News » Archives » April 2016

Nineteenth annual Expanding Your Horizons broadens career aspirations for girls

Author: Shadia Ajam

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This past Saturday (Apr. 23), Notre Dame hosted the 19th annual Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) career conference for middle school girls that focused on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Throughout the conference, students had the opportunity to collaborate and learn from female role models working in STEM fields. This exposure provides a gateway for empowering girls to see themselves as future participants in STEM and STEM-related careers. 

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Community-based course development grants impact local community

Author: Gene Stowe

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Several faculty in the College of Science have received Community-Based Course Development Grants from the Center for Social Concerns. The $2,500 grants are available to faculty and graduate students to support the design of new courses or major redesigns of existing courses. The courses incorporate community-based learning, where students conduct service or other civic work into the academic experience.  

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Twelve graduate students receive Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award

Author: Gene Stowe

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Twelve graduate students who are instructors and teaching assistants in the College of Science received the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning. The recipients are Bide Xiong of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics; Jenifer Gifford, Sheri Sanders, Kimbra Turner, and Victoria Zellmer of Biological Sciences; Michael Brennan, Clyde Daly, Ruth Nelson and Emily Shangle of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Edward Burkard and Brian Stoyell-Mulholland of Mathematics; and Bryce Frentz of Physics. 

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Nine students named winners in Living Worlds Space Art Contest

Author: Brian Wallheimer and Marissa Gebhard

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Nine students in kindergarten through fifth grade are first, second or third place winners in Notre Dame’s first Living Worlds Space Art Contest in which students are asked to imagine and depict the unusual forms of life that might inhabit other planets. In addition to the artwork, entrants also include written descriptions of their creature, describing how it has adapted to conditions on its planet.

Over 1,000 students from ten states submitted entries to the contest which allows students to explore evolution, adaptation and the discovery of planets around other stars. Entries are divided into classroom categories of grades K-1, 2-3 and 3-5. Prizes have been awarded for first through third places in each grade range.

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Researchers begin high-tech study of Vatican courtyard

Author: Public Affairs & Communication

Vatican City

Vatican City, both the smallest sovereign state in the world and the administrative headquarters of its largest Christian Church, is also a United Nations World Heritage site. Among the series of architectural restoration projects planned or under way there, few are more significant than that of the Cortile del Belvedere, or Belvedere Courtyard, where a team of Notre Dame faculty and graduate students from the University’s School of Architecture and Department of Physics have begun an unprecedented study.

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Solving the ebola outbreak: Paul Farmer and the four s’s

Author: Shadia Ajam

Paul Farmer

This past Tuesday, April 19, Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health and professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard University, visited Notre Dame and delivered a lecture titled, “Taking up the Challenges of Poverty: Why Accompaniment Matters.” Hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the event welcomed hundreds of attendees both from the University and the wider community.

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Understanding Behavior Key to Combating Malaria

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Neil Lobo and Nicole Achee

Today, April 25, is the annual World Malaria Day. This year’s theme – End Malaria for Good – seeks to build upon past successes in combating this deadly disease, which killed over 435,000 people in 2015, and sustain this progress in order to truly  “end malaria for good.” At the University of Notre Dame, Neil Lobo, a research associate professor of biological sciences and an Eck Institute for Global Health faculty member, is working to end malaria for good by focusing on the vectors that transmit the disease and how certain methods or interventions reduce malaria transmission.

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Twenty-four graduate students win NSF GRFP awards

Author: Provided

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The National Science Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2016 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), with 24 current Notre Dame students winning the prestigious award and another 17 earning honorable mention. Overall, there were 41 students recognized by the NSF. This doubles the number of Notre Dame awardees from 2015, and nearly doubles the previous Notre Dame record of 26, set last year, for total students recognized by the NSF.

The NSF-GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.

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Ganey awards fund studies to inspire students to pursue STEM and to improve academic achievement

Author: Gene Stowe

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Rodolfo Capdevilla, a graduate student in the Department of Physics, and Nancy Michael, an assistant teaching professor of neuroscience and behavior received Ganey Community Engagement Awards for Research and Teaching at the Center for Social Concerns’ annual Ganey Awards dinner, sponsored by Rod and Carol Ganey, on April 11. 

Capdevilla received the first-ever Ganey Community-Based Research Graduate Stipend for the project “Inspiring High School Students to Enter Stem Careers Using Quantum Physics Demos.” His team of researchers includes Mitchell Wayne, professor of physics; Kenneth Cecire of the national QuarkNet Program; and Don Howard, a professor of philosophy. The stipend is $3,000. 

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A tough childhood can lead to a shorter life for baboons

Author: Notre Dame News

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What is true for humans is also true for baboons: The tougher the childhood, the higher the risks of premature death later in life. Numerous studies have shown that childhood trauma can have far-reaching effects on adult health and survival; new research finds the same is true for wild baboons.

People who experience childhood abuse, neglect and other hallmarks of a rough childhood are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and other health problems later in life, even after the stressful events have passed, previous research shows.

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Notre Dame family to celebrate third annual Notre Dame Day

Author: Sue Lister

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The celebration will launch at 18:42 (6:42 p.m. EDT), referencing the University’s founding year, on April 24 and end at midnight on April 25. The 29-hour live broadcast from LaFortune Student Center will share inspiring and entertaining Notre Dame stories from around the world through interviews and celebrity guests. It also provides members of the Notre Dame family the opportunity to give back to areas of the University they love most through an online fundraising competition. 

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Stoneburner co-authors report on innovative laser procedure

Author: Brian Wallheimer

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Christine Petti, M.D., a plastic surgeon (SMC ’76), and her daughter, Jacqueline Stoneburner, a senior majoring in both science-business and Spanish at Notre Dame, published the results of the 16-patient clinical trial in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. Petti developed a method for repairing both lipodystrophy and cellulite with a fiber optic laser in one procedure, rather than the standard two.

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Junior faculty receive nationally competitive research awards

Author: Brandi Klingerman

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized six University of Notre Dame faculty from the Colleges of Engineering and Science for their accomplishments in research with an Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The CAREER program was created to recognize and support outstanding junior faculty who exhibit a commitment to stimulating research while also providing educational opportunities for students. The program was established in 1995 and is the NSF’s most prestigious recognition given to junior faculty.

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Jennifer Tank receives 2016 Ganey Award for community-based research

Author: JP Shortall

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Jennifer Tank has received the 2016 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Community-Based Research Award for working together with Kosciusko County farmers and local conservation staff to reduce nutrient runoff in the Shatto Ditch watershed. The award is a $5,000 prize presented annually to a regular faculty member at the University of Notre Dame who has completed at least one research project that addresses a need within South Bend or the surrounding area.

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Surgeon-in-Chief of Boston Children’s Hospital delivers presentation on global surgical accessibility

Author: Shadia Ajam

John Meara

This past Thursday, alumnus John G. Meara MD, DMD, MBA, (ND ‘86) delivered a presentation on safe surgical care worldwide. Meara is currently the Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief of the Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also associate professor of surgery and associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

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Renowned microbiologist Rita Colwell to receive Notre Dame honorary degree

Author: Sue Lister

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Rita Colwell, a molecular microbiologist whose research focuses on global infectious diseases, water and health, will receive a doctor of science honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame’s 171st University Commencement Ceremony on May 15 (Sunday). She joins six previously announced honorary degree recipients.

Currently a Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, she has spent her career working as a researcher, educator and leader within the science sector.

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Astrophysicists find triple star system with 'hot Jupiter'

Author: Brian Wallheimer

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Crisp, clear images of a “hot Jupiter” system captured by a University of Notre Dame physicist were vital in determining that a newly found planet inhabits a three-star system, a phenomenon documented only a few times before. Justin R. Crepp, Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics, was part of the team that discovered KELT-4Ab, a so-called “hot Jupiter” because it is a gas giant that orbits extremely close to one of the stars in its solar system.

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Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, addresses conference

Author: Michael O. Garvey

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The conference, organized by Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs, has brought together thinkers from the worlds of development policy and practice, government, the Church and other religious bodies to discuss and reflect on the implications of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which were approved by world leaders last September.

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Unearthing the secrets of a star

Author: Andy Fuller and William Gilroy

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Copernicus. Galileo. Hubble. For ages, humans have looked up at the night sky to ponder the secrets of the universe. The flickering stars have been the stuff of fascination and research for millennia, from men and women who mostly turned their gaze ever upward to study the vastness of space. Yet today, a group of University of Notre Dame astrophysicists is going down — way down — in a new attempt to gain an understanding of the evolution of stars.

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Notre Dame physicists discover rare brown dwarf, essential for testing theoretical models

Author: Gene Stowe

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A team led by Justin Crepp, the Frank M. Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, has discovered a rare brown dwarf, a faint object with properties in between that of a star and planet. In addition to taking its picture for the first time, Crepp’s team also determined the brown dwarf’s mass, age and composition — essential information that can be used to “benchmark” the study of these elusive objects.

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Graduate student Erica Gonzales contributes to rare brown dwarf discovery

Author: Gene Stowe

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Erica Gonzales, a graduate student in the Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, was conducting her first telescope observations in California in October 2014 when she helped to discover and photograph a rare brown dwarf– an object with mass in between that of stars and planets. Working with her advisor, Prof. Justin R. Crepp, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Physics, Gonzales was able to identify HD 4747 B as an important benchmark for studying objects somewhat smaller than stars. 

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With mosquito Y chromosome sequencing, researchers lay groundwork for advanced disease control

Author: Sarah Craig

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Human malaria, uniquely transmitted by a handful of anopheline mosquitoes, continues to attack nearly 200 million people and claims the lives of 600,000 each year. Africa bears the biggest burden due to its dominant vector, Anopheles gambiae. Ever since the groundbreaking Anopheles gambiae genome sequencing project was published in 2002, efforts have been underway to harness genomics for novel vector-based malaria control strategies.

Nora J. Besansky, O’Hara Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, assembled a diverse and multinational team of scientists to crack the genetic code of the Y chromosome in malaria mosquitoes for the first time.

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