News

This Strange Rule Is What Makes the Human Brain So Powerful

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This week, a team from Washington University in St. Louis combined neural recordings from rats with computer modeling to uncover one of the largest mysteries of the brain: why, despite noisy components, it’s so damn powerful. By analyzing firing patterns from hundreds of neurons over days, the team found evidence that supports a type of “computational regime” that may underlie every thought and behavior that naturally emerge from electrical sparks in the brain—including consciousness.

Bose wins new grant for Gateway Science Summer Program

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Arpita Bose, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, was awarded a second “Changing the Face of STEM” mentoring grant from L’Oreal USA to continue a summer laboratory research experience she offers low-income high school students from the St. Louis area. Bose will use the new funding to continue supporting the Gateway Science Summer Program, a partnership she created in 2017 with the Gateway Science Academy of St. Louis. The program pairs three low-income high school students with Bose and Joshua Blodgett, also an assistant professor of biology at Washington University, for mentoring and to gain exposure to real laboratory experience and STEM careers.

Why Spraying Saltwater On Roads Could Save Missouri Money And Reduce Runoff

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Last winter, a crew at Washington University's Tyson Research Center in Eureka built a brine system using repurposed water tanks and garden hoses. The total cost of the project came to less than $50, said Tyson Research Center Director Kim Medley. Still, brining is unlikely to replace road salt. “Brine really only works for the first inch of snow,” Haake said. “If we have a two-foot snowfall, they’re definitely going to need to use plowing and rock salt.”

Jez awarded patent for work on engineered plants

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Joseph Jez, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and chair of biology in Arts & Sciences, along with two former researchers in his laboratory, P.A. Rea and R.E. Cahoon, was awarded a U.S. patent for engineered plants that could help detoxify, or remediate, soils contaminated with heavy metals. Separately, Jez received a $15,525 research gift from Clean Earth for the evaluation of engineered Brassica for bioremediation of heavy metals.

L’Oréal USA Awards 11 Female Scientists With Grants to Support Mentorship Efforts Across the U.S.

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L’Oréal USA today announced the 2019 recipients of its annual "Changing the Face of STEM" (CTFS) mentoring grants (including Arpita Bose of WUSTL Biology), which are issued through the beauty leader's For Women in Science program. The selected projects represent a broad range of activities focused on mentoring and engaging girls and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), from elementary to graduate school. The grants will help fund STEM programs in Missouri, Texas, Florida, New York, Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, and California.

New England winters are on the decline due to climate change, study says

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New Englanders may take cold, snowy winters for granted, but those are in jeopardy due to climate change — and that could affect everything from forest ecosystems to human health, researchers say.

These Microbes ‘Eat’ Electrons for Energy

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Arpita Bose, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, is interested in understanding the metabolism of ubiquitous microorganisms, and putting that knowledge to use to address the energy crisis and other applications.

NSF funds research on nitrogen fixation

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Pakrasi, collaborator awarded $1.2 million to study cyanobacteria for crop improvement amid climate change

Brain tunes itself to criticality, maximizing information processing

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Researchers long wondered how the billions of independent neurons in the brain come together to reliably build a biological machine that easily beats the most advanced computers. All of those tiny interactions appear to be tied to something that guarantees an impressive computational capacity.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position available with Living Earth Collaborative

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LEC Postdoctoral Fellows will be an essential part of the Living Earth Collaborative and are expected to develop an independent research or conservation program that engages with multiple members of the Living Earth Collaborative Community—projects that involve LEC Biodiversity Fellows.

Brave new world Simple changes in intensity of weather events "could be lethal," researcher says

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Faced with unprecedented change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up — with mixed results. A new model developed by Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, and Thomas Haaland, formerly a graduate student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.

How Cities Reshape the Evolutionary Path of Urban Wildlife

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Kristin Winchell studies lizards that are native to Puerto Rico. “People didn't think animals could adapt on human time scales,” she says. “So people are excited that some animals are dealing with what we're doing to them.”

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