News highlights for September 1, 2010

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.

Times of India
Starvation and sleep-deprivation may keep brain sharp
Stay hungry and sleep-deprived to stay sharp – that seems to be the idea, at least as far as fruit flies are concerned. New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that, in fruit flies, being hungry may provide a way to stay awake without feeling groggy or mentally challenged. Link to Article
See also, Science News, The Scientist,, St. Louis RFT

MSNBC News Live
MSNBC national broadcast news covers continuing backlash against the retail giant Target. Segment focuses on news that Washington University in St. Louis is joining gay rights organizations and boycotting the chain after the retailer made a campaign contribution supporting a Republican gubernatorial candidate. Link to Broadcast
See also Government Executive, National Journal, Chicago Pride, LezGetReal
Ambition: Why some people are Most Likely to Succeed
At Washington University, researchers have been conducting brain imaging to investigate a trait they call persistence — the ability to stay focused on a task until it’s completed just so — which they consider one of the critical engines driving ambition. Researchers found that students who scored highest in persistence had the greatest activity in the limbic region, the area of the brain related to emotions and habits, says WUSTL professor of psychiatry Robert Cloninger, one of the investigators. Link to Article
Clinical trials aim to find help for West Nile victims
No proven drug therapy exists for West Nile, which since 1999 has been diagnosed in 29,000 people in the U.S. The mosquito-transmitted virus isn’t prevalent enough for major drug manufacturers to invest in developing therapies, so the NIH has put $50 million toward achieving that goal. A new drug, MGAWN1, now being tested at 25 sites around the country, is being developed by MacroGenics in partnership with Michael Diamond, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who first isolated the antibody. Link to Article

University Daily
Texas Tech workshop honors memory of former WUSTL engineering dean Chris Byrnes
Texas Tech will hold a math workshop Sept. 10-12 to honor Chris Byrnes, a distinguished professor from Washington University in St. Louis who died Feb. 7 in Stockholm, Sweden. David Gilliam, professor of mathematics at Texas Tech, said Byrnes was well known throughout the mathematics department. Link to Article

The Planetary Society
Mars exploration Rover update: Spirit hibernates still, opportunity pulls into Cambridge Bay
Signs of spring are returning to Mars this month, but the Mars Rover Spirit may never waken from its winter slumber. At Gusev Crater, Spirit remained silent throughout the month, presumably still charging up her solar-powered batteries with fuel from the Sun. The rover has been there for some 16 months now, snarled in a patch of sand, and since March in hibernation. We’ve heard nothing from Spirit yet, says Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University St. Louis. Link to Article

St. Louis Business Journal
Wash. U. researcher shares in $10M grant
Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, a professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, co-leads a research program that will receive a nearly $6.1 million grant through the national. The funding is part of two grants totaling $10 million that the awarded to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to fund its Human Gut Microbiome Initiative and 13 research awards, to expand research into inflammatory bowel disease. Link to Article
Scientists bemoan ruling on stem cells
Researchers at Mizzou and Washington University, both of which have received federal support for stem sell research, are bemoaning a recent court finding that stem cell research violates laws saying federal dollars cannot be used to destroy human embryos. There is a certain irony in the timing of the ruling, which comes at what could be a crossroads of sorts for stem cell research. Link to Article
New study validates preventive mastectomies
For years, women with a rare gene mutation that puts them at higher risk for cancer have chosen to have their healthy breasts and ovaries surgically removed as a preventive measure. New data suggest the surgeries do reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers and improve her chances of living longer. “It’s just verifying what we already would expect to be true,” said Dr. Matthew Powell, assistant professor of gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine. Link to Article
St. Louis students representing the U.S. in Shanghai
St. Louis is being represented in Shanghai at the 2010 World Expo by Alexander Brescia of Webster Groves, a University of Notre Dame graduate, and Samantha Alpert of Phoenix, a student at Washington University. The two are among 160 college students and recent graduates who are serving as student ambassadors at the Expo. Each student is fluent in Chinese and represents the United States at the Expo, welcoming and helping inform and entertain an anticipated 35,000 daily visitors. Link to Article
High court rules against Missouri Title Loans
Missouri Title Loans cannot both prohibit borrowers from taking the company to court and prevent them from banding together to pursue class arbitration, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. Michael Greenfield, a professor of contracts and consumer law at Washington University, said that underlying the opinion is the belief that consumers in arbitration cases should be represented by a lawyer, even if they don’t have to be. “The business is going to show up with an attorney,” he said. “If the consumer shows up without an attorney, he’s at a serious disadvantage.” Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times / Freakonomics Blog
Is your university complying with the new textbook law?
University students are returning to campuses throughout the country. It is a migration that raises my spirits — seeing the energetic, eager faces tackling another course in contracts or intellectual property. But this year something is different. For the first time, a federal law has taken effect which requires “institution[s] of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance” to provide students with information on textbook pricing. Link to Article / Reuters
Startup gives digital textbooks the Ol’ College Try
E-books may be taking off for and Barnes & Noble, but there’s one category of printed matter where digital hasn’t made a dent: Textbooks. Now, with the rise of tablets and e-readers, software developers and textbook publishers are making yet another effort to take textbooks digital. Inkling, which launched two months ago, is an iPad app that turns textbooks into bite-sized, illustrated, interactive pieces of media. With Inkling, William Strunk’s Elements of Style is reinvented with humorous hints and cheeky cartoons, while a biology textbook has beautiful diagrams and color photos. Link to Article

Washington Post / College Inc.
Liberal arts college offers a job to every grad
Albion College, a small Michigan liberal arts college, may be the first institution of its sort to guarantee students “meaningful employment” after graduation. It’s a significant gesture: the nation is mired in a sluggish economy, and families are questioning the wisdom of sending a child off to study philosophy or Russian history at a $40,000-a-year private college to prepare them for a job preparing foamy coffee drinks. Link to Article

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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