Week ending Mar 23, 2018

Campus learning: historians turn surroundings into study material
Times Higher Education – 3/18/18
Many universities occupy historic campuses, house impressive art collections and hold extensive institutional archives. But how many employ them as teaching resources?  One institution that utilises the heritage on its doorstep is the University of Roehampton. The institution’s west London campus began life as a collection of Georgian mansions, including one, Parkstead House, that shares an architect with central London’s Somerset House. It was home to the Posonby family, including John, an author of the Great Reform Act; Frederick, who became governor of Malta; and Caroline, who, as Caroline Lamb, would base the novel Glenarvon on her affair with Lord Byron. These buildings sit within gardens and share space with a 19th-century mausoleum, lakes, a First World War memorial and more recent Modernist buildings.
They provide the backdrop for an interdisciplinary module available to history and classical civilisation students that covers topics including Neoclassical architecture and art, women’s education in 19th- and 20th-century Britain, and national educational policies of the past 175 years. Read more 

Graduate students collaborate to improve access to health care
Daily Bruin – 3/18/18
A new initiative at UCLA’s medical school brings together graduate students from different disciplines to help improve patients’ access to the medical system.The David Geffen School of Medicine implemented the American Association of Medical Colleges’ hotspotting program in this academic year. In the program, medical students collaborate with nursing, dental, public health, pharmacy, social work, business and public policy students to help patients who may have difficulty navigating the health care system. Hotspotting is the process of identifying extreme patterns in health care for patient intervention and following up to address patients’ needs and care. Sun Yoo, a physician at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center leading the program, said medical students visit patients in their homes and help connect them to community resources, such as referrals for assistance. Students help assigned patients by accompanying them to their appointments and different medical procedures throughout a six-month period. Read more

UC Berkeley researchers discover new applications for enzymes
The Daily Californian – 3/18/18
Scientists at UC Berkeley have created a protein mat that can absorb chemical pollution, providing a breakthrough in scientific research that could potentially be applied to war zones and contaminated sites. The applications of this groundbreaking discovery include degrading pollutants such as pesticides and easily creating biocatalysts, according to Aaron Hall, a campus materials science and engineering doctoral candidate who assisted with research for the project. Hall said the team utilized unique knowledge about polymers, including their surface “patchiness,” to discover that certain polymers can camouflage to work with proteins.  “Now we have a portable lab. Whenever you want, you can stabilize (enzymes) in any environment and get any reactions,” said Ting Xu, campus professor of chemistry and of materials science and engineering, who conducted research for the study. “It is a … highly interdisciplinary search, and it takes a long time, but that’s often where high-impact research happens.” Read more

Women’s-Studies Students Across the Nation Are Editing Wikipedia
The Chronicle of Higher Education – 3/20/18
This month more than 4,600 students in women’s and gender studies are getting on Wikipedia. But the students aren’t looking up information. They are editing it in hopes of closing the website’s gender gap [in representation and topic].  Allison Kimmich, director of the National Women’s Studies Association, or NWSA, is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the partnership that connects faculty members and students in the field with training, resources, and experts at the Wiki Education Foundation. She spoke with The Chronicle about the editing. I think particularly because women’s-studies courses are interdisciplinary, as I’ve scanned through the Dashboard and I click to sort of see the articles that students edit, it’s often an amazing range. Some courses are more topical, like art history or something, but in those that are more broadly interdisciplinary, students may edit articles on a whole range of topics.” Read more

Planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1 star provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds
Vanderbilt University – 3/20/18
TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool red dwarf star located about 40 light-years from the sun in the constellation Aquarius. It’s slightly larger, but much more massive, than the planet Jupiter. Among planetary systems, TRAPPIST-1 is of particular interest because of the seven planets that orbit this star, a larger number of planets than have been than detected in any other exoplanetary system. In addition, all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are Earth-sized and terrestrial, making them an ideal focus of study for planet formation and potential habitability. Natalie Hinkel, a postdoctoral scholar in the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-Intensive Astrophysics, and Arizona State University colleagues Cayman Unterborn, Steven Desch and Alejandro Lorenzo have been studying these planets for habitability, specifically related to water composition. Their findings have been recently published in Nature Astronomy. Read more