Life Sciences

The Power of Engineering

Chemical engineering students and faculty at Tufts have the opportunity to join AIChE, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. According to their website, AIChE  is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 45,000 members from more than 90 countries.

One of the Institute’s greatest benefits is connecting members to one another and allowing them to participate in conferences around the world. In one of such event, AIChE members discussed the power of engineering in improving our world and our lives.

Ayse Asatekin, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Tufts, took part in the discussion and added to the passionate voices of other chemical engineering students and educators from all over the country.

Watch the video and see Professor Asatekin’s remarks:

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Tufts Climate Justice

“Telling the Climate Justice Story,” a class that bills itself as “revolutionary,” will be offered for the first time this spring. The team-taught, interdisciplinary course in the departments of Environmental Studies and Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, will focus on the complex issues surrounding climate change, and the political, social, economic, and scientific challenges it poses. Students will participate in model negotiations, and will be asked to use cutting-edge media to convey climate justice narratives.

For an introduction to the course, watch the video below:

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The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP) is a program initiated by the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition in an effort to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food. The farmer training program includes people from all over the world, from Zimbabwe to Cambodia, who are interested in small-scale commercial agriculture. One marketing initiative that is part of NESFP is the World PEAS Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which helps connect local farmers with a consumer base. The goal is to teach aspiring farmers a lost form of agriculture that has been long overlooked in favor of imports and mass-scale farming. This will permit farmers to meet the new demand for fresh, local fruit and vegetables. You can learn more about the program in the video below.

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#nerdybutawesome

This semester, students in Modern Physics (Physics 13) were given an unorthodox assignment: make a video explaining a concept from the course to a 10th grade audience. Without missing a beat, Beau Coker, E13, Dan Fortunato, A13, Ellen Garven, A14, and Benji Hansen, A14, came up with a #nerdybutawesome way to explain the twin paradox with the help of their friends Louie Zong, E13, and Zach Himes, A13. Never taken a physics class? No worries, you’ll still love the 2001: A Space Odyssey reference and Fortunato’s N64 powered space suit while learning why the Space Twin ages less than the Earth Twin.

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Bioluminary

Dr. Edith “Edie” Widder, A73, “is a biologist and deep-sea explorer who is applying her expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation.” On Sept. 23, 2011, she spoke about bioluminescence at TEDxThePineSchool in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Widder received a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant in 2006 (the same year as fellow Tufts graduate David Carroll, A65). You can read a profile of her in the 2005 Tufts magazine or see her essay and photographs about bioluminescence from the Fall 2007 edition of Tufts magazine.

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Tufts Student Finalist for “Dance Your Ph.D.” Contest

Gonzo Labs’ annual “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest provides a fun and creative way for Ph.D. students across the world to show off their theses through interpretive dance.

Lara Park, a current Friedman School Ph.D. student, recently became one of 16 2011 contest finalists. The 55 dance submissions provided the largest pool of contestants in the contest’s history. With her dance to “The Effect of Western Style Diet Consumption on Epigenetic Patterns,” Park hopes to win a cash prize and a trip to Belgium in order to attend the TEDxBrussels November event.

Dance Your Ph.D. 2011: The Effect of Western Style Diet Consumption on Epigenetic Patterns. Lara Park et al from Liza Voll on Vimeo.

To get a better idea about the “Dance your Ph.D.” competition, take a look at the 2010 winner here. You can also like the 2011 “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest on Facebook.

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Food For Thought with Dr. Miriam Nelson

Dr. Miriam Nelson, professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founder and director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University, has embarked on her StrongWomen Across America Tour.

Nelson describes her aims for the tour on the StrongWomen website:

Beginning in Kenai, Alaska and traveling east to Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, the StrongWomen Across America tour will focus on eight small communities with active StrongWomen programs.  Each community has developed what I call a Change Club – a group of 15 to 20 motivated women who will work to change the physical activity and food environments in their own communities.  It is my hope that this work will not only impact those individual communities, but will create a ripple effect that will reach communities across the nation.

Check out her Twitter account, Facebook page and most recent book, The Social Network Diet, which gives an interesting spin on how to perpetuate a healthy lifestyle through innovative social networking.

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Like Father, Like Daughter

Rising junior Sarah Hartman (A13) and her father Dr. Lester Hartman were the subjects of a father’s day feature on Thrive, Children’s Hospital Boston’s pediatric health blog. In an extreme version of “take your daughter to work day,” Dr. Hartman invited Sarah to spend a spring break with him in Cambodia, helping survivors of land mines. This experience, and additional service trips to Haiti, spurred in Sarah an interest in public health and medicine.

From a relatively early age our dad wanted us to see first hand what other parts of the world were like and what people who lived there had to deal with on a daily basis,” says Sarah. “He set a real example for me in wanting to reach out to help people and learn more about global health in the process.”

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What is Tufts School of Medicine?

That’s the question. The answer is: This school was referenced during Final Jeopardy! in the episode of “Jeopardy!” that aired May 23.

The question read as follows:

In 1964 a dean at Tufts' medical school wrote a modern version of this, used at many medical school graduations

The answer?

What is the Hippocratic Oath

Watch video from the Final Jeopardy! round.

Now, bonus round…. who was the Tufts School of Medicine Dean to rewrite the Hippocratic Oath? Dr. Louis Lasagna, who passed away in 2003. (Watch this video tribute to Dr. Lasagna.)

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GoQBots Spring Into Action

A new study in the Institute of Physics journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics by Tufts doctoral student Huai-Ti Lin and researchers Gary Leisk and Barry Trimmer details the creation of the GoQBot, a soft-bodied robot inspired by a natural defense mechanism found in some caterpillars called “ballistic rolling.” According to a press release by the Institute of Physics, ballistic rolling is “one of the fastest wheeling behaviours in nature”

The below video shows both a caterpillar engaging in ballistic rolling and the GoQBot in action:

The science blog PopSci featured the GoQBot, the latest product of the ongoing biomimetic research at Tufts.

“GoQBot demonstrates a solution by reconfiguring its body and could therefore enhance several robotic applications such as urban rescue, building inspection, and environmental monitoring,” Lin was quoted as saying in the press release. “Due to the increased speed and range, limbless crawling robots with ballistic rolling capability could be deployed more generally at a disaster site such as a tsunami aftermath. The robot can wheel to a debris field and wiggle into the danger for us.”

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