Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson to Participate in 2012 World Economic Forum PDF Print
Rensselaer Faculty Also to Present “Ideas Lab” in Davos

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, and a delegation of Rensselaer faculty are among global leaders in government, business, academe, media, and the arts who will convene at the World Economic Forum 2012 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s meeting, titled "The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models,” will be held Jan. 25 to 29.

President Jackson, a member of the WEF Science Advisory Committee and participant in the WEF’s Global University Leaders Forum, will give opening remarks at a Rensselaer “Ideas Lab” on Jan. 27, focusing on outcomes resulting from the decade-long transformation of the Institute. Featuring research from “Concept to Commerce,” the faculty will highlight achievements at the nexus of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and complex networks. On Jan 26, Dr. Jackson will moderate a discussion on what lies ahead in the digital world.

Rensselaer faculty presenting at the Ideas Lab include Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Director Jonathan Dordick, Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center Director, Boleslaw Szymanski, and Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center Director Richard W. Siegel.

Ulcer-Causing Bacteria Baffled by Mucus PDF Print
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineering Researchers Discover Impact of Viscoelasticity on the Collective Behavior of Swimming Microorganisms

YouTube Video

Even the tiniest microscopic organisms make waves when they swim. In fact, dealing with these waves is a fact of life for the ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori.

The bacteria are known to change their behavior in order to compensate for the waves created by other bacteria swimming around in the same aquatic neighborhood. From the relatively simple actions of these individual bacteria emerges a complex, coordinated group behavior.

A new study by engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrates how introducing certain polymers—like those found in human mucus and saliva—into the environment makes it significantly more difficult for H. pylori and other microorganisms to coordinate. The findings raise many new questions about the relationship between the individual and group behaviors of bacteria. The study also suggests that human mucus, saliva, and other biological fluid barriers may have evolved to disrupt the ability of harmful bacteria to coordinate.

Making Safer Chemicals: New NIH Grant Helps Researchers Study How Chemicals in Drugs and Around Us Impact Stem Cells PDF Print
Engineers Receive $2 Million NIH Grant To Develop New Toxicology Tests

Jonathan Dordick

Chemicals in pharmaceutical drugs can obviously save lives. But as more and stronger chemicals have been introduced, our basic knowledge of the broader health impact of all these chemicals has not kept up with the rapid pace of innovation. There is exceptionally little information on how chemicals in our drugs and also in the environment around us, including on the food we eat, impact some of the most important cells in our body: stem cells. Without basic knowledge and tests on the impact of chemicals on our stem cells, we may be unwittingly damaging essential regenerative functions in our body.

Bioengineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, have been awarded a more than $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how chemicals in drugs and our environment impact our stem cells.

Leading the research effort for Rensselaer is Jonathan Dordick, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) and the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Dordick is co-principal investigator on the grant with David Schaffer, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and co-director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Angel García Named Head of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy Department at Rensselaer PDF Print

Professor Angel García has been named the new head of the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. García is currently Senior Constellation Chaired Professor in the Biocomputation and Bioinformatics Constellation, and a professor of physics at Rensselaer. His new role will be in addition to his work as a leader in the constellation.

“Dr. García is a distinguished scientist and a leader in physical research at Rensselaer as one of our senior constellation professors, and now as head of the department,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His new role will be exceptionally important as we continue to build on the rich history of the department toward new levels of distinction.”

García joined Rensselaer in 2005 from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He worked at Los Alamos for 16 years and rose to become group leader in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group Theoretical Division at the lab.

“Dr. García is a strong contributor to science at Rensselaer,” said Dean of the School of ScienceLaurie Leshin. “I am extremely pleased that he has agreed to serve as department head at this critical and exciting time for science throughout the world and right here at Rensselaer.”

Linda Schadler Named Russell Sage Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute PDF Print

Nanomaterials expert Linda Schadler has been named the Russell Sage Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. An endowed professorship is among the highest honors bestowed on a Rensselaer faculty member.

“The faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the School of Engineering join me today in congratulating Dr. Schadler on her appointment to the Russell Sage Chair,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Linda is known throughout the global materials engineering community as a leader in nanomaterials and polymers research. Closer to home, she is also an indispensible member of the School of Engineering leadership team. Every day, her contributions make Rensselaer and the School of Engineering a better place to learn, study, work, and succeed.”

A professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Schadler is also the associate dean for academic affairs for the Rensselaer School of Engineering. She started her academic career as a faculty member at Drexel University in Philadelphia before joining Rensselaer in 1996. She was named associate professor in 1999 and full professor in 2003.

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