Posted by Carly Machlis in Faculty, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Research, Video on January 4, 2013
Tufts Senior Scientist Roger Fielding recently sat down with Andrew Dudley, a specialist on Sarcopenia, to discuss Fielding’s research innovations. Sarcopenia, which involves the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a hotly researched field, and Fielding’s work at Tufts has paved the way in recent years.
As the Director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, a branch of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Fielding works to understand how nutrition and physical activity may help prevent or reverse physical dysfunction in adults. Fielding explains that:
We study the factors that influence the age-related changes in muscle mass and muscle strength, and we try to examine interventions that could potentially slow or reverse the process.
The Tufts Department of Education offers a unique graduate program in School Psychology, which seeks to engage its diverse group of students in critical conversations regarding race, class, culture, language, gender, and sexuality in schools. The hallmark of the program is its pre-practicum experience: students are placed in urban school systems, where they complete a year of supervised fieldwork and gain a thorough understanding of school psychology for today’s diverse educational environments.
In the department’s new video, current students and faculty highlight the department’s collaborative environment, commitment to clinical skill-building, innovative developmental approach, and focus on professional development. Check out the video here, and read some quotes from faculty members below:
Professor Silas Pinto:
“We’re trying to think about school psychology in a holistic way”
Professor Erin Seaton:
“In the school psychology program, there’s such a strong emphasis on understanding the ways race, class, gender, economics, and culture all impact the student’s experience.”
This semester Will Russack, A14, enrolled in the “Environmental Preservation and Improvement” course taught by Associate Professor George Ellmore. The course’s goal is to “energize students’ desire to work for positive and measurable environmental change” by highlighting solutions to current environmental problems.
Little did Russack know, the two-and-a-half hour environmental studies seminar would inspire him to write a series of posts on his personal blog on the topics discussed in class. He writes: “So far I’m really enjoying the class because every week I come away with a plethora of knowledge about a new topic and the confidence to talk about it.”
One of those topics was “colony collapse disorder,” the phenomenon of the sudden disappearance of honey bees in the United States:
“We investigated the potential for multiple factors to be working together to create these massive die-offs, as the research has been unable to find a clear culprit. The first factor discussed is the usage of systemic pesticides. Systemic pesticides spread throughout all the tissues of a plant, including the nectar and pollen. This means that adult forager bees are receiving direct exposure to the pesticides, and that entire colonies are experiencing indirect exposure when the foragers return. Systemic pesticides are known as neonicotinoids, which have been shown to have significant effects on the central nervous system.
A study by Pettis et al. demonstrated that honey bees exposed to a systemic pesticide known as imidacloprid were significantly more susceptible to infection from the gut pathogen Nosema (figure 1). A second study by Henry et al. showed that exposure to systemic pesticides decreased foraging success in honey bees. The bees were fitted with radar tagging devices to track their position (figure 2). The bees experienced significant“homing failure,” with up to 31% of bees exposed to pesticides unable to find their way back to hive after foraging. Mortality due to homing failure was even higher when the bees were unfamiliar with their foraging area, as one would expect. Here we can see how just 1 factor, pesticides, is able to have multiple effects on bee health and how these factors could interact to weaken colonies.”
For more on Russack’s presentation, check out his blog post.
For Professor Rogers’ Introductory Robotics and Mechatronics (ME 84) class, students were required to design a robot to play a musical instrument.
Upon hearing their assignment, Emmanuel Runes, E13, Alexander Metzger, E13, Brad Nakanishi, E13, Bronson Wongkew, E14, and Nate Goldsberry, E13, decided to challenge themselves and take on the violin. Why is the violin a challenge, you ask? “Basically, the difficulty is not only being able to hit the various strings for pitch difference, which by itself can be a difficult problem, but the hardest issue is the bowing motion: you need to apply the correct amount of force and correct amount of speed for bowing because too slow or fast causes squeaking from the violin and negatively affects the sound,” explains Metzeger.
After more than 130 hours working on the project, the group debuted their masterpiece at a special Robot Concer in Distler Performance Hall on December 6. Check out the fruits of their labor in the video below!
Keeping up with the news, whether it’s politics, pop culture, or anything in between, can be tough, especially as a young professional on the go. Just ask Danielle Weisberg, A08, and Carly Zakin, two ambitious twenty-somethings who know that “skimming the headlines” can be confusing and difficult, particularly with the advent of so many online media outlets. Weisberg and Zakin decided to take on the responsibility of keeping their generation in the know: enter theSkimm, an innovative and fun take on the daily headlines with the promise of “we read, you skimm.”
Zakin and Weisberg met on a semester abroad in Rome, and they both worked at NBC after college. In an interview with Business Insider, they explained:
[theSkimm is] for someone who’s smart, career-minded, and social. They might be going to a cocktail party or wedding, where news stories come up in conversation. We want our readers to be able to start the conversations. theSkimm is meant to be a confidence booster.
Weisberg majored in American Studies at Tufts, and has worked in broadcast journalism for NBC News, as well as in editorial positions at The Daily Beast and Boston Magazine.
Finals are without a doubt the most stressful time of the year on the Hill. With papers, exams, and the frigid weather, what’s a Jumbo to do!? Thankfully Mark Samaan and Spencer Schoeben, both A16, have the answer for stressed out Jumbos in need of supplies.
Samaan began the initiative after realizing he had few exams but would be around until the last day of finals. In order to make the most of his time, he came up with Tufts Study Aids, a cash-only delivery service that proves Jumbos with study essentials: from pens and paper to easy mac. He enlisted his roommate, Schoeben, to bring his idea to life on the Internet while Samaan handles the deliveries. Check out their entrepreneurial efforts here!
Stop Motion Animation (SAM) software is huge these days, and Tufts lecturer Dr. Brian Gravel believes that it’s critical for K-12 classrooms. Gravel works for the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, where he has been working on the SAM Animation Project since 2004.
His work spawned a spinoff project, iCreate to Educate, which focuses on using SAM to effectively teach lessons on language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and music to young learners. In the video below, Gravel introduces the basics of SAM software and describes the effectiveness of the iCreate to Educate programs, based on research funded by the National Science Foundation.
In the past year, several Tufts professors have been featured on “Academic Minute,” a series broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that focuses on the academic innovations coming out of colleges and universities around the world. In August, the series featured Tufts Music Professor Dr. Joseph Auner, who spoks about the technology behind modern electronic instruments. “Academic Minute” has also spoken with Dr. Gregory Crane, editor of the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts, who researches the importance of Arabic translations of documents from Ancient Greece.
Professor Crane explains the significance of Arabic translation:
“Many scientific terms such as algebra and chemistry come to us from Arabic. European culture rediscovered ancient sources like Aristotle and Euclid via Latin translations from Arabic translations of the Greek originals.”
Part of Nancy Gleason’s PS138: Conflict & Natural Resources class requires students to create group presentations on oil, diamonds, or minerals, the potential conflicts they bring about, and potential resolution approaches to the conflicts related to their natural resource of choice. The course itself “examines the role of natural resource endowments and scarcity in national and international conflict.”
Check out three videos from this semester’s batch of projects:
“The Cost of Conflict: A Message to Private Oil Firms” by Ryan Egger, A14, Ally Manning, A13, Mariah Martin, A13, Janet Rubin, A14, Katie Segal, A14
“Revamping the Kimberley Process” by Danielle Jenkins, A13, Meagan Maher, A13, Karen Bustard, A13, Daniel Goodman, A14, and Stephanie Krantz, A14
“Somali Piracy Over Natural Resources” by Jack Miller, A14, Chris Banaszek, A13, Sean Gunn, A15, Angela Sun, A13, Hans Ege Wenger, A14, Steve Yu, A13
Ever wish your wine was cooler? Your iced coffee more iced? Michael Easton, E08, and Nicholas Wong, E07, decided to tackle this issue by designing the Coldwave Beverage Chiller, a pitcher that chills any beverage in under a minute. Designed to fit a single cup coffee maker, the Coldwave promises cold to ice cold beverages while preserving that delectable fresh-brewed flavor. The product is on sale now for delivery in May 2013, and buyers are encouraged to support the product through its page on Indiegogo, a popular crowd funding site.
Easton and Wong studied mechanical engineering at Tufts, and they work for IceColdNow, the company behind the Coldwave. Easton focuses on usability testing and marketing of the product, while Wong works on marketing and social media development.