News » Archives » 2016

Interdisciplinary collaboration leads to revised model of brain activity

Author: Tammi Freehling

Robertrosenbaum 250

Assistant Professor Robert Rosenbaum, in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS), coauthored a paper that was recently published in the journal Nature Neuroscience titled “The spatial structure of correlated neuronal variability.” In the paper, a culmination of research in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, the scientists propose an extension of "balanced network theory" to explain relationships between the seemingly random activity of neurons in the brain.

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Notre Dame research a “top pick” by Nature Microbiology for Best of 2016

Author: Sarah Craig

Alex Perkins

Alex Perkins, PhD, Eck Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, is among the “Best of 2016” editor’s top 10 picks for the publication Nature Microbiology, a nature research journal. According to the publication, each year the most popular content is chosen to highlight research that is being viewed, shared, blogged, and picked up by the news.

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Reuters names Timothy Beers and Prashant Kamat 2016 highly cited researchers

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Beers Kamat 250

Thomson Reuters has named Timothy Beers, the University of Notre Dame Chair of Astrophysics, and Prashant Kamat, the Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Professor of Science, to its 2016 Highly Cited Researchers list. After Reuters analyzed Essential Science Indicators that included 128,887 highly cited papers ranked in the top 1 percent by total citations, the work of Beers and Kamat stood out as being among the most valuable and significant in their fields.

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How we live in the 46556 . . . and beyond

Author: Natalie Ambrosio '17

Geothermal Ricci 250

A first-of-its-kind class rotates from Notre Dame to Holy Cross to Saint Mary’s each week, with students from each school asking how we might live better in relation to creation.

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QuarkNet impacts physics education in Africa

Author: Tammi Freehling

Quarknetinafrica 250

The Fourth Biennial of the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications (ASP) was held in Kigali, Rwanda, from August 1 to 19, 2016. As part of the program, the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, in which QuarkNet participates, invited their partners to present workshops for high school physics teachers. QuarkNet was one of the main groups that took up the call and organized the effort.

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Improving snow measurement

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Snowndleef 250

Although it may seem simple to calculate, snowfall cannot be well measured by simply placing a yardstick in the ground. In actuality, snow measurement is much more complicated and oftentimes the most accurate snow measurement devices are costly. However, two Notre Dame graduate students are working to improve the snow measurement process in an effective and affordable manner.

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Virginia Tech researchers explain the Flint water crisis

Author: Grant Johnson

Vtech 250

The Flint, Mich., water crisis made headlines across the country last year. Social media campaigns and crowdfunding sites urging people to donate towards relief efforts to help get clean water for the citizens, while definitely useful in illustrating the severity of the problem, do not tell the whole story. Kelsey Pieper and Siddhartha Roy, two of the 30 members of the research team that helped uncover the catastrophe that is the Flint water crisis, gave a presentation telling the complete story of the crisis.

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Lincoln named Fellow of the AAAS

Author: Shelly Goethals

Don Lincoln at CERN. Photo courtesy of

Dr. Donald Lincoln has been named a 2016 Fellow of the AAAS. Election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. The AAAS Council elected 391 members as Fellows in 2016. His citation reads, “For distinguished contributions to the field of experimental high energy physics, especially to the study of quantum chromodynamics, and to particle physics outreach.”

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Study shows RNA protects nucleoprotein complex against radiation damage

Author: Gene Stowe

Iancarmichael 250

Researchers including Ian Carmichael, director of the Radiation Laboratory and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Notre Dame, have devised a method for gauging radiation damage in macromolecules and have applied it to nucleoprotein complexes. Such damage, which occurs during X-ray crystallographic data collection, is a major hindrance to determining reliable macromolecular structures. A report on the discovery, “RNA protects a nucleoprotein complex against radiation damage”, was published in the International Union of Crystallography’s Acta Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology.

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Studying evolution in the place that inspired the theory: The Galapagos Islands

Author: Anna Chang

Galapagoslizardbysophiachau 250

Before arriving to the islands, each student developed a research proposals and collected as much preliminary data as possible. Our research ranged among many varieties of flora and fauna, often either comparing organisms or studying species living in a certain ecosystem. The projects encouraged us to develop our scientific thinking and understand connections between an organism and its environment more deeply. Below are a few examples of research projects and findings from the trip:

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Bethlehem Star may not be a star after all

Author: Jessica Sieff

Grantmathews 250

Studying historical, astronomical and biblical records, Grant Mathews believes the event that led the Magi was an extremely rare planetary alignment occurring in 6 B.C., and the likes of which may never be seen again.

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Nicholas Myers takes second place in elevator pitch competition

Author: Chontel Syfox

Nick Myers

Notre Dame doctoral candidate, Nicholas Myers, came second in an elevator pitch contest at the Micronutrient Forum 2016 global conference in Cancun, Mexico. The Micronutrient Forum aims to be a global catalyst and convener for sharing expertise, insights, and experience relevant to micronutrients in all aspects of health promotion and disease prevention. It brings together researchers, professionals, students, organizations, and stakeholders to converse and collaborate in order to end malnutrition worldwide. The particular focus of the 2016 global conference was the positioning of women’s nutrition at the center of sustainable development.

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Why CUSE? - Notre Dame seniors reflect on their experiences with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement

Author: Kathleen Schuler

Kiley Emily 250

The Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) at the University of Notre Dame promotes the intellectual development of Notre Dame undergraduates through scholarly engagement, research, creative endeavors, and the pursuit of fellowships. Although CUSE works with over 1,000 Domers each year, not everyone knows about all of its services. CUSE sat down with four senior CUSE Sorin Scholars — Kiley Adams (biological sciences), Ian Tembe (chemical engineering and philosophy), Grace Watkins (philosophy), and Emily Zion (biochemistry) [pictured in order below] — to speak about the benefits that CUSE has provided for them, and why other students should work with CUSE during their time here.

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Medical mission grant awardees present experiences

Author: Cliff Djajapranata


Dooley Society Alexandra Fincher

With her ultimate goal of becoming a doctor in mind, Notre Dame junior Candice Park spent this past summer in India for eight weeks, grappling with issues surrounding medicine and public health in New Delhi.

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Notre Dame’s Grace Watkins and Alexis Doyle named Rhodes Scholars

Author: William G. Gilroy

Doyle Rhodes 250

Watkins, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, and Doyle, of Los Altos, California, are two of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 882 candidates who had been endorsed by their colleges and universities. They are Notre Dame’s 18th and 19th Rhodes Scholars and will commence their studies at Oxford University in October.

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Eli Lilly faculty fellowship provides drug discovery experience

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Haifenggao 250

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body has an inability to produce enough insulin. In the United States alone, it is estimated that the illness affects nearly 30 million diagnosed and undiagnosed people, and treatment often includes patients using an intravenous or IV method to get insulin into their system. This uncomfortable and inconvenient form of treatment can require anywhere from two to four injections a day, but a Notre Dame researcher is working to combat this problem with a less frequent, oral delivery system.

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Turning ideas into reality for colon cancer research

Author: Jenna Bilinski

Amanda Hummon

Amanda Hummom learned of the strong genetic component behind cancer, especially colon cancer, affecting the same family over and over again. This is a huge part of why she is committed to studying the molecular mechanisms that fuel the disease. “I don’t want to see my children, or my future grandchildren, develop this disease … I want to help all families facing this disease,” she said.

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Illuminating ovarian cancer surgery

Author: Angela Cavalieri

Ovarian Cancer Cells

One in 77 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime.  Because ovarian cancer has no defined symptoms, most women will be diagnosed at a late stage of the disease where metastatic lesions are found dispersed throughout the abdomen. Ovarian cancer is currently the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. With new technology being developed at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, the ovarian cancer surgery success rate may ultimately improve significantly.

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