Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

Alejandro, Alumnae Collaborate on Choreography Project

Pedro Alejandro

Pedro Alejandro

Pedro Alejandro, associate professor of dance, Brittany Delany ’09 and Sarah Ashkin ’11 are collaborating on a new choreography project in New Mexico.

The project titled “Chancy Dancing” will premier at 8 p.m. April 11 at the Railyard Performance Center in Santa Fe. Marcela Oteiza, assistant professor of theater, is developing the visual design of the work.

The first half of the performance features Ashkin and other local choreographers’ most recent works spanning a spectrum of modern dance, dance theater and improvisational systems.

Kaus Investigates Protein Structure by Using X-Ray Crystallography

Katie Kaus, a PhD candidate in molecular biology and biochemistry, spoke on "Molecular Detectives: Investigating Protein Structure using X-ray Crystallography" during the Graduate Student Speaker Series March 26 in Exley Science Center.

Katie Kaus, a PhD candidate in molecular biology and biochemistry, spoke on “Molecular Detectives: Investigating Protein Structure using X-ray Crystallography” during the Graduate Student Speaker Series March 26 in Exley Science Center.

The molecular structure of proteins is an important component in studying how proteins interact with each other, providing information about how cellular processes are carried out by specific proteins, Kaus explained. By studying the structure of specific proteins, scientists can understand why germs make us sick.

The molecular structure of proteins is an important component in studying how proteins interact with each other, providing information about how cellular processes are carried out by specific proteins, Kaus explained. By studying the structure of specific proteins, scientists can understand why germs make us sick.

Kaus focused her presentation on members of a family of proteins called bacterial pore forming toxins (PFTs); specifically Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) and Vibrio vulnificus hemolysin (VVH). These proteins are secreted by pathogenic strains of the aquatic bacteria, V. cholerae and V. vulnificus. V. cholerae is the human pathogen that causes cholera, an endemic disease in several parts of the world. V. vulnificus is found in contaminated seafood, such as raw oysters, as well as contaminated seawater. V. vulnificus most frequently causes gastrointestinal distress but can also cross from the gut into the blood stream resulting in lethal septicemia.

Kaus focused her presentation on members of a family of proteins called bacterial pore forming toxins (PFTs)–specifically Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) and Vibrio vulnificus hemolysin (VVH). These proteins are secreted by pathogenic strains of the aquatic bacteria, V. cholerae and V. vulnificus. V. cholerae is the human pathogen that causes cholera, an endemic disease in several parts of the world. V. vulnificus is found in contaminated seafood, such as raw oysters, as well as contaminated seawater. V. vulnificus most frequently causes gastrointestinal distress but can also cross from the gut into the blood stream resulting in lethal septicemia.

VCC and VVH are homologous proteins that are secreted by their respective bacteria, bind to macromolecules at the surface of host cells, and undergo structural changes creating lytic pores in the host cell membrane. As part of her research, Kaus is interested in understanding how these bacterial proteins recognize and specifically attack human cells. Guided by biochemical assays, Kaus used a technique called X­-ray crystallography to identify structural relationships between VCC or VVH and the biomolecules each protein binds.

KVCC and VVH are homologous proteins that are secreted by their respective bacteria, bind to macromolecules at the surface of host cells, and undergo structural changes creating lytic pores in the host cell membrane. As part of her research, Kaus is interested in understanding how these bacterial proteins recognize and specifically attack human cells. Guided by biochemical assays, Kaus used a technique called X­-ray crystallography to identify structural relationships between VCC or VVH and the biomolecules each protein binds.

X-­ray crystallography involves obtaining protein molecules in a crystalline form and taking advantage of the manner in which an X­ray beam is diffracted by the atoms that make up these protein crystals, to determine their arrangement within the 3-D space of a protein molecule. Pictured, Kaus looks at crystals under a microscope in Hall Atwater Laboratory.

X-­ray crystallography involves obtaining protein molecules in a crystalline form and taking advantage of the manner in which an X­ray beam is diffracted by the atoms that make up these protein crystals, to determine their arrangement within the 3-D space of a protein molecule. Pictured, Kaus looks at crystals under a microscope in Hall-Atwater Laboratory.

By using this approach, Kaus identified similar, yet distinct molecular mechanisms employed by VCC and VVH to specifically recognize and attack host cell membranes. Understanding how these proteins specifically attack human cells will aid in developing treatments against V. cholerae and V. vulnificus infection.

By using this approach, Kaus identified similar, yet distinct molecular mechanisms employed by VCC and VVH to specifically recognize and attack host cell membranes. Understanding how these proteins specifically attack human cells will aid in developing treatments against V. cholerae and V. vulnificus infection. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Students, Faculty, Alumni Attend Planetary Science Conference in Texas

Students, faculty and alumni involved in planetary science attended the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference March 16-20 in Houston, Texas.

Jim Greenwood, assistant professor earth and environmental sciences, gave a talk titled “urCl-KREEP? Cl-rich glasses in KREEP basalts 15382 and 15386 and their implications for lunar geochemistry.” Martha Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, met with the Venus Exploration Analysis Group as a member of its Executive Committee.

Jack Singer ’15 and Lisa Korn MA ’15 presented posters.

Several Wesleyan alumni also made presentations at the conference including James Dottin ’13 (E&ES), now a PhD student at the University of Maryland; Tanya Harrison MA ’08 (E&ES), now a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario; Ann Ollila MA ’08 (E&ES), now at Chevron; Nina Lanza MA ’06 (E&ES), now a scientist at Los Alamos National Lab; Bob Nelson MA ’69 (astronomy), senior scientist at Planetary Science Institute; Ian Garrick-Bethell ’02 (physics), assistant professor at the University of California – Santa Cruz.

Jack Singer ’15 presented a poster titled "High fluorine and chlorine in a chromite-hosted melt inclusion from Apollo 12 olivine basalt 12035.” He was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and is the McKenna Scholar in E&ES. Jim Greenwood is his advisor.

Jack Singer ’15 presented a poster titled “High fluorine and chlorine in a chromite-hosted melt inclusion from Apollo 12 olivine basalt 12035.” He was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and is the McKenna Scholar in E&ES. Singer’s advisor is Jim Greenwood, assistant professor earth and environmental sciences.

Lisa Korn, MA ’15 presented a poster titled "Possible Carbonate Minerals within an Unnamed Gulled Crater in Eridania Basin, Mars.”  She was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and the E&ES Foye Fund. Scott Murchie, the Principal Investigator of the instrument whose data she uses (the CRISM spectrometer in orbit at Mars) showed her work to NASA as an example of the important new discoveries being made with the instrument. Korn's advisor is Marty Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

Lisa Korn MA ’15 presented a poster titled “Possible Carbonate Minerals within an Unnamed Gullied Crater in Eridania Basin, Mars.” She was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and the E&ES Foye Fund. Scott Murchie, the Principal Investigator of the instrument whose data she uses (the CRISM spectrometer in orbit at Mars) showed her work to NASA as an example of the important new discoveries being made with the instrument. Korn’s advisor is Martha Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

E&ES major  James Dottin ’13 met Marty Gilmore at the conference.

E&ES major James Dottin ’13 met Martha Gilmore at the conference.

Siry to Speak at Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences Meeting April 2

The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability.

The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability.

Joe Siry

Joe Siry

On April 2, Wesleyan will host the 1,443rd meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (the third oldest learned society in the Unites States, chartered in 1799) on campus. To honor the proud occasion, Joseph Siry, professor of art history, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities will give a public lecture presentation about his research.

Siry’s talk, titled “Air Conditioning in the United States Capitol: Architecture, Technology and Congressional Life,” will take place at 5 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Hall. The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability. This talk examines how air conditioning systems altered patterns of congressional operations during the 1930s and after.

CAAS_LOGO_175pxThe event is free and open to students and the general public.

Faculty, Distinguished Guest Discuss Tragedy and Revolution

davidscott4

Matthew Garrett, David Scott and Lily Saint led a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution” in the Russell House.

On March 5, the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory supported a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution.” Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, assistant professor American studies and director of the Certificate, moderated the discussion.

Assistant Professor Matthew Garrett, visiting distinguished guest David Scott and Assistant Professor Lily Saint led a discussion on “Tragedy and Revolution” March 5 in the Russell House.

David Scott, professor of anthropology at Columbia University and editor of the journal Small Axe, spoke about his recent book, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (Duke University Press, 2014). Lily Saint, assistant professor of English, provided a response to Professor Scott’s book.

Omens of Adversity

Brown Co-Edits Medici Women

Judith Brown

Judith Brown

Judith Brown, professor of history, emerita, is the co-editor of Medici Women: The Making of a Dynasty in Grand Ducal Tuscany, published by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, in 2015. Brown wrote the introduction and co-edited the book with Giovanna Benadusi. It features essays translated by Monica Chojnacka.

The Medici grand ducal family and the court it created in the 16th and 17th centuries have long fascinated historians and the general public. Until recently, however, the women who married into the family or were born into it were relegated to the margins of history. Though long acknowledged as wives and mothers who contributed to the propagation of the Medici line, their function in the creation of the court, in shaping its culture, in contributing to the transformation of the state from a city-state republic to a principality, and in establishing the Medici’s place in the European network of dynastic rulers tended to be either ignored or maligned. It is only in the last decade or so that scholars have begun to reassess their roles and achievements.

brownbookcoverThe aim of the book is to advance the historical reassessment of the women of the Medici grand ducal family who were crucial and very positive figures in the creation of the Medici court, in shaping its culture, and in establishing the Medici’s place in the European network of dynastic rulers. By undertaking this reassessment, the contributors to this book hope that the Medici women’s political and cultural contributions to Florence and its state as a major center for European ideas and art will gain the attention they deserve after centuries of misogynist scorn and neglect heaped on them by historians until recently.

CDs, Apparel, Music at WESU Spring Record Fair March 28

wesyspringWith more than 20 vendors from throughout New England and the tri-state area selling new and used music in all formats, the 88.1 FM WESU community record fair has become a cherished tradition, attracting a diverse crowd of new and old record collectors.

The WESU Spring 2015 Record Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 in Beckham Hall. Browse new and used CDs, records, music-related apparel, books, WESU merchandise and more.

WESU DJs will be spinning records live throughout the day to inspire your crate digging.

“Each vendor will be offering their own unique mix of genres and formats, so there is surely something for every type of collector,” said Ben Michael, WESU general manager. “So come on out in search of that one record you’ve been hunting for and support your favorite community radio station in the process!”

WESU also is accepting donations for the fundraising event.

Now more than 75 years old, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Weeknights and weekends, WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop the Exley Science Center with the potential to reach over 1 million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio online through their website www.wesufm.org.

Celebrate the Sciences at Poster Session April 17

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

The Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division is sponsoring its annual Celebration of Science Theses from 12:30 to 2 p.m. April 17 in Exley Science Center.

Poster presentations will be made by NSM honors and MA students. Refreshments will be provided. The entire Wesleyan community is invited.

“Come join us in appreciation of our students’ achievements,” said Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

The event is co-organized by Hingorani; Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the Service Learning Center; and Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy.

Hingorani Serves as NSF Program Director for the Biosciences

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is serving as the rotating program director at the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her rotation concludes in August and she will resume teaching next fall.

The MCB supports quantitative, predictive and theory-driven fundamental research and related activities designed to promote understanding of complex living systems at the molecular, subcellular and cellular levels. MCB gives high priority to research projects that use theory, methods and technologies from physical sciences, mathematics, computational sciences and engineering to address major biological questions. Typical research supported by MCB integrates theory and experimentation.

“I look forward to advancing science from this very different and much broader perspective than usual. And it would be nice to become a more effective advocate for basic research and science education after this experience,” she said.

 

Watson Fellow Banks ’15 to Study Restorative Justice Practices in 4 Countries

Isabella Banks '15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, "Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice" will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Isabella Banks ’15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Restorative justice practices, such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, programs for juvenile offenders, and community policing, emerged to give victims and their surrounding communities greater agency than traditional criminal procedure provides to resolve conflict and address its consequences.

As a 2015-16 Watson Fellow, Isabella Banks ’15 will travel to countries where restorative justice has had success, acting as a participant-observer in these practices. Banks will interview individuals involved and evaluate the capacity of restorative alternatives to heal those affected by crime and reduce recidivism within each cultural context.

“In doing so, I hope to come closer to envisioning a perfect system of justice,” she said.

Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Obama’s “Auto Czar” Rob Bloom ’77 to Speak on Campus April 8

Ron Bloom '77

Ron Bloom ’77

The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life welcomes “auto czar” Ron Bloom ’77 to campus April 8.

Bloom will speak on “We almost lost Detroit: A hopeful tale about cars, crises, cities and America,” at 7:30 p.m. in PAC 001.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a BA in history in 1977, Bloom received an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1985. After working as the assistant to the president for United Steelworkers, Bloom was appointed by President Obama be the senior advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the President’s Task Force on the Automotive Industry. In this role, the “auto czar” presided over the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler as the government attempted to bail out both companies.

In 2011, he worked as the assistant to the president for manufacturing policy at the White House, providing leadership on policy development and strategic planning for the administration’s agenda to revitalize the manufacturing sector. Bloom led the discussions with the auto industry which resulted in the industry’s support for new standards that will double the fuel economy of cars and light trucks, saving consumers over $1.7 trillion and reducing oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day.

Bloom currently is vice chairman of U.S. Investment Banking at Lazard where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions, restricting and infrastructure.

On April 29, 2010, he was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in the category of World Leaders. In the Time 100 issue, Bill Saporito wrote that “his role in brokering the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler while preserving more than 100,000 jobs demanded a synergist who could work both sides of the equation with authority and respect.”

In addition to the evening talk, Bloom will meet with students enrolled in Professor of History Ron Schatz’s American Labor History class, and also with selected students and faculty in Woodhead Lounge at 4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in participating in the informal conversation should RSVP to Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, at rrosenthal@wesleyan.edu.