Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies, has co-authored a paper published in FEBS Letters, an international journal established for the rapid publication of final short reports in the fields of molecular biosciences.
The paper, which is an expansion of her lab’s work on the enzyme Heptosyltransferase I, is titled “Cloning and Characterization of the Escherichia coli Heptosyltransferase III: Exploring Substrate Specificity in Lipopolysaccharide Core Biosynthesis,” The paper is co-authored by her former graduate student Jagadesh Mudapaka. FEBS Letters is published by Elsevier on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-author of four recenty-published papers. They include:
“Deep-sea benthic foraminiferal turnover during the early middle Eocene transition at Walvis Ridge (SE Atlantic),” published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Issue 417: pages 126-136, January 2015. The paper’s co-author, Silvia Ortiz, was a PhD student at the University of Zaragoza, and spent several months at Wesleyan working with Thomas.
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Charles Sanislow, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, is the co-author of a new paper published in the journal Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. The paper is titled “Personality Disorder Risk Factors for Suicide Attempts over 10 Years of Follow-Up.”
The findings in the paper are from the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), on which Sanislow has been an investigator since it began in 1996.
Christina Othon and Erika Taylor, along with physics graduate student Nimesh Shukla, Lee Chen ’15, Inha Cho ’15 and Erin Cohn ’15, are the co-authors of a paper titled “Sucralose Destabilization of Protein Structure” published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, March 2015. Othon is assistant professor of physics and was PI on the paper. Taylor is assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies.
Sucralose is a commonly employed artificial sweetener that behaves very differently than its natural disaccharide counterpart, sucrose, in terms of its interaction with biomolecules. This research suggests that people may need to think about the impact of sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) on their proteins.
Watch Othon explain associated research in this video. She speaks around the 34 minute mark.
Alive: New and Selected Poems, a new volume of poetry by Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, professor of English, was recently published by New York Review Books. The book contains poems spanning more than 20 years.
According to the publisher’s website, with these poems, Willis “draws us into intricate patterns of thought and feeling. The intimate and civic address of these poems is laced with subterranean affinities among painters, botanists, politicians, witches and agitators. Coursing through this work is the clarity and resistance of a world that asks the poem to rise to this, to speak its fury.”
Willis is also the author of Address (2011), which received the PEN New England/L. L. Winship Prize, and four previous books of poetry.
A paper co-authored by Lauren Feld ’11 and Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman was recently published in the Journal of Adolescence. Titled, “Into the Pressure Cooker: Student Stress in College Preparatory High Schools,” the paper was Feld’s senior thesis at Wesleyan.
The article will appear in Volume 41, June 2015 of the journal. It can be read online here.
In the study, Feld and Shusterman assess stress and related behaviors in high-achieving high school students. Specifically, they explored symptoms, sleep and eating, attitudes and coping behaviors related to stress. They found that students reported high rates of physical and psychological correlates of stress, as well as unhealthy behaviors in response to stress. Feld and Shusterman write that these findings indicate areas of vulnerability in high-achieving student populations.
Feld is now completing medical school at Mount Sinai, and just matched for a residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago.
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.
The 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.
Mike Robinson, standing, studies how individuals react differently when presented with a junk food diet. Pictured in the foreground is Sarah Mi ’16. (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)
Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, and his students are interested in what makes individuals react differently when they catch a whiff of freshly-baked brownies or another sugary treat.
Mike Robinson and Rebecca Tom ’16 remove the junk food concoction from the food processor.
These Pavlovian cues associated with junk food can trigger cravings to eat and increase the amount of food consumed. People who are more susceptible to the motivational effects of these cues may have a higher risk for over consuming readily available junk food and becoming obese. Furthermore, the overconsumption of junk food may itself heighten attraction to food cues. But what causes some people to be more susceptible than others?
Robinson, together with colleagues at the University of Michigan, explores these issues in an article titled “Individual Differences in Cue-Induced Motivation and Striatal Systems in Rats Susceptible to Diet-Induced Obesity,” published in the March 12 edition of Neuropsychopharmacology. Read the abstract here.
The researchers introduced a junk food diet (a mash of potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, and chocolate milk powder) to rats to study whether there were pre-existing and/or diet-induced increases in attraction to cues for junk food, and motivation to seek out the food. They found that prior to gaining weight, the rats that would go on to become obese with the junk food diet showed a greater attraction to food cues. After being exposed to the junk food diet and gaining excessive amounts of weight, those rats began treating food cues as a reward in of themselves, and were more willing to work to obtain them.
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Stephen Devoto, professor of neuroscience and behavior; Rosemary Doris, visiting assistant professor of biology; Ph.D. candidate Steffie Windner; and neuroscience and behavior major Chantal Ferguson ’13 are the co-authors of a paper that is the culmination of three years of research. The paper, titled “Tbx6, Mesp-b and Ripply1 Regulate the Onset of Skeletal Myogenesis in Zebrafish” is published in the March 2015 edition of Development, Vol. 142, No. 6, pages 1,159-1,168. The paper is a collaboration between Wesleyan, Kings College London and the National Institute for Medical Research (MRC).
Devoto highlights the importance of the paper:
The paper identifies three new regulators of muscle development, using research with genetically modified zebrafish. It shows that these three proteins form a network that regulate each other. These three proteins and the genes that encode them also regulate the most basic vertebrate features – the body segments that will form the vertebrae and ribs. Thus, the paper demonstrates a genetic linkage between segmentation and muscle development.
The paper’s abstract can be found here.
Volcanic Lakes. (Image courtesy of Springer Science+Business Media)
Johan “Joop” Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the author of two chapters in Volcanic Lakes, published by Springer Science+Business Media, 2015. He worked on the chapters during his sabbatical in Bristol, U.K., in 2013.
Varekamp’s chapters are titled “The Chemical Composition and Evolution of Volcanic Lakes” and “Volcanic Lakes.” Five other authors also contributed to the “Volcanic Lakes” chapter.
Volcanic lakes are natural features on the planet. The changing water compositions and colors of these lakes over time provide insights into the volcanic, hydrothermal and degassing processes of the underlying volcano.
This book aims to give an overview on the present state of volcanic lake research, covering topics such as volcano monitoring; the chemistry, dynamics and degassing of acidic crater lakes; mass-energy-chemical-isotopic balance approaches; limnology and degassing of Nyos-type lakes; the impact on the human and natural environment; the eruption products and impact of crater lake breaching eruptions; numerical modeling of gas clouds and lake eruptions; thermo-hydro-mechanical and deformation modeling; CO2 fluxes from lakes; volcanic lakes observed from space; biological activity; continuous monitoring techniques, and other aspects.
Lori Gruen, professor and chair of philosophy, professor of environmental studies, and professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, is the author of a new book, Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals, published by Lantern Books on Feb. 15.
In Entangled Empathy, Gruen argues that rather than focusing on animal rights, we ought to work to make our relationships with animals right by empathetically responding to their needs, interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes and unique perspectives. Pointing out that we are already entangled in complex and life-altering relationships with other animals, Gruen guides readers through a new way of thinking about and practicing animal ethics.
Gruen defines “entangled empathy” as “a process whereby we first acknowledge that we are already in relationships with all sorts of other animals (humans and non-humans) and these relationships are, for the most part, not very good ones. We then work to figure out how to make them better and that almost always means trying to promote well-being and flourishing.”
Gruen discussed her book with University of Colorado Professor Emeritus Mark Bekoff in The Huffington Post. Bekoff calls the book “a wonderful addition to a growing literature in the transdisciplinary field called anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships.”
Joy Mlozanowski, library assistant/accounting specialist, is the author of Night Flying, published by Port Yonder Press in January 2015.
Abstract: In her diary, Mae questions God as she and her husband confront the news of an abnormal pregnancy and agonize over the decisions they face. Needing time away to think, she visits her childhood home and reconnects with Will, a deaf friend who taught her to sign when they were young. After her visit, Mae and Will continue an intimate written exchange in which she confides her despair, while Will shares his own struggle to honor the wishes of his dying father, and reconcile his mother’s reluctance to let go.
This collection of correspondences between Mae and Will form a powerful, nonjudgmental narrative around faith and the controversial topics of abortion and end-of-life care. Their story is one of understanding and hope, and promises to deeply touch anyone who has faced these difficult and heartbreaking choices.
Mlozanowski has an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University, and also is a visual artist and the assistant editor for Pith Journal. Read more: www.joychristine.com