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NEW -  Proposal Submission Deadline Policy  - Begin March 4th, 2019

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May 25
Benjamin Martin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, has received the Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research for his work with circulating tumor cells The award, granted to promising early career New York City-area cancer research scientists, includes a three-year $600,000 grant, effective July 1. Professor Martin and colleague David Q. Matus, PhD, are using state-of-the-art microscopy and genetic analysis of circulating tumor cells to achieve an unprecedented level of understanding about how these cells exit blood vessels and invade news sites on the body. To help accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research, the Pershing Square Research Alliance has invested $25 million in next generation medical research talent. For more about Professor Martin’s cancer research see this recent published paper Science, and his bio and video explanation on his research. For more about the award and recipients, see this press release.
Apr 09

By combining data on pathology images of 13 types of cancer and correlating that with clinical and genomic data, a Stony Brook University-led team of researchers are able to identify tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), called TIL maps, which will enable cancer specialists to generate tumor-immune information from routinely gathered pathology slides.

Published in Cell Reports, the paper details how TIL maps are related to the molecular characterization of tumors and patient survival. The method may provide a foundation on how to better diagnose and create a treatment plan for cancers that are responsive to immune-based anti-cancer therapy, such as melanoma, lung, bladder, and certain types of colon cancer.

The gold standard for cancer diagnosis remains the pathology report from a biopsied tumor tissue. Diagnosis plays a leading role in how a patient will be treated. In certain situations and with forms of cancer treated with immune-based therapies, pathologists are also tasked with making observations on the immunologic features of the tumor tissue to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from these therapies. TILs are unleashed by immunotherapies to destroy cancer cells.

“This paper demonstrates that we can now use deep learning  methods such as artificial intelligence to extract and classify  patterns of immune cells in ubiquitously obtained pathology studies, and to relate immune cell patterns to the many other types of cancer patient molecular and clinical data,” says Joel Saltz, MD, PhD, the Cherith Chair of Biomedical Informatics at Stony Brook University and lead author of the paper, titled “Spatial Organization and Molecular Correlation of Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Using Deep Learning on Pathology Images.”

The research includes researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Emory University, and the Institute for Systems Biology. The work stems from the efforts of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project.

In the study, the researchers applied machine learning to digitized pathology images to characterize patterns of immune infiltration present in 4,759 TCGA patients and within 13 cancer types processing more than 5,000 digital images from the cancer types to create a “computational stain” for each. With these, they created TIL maps as a potential new guide to diagnosis and treatment planning.

TCGA is a decade long comprehensive effort spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute in collaboration with the cancer research community worldwide. The TIL map study is part of a cohort of 27 manuscripts published in Cell Press communicating results by the TCGA PanCancer Atlas Initiative,  which has compared and contrasted molecular features of all TCGA tumor samples from more than 10,000 cases comprising 33 different forms of cancer.

“Developing machine learning tools such as this proof of principle project to map lymphocytic infiltration patterns is important for research reproducibility in immune-oncology and will also allow these approaches to begin to be deployed as decision support for pathologists as we evaluate and report our cases for routine decision-making,” says Alexander Lazar, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology & Genomic Medicine at MD Anderson and a co-author.

The investigators were able to develop the method and proof of concept with the assistance of data collection and calculations by way of high-performance computing systems available through Stony Brook’s Institute for Advanced Computational Science and Division of Information Technology.

Dr. Saltz and colleagues nationwide continue to investigate the use of digital archiving of pathology and the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The research was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Institute and the National Science Foundation

Apr 23

A new technology employing endocannabinoids for pain relief, developed by Stony Brook University researchers affiliated with the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB & DD), has been licensed to Artelo Biosciences, Inc. Endocannabinoids are natural marijuana-like substances in the body and have potential as the basis for new medicines. Artelo has an exclusive license with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York to the intellectual property portfolio of FABP inhibitors for the modulation of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of pain, inflammation and cancer.

Fatty Acid Binding Proteins have been identified as intracellular transporters for the endocannabinoid anadamide (AEA), a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that binds to THC receptors. Animal studies have demonstrated that elevated levels of endocannabinoids can result in beneficial pharmacological effects on stress, pain and inflammation and also ameliorate the effects of drug withdrawal. By inhibiting FABP transporters, the level of AEA is raised. Potential drugs acting in this manner would create elevated levels of AEA. The mechanism of action of such drugs would be similar to that of current antidepressants, which inhibit the transport of serotonin.

During the first year of the agreement, Artelo will collaborate with the Stony Brook research team to identify a lead FABP compound for drug development and formulation. The company will then conduct drug efficacy tests in nonclinical animal models of the compound.

The multidisciplinary research team is led by Dale Deutsch, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and a member of the ICB & DD.  The research has been supported by a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of the National Institutes of Health.

“The unique aspect of this research is that our focus is to investigate ways to active natural ‘marijuana’ in our bodies, the endocannabinoids,” said Deutsch. “This system has advantages over the properties of actual marijuana since endocannabinoids are not connected with dependence, potentially leading to addiction, but does act effectively against pain.”

Their research started in 2009 with the identification of the FABPs as the transporters of the endocannabinoids. When these compounds bind to the FABP they resulted in higher levels of AEA specifically. By using computational biology for virtual screening and actual assays, the researchers discovered lead compounds that bind to the FABPs and were analgesics for various types of pain.

The AEA research led to three Stony Brook University patent-covering new chemical compounds (called Stony Brook FABP Inhibitors or SB-FIs), which Artelo will investigate during its drug development plan.

“This licensing agreement gives us access to a promising intellectual property portfolio that is squarely aligned with our strategic direction as a scientific team with a proven track record of success,” said Gregory Gorgas, Chief Executive Officer of Artelo. “Working together to evaluate and identify novel FABP inhibitors based upon existing scientific data for clinical development will be complimentary to our drug pipeline and create a new opportunity for Artelo.”

In order to design the novel FABP inhibitors, members of the FABP Stony Brook research group required expertise in many disciplines, such as biochemistry, chemistry, computational biology, computer science, X-ray crystallography and medicine. The team includes Deutsch; Distinguished Professor Iwao Ojima, also the Director of the ICB & DD; Martin Kaczocha of the Department of Anesthesiology; Robert Rizzo  of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Huilin Li, formerly of the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

Apr 23

The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) has selected Yimei Zhu — a Stony Brook University adjunct professor and a senior physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) — to receive the 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award for physical sciences. This award annually recognizes two senior scientists, one in the physical sciences and the other in biological sciences, for their long-standing record of achievement in the field of microscopy and microanalysis.

“I am extremely humbled by this recognition, the highest honor of the society, and to be selected among the most distinguished scientists in the field worldwide,” said Zhu, who is leader of the Electron Microscopy and Nanostructure Group at BNL. “Four Nobel Laureates received the same award before winning the Nobel Prize: Ernst Ruska in 1985, Joachim Frank in 2003, Richard Henderson in 2005, and Jacques Dubochet in 2009. I strongly feel that my award is the result of not only my hard work, persistence, and curiosity about the inner world of matter but also my collaborations with colleagues and support from Brookhaven Lab and DOE over the past 30 years.”

“Yimei Zhu has made significant contributions to advancing ultrafast electron diffraction instruments and developing fast direct-electron-detectors,” said Molly McCartney, awards committee physical sciences co-chair. “Yimei’s contributions to instrumentation and methods are extensive. His most highly recognized achievement is the successful imaging, at atomic resolution, of the atomic structure of bulk catalysts by detecting the secondary electron emission.”

Zhu led the development of an ultrafast electron diffraction system that was commissioned at Brookhaven Lab in 2012 through the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program, which promotes exploratory, mission-supported research. With an unprecedented temporal resolution 10 orders of magnitude faster than high-speed video cameras, this system is the first of its kind in the world.

“High-speed video cameras capture consecutive images at a rate less than 1000 frames per second, which is equivalent to taking a picture once every millisecond,” explained Zhu. “Our ultrafast system operates at a rate of 100 femtoseconds, or 100 quadrillionths of a second. Using a pump-probe method in which we excite a sample with laser light (the pump) and probe it with electrons while varying the time delay between the pump and probe, we can see the otherwise unobservable motion of atoms and electrons in materials.”

This capability has opened up the possibility for scientists to understand the dynamic behavior of materials—such as the intriguing transition between insulating and   superconducting phases—and to discover “hidden” states of matter beyond the solid, liquid, gas, and plasma states that are observable in everyday life.

“The bottleneck in science and technology today is the lack of materials with the desired properties for applications such as energy storage and quantum computing,” said Zhu. “Overcoming these limitations requires an understanding of the complex interactions between atoms and electrons and the exotic states of matter that are far from equilibrium. Ultrafast methods such as the pump-probe approach can provide us with the dynamic information we need to control the chemical and physical properties of materials so that we can make, for example, smaller batteries with longer cycleability and computer chips with a higher memory capacity.”

Mar 05

For the past 40 years, the total number of Adélie Penguins, one of the most common on the Antarctic peninsula, has been steadily declining—or so biologists have thought. A new study led by Stony Brook University ecologist Heather Lynch and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), however, is providing new insights on this species of penguin. In a Scientific Reports paper, the international research team announced the discovery of a previously unknown “supercolony” of more than 1,500,000 Adélie Penguins in the Danger Islands, a chain of remote, rocky islands off of the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip.

“Until recently, the Danger Islands weren’t known to be an important penguin habitat,” says Lynch, Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences and the paper’s senior author, titled “Multi-modal survey of Adélie penguin mega-colonies reveals the Danger Islands as a seabird hotspot.”

These supercolonies have gone undetected for decades, Lynch notes, partly because of the remoteness of the islands themselves, and partly the treacherous waters that surround them. Even in the austral summer, the nearby ocean is filled with thick sea ice, making it extremely difficult to access.

“Now that we know how important this area is for penguin abundance, we can better move forward designing Marine Protected Areas in the region and managing the Antarctic krill fishery,” explained Lynch.

In 2014, Lynch and colleague Mathew Schwaller from NASA discovered telltale guano stains in existing NASA satellite imagery of the islands, hinting at a mysteriously large number of penguins. To find out for sure, Lynch teamed with Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at WHOI, Mike Polito at LSU and Tom Hart at Oxford University to arrange an expedition to the islands with the goal of counting the birds firsthand.

When the group arrived in December 2015, they found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil, and immediately started to tally up their numbers by hand. The team also used a modified commercial quadcopter drone to take images of the entire island from above.

“The drone lets you fly in a grid over the island, taking pictures once per second. You can then stitch them together into a huge collage that shows the entire landmass in 2D and 3D,” says co-PI Hanumant Singh, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, who developed the drone’s imaging and navigation system. Once those massive images are available, he says, his team can use neural network software to analyze them, pixel by pixel, searching for penguin nests autonomously.

 

The accuracy that the drone enabled was key, says Michael Polito, coauthor from Louisiana State University and a guest investigator at WHOI. The number of penguins in the Danger Islands could provide insight not just on penguin population dynamics, but also on the effects of changing temperature and sea ice on the region’s ecology.

“Not only do the Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change,” says Polito.

Being able to get an accurate count of the birds in this supercolony offers a valuable benchmark for future change, as well, notes Jenouvrier. “The population of Adélies on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula is different from what we see on the west side, for example. We want to understand why. Is it linked to the extended sea ice condition over there? Food availability? That’s something we don’t know,” she says.

It will also lend valuable evidence for supporting proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) near the Antarctic Peninsula, adds Mercedes Santos, from the Instituto Antártico Argentino (who is not affiliated with this study but is one of the authors of the MPA proposal) with the Commission for the Conservation of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources, an international panel that decides on the placement of MPAs. “Given that MPA proposals are based in the best available science, this publication helps to highlight the importance of this area for protection,” she says.

Also collaborating on the study: Alex Borowicz, Philip McDowall, Casey Youngflesh, Mathew Schwaller, and Rachael Herman from Stony Brook University; Thomas Sayre-McCord from WHOI and MIT; Stephen Forrest and Melissa Rider from Antarctic Resource, Inc.; and Tom Hart from Oxford University; and Gemma Clucas from Southampton University. The team utilized autonomous robotics technology from Northeastern University.

Funding for this research was provided by a grant to the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution from the Dalio Ocean Initiative. Logistical support was provided by Golden Fleece Expeditions and Quark Expeditions.

Mar 27

False assumptions made by employers about gender roles, and women’s inclination to avoid conflict in negotiations, are key factors contributing to the longstanding pay gap between men and women, according to a business professor who studies organizational behavior at Stony Brook.

“Furthermore, it’s going to take increased awareness of these factors across industries if that gap is ever going to disappear,” said Julia Bear, an assistant professor of organizational behavior in the College of Business  at Stony Brook University.

“The research I have conducted shows that assumptions about men’s and women’s roles in their families contribute to wage discrimination and the wage gap,” Bear said.

Women’s salaries are still playing catch-up to men’s, and Equal Pay Day, which will be observed on April 10, emphasizes that wage disparity.

Bear, who has researched the role of gender in negotiation and conflict management in organizational behavior, says research shows when two equally qualified male and female job candidates are considered for a position, people were more likely to assume the male candidate was the family breadwinner and offered him a significantly higher salary than the female candidate, who was assumed to be in the traditional role of a caregiver. “My studies show when female job candidates provided explicit information that they are breadwinners, they obtained equal salary offers and were also just as likely to be offered leadership training as compared to men,” she said.

Bear uses a variety of research methods to conduct her studies, including surveys in organizations, experimental studies and qualitative interviews to investigate the factors that influence gender wage gap. Many of her findings have been published in the Academy of Management Review, Psychological Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, and the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings.

She also explained that the pharmacy industry had no wage gap while the finance and insurance industry had the largest gap, with women earning approximately sixty percent of what men earn. “According to economics research, men and women earn equal salaries in the pharmacy industry primarily because there is flexibility in terms of scheduling working hours and working extremely long hours is not rewarded,” Bear said. “As long as organizations continue to assume that employees have no other responsibilities than work and continue to reward employees, typically men, who can work extremely long hours, the wage gap will persist,” Professor Bear said.

Negotiation techniques and expectations also contribute to the wage gap between men and women. “On average, women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary compared to men,” she said.

In the lab, Bear typically pairs up participants and has them conduct negotiation exercises to examine outcomes and report whether results are different between men and women. “To examine perceptions in negotiation, I run studies in which I have participants evaluate videos of male versus female negotiators,” she said.

According to a study published in 2016  by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, women earned 81.9 cents for every dollar that men were paid on a weekly basis. However, that’s somewhat better than the 59 cents that women earned for every dollar that men were paid in 1963, when the federal Equal Pay Act was signed, the pay equity group says.

So, what are the solutions? “We should focus on how assumptions about men and women are contributing to the wage gap and not only put the burden on women to ask for higher salaries,” Bear said.

New York State has recently taken steps to shrink the gap. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued two executive orders, one that took effect in January that prohibits state agencies from asking job candidates about their salary history, and a second that takes effect June 1 that requires state contractors to disclose data on gender, race, ethnicity, job title and salary of their employees.

Bear advises women to do their homework to find out what is reasonable to negotiate for, and practice an assertive mindset before the negotiation.

“I believe we would see further progress in eliminating the persistent wage gap between men and women if organizations established policies that offer flexibility and support individuals with both family and work responsibilities,” Bear said. “Another solution could be working to refute traditional assumptions about gender roles, and creating greater transparency in terms of information about salary and salary negotiations,” she said.

Professor Bear received a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Carnegie Mellon University, her MBA from Baruch College-CUNY, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

Mar 05

The National Science Foundation (NSF), one of the leading government research agencies in the American science realm, is once again demonstrating its support to computer science researchers in Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences through its Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER).

Computer science professor Anshul Gandhi has been named the latest winner of an NSF CAREER Award for his project, “Enabling Predictable Performance in Cloud Computing.”

Gandhi’s CAREER research takes aim at unpredictable performance in cloud environments. Cloud computing has quickly emerged as a key service for all users, offering benefits such as low cost, elasticity and pay-as-you-go options. The proposed work, which involves theoretical and systems research seeks to enable low resource prices, along with providing ways to consolidate multiple tenants onto a single server without impacting performance.

“The NSF CAREER award is among the most prestigious federal grants given out to early career researchers,” Gandhi said. “I am thrilled to receive this award! Unlike other awards, the NSF CAREER grant also focuses on a large educational plan component, thus directly enhancing my work with students and validating my curriculum development plans.”

Besides the research itself, Gandhi will be working to create interdisciplinary courses and lectures on performance modeling to educate Stony Brook students, along with high school students on Long Island.

With $400,000 in funding from NSF, the project will develop novel performance models to estimate resource contention in opaque cloud deployments. These models will then be leveraged to develop solutions for cloud tenants that dynamically track and mitigate performance variation, thus enabling predictable performance in clouds.

“Gandhi joins a select group of 15 computer science researchers at Stony Brook who are CAREER awardees. His work on cloud computing is set to make cloud computing more resource efficient benefiting cloud users and service providers alike. This is representative of ongoing research in the department that has a direct and immediate impact on the real world,” said Samir Das, chair and professor of computer science.

About the Researcher
Gandhi earned his PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. His 2013 thesis, Dynamic Server Provisioning for Data Center Power Management, won the 2013 SPEC Distinguished Dissertation Award. After graduating, he spent a year as a post-doctoral researcher at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. Gandhi’s research aims to leverage mathematical tools to address challenges in computer systems. At Stony Brook, Gandhi leads the PACE Lab and currently advises six PhD students and 14 MS students.

This is Gandhi’s sixth NSF funding award since joining the Department of Computer Science in 2014. Gandhi has also received an IBM Faculty Award and a Google Faculty Research Award for his research.

Joseph Wolkin

Mar 29

People have become familiar with “bomb cyclones” this winter, as several powerful winter storms brought strong winds and heavy precipitation to the U.S. east coast, knocking out power and causing flooding. With strength that can rival that of hurricanes, bomb cyclones get their name from a process called bombogenesis, which describes the rapid intensification they undergo within 24 hours as they move along the coast.

These winter storms tend to form and travel within narrow “atmospheric conveyor belts”, called storm tracks, which can change location over a period of years.

Scientists have extensively studied potential causes behind these year-to-year changes in attempt to better forecast storm tracks and their extreme impacts, but new research from scientists at the Stony Brook University (SBU) School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, funded by NOAA Research’s MAPP Program, identifies another crucial controlling force.

After analyzing 38 years of model data, the research team found that an alternating pattern of winds high up in the tropical stratosphere, called the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), affects significant year-to-year changes in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic storm tracks.

The QBO’s dual influence
Past research has primarily considered how variabilities in the lower part of our atmosphere — the troposphere — and in the polar region of our stratosphere influence storm tracks. These studies mostly found that different atmospheric patterns affected storm tracks in just one ocean basin. For instance, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation influences the North Pacific storm track but not the North Atlantic storm track.

“This study finds that the QBO modulates the North Pacific and North Atlantic storm track simultaneously. Such a finding on a basin-wide influence is relatively new,” said Hyemi Kim, paper co-author and SBU Assistant Professor.

Not only does the QBO influence both the North Pacific and North Atlantic storm tracks, but the authors also found that the two storm tracks respond differently.

“When the QBO pattern has easterly winds, the North Pacific storm track shifts further north, while the North Atlantic storm track shifts to a lower vertical height in the atmosphere,” said Jiabao Wang, graduate researcher and lead author of the paper.

In addition, when the QBO pattern has westerly winds, the North Atlantic storm track shifts to a higher vertical height in the atmosphere. The authors explained that these directional and vertical shifts in storm track locations can cause changes in local weather and climate, such as strong winds and heavy precipitation, and can impact aviation by causing severe turbulence in higher or lower parts of the atmosphere.

“Because the QBO is a fairly uniform circumglobal phenomenon, we thought that its influence on storm tracks over the two basins would be similar,” said Wang. “The different responses between the North Pacific and North Atlantic storm track to the QBO were not as expected.”

Given that the QBO’s alternating pattern every 2-3 years can be accurately predicted up to 12 months in advance, Edmund Chang, co-author and SBU Professor, explained that these storm track changes and, potentially, the likelihood of related natural disasters should be predictable out to several months ahead of time. Thus, their study offers a new pathway to improve seasonal forecasts of storm tracks and their extreme impacts — like future winter weather bombs.

If forecasters take the QBO into account, Chang noted that the potential prediction improvements would provide useful information to advance decision-making in many sectors, including wind and solar energy, agriculture, water management, and emergency response.

View the paper:

Wang, J., Kim, H.-M. & Chang, E. K. M. (2018). Interannual Modulation of Northern Hemisphere Winter Storm Tracks by the QBO. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL076929

— Ali Stevens

Mar 15

Figuring out what is true in science when researchers are bombarded with information from many different studies is a challenge. A new paper, published in Nature, reveals that the power of meta-analysis in research synthesis over the past 40 years has transformed scientific thinking and research approaches. Meta-analysis has also become invaluable to making advances in many scientific fields, including medicine and ecology.

 

Meta-analysis is the quantitative, scientific synthesis of research results from different studies investigating the same question. Since the approach (and the term) were first introduced in the 1970s, meta-analysis has been used to resolve seemingly contradictory research outcomes, to identify where more research is needed, and to tell scientists when no more studies are needed because the answers have become clear.

“Meta-analysis is the grandmother of Big Data and Open Science. Our paper illustrates how meta-analysis is used in different scientific fields, why it has become so important, and what criticisms and limitations it faces,” said co-author Jessica Gurevitch, PhD, Professor of Ecology & Evolution as Stony Brook University. “It is a statistical and scientific approach to resolving questions and reaching generalizations, but it is not magic, and can’t produce data on its own where none exists.”

In the paper “Meta-analysis and the science of research synthesis,” Professor Gurevitch and colleagues from the University of New South Wales in Australia and Newcastle University and Royal Holloway in the United Kingdom review research over the 40 years to illustrate the accomplishments and challenges of the method, along with new advances and direction of meta-analysis in 21st Century scientific research.

Even when trying to discover things that have been the subject of many experiments, such as whether boys or girls are better at math or the best treatment immediately after a stroke, Professor Gurevitch explains, the use of meta-analysis is essential to reduce biases and strengthen methods to determine the answer, or answers.

“By bringing the scientific method into the synthesis of results across independent studies, we can ask—and answer—questions we could never hope to resolve before, while new methods in meta-analysis open doors to the resolution of seemingly intractable problems,” adds Shinichi Nakagawa, a co-author from the University of New South Wales.

Citing some of the examples of what recent advances in meta-analysis have taught us, Professor Gurevitch explains that by combining experiments in a rigorous manner, “In medicine, we have been able to compare the effectiveness of treatments that have never been directly compared in any one study, and we can save lives by understanding what works long before it is apparent in any single experiment.

“In ecology and evolutionary biology, we can evaluate patterns across wide expanses of space and a diversity of animals and plants that are more than any one researcher could study in several lifetimes. In conservation, we may find out what measures really work best to achieve the goals of preserving biodiversity and threatened ecosystems. “

For more about the impact about the study findings on scientific research, read Professor Gurevitch’s blog post.

Mar 29

A technology in development that uses electric fields to sweep dust from solar panels has promise as a new self-cleaning solar panel system designed to enhance energy efficiency and reduce costs.

The technology was created in the laboratory of Alex Orlov, professor in the  Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and is being further developed by a Stony Brook research team named SolarClear. The team has received a $150,000 grant from PowerBridge NY to advance the technology, which uses tiny inexpensive electrodes to produce the electric fields.

“We were inspired by NASA technology developed for Mars rovers and made it more practical for Earth applications,” Orlovs said.

The researchers are developing a manufacturing process of this self-cleaning system so it can be scaled up for practical applications. They will create a prototype of the technology and conduct in-fielding testing. Dust on solar panels can reduce output by plants by 10 percent and in desert regions up to 25 percent. According to Professor Orlov, the technology can potentially boost the output of solar panels and save millions of dollars in cleaning costs. The mission of PowerBridge NY is to turn innovations from academic research labs into viable cleantech businesses for New York State.

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