March 2

12 Days Of Phishmas 2018: Mike Gordon Fascinates A Muscle Shoals Legend With Lessons He Learned From Phish [Watch]

first_imgIt’s that time of year again… In eight short days, Phish will return to New York’s Madison Square Garden for their annual four-night New Year’s run. Each year, we like to celebrate the season in the days leading up to Phish at MSG with the 12 Days of Phishmas, a daily series that gives you your Phish fix and helps stoke your excitement in the days leading up to the run. In 2016, we took you back to 12 historic Phish performances at The Garden. In 2017, with the Baker’s Dozen barely out of sight in the rearview, we relived the magic and mystery of the band’s historic residency.For years, we’ve been earmarking some of our favorite Phish interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and other cool content that we haven’t found the right occasion to share with you…until now. For 2018, we’ve made you a very special Phishmas Advent calendar to help spice up your countdown to showtime. As we approach the start of the run on the 28th, we’ll open up one panel a day and reveal a fun surprise inside—a little something sweet and Phishy once a day until the Garden party begins. No peeking! By the time we’re finished with the calendar, it will finally be time for the gift we’ve all been waiting for: Four nights of Phish on their home court at the World’s Most Famous Arena.8 Days Til’ Phish: Bass Summit With Mike Gordon & Norbert Putnam (2017)On the fifth day of Phishmas… Mike Gordon sits down with legendary producer and bassist Norbert Putnam for a “Bass Summit” panel discussion at Colchester, VT’s Saint Michael’s College. The panel was hosted by Saint Michael’s professor of fine arts Bill Ellis in late October of 2017 following Phish’s monumental Baker’s Dozen run.Norbert Putnam was part of the original Muscle Shoals rhythm section and has produced hundreds and hundreds of records, working with the likes of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, J.J. Cale, Joan Baez, and many, many more. Mike digs deep into his childhood next to the music industry behemoth, discussing what attracted him to the bass, and how the vibrations of the instrument resonated with him—It all goes back to a family vacation in the Bahamas where Mike was enthralled with a poolside Calypso band’s bassist. As Mike notes, he went on to tell his father, “If I’m ever gonna be in a band, I wanna do that thing.”Mike also gives his thoughts on what truly makes a band click. He explains that it takes “hundreds of thousands of hours,” from his experience, to find that perfect connection. He also emphasizes a certain sort of “surrender” thats necessary to realize that goal. But as he continues to reflect on the idea of what makes a band “click,” he admits that after 1800 + shows and more than three decades with Phish, he still feels he hasn’t quite figured it out.As the conversation continues, Putnam gets noticeably more and more enthralled with Mike’s take. The feeling appears to be mutual. Putnam knows nothing about being in a high-profile touring band. Gordon is unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of a seasoned studio warrior. They’re both speaking to a master of a section of the music industry they’ve only ever known from afar, attempting to soak up everything they can in the process.Beyond that mutual respect, it sure does feel good to hear Mike discuss how close he is with his bandmates of 35 years. Mike explains that, to him, the most important elements of Phish’s longevity have been the band’s ability to communicate openly and the lasting friendships he’s maintained with Trey (Anastasio), Jon (Fishman), and Page (McConnell). As Mike confides to Putnam, during Phish’s 13-night Baker’s Dozen run, the band’s goal was not to make everything perfect, but to make it “passable.” Because of the deep connection they’ve shared for so long—both as a band and as people—”passable” turned out to be “outstanding.”Watch Saint Michael’s College’s “Bass Summit” panel discussion with Mike Gordon to learn more about Mike’s earliest memories of the bass, Mike’s longstanding practice of journaling throughout his life, and more.Bass Summit With Mike Gordon & Norbert Putnam (2017)[Video: Connor Vandagriff]We’ll be back tomorrow to open the sixth panel on our Phishmas 2018 Advent calendar. What other Phishmas surprises are in store? You’ll just have to wait and see…In the meantime, you can go back through the previous Phishmas surprises:On the first day of Phishmas… The Big Daddy ShowOn the second day of Phishmas… David Byrne Interviews PhishOn the third day of Phishmas… Trey Anastasio Interview At New Yorker Festival On the fourth day of Phishmas… A Look Inside The Hoist Sessions From Cactus FilmsOn the fifth day of Phishmas… Mike Gordon Fascinates A Muscle Shoals Legendlast_img read more

March 2

Turn On & Tune In To This Sitar-Based Version Of “Dark Star” From German Psych-Folk Duo Fit & Limo [Listen]

first_imgThere are few recordings from the songbook of American rock artists as psychedelic as the Grateful Dead‘s 1968 masterpiece, “Dark Star”. The Counterculture-era anthem was a staple in the band’s setlists during the “Primal Dead” years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other artists have attempted to reach the same level or orbital space rock with recent covers of the song from The Flaming Lips as well as Joe Russo/Cass McCombs, who each recorded their respective versions of the heady single for the 2016 tribute compilation, Day of the Dead.There was one band, however, which seemed to perfectly capture the pure and unabridged flow of cosmic psychedelia set forth by Jerry Garcia and company. That would be Fit & Limo, a “psychedelic folk” duo from Germany who recorded their very impressive version of “Dark Star” on their 1998 album, The Serpent Unrolled.Related: The Grateful Dead Revive “Dark Star” At The Nassau Coliseum, On This Day In 1979Fit & Limo’s worldly version of “Dark Star” utilizes a rich mix of instrumentation used more by musicians from international cultures, including sitar, tabla, shakers, and some kind of mandolin. The two musicians take their time stepping into the musical realm where the song exists, with their instruments easing the listener into the 8:27-minute recording before the opening lyrics come in at the 3:13 mark. Minds should already be melted into a swirling ooze of melodic bliss by the time the female duo comes in with the first verse of the song. The two vocalists even provide their own spin on the song’s lyrical melody during the outro lyrics, “Shall we go, you and I while we can, through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?”Following the initial lyrics, the song continues into the mystic abyss with the instruments solely taking the listener further into the transitive nightfall of notation, courtesy of an added flute and jaw harp. The two singers return with their own brief lyrical stanzas starting again at the 6:49-minute mark. Fans can step into the void by listening to the entire recording in the audio-only video below.Fit & Limo – “Dark Star”[Video: Dave Bin]According to the video’s page on YouTube, the band’s videos are not available online here in America, so enjoy this psychedelic gift from the universe… while we can. Fans can also purchase the CD version of the album on Amazon for a manageable $21.last_img read more

March 2

Vampire Weekend Announces New York State Run, All-Day Album Release Party In NYC

first_imgVampire Weekend has an extensive North American tour scheduled for this summer in support of their forthcoming studio album, Father of the Bride. The lengthy concert run will see the popular rock band trek from coast-to-coast starting in early summer and continuing into the fall months. However, fans in New York won’t have to wait until June to see what the band’s been up to.In celebration of Father of the Bride–due out May 3rd, making the band’s first new album since 2013–Vampire Weekend has announced a trio of shows surrounding the release.On April 30th, Ezra Koenig and co. will perform at Asbury Hall in Buffalo, NY before heading to Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston on May 2nd. The run will culminate with an official album release party at the recently re-opened Webster Hall in New York City on May 5th. For the celebration, Vampire Weekend will perform three sets, including a complete run-through of the new album. A bagel breakfast and pizza lunch are also included with tickets for the show, which starts at 11 a.m. and will run all day.Tickets for Buffalo will go on sale this Friday, April 12th at 10 a.m. here, with Kingston tickets going on sale at 11 a.m. here. For a chance to purchase tickets to the Webster Hall affair, click here.last_img read more

March 1

Augustus A. White III receives Tipton award for orthopedic leadership

first_imgAugustus A. White III, the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, was recently honored with the fifth annual William W. Tipton Jr. M.D. Leadership Award for his work as an educator, mentor, and champion of diversity initiatives. The award, which includes a $5,000 honorarium, was presented to White at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in New Orleans.“I am surprised, humbled, and inspired to be receiving this award,” said White. “I feel particularly honored to be recognized among so many individuals I admire.”Established by friends, colleagues, and organizations through AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), the Tipton Award honors the qualities exemplified by the late Dr. Tipton, including leadership, commitment to mentorship, diversity, bridge-building, and collaboration.White has served as a mentor to Harvard medical students as a former master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, an organization committed to the promotion and support of the academic and professional development of Harvard’s medical students through a system of academic advising and a series of enrichment programs.“I’ve been very fortunate to have some world-class mentors, starting with my parents, then on to my professors and my peers,” said White. “I firmly believe that giving students the opportunity to find a mentor also gives them a greater opportunity to be successful.”In addition to his mentoring work, White dedicates much of his life to diversity-related issues. He is a founding member and founding president of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, a multicultural organization dedicated to advancing excellent musculoskeletal care for all patients, with particular attention to underserved groups. White also served as the inaugural chairman of the AAOS Diversity Committee.After being the first African-American to graduate from Stanford University School of Medicine and the first African-American orthopedic resident at Yale Medical Center, White served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star Medal. He later earned his Ph.D. in research on biomechanics of the spine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.last_img read more

March 1

Take your passport and go, Amanpour says

first_img Ode to Harvard Senior MacKenzie Sigalos delivers one of two Harvard orations, a Class Day tradition. The occasion also featured the humorous Ivy orations. Graduation gathering Sanjey Sivanesan ’10 (from left), Kaartiga Sivanesan ’06, and their mother, Renuka Sivanesan, listen carefully. CNN, reporting in International television correspondent Christiane Amanpour was the main speaker for this year’s Class Day ceremonies, traditionally organized by the seniors and held the day before Commencement. Friends and families Audience members pay close attention to the speakers. Class Day 2010 Temperature up, jacket off Featured speaker Christiane Amanpour succumbs to the heat and removes her jacket. Sea of listeners Seniors and their families gather in Tercentenary Theatre for Class Day festivities. Tune time Audience members listen to the Harvard Band at the close of the day’s ceremonies. Having a heat wave A.C. Gomez ’13 waits for empty water containers to be picked up. The lighter side Jose Robles (from left), Silvia Robles, and Victoria Robles enjoy the speeches. Rose Lincoln, Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographers Getting the message Christopher Miller ’10 listens to Amanpour’s words of advice to the senior class. Moments for memories Amanpour poses for photographs with seniors and their families. International television correspondent Christiane Amanpour urged Harvard’s graduating class to take a year before plunging into the job market and head overseas to work on the myriad problems facing the world.“I hope you will take this moment to think about traveling,” Amanpour said. “There is so much opportunity out in the developing part of the world … where I have been for the past 27-odd years. People are waiting for you. They’re waiting for an army of energetic idealists like you to help build small businesses, to run schools, to teach class … It will change your lives, and it will set you on the road to your future.”Amanpour, who has been a fixture on the front lines of conflicts and disasters overseas for CNN, was the main speaker for this year’s Class Day ceremonies, traditionally organized by the seniors and held the day before Commencement. In her 25-minute speech Wednesday (May 26), Amanpour hearkened back to the Marshall Plan, the massive European aid effort unveiled at Harvard’s 1947 Commencement by Secretary of State George Marshall. Just two years after the end of World War II, he outlined the assistance that was pivotal in helping Europe to rebuild from its rubble. Today, Amanpour said, America’s challenge is similar, involving stabilizing Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Haiti, all important to America’s peace and security.“Beyond the armies and treasure of the United States deployed to these places, they need armies of people like you who are graduating today, civilians wielding … high ideals, smart ideas, smartly deployed to really make development work,” Amanpour said.Amanpour delivered her address in Harvard Yard’s Tercentenary Theatre. Amanpour said she too was graduating, after a fashion, moving on after 27 years at CNN to host ABC’s Sunday morning “This Week” program.She was one of several speakers to address the seniors during Class Day, which offers a less formal setting than Commencement’s scripted rites and provides a chance for class members and College officials to address those attending.Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds briefed the students on what was coming Commencement Day, describing the exercises as “full of incantation and free of explanation,” and warning the students that the time will likely pass quickly for them, joking that it may seem especially quick since they probably won’t be paying attention.Hammonds said the students will be sent into the world to “advance knowledge, promote understanding, and serve society,” goals she hoped they’d advance. She also added a personal farewell to the students and wished them luck.The ceremonies also featured two Harvard orations, delivered by MacKenzie Sigalos and Benjamin Schwartz, the humorous Ivy orations, delivered by James Wilsterman and Alexandra Petri, and remarks by class officers and the president-elect of the Harvard Alumni Association, Robert Bowie.Bowie said that though departing Harvard will be tinged with sadness for the students, they are embarking on an exciting journey. Although the closeness of House life will be gone, the students will become part of an alumni network that spans the world and can prove helpful virtually anywhere.The Ames Awards, given annually to the man and woman who have dedicated themselves to service, this year went to Talya Havice, who took a leave from Harvard in 2001 to join the Marine Corps and who was commissioned a second lieutenant earlier in the afternoon, and Adam Travis, who worked tirelessly for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.Amanpour, who got her start at then-fledgling CNN in 1983 after graduating from the University of Rhode Island, urged students to take risks and work in some field that they’re passionate about, that will spur them to work hard, and increase their chances of becoming successful.“Mastery, mission, purpose: Those … were my greatest motivators,” Amanpour said. “Right now, I passionately wish for all of you to find something that sets you on fire, that fills you with joy, and love, and commitment.”Despite the economic difficulties now facing journalism, Amanpour said, there is still as large a need for quality, professional journalism as ever. Amanpour called journalism “a public trust” and a critical element of democracy.Other prominent speakers who have headlined Class Day include NBC’s “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer last year, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke in 2008, and former President Bill Clinton in 2007. Earlier speakers have ranged from the serious (humanitarian Mother Teresa) to the silly (comedian Sacha Baron Cohen). An audience request Seniors Caitlin Lewarch, Anne Calkins, and Laura Garvin playfully gesture for the band to play the second stanza of “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard.”last_img read more

March 1

Other notable 1950 graduates

first_imgIn the 60th Anniversary Report for the Class of 1950, where alumni update classmates on the happenings in their lives, here’s a small glimpse.Robert Bly — Bly, the author of several collections of poetry, including “The Light Around the Body,” which won the National Book Award in 1967, also has authored books of nonfiction, translated the works of dozens of non-English-speaking poets, and edited countless anthologies. He has been awarded Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and currently lives on a farm in western Minnesota, where he is the state’s poet laureate.Edward Gorey — The one-time roommate of Frank O’Hara (see later entry), Gorey is most widely known for his macabre illustrations. He often wrote under pseudonyms that were anagrams of his name, notably Ogdred Weary, and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, Charles Dickens, and T.S. Eliot, among others. He won a Tony Award in 1977 for his costume designs for “Dracula.” Gorey died in 2000, and his former Cape Cod home in Yarmouthport is now a museum called the Edward Gorey House.Henry Kissinger ’50, A.M. ’50, Ph.D. ’54 — Former national security adviser and secretary of state Kissinger is a renowned political mind still sought out by world leaders. The German-born political scientist received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for establishing a ceasefire and helping to orchestrate the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. He resides in New York City.Frank O’Hara — Once a piano student at the New England Conservatory, O’Hara became an English concentrator at Harvard, where he met poetic luminary John Ashbery ’49, who first published O’Hara’s spunky and autobiographical poems in the Harvard Advocate. Known for “Lunch Poems,” his most popular book, O’Hara was a figurehead of the New York School of poets. He died in 1966.George Plimpton — Journalist, writer, and actor Plimpton enrolled at Harvard in 1944, but graduated in 1950 after a leave for military service. He had a lengthy and eclectic career, becoming the first editor-in-chief of the Paris Review. As a writer for Sports Illustrated, he famously sparred with boxers Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson. He made a brief cameo in “Good Will Hunting,” among other films. He died in 2003.last_img read more

March 1

Promising therapy for stroke patients

first_imgA noninvasive electric stimulation technique administered to both sides of the brain can help stroke patients who have lost motor skills in their hands and arms, according to a new study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).Described in the Nov. 10 online issue of the journal Neurology, the findings showed that stroke patients who received bihemispheric transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), coupled with a regimen of physical and occupational therapy, had a threefold greater improvement in motor function compared with patients who received only physical/occupational rehabilitation and a placebo form of stimulation.“We think that the key to this therapy’s success in improving stroke patients’ motor function is based on its ability to affect the brain activity on both the stroke-affected side of the brain and the healthy side of the brain as patients work to relearn lost motor skills,” says senior author Gottfried Schlaug, the director of the Stroke Service in BIDMC’s Department of Neurology and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).In the brain of a healthy individual, the left and right sides of the motor cortex work in tandem, inhibiting one another as needed in order to successfully carry out such one-sided movements as writing or teeth-brushing. But, explains lead author Robert Lindenberg, an HMS instructor of neurology at BIDMC, when a person suffers a stroke (as might happen when an artery to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or atherosclerotic deposit) the interaction between the two sides of the brain involved in motor skills changes.“As a result,” he explains, “the motor region on the unaffected side of the brain begins to exert an unbalanced effect onto the motor region of the brain’s damaged side.” And, as Schlaug and Lindenberg further explain, this leads to an increased inhibition of the stroke-damaged motor region, as the remaining intact portions of this region try to increase activity in the motor pathways to facilitate recovery.tDCS is an experimental therapy in which a small electrical current is passed to the brain through the scalp and skull. Because previous studies had determined that tDCS could improve motor function if applied to either the damaged or undamaged side of the brain, Schlaug’s team hypothesized that applying tDCS to both sides — while simultaneously engaging the stroke patient in motor skill relearning activities — would further speed the recovery process.“tDCS works by modulating regional brain activity,” explains Schlaug. “In applying this therapy to both hemispheres of the brain, we used one direction of current to increase brain activity on the damaged side, and used the reverse current to inhibit brain activity on the healthy side, thereby rebalancing the interactions of both sides of the brain.”Schlaug and his collaborators studied 20 patients who had suffered an ischemic stroke at least five months prior to the onset of the study. Participants were separated into two groups: Half of the subjects received a 30-minute daily treatment session of electrical stimulation, while the other half received a “sham” placebo treatment designed to mimic electrical stimulation. Both groups of patients concurrently received 60 minutes of occupational and physical therapy. The treatment was repeated daily for five days.By using sophisticated MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, the researchers were able to “map” the positions of the stroke lesions in relation to the brain’s motor system. “This helped us to very closely match the two patient groups,” notes Schlaug. “Not only did the two groups of patients outwardly exhibit similar motor impairments, but we could tell from the MRIs that their lesions were positioned in similar areas of the brain. This novel approach strengthens the results, since no other between-group factor could explain the therapy’s effects.”The results showed that the patients treated with tDCS exhibited a threefold improvement in motor outcomes, such as an improved ability to grasp or perform wrist and finger movements, compared with patients who underwent physical and occupational therapy coupled with placebo stimulation. In addition, functional brain imaging showed that the therapy’s effect was correlated with increased activity of the brain’s nondamaged motor parts on the side of the stroke hemisphere.“This is the first time that stimulation therapy has been administered simultaneously to both brain hemispheres and coupled with physical/occupational therapy,” explains Schlaug. “Both sides of the brain play a role in recovery of function [following a stroke], and the combination of peripheral sensorimotor activities and central brain stimulation increases the brain’s ability to strengthen existing connections and form new connections. It is a testament of just how plastic the brain can be if novel and innovative therapies are applied using our current knowledge of brain function.”This study was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

March 1

Alan Garber named provost

first_imgPresident Drew Faust announced today (April 15) that Alan M. Garber ’76, the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor, and professor of medicine and economics, at Stanford University, has been appointed the next provost of Harvard University.“Alan is a distinguished academic leader who brings to Harvard an extraordinary breadth of experience in research across disciplines,” said Faust. “He has an incisive intellect, a deep appreciation for the challenges facing research universities, and a loyalty and commitment to Harvard, where he has maintained strong ties since his years as an undergraduate in the College. I am extremely pleased that a person of Alan’s talent, range, and versatility will be joining the University’s senior leadership team.”Garber will succeed Steven E. Hyman, who in December announced his decision to step down at the end of this academic year. Garber’s appointment is effective Sept. 1.“I am excited and humbled by this opportunity to serve an institution that made a profound difference in my own life,” said Garber. “Harvard has a storied history and a present full of remarkable accomplishments and extraordinary strengths. I look forward to helping the University achieve its enormous promise for the future.”Garber first came to Harvard in 1973 as an undergraduate. After graduating summa cum laude in economics in 1976, Garber received a Ph.D. in economics, also from Harvard, and an M.D. from Stanford with research honors. After his graduate work, he served his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.In his academic work, Garber brings an economist’s perspective to critical questions of health policy. His research focuses on ways to improve health care quality and delivery, methods to assess the cost effectiveness and comparative value of health interventions, and how best to structure incentives for cost-effective care. He has served as founding director for both the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, both at Stanford. Garber currently serves on the steering committee for Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.“Alan Garber exemplifies the very best of the academy. In his 25 years as a distinguished member of the Stanford University faculty, he has brought an interdisciplinary ethos and leadership to teaching, to the research community, and to the medical profession,” said Stanford President John Hennessy. “His service to the academy and to the nation in medical decision-making, science, and policy has been prolific. I have no doubt he will serve Harvard with the same passion. I congratulate both Alan and Harvard.”As provost, Garber will partner with the president in defining the strategic academic vision for the University. He will work with her to sustain the excellence of the academic enterprise and to achieve greater integration of research, teaching, programs, and people across the University. Garber will have direct responsibility for academic planning and its financial foundations. He will also play a central role in supporting cross-cutting programs and in working with the deans to leverage the strengths of the Schools in service of the University as a whole.Early priorities will include leading the University’s efforts to define academic aspirations and achievable programs in the entrepreneurial space represented by Allston, and steering the ongoing reorganization of the Harvard library system.Pending Garber’s arrival in September, the president will oversee all academic functions, delegating specific responsibilities as needed.In addition to being the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor at Stanford, Garber serves as professor of medicine and (by courtesy) of economics, health research and policy, and of economics in the Graduate School of Business. A leading researcher in the domain of health care delivery and financing, Garber served as founding director of the health care program of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a position he held for 19 years.He is the author or co-author of more than 125 articles, as well as 40 book chapters and monographs. He has edited or co-edited eight books on health policy research. He also sees general medical patients at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, where he serves as a staff physician and associate director of the Center for Health Care Evaluation.The recipient of numerous academic awards, Garber has been elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Association of American Physicians, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.last_img read more

March 1

Molecules as motors

first_imgScientists from around the world gathered at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Friday to report on progress and exchange ideas about the advancing science of microscopic motion and the increasing understanding and use of molecules as motors.The all-day event, held in the Radcliffe Gymnasium, was introduced by Interim Dean Lizabeth Cohen, the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, who said the institute is proud of its annual science symposia, which have covered topics ranging from tissue engineering to the origins of life.The symposium highlights how the institute views itself: as a place that fosters cutting-edge research, as a central meeting site for authorities in many fields, and as a conduit through which that work is shared with the public.“This year’s symposium epitomizes how the institute sees itself,” Cohen said.Researchers from such places as Switzerland, California, and Missouri gathered to discuss topics ranging from molecular motors in axonal transport to designing nanobots to how eukaryotic cells move.Chemistry Professor Ayusman Sen of Pennsylvania State University described several designs for extremely tiny robots that can move on their own. They are controlled using chemical gradients that induce the robots to move. One example uses tiny rods with platinum at one end and gold at the other. In a solution of hydrogen peroxide, the differences between the two metals generate a current, inducing negatively charged electrons to flow from the platinum side to the gold, and positively charged protons to flow in the opposite direction along the surface. Because protons pull on water molecules, that causes the rod to move.Sen discussed several types of these tiny robots, some that can repel or attract each other, and pointed out that the same action that causes them to move through a liquid could pump that liquid if they were fixed to a single point. That creates the possibility of a new generation of tiny machine parts.Viola Vogel, professor in the Department of Materials and head of the Lab for Biologically Oriented Materials at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, discussed her work into naturally occurring molecules that operate as motors, such as integrins, which help a cell pull on a substrate. She is also examining the mechanical properties of a molecule called fibronectin, which forms part of the structure of human skin.Vogel’s work examines how fibronectin’s structure relates to the invasion of wounds by bacteria. She found that bacteria can’t bind to fibronectin when it is physically stretched, as it would be in intact skin. Bacteria can bind to fibronectin when it is relaxed, however, as it might be near a wound site.“Bacteria may be able to specifically target a wound site because extracellular matrix fibers are relaxed,” Vogel said.last_img read more

March 1

Health care system can learn from restaurant chain

first_imgThe nation’s health care system needs to learn to serve millions of Americans with consistent quality, reasonable cost, and decent service — much like popular chains like the Cheesecake Factory have learned to do in the restaurant world, Atul Gawande writes August 13, 2012 in The New Yorker. Gawande, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health, describes quality control methods used — including timers, computerized recipes, and kitchen managers who rate the food presentation on a scale of one to 10 before it’s served — in a Cheesecake Factory restaurant he visits in the Prudential Center in Boston.“The critical question is how soon that sort of quality and cost control will be available to patients everywhere across the country. We’ve let healthcare systems provide us with the equivalent of greasy-spoon fare at four-star prices, and the results have been ruinous,” he writes. “The Cheesecake Factory model represents our best prospect for change. Some will see danger in this. Many will see hope. And that’s probably the way it should be.”With health care reform in mind, Gawande reflects upon the process used when his mother underwent knee replacement surgery in a major Boston teaching hospital. He also discusses efforts by for-profit health systems like the Steward hospital chain to streamline medicine. He stops in to watch Steward medical staff use video technology to remotely track the status of hospitalized patients. “The way medical care is organized is changing — because the way we pay for it is changing,” he writes. Read Full Storylast_img read more