January 15, 2016

Vanderbilt University


In the News:


Harnessing the power of computers to create a sustainable future

Harnessing the power of computers to help create an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable future – that is the purpose of a major new grant issued by the National Science Foundation to a new network of universities and organizations that includes Vanderbilt University. The five-year, $10 million grant is part of NSF’s Expeditions in Computing program and will provide funding to establish a national and international research network, called CompSustNet, that will explore new research dimensions in “computational sustainability”… CompSusNet will be directed by computer scientists at Cornell University. A Vanderbilt team headed by Douglas Fisher, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering, will be part of the network…MORE

Major grants bolster VUMC diabetes research

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have received more than $11 million in new grant support aimed at slowing the growing burden of diabetes. In both [type 1 and type 2] diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreatic islet are either destroyed or become dysfunctional, leading to insulin deficiency. One new grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the NIH…will provide $6.2 million over five years to discover “pancreatic islet signatures” in type 2 diabetes. A second NIDDK grant will provide $4.4 million over five years to study the maturation of the human pancreas during the first five years of life. MORE

MEDIA TIP SHEET: Education experts available to speak

As Tennessee lawmakers begin the 2016 legislative session Jan. 12, vital K-12 education issues will be in the spotlight. Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development has a wealth of nationally recognized education experts available to share their knowledge and expertise with members of the press. MORE

Crystal structure reveals secrets of virulent bacterium

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have obtained the crystal structure of a toxin from the bacterium Clostridium difficile (“C. diff”) — the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea in the United States. Reporting in this week’s Nature Microbiology, they also found that zinc is required to unleash the toxin’s damaging effects in the colon. The discoveries are aiding efforts to develop vaccines and other novel therapies to prevent the potentially fatal consequences of C. diff infection. The research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants…MORE

Study shows veteran, civilian patients at risk of ICU-related PTSD

In a first-of-its-kind study of veterans and civilians, researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that one in 10 patients is at risk of having a new post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following their time in the intensive care unit (ICU). The study...found that the cumulative incidence of PTSD following a critical illness and ICU experience was 6-12 percent and could occur up to one year after hospitalization. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health [and] the Veterans Affairs Clinical Science Research and Development Service (VA Career Development Award)…MORE

New method aids heart disease studies, drug discovery efforts

For a team of Vanderbilt investigators trying to generate heart muscle cells from stem cells, a piece of broken equipment turned out to be a good thing. The faulty equipment pushed the researchers to try a different approach. They recently reported their new method — using a “Matrigel mattress” to rapidly generate cardiac cells suitable for heart disease studies and drug discovery — in the journal Circulation Research. This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health…and by a Veterans Administration Merit Grant. MORE

Landers added to UNESCO slave route committee

Important U.S. historic sites related to the slave trade will be considered for a worldwide registry now that Vanderbilt professor Jane Landers has been added to an UNESCO International Scientific Committee on slave routes. UNESCO, the educational, cultural and scientific branch of the United Nations, launched the Slave Route Project in 1994. Its purpose is to work for the identification, restoration and promotion of sites and places of memory of the slave trade and slavery…Landers was confirmed as a committee member in October 2015 during an international meeting of the Slave Route Project at the University of Cabo Verde.  Landers is the only representative from the United States on the 20-person committee. Currently, there are no recognized Slave Route sites in the United States. MORE

Civil rights leader, candlelight vigil part of MLK Celebration at Vanderbilt Jan. 15-18

The Rev. James Lawson, whom Martin Luther King Jr. called “the leading nonviolence theorist in the world,” will deliver the keynote address at Vanderbilt University’s MLK Day celebration Monday, Jan. 18. The theme for Vanderbilt’s commemoration is “Apathy to Action: Activism, Allyship and Anti-Racism.” A noon event on Friday, Jan. 15, at Benton Chapel will bring the campus community together to officially kick off commemoration events and feature singing by inversion with Grammy Award-winning artist Marcus Hummon and a call to action by the Rev. Becca Stevens, Episcopal affiliated chaplain at Vanderbilt…Friday evening, the Chancellor’s Lecture Series also will kick off the university’s MLK celebration with a lecture by Bryan Stevenson about his memoir, Just Mercy.  Members of the Vanderbilt community also will participate in a “MLK Weekend of Action” Friday, Jan.15, through Sunday, Jan. 17. MORE


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