sometimes a student may be unsure about changing schools or majors, and we can help draw out their interests and assess areas of strength or weakness," says director Peg Kowalczyk, who served as coordinator of the Career Development Center for six years.
She and assistant director Greg Cera have met with deans and advisers of the University's six schools to review policies and course requirements and to make them aware of the services the new center provides.
Here to Timbuktu
After 35 years of study, John Hunwick thought he knew the fabled West African city of Timbuktu well, but last August, the religion and history professor discovered centuries-old secrets about the place that may prove significant.
In a village about 40 miles outside Timbuktu, in the middle of the Republic of Mali's Niger River valley, local historian Ismael Haidara found portions of 400-year-old manuscripts written in Arabic that were buried in desk drawers, closets and under beds.
"I could not believe anything could last that long in the Middle Niger," says Hunwick, who found out about the manuscripts from Haidara. "I told Ismael I would like to see them."
Hunwick journeyed to Timbuktu last August. There, he inspected a small sample of what may be a collection of 3,000 manuscripts that once belonged to Mahmud Kati, a 16th-century historian. Notes scribbled down the sides of the beautifully penned pages of a religious work describe everything from the harvesting of crops to wedding days. And they comprise what Hunwick hopes will be a detailed history of the city, once known as a major center of culture and commerce.
"These people were merely recording everyday events that happened because they lacked other paper," Hunwick says. "They also dated and signed the notes very helpful for a historian. I am hoping and praying as we analyze them that we will be able to put these disparate pieces of information into some context."
Currently, Hunwick is seeking funds to build a library to store, catalogue and digitalize the documents, which are slowly being brought to Timbuktu to be stored in Haidara's small archives.
"This may be the find of the century as far as African history goes," he says. "But this is only the beginning of the beginning. It will take several lifetimes of work from several scholars to bring this into the historical forum."
Kristian Hammond, left, a professor of computer science, and Jay Budzik, an InfoLab graduate student, demonstrate Watson, a personal information management system developed by Budzik that turns a personal computer into a smart Web research tool.
Unlike Sherlock Holmes' less-than-brilliant medical sidekick, he's "sleuthy," and he's smart. And he can live in anyone's personal computer.
Instead of suffering with Internet search engines that find hundreds of useless articles, researchers can now use Watson, whimsically named after the good doctor, to find just what they're looking for. Watson is a personal information management system for computers that was developed by Jay Budzik, a Northwestern InfoLab graduate student.
"The key to Watson is that, while you're writing, the system actually reads the documents you are working on and uses its understanding of your subject matter to search the Web for pages and sites most relevant to your work," says Kristian Hammond, InfoLab director and professor of computer science in the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"If you are writing a paper on construction equipment and you ask Watson to find documents related to 'Caterpillar,' it will never return pages related to fuzzy insects," Hammond says. Watson is trained so well that it even suggests photos and graphics to enhance projects. A Java application, the program can be downloaded for free from the InfoLab's Web site (www.infolab.northwestern.edu/watson).
The Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science ranked No. 1 in the country in the retention of minority engineering students over the last eight years.
A report released by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering states Northwestern's average retention rate of 78.9 percent is more than double the national average of 36.5 percent, topping peer institutions, including Princeton, Duke, Michigan and Stanford. The study focused on African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.
Playing Sick, Well
"Are those spots real, or is this just great acting?"
No questions like that have come up yet, but Northwestern's Clinical Education and Evaluation Center does give medical students practice with their interpersonal skills by simulating real office visits using paid actors.
The program evaluates how well students interact with the actors, or standardized patients, as they are called.
After the actor describes a set of symptoms, the student sets the stage, elicits information, gives information, understands the patient and ends the encounter a process that conveniently creates the acronym SEGUE, coined by Gregory Makoul, assistant professor of medical education and director of the Program in Communication and Medicine.
To simulate a real office visit, these standardized patients are often completely immersed in their roles, displaying the anxiety or discomfort that goes along with the sickness.
"They seem like real patients," says Babu Reddy, a third-year student who has worked with the actor-patients. "They're really good actors, pretty close to the patients I've seen on rounds."
Medical students study listening and interpersonal skills in the classroom during their first year of school. By their second year the students test those skills with the actor-patients. By analyzing the sessions, which are videotaped, Northwestern medical students can see if communication breaks down and if important parts of the exam procedure have been skipped.
The School of Law has joined the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to create a council to train directors of mutual funds.
The council, which includes industry representatives and investment management attorneys, will educate mutual fund directors who started during the recent growth of assets in the industry and are still relatively inexperienced.
"[They] need to be fully informed about the technical aspects of fund management, and they need to have their independent oversight of the fund complexes enhanced," says David Ruder, professor at the law school and former SEC chairman.
Junior Matt Forti teaches economics.
When sixth grader Rachel Lewis shouts out, "There aren't enough Beanie Babies!" during a class at Evanston's Chiaravalle Montessori School, she isn't causing trouble or speaking out of turn, only addressing the complex issues of supply and demand. Her teacher, Northwestern junior Matt Forti, nods his head in agreement.
"That's right," Forti says. "The fewer Beanie Babies available, the higher the demand."
Rachel and other middle school students got the chance to combine fun with economics because of a program started by a small nonprofit organization called Special Endeavors Rendered by Volunteer Efforts (SERVE).
Begun by Mary Roth (WCAS84, GSESP88), SERVE's main goal is to foster volunteerism among elementary, high school and college-age students throughout the Chicago area. In this part of the program sending groups from Northwestern to teach economic concepts in middle and elementary schools in Evanston Roth hopes to encourage the students to continue their volunteerism after graduation.
For younger kids, Wilmette, Ill.-based SERVE offers opportunities to volunteer in such places as nursing homes, children's hospitals, homeless shelters and facilities for developmentally disabled adults.
The idea came to Roth several years ago, when she taught economics to gifted grade school students at Northwestern's Center for Talent Development. "I noticed that most kids aren't exposed to economics until high school and some not even until college," she says.
Roth sought student volunteers via e-mails to the Northwestern economics and stock market club listservs. Forti responded to Roth because he has an interest in teaching economics but wasn't finding any opportunity to do so.
"They usually don't let undergraduates become [teaching assistants] in economics, so this has helped me to see what teaching is like," he says. "It's definitely helped push me in the direction of education for a career."
Elementary school students learn relatively simple concepts such as the value of money, but in the middle school classes, the kids tackle more complex ideas. "We try to give a short lecture and define some terms," Forti says. "But they're generally a lot more responsive to the worksheets and group activities."
To sixth grader Kara Cordell, the class is more like fun than work. "We mix games with learning," she says. "And they're really nice guys, so it's a lot of fun."
The students at Chiaravalle really love the undergraduates' teaching style, says Debra Pinsof, a teacher at the school. "It's a wonderful introduction and overview of the economic system," she says. "The kids speak positively to their parents about it and ask if the volunteers are coming back."
Alex Ortolani (WCAS01)
Frank H. Cassell, Jerome B. Cohen, Carl P. Duncan, and John L. Savage
Frank H. Cassell, 83, professor emeritus of industrial relations, died Nov. 9 in Glenview, Ill.
Mr. Cassell specialized in labor economics at Kellogg and was particularly known for his expertise on the steel and airline industries.
After World War II, he joined Indiana-based Inland Steel Co., where he quickly displayed a talent for labor negotiations. Mr. Cassell later became director of industrial relations.
Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Cassell was proudest of his two years as director of the United States Employment Service, starting in 1966 at the height of President Johnson's War on Poverty.
Mr. Cassell came to Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1968.
In the late 1940s, Mr. Cassell helped found the Anselm Forum to promote civil rights and, in 1953, was appointed to the board of directors of the Chicago Urban League, a post he held for almost four decades.
Mr. Cassell is survived by his wife, Marguerite; two sons; four grandsons; and four great-grandchildren.
"We've lost a wonderful leader and a great friend," said Northwestern President Henry Bienen. "Jerry was devoted to Northwestern and was an important leader for the entire University."
Under his 13 years as dean, the McCormick School made extraordinary gains. The quality of the faculty, more than 60 percent of whom were recruited during Mr. Cohen's tenure, has grown significantly. Twelve faculty members, including Mr. Cohen, have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. McCormick also has the highest percentage 10 percent of female faculty among major engineering schools.
McCormick's standing among all U.S. engineering schools in the U.S. News and World Report rankings rose from 37 in 1990 to 13 in 1998.
Mr. Cohen is survived by his wife, Lois; a daughter; a son; a sister; and four grandchildren.
Until his retirement in 1987, Mr. Duncan was a member of the Northwestern faculty for 40 continuous years. He coordinated the honors program in psychology for 35 years and served as director of graduate studies.
Mr. Duncan was a member of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, a distinguished honorary society. He served as president of the Midwestern Psychological Association in 1965 and 1966, was a fellow of the American Psychological Association and a member of the American Psychological Society.
At Northwestern, Mr. Duncan's research interests ranged from human learning to the physiology of clinical phenomena to problem solving and thinking. He joined the Northwestern faculty after receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and a doctoral degree from Brown University.
Mr. Duncan is survived by his wife, Marie.
From bringing patients their prescriptions in the middle of the night to inviting the ailing to recover in his home, Dr. Savage was always ready and willing to help.
Even after retiring from his 35-year practice in 1981, he continued to aid patients until his death.
Dr. Savage was born and reared in Joliet, Ill. His mother, whom he considered an inspiration, was a physician, but she never practiced medicine.
Joining the Army in 1941, Dr. Savage was commissioned a major and served in a medical battalion in the South Pacific.
Following his military service, he completed a residency at Northwestern and joined the faculty. For much of his career, Dr. Savage was affiliated with the University's student health service.
He is survived by his wife, Frances; two daughters; five grandchildren; a brother; and a sister.
Yes, that's the University Library being built in the top portion of the photo.
If you asked workers on the Mary-Missouri Valley construction team, they would have told you that transporting 2 million cubic yards of sand to Northwestern's campus lakefront was certainly no day at the beach and as former University President J. Roscoe Miller could have told you, neither was responding to what seemed to be 2 million angry letters.
The issue of expansion had been mulled over at Northwestern since the post-World War II days, but it wasn't until the early 1960s that the need for more space reached a crisis point. Although the University considered buying additional land in Evanston near the campus, the decision was made instead to extend the campus east into the lake.
On July 11, 1962, work began on the 84-acre addition that would eventually double the size of the Evanston campus, but controversy quickly followed.
Unknown to Northwestern, Mary-Missouri Valley, based in Cape Girardeau, Mo., had scooped the sand for the project from a harbor that the Bethlehem Steel Co. was having dredged in Porter County, Ind. However, the site was also adjacent to Indiana's sand dunes, not yet protected by the state or the National Park Service.
An enormous hue and cry arose. In response to a solicitation, one alumnus wrote in a typical letter, "Make them give the sand back to the dunes, and perhaps then I will consider a gift." One group was even said to have petitioned President Kennedy.
"The University didn't know where that sand was coming from," said recently retired associate provost Jeremy Wilson, who played an integral role in the lakefill's development. "In addition, this was a permitted use [of the sand]."
The controversy continued until April 1963, when an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times set the record straight. "Directing abuse at Northwestern University," the column read, "is like abusing a homebuilder because his contractor obtained lumber from a forest preserve."
The editorial noted that the Porter County site was already earmarked for a deep-water harbor. Citing the inevitable creation of the harbor, the Sun-Times lauded Northwestern's resourceful use of sand, "which must go somewhere," and urged the project's critics to "hold their fire."
And so, on a blustery October afternoon in 1964, former Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson II (L26), then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dedicated the J. Roscoe Miller Lakefill Campus from the roof of the new Vogelback Computing Center. About 5,000 people were spread out on the new land before him.
For some reason perhaps it was the lake-effect winds Stevenson lost his grip on his notes, and several pages flew away. "Well, that's a break for you," he quipped, before delivering a heavily abbreviated speech.
Today, Northwestern without the lakefill would be hard to imagine. In addition to the Norris University Center, the University Library, the Materials and Life Sciences Building, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, the land is also home to Annenberg Hall, Hogan Hall, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management's James Allen Center.
Varsity field hockey and soccer players and some of Northwestern's feistiest intramural athletes take advantage of the expansive Lakeside Fields. Built along the shoreline in 1997, the venue offers breathtaking vistas of Chicago's dramatic skyline to the south.
Also enjoying those views daily are the hundreds of bicyclists, walkers, runners and in-line skaters who use the paths that wind around the lakefill.
Ed Fanselow (J02)
A helper T cell under attack by the AIDS virus
(30,000x© Boehringer Ingelheim International, GmbH)
Tough News about HIV-1
In recent years, anti-AIDS cocktails have given great relief to thousands infected with HIV. However, a study published in Science by researchers from Northwestern and seven other institutions has found that HIV-1, usually transmitted by heterosexual contact, infects and grows in inert immune cells whose inactivity presents a major stumbling block to both a comprehensive treatment of and preventive vaccine against the virus.
Previously, it was thought that HIV could not reproduce itself inside T cells, the major targets of the virus, unless the cells had been activated, but the scientists among them Steven Wolinsky, professor of medicine, and his laboratory group have eliminated that theory. An examination of SIV, a similar virus that infects simians, showed that within three days post-infection, it was found in both activated and "resting" T cells, as they are called. Studies with HIV-1 patients indicated a similar pattern.
Unfortunately, these cells "fly below the radar screen" of the immune system, as one of the researchers put it, and also live a long time. Both facts will make HIV prevention and eradication far more difficult than first thought.
Clean, Lean Machine
Engineers at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed an electric fuel cell that could lead to inexpensive, clean and efficient electrical power generators in applications ranging from power plants to electric cars. Unlike existing fuel cells, the breakthrough cell generates clean electric power by extracting the energy in methane gas without actually burning it. This "direct methane" approach does not require hydrogen gas to generate electric power, which makes the cell environmentally friendly because water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts.
"This is more than just another benchmark," says Scott A. Barnett, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the research. "I think it provides a new direction for fuel cell developers to run a fuel cell directly on a widely available fuel rather than on hydrogen."
The findings were first reported in the journal Nature.
Northwestern researchers have found links between defects in the cellular enzyme superoxide dismutase and some inherited forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
To better understand the molecular basis of this condition, investigators supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences deciphered the three-dimensional structure of a yeast copper "chaperone" protein, a molecule that transports copper to the enzyme.
The work also identifies a potential target for developing drugs for ALS, a lethal, progressive neurological disorder that renders the muscles of the body useless. Thomas O'Halloran, professor of chemistry; Amy Rosenzweig, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology; and Northwestern co-reseachers are conducting the study.
In related news, investigators have halted motor neuron destruction and slowed progression of inherited ALS in laboratory mice by using gene therapy.
The findings of Martha Bohn, a Northwestern developmental neurobiologist and professor of pediatrics at the Medical School, and co-researchers suggest that a similar approach might someday be useful for humans with ALS.
Lab experiments by Medical School researchers show that administering an inhibitor known as YVAD-cmk during a heart attack may protect heart tissue and dramatically reduce cell death by more than 30 percent. The inhibitor blocks the activation of caspases, which are intricately regulated networks of enzymes that are known to trigger cell death.
The study, published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, is the first to find that multiple caspases are triggered during reduced oxygen flow to the heart.
"We believe that caspases may be important therapeutic targets in heart attacks," says Vincent L. Cryns, assistant professor of endocrinology, lead researcher with colleagues in the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute.
Also on the cardiac frontline, Robert Judd, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Feinberg, and Raymond Kim, assistant professor of cardiology, joined Siemens Medical Systems in devising a technique that combines magnetic resonance imaging innovations with conventional contrast agents to make assessing heart attack damage simple, quick and painless. MR Delayed Contrast Enhancement also aids in determining risk of a second attack.
Ken Paller, assistant professor of psychology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Northwestern co-researchers are unlocking secrets about the brain's memory storage and about memory failure.
In a carefully controlled experiment, the team first showed photographs of faces each linked with a unique name and a short vignette about the individuals to subjects. Then, researchers showed the photos to the subjects again without the information, while charting neurological retrieval activity with an electro-encephalogram and a blood oxygenation measure derived from magnetic resonance imaging.
Results suggest that person recognition takes place in prefrontal brain regions that presumably exert an influence on processing in other parts of the brain.
The findings of neuroscience graduate student Daniel Kolker suggest that in old age the clock gene fails to function as well as it does in youth. This may help explain why the circadian, or 24-hour, rhythms of many species of animals, including humans, work differently or more irregularly in old age.
Kolker and colleagues studied two groups of mice, one normal and the other with a mutation in the clock gene. The animals' circadian timing systems were monitored during youth and old age, with all the mice exhibiting a change in their daily exercise patterns and activity-rest cycles when older. However, the mice with a mutated clock gene showed a significantly greater disruption in their circadian rhythms than the normal mice.
Kolker works with circadian rhythm expert Fred Turek, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Neurobiology. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
In an article in the journal Science, Noël Bouck and colleagues at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University showed that a protein, called pigment epithelium-derived factor, which is found naturally in healthy retinas, can halt excessive blood vessel growth in the eye.
Bouck, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical School, says this effect may have important therapeutic implications for both retinal tumors and retinopathies where new blood vessel growth compromises vision. Her results raise the possibility that using PEDF therapeutically in patients with diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration would control vessel growth and thereby slow or prevent loss of sight.
Visit the Sesquicentennial Web Site
A One-in-a-Million Face
You may be a featured alumnus or alumna in the Sesquicentennial Web site! The photo gallery on the Web site is almost complete, with photos having been culled from the University's archives, Syllabus yearbooks, the Daily Northwestern and the private albums of alumni. However, some photos feature unidentified individuals and one could be you!
Check out the site at www.NU150.northwestern.edu and write in if you recognize anyone.
Other photos are now being selected for the Sesquicentennial book and video, both progressing at an impressive rate. The book and video will be ready by September and can be ordered through the Web site at a later time. A snippet from the book to whet your appetite:
"The beginning of the new century brought a period of loosened mores. ... Many people took a laissez-faire attitude to such goings and comings, but there was also resistance to the onset of sexual revolution at Northwestern. ...
"Professor Alja R. Crook ... was a confirmed bachelor with a Vandyke beard and the aloof air of a scientist. ... [One] thing jolted him, and that was the spectacle, or even the thought, of students kissing. When a reporter from Chicago discovered Crook's views on the subject, they quickly became a matter of public record. Then ensued a kind of crusade, albeit a short-lived one, when a group of male and female undergraduates formed the Northwestern University Anti-Kissing Society. ... [They] dedicated themselves to the proposition that kissing was disgusting and demoralizing and 'entirely unnecessary in respectable courtships.'
"Quite naturally, the effectiveness of the Anti-Kissing Society, not to mention its sincerity, was suspect. And not many months after it was created, the society was delivered a death blow when two leading anti-osculators, John W. McClinton and Frances Lemery ... were engaged to be married. 'The society is at once disbanded and it is rumored that several other important announcements may be expected in the few days remaining in the college year,' [reported] a Chicago newspaper."
(Photo by Jim Ziv)
Ghanian Exchange with Northwestern
Akua Kuenyehia, dean of the University of Ghana Faculty of Law, came to Northwestern last fall to lay the groundwork for a faculty exchange program with Northwestern's School of Law that will focus on the legal status of women in West Africa.
The exchanges will be funded by a three-year, $120,000 grant awarded to the law school by the U.S. Information Agency.
At her law school, Kuenyehia is director of a research project on women and the law that is investigating a range of social issues affecting women in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia.
"Ultimately, it is hoped that the interchanges may lead not only to new courses in Ghana but also to a number of reform efforts, such as collaboration on drafting a separate domestic violence code," says Cynthia Bowman, a professor of law who has published extensively on women and the law.
The School of Education and Social Policy was one of only 11 such schools to receive an educational grant from New Jerseybased Lucent Technologies Foundation last fall.
The University's portion of the $1.5 million package will come to $140,900, which will be used to assist middle school teachers in 31 Chicago public schools in using technology to improve pedagogy.
Thanks to a $649,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, graduate students in the Medill School of Journalism are hitting the campaign trail this election year. Their mission: analyzing why turnout among young voters is so low.
"Our student reporters are specifically looking at the positions of the presidential candidates and seeing how they square with concerns and politics of the nation's 18- to 24-year-olds," says grant administrator and associate professor Ellen Shearer, from Washington, D.C., where she is co-director of the Medill News Service.
After students submit their news stories, the pieces become available to Medill News Service clients and to about 500 college newspapers through the University Wire. The articles may also be picked up by college radio stations via a Web-based radio feed.
Besides offering students the opportunity to research policy issues nationwide, the Pew grant also will fund fellowships for 12 students to specialize in political coverage for an academic quarter in Washington, D.C.
The National Science Foundation has earmarked $10 million for the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern, and departments at four other universities, to establish research centers in bioengineering educational technologies. The centers are the first of their kind in the nation.
Northwestern will receive nearly half a million dollars annually over five years for its part in a consortium led by Vanderbilt University. The University of Texas at Austin and the joint Division of Health Sciences and Technology of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the other participating institutions.
The researchers will develop modular, computer-based courseware, curricula and instructional technologies for bioengineering education. The materials will be available to educators, primarily at universities but also at middle and high schools.
Northwestern's center will extend widely across disciplinary lines. In addition to faculty and students in biomedical engineering, faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students from the Medical School, the School of Education and other engineering departments in the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science will take part in the research.
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