Burke Receives $395,000 from NSF, $100,000 from NIH

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, recently received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander. The mice will be generated in collaboration with a lab at the University of Michigan and will allow Burke and her associates to turn off Hox genes, which are specific patterning genes, in specific sub populations of the embryonic mesoderm that make the musculoskeletal tissues. Comparing the dynamics of gene expression and cell interactions during the formation of the pectoral region in a variety of embryos will help Burke and other scientists understand the evolution of these musculoskeletal structures and the dramatic variations among vertebrate lineages associated with adaptations for different locomotor strategies, like swimming, scurrying, crawling and flying.

Burke also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.

Rutland: BRIC’s Influence May Be Growing

Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, has an interesting piece in The Moscow Times regarding a strengthening relationship between Brazil, Russia, India and China, or “BRIC.” The four countries represent powerful economies and may be reacting to opportunities presented by the recent decline of U.S. and European economic influence.

Prison Education Program Gains Approval

Inside Higher Education has a report on the recently-approved Wesleyan Center for Prison Education program, which will begin this fall and has grant funding for the next two years. The program will feature Wesleyan faculty and students teaching inmates at the Cheshire Correctional Institute, which is a maximum security prison here in Connecticut. Cathy Lechowicz, director of community service and volunteerism and one of the program’s advisers, is quoted in the article

Pinch on McChrystal’s Asceticism and Martial Spirit

In a New York Times piece examining some of General McChrystal’s more austere habits, William Pinch,  professor of history, discusses from a martial perspective McChrystal’s habits of sleeping little, eating one meal a day, working out to exhaustion and yet maintaining the energy and focus to run the Afghanistan campaign. Pinch says such methods of “self-denial as…a cultivation of power” are consistent with the warrior ethos of the past.

Rutland: Russia-Japan Island Conflict Remains

Writing a piece for The Moscow Times, Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, points out how Japan and Russia are strengthening economic ties, moving forward on a variety of partnerships, and in general acting like long-standing allies. Yet one thorny territorial issue remains that has precluded the countries from signing a peace treaty with each other dating back to the end of World War II.