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Research Highlights

Researchers Examine Impact of Hurricane Sandy on Children’s Brain Development
A new study led by Ellen Kessel, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, suggests that high levels of stress associated with Hurricane Sandy may have left a lasting impact on children’s brain development. The research, “Hurricane Sandy Exposure Alters the Development of Neural Reactivity to Negative Stimuli in Children,” is published in the March/April 2018 issue of Child Development. Stony Brook faculty that collaborated on the study with Kessel include Clinical Psychology Professors Daniel Klein and Brady Nelson and Psychiatry Professors Roman Kotov, Evelyn Bromet and Gabrielle Carlson, along with Greg Hajcak from Florida State University and…

Benjamin Martin Receives Young Investigator Award for Promising Research
Benjamin Martin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, has received the Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research for his work with circulating tumor cells. The award, granted to promising early career New York City-area cancer research scientists, includes a three-year $600,000 grant, effective July 1. Professor Martin and colleague David Q. Matus, PhD, are using state-of-the-art microscopy and genetic analysis of circulating tumor cells to achieve an unprecedented level of understanding about how these cells exit blood vessels and invade news sites on the body. To help accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research, the…

Taking Flight: SBU Researchers Use Drones to Push Boundaries, Innovate and Learn
Most people still think of drones as weapons. At Stony Brook University, however, researchers and students are pioneering the peaceful use of drones – also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) –  for scientific and humanitarian purposes. They’re deploying these unpiloted flying machines to bring healthcare to remote villages in Africa, to aid in research and discovery in Antarctica and for fun and exploration on campus. Drones are taking Stony Brook research and the University’s commitment to global citizenship to places never before imagined. Helping humanity Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar is isolated, and the journey there is a grueling…

Bias against Frozen Vegetables Could Harm Health
Negative attitudes toward frozen vegetables may be impacting consumption of healthy foods, according to research by Stony Brook marketing professors. Consuming enough fruits and vegetables is important for maintaining a healthy diet and reducing risk factors for obesity and obesity-related illnesses. However, it’s not always pleasant to eat vegetables and it’s estimated that 87% of the population in the United States doesn’t eat enough vegetables. Identifying barriers to vegetable consumption is important because lower income heads of households report they avoid buying fresh vegetables because they are afraid they will expire before they are consumed. Frozen foods offer parents and…

University Set to Host Final Championship of World-Wide Science Competition
On July 12, 2018, Stony Brook University is joining The Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL) in presenting the Spellman High Voltage Electronic Clean Tech Competition. The event, open to the public, will take place in the Wang Center. As a highly rated “green” college, Stony Brook University is proud to host this international competition for a second year in a row. The campus invites everyone to join the event and meet these innovative students and see their projects. The world-wide, pre-college youth competition encourages participants to address real-world issues with a scientific understanding through research and design methods.…

CEAS Faculty Receive Nearly $6 Million for 10 Early Career Awards
Eight faculty from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences  have received 10 prestigious Early Career Awards, gaining nearly $6 million in funding, during the 2017-2018 academic year. The awards include six National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards, in addition to individual awards from the U.S Army Research Office (ARO), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Department of Energy (DOE), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). “It is encouraging to see leading national research funding agencies supporting many of Stony Brook’s young faculty with early career awards this academic year,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook…

Engineering Professor Karen Chen-Wiegart Receives NSF CAREER Award for Her Research at SBU and BNL
Karen Chen-Wiegart, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering (MSCE) in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been awarded the 2018 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (NSF CAREER award) for her project, “A Multi-modal Study of Bi-continous Pattern Formation in Nano/Meso Composite and Porous Metals Films via Solid-State Interfacial Dealloying.” The NSF CAREER award is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards proving federal grants to support junior faculty with research and educational activities. She will receive $558K during the next five years to conduct her project. Chen-Wiegart’s CAREER research aims…

Students Collaborate with Professor on Book of Translated Japanese Literature
Stony Brook University seniors Anne McNulty and Rose Goldberg, are celebrating the publication of their book, Japanese Short Stories for Language Learners: Bilingual Stories in Japanese and English Tuttle Publishing (2018), with Eriko Sato, a professor of translation studies and Japanese at Stony Brook. The book provides authentic Japanese stories, their English translations, principles and theories of translation studies, artistic illustrations, and guides and resources for appreciating the stories in both English and Japanese. McNulty is majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Asian and Asian American Studies and Korean Studies. Goldberg is majoring in Studio Art and Asian and Asian…

Breathing Lunar Dust Could Pose Health Risk to Future Astronauts
Future astronauts spending long periods of time on the Moon could suffer bronchitis and other health problems by inhaling tiny particles of dust from its surface, according to new research. A new study from researchers at Stony Brook University finds simulated lunar soil is toxic to human lung and mouse brain cells. Up to 90 percent of human lung cells and mouse neurons died when exposed to dust particles that mimic soils found on the Moon’s surface. The results show breathing toxic dust, even in minute quantities, could pose a health hazard to future astronauts traveling to the Moon, Mars…

Scientists Pinpoint Energy Flowing Through Vibrations in Superconducting Crystals
Manipulating the flow of energy through superconductors could radically transform technology, perhaps leading to applications such as ultra-fast, highly efficient quantum computers. But these subtle dynamics—including heat dispersion—play out with absurd speed across dizzying subatomic structures. Now, scientists have tracked never-before-seen interactions between electrons and the crystal lattice structure of copper-oxide superconductors. The collaboration, led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and including a Stony Brook grad student, achieved measurement precision faster than one trillionth of one second through a groundbreaking combination of experimental techniques. “We found a nuanced atomic landscape, where certain high-frequency…

NSF CAREER Award: Professor Romeil Sandhu Applies Mathematics to Improve Security and Reliability of Complex Networks
Romeil Sandhu, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) jointly administered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine, has earned a 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award. Sandhu received the $500,000 award for his project: Network Geometry for Analyzing Dynamical Systems. Professor Sandhu’s research is focused on how we study and develop reliable communication and social systems that are robust to potential attack. His work could help to make these systems better able to combat these types of intrusions and extends well beyond such systems to areas in cancer biology, finance, and…

Using Computational Biology to Fight Deadly Infections
Tom MacCarthy, Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Stony Brook’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to better understand how human antibodies are generated in response to infection by using computational biology. Part of a multi-PI $3 million grant, in collaboration with the lab of immunology pioneer Matthew D. Scharff, MD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the research will employ computational models and analysis of high-throughput DNA sequence data. “Our approach is innovative because the computational models we are proposing will test molecular mechanisms both computationally and…

Michalis Polychronakis Earns $500K NSF CAREER Award for Cybersecurity Research
Building on a history of support to computer science researchers at Stony Brook University, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award to Professor Michalis Polychronakis, the Department of Computer Science has announced. Professor Polychronakis will receive a grant of $500,000 for his project: Principled and Practical Software Shielding against Advanced Exploits. The main objective of his proposed research is the design of innovative software hardening techniques, and their practical application to commodity software and systems. Polychronakis’ work is motivated by the fact that “the exploitation of vulnerabilities in popular software is among the leading causes…

Esther Takeuchi Named European Inventor Award 2018 Finalist
Esther Sans Takeuchi, PhD, the William and Jane Knapp Endowed Chair in Energy and the Environment, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences and in Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, Chief Scientist of the Energy Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the holder of more than 150 patents has been named a finalist for the European Inventor Award. The European Patent Office (EPO) selected Professor Takeuchi as a finalist in the category of “Non-EPO countries.” The winners of the EPO’s 2018 innovation prize will be announced at a…


New Imaging Method Identifies How Normal and Cancer Cells Move and Adapt
An international team of scientists including David Q. Matus, PhD, and Benjamin L. Martin, PhD, in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Stony Brook University Cancer Center researchers,  have developed a new cell imaging technology combining lattice light sheet microscopy (LLSM) and adaptive optics (AO) to create high-resolution “movies” of cells in their 3D environment that also captures subcellular processes. Published in Science, the research reveals a technology that shows the phenotypic diversity within cells across different organisms and developmental stages and in conditions such as mitosis, immune processes and in metastases. The AO-LLSM technique offers scientists investigating cancer and other…

Images of Polyps Plus Tissue Data May Help Predict Cancer
By using computed tomography colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, to image many types of polyps, and matching those images to detailed gene expression data of those polyps, researchers may be able to determine what types of polyps will turn into cancer and which may not. The work is a research collaboration between Stony Brook University, led by Jerome Liang, PhD, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, led by Perry J. Pickhardt, MD, and  is supported by a new $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project, titled “Radiogenomics of Colorectal…

New Drugs Using the Body’s “Natural Marijuana” Could Help Treat Pain, Cancer
A new technology employing endocannabinoids for pain relief, developed by Stony Brook University researchers affiliated with the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB & DD), has been licensed to Artelo Biosciences, Inc. Endocannabinoids are natural marijuana-like substances in the body and have potential as the basis for new medicines. Artelo has an exclusive license with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York to the intellectual property portfolio of FABP inhibitors for the modulation of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of pain, inflammation and cancer. Fatty Acid Binding Proteins have been identified as intracellular transporters for the endocannabinoid…

Yimei Zhu Receives 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Microscopy Society of America
The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) has selected Yimei Zhu — a Stony Brook University adjunct professor and a senior physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) — to receive the 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award for physical sciences. This award annually recognizes two senior scientists, one in the physical sciences and the other in biological sciences, for their long-standing record of achievement in the field of microscopy and microanalysis. “I am extremely humbled by this recognition, the highest honor of the society, and to be selected among the most distinguished scientists in the field worldwide,” said Zhu,…

3/27/2018 New Technology Cleans Solar Panels to Enhance Efficiency
A technology in development that uses electric fields to sweep dust from solar panels has promise as a new self-cleaning solar panel system designed to enhance energy efficiency and reduce costs. The technology was created in the laboratory of Stony Brook University Professor Alex Orlov and is being further developed by a Stony Brook research team named SolarClear.

3/20/2018 High-Tech Imaging of Ancient Crocs Helps Define How Species Evolve
Scientists believe that anatomical variation within and between species is the raw material for natural selection. However, the prevalence of convergent evolution, or the repeated evolution of highly similar yet complex forms among distantly related animals, suggests the presence of underlying general principles (or "rules") of evolution. Now Alan Turner, PhD, Associate Professor of Anatomical Sciences, along with colleagues at the University and at Oklahoma State University are conducting research they believe will help to unlock the rules of evolution. Their research is funded by a $579,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

3/13/2018 Medieval Barbarians Likely Imported Brides With Elongated Heads From Southeastern Europe
An international research team including Krishna Veeramah, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, has performed the first genomic analysis of populations that lived on the former territory of the Roman Empire from around 500 AD. The analysis provides a direct look at the complex population movements during the era known as the European Migration Period. The palaeogenomic study, published in PNAS, investigated early human medieval genomic variation in southern Germany, with a specific investigation of the peculiar phenomenon of artificial skull formation, the origins of which scientists have debated for more than 50 years.

3/8/2018 Seeking Truth in Science: Meta-Analysis as a Key
Figuring out what is true in science when researchers are bombarded with information from many different studies is a challenge. A new paper, published in Nature, reveals that the power of meta-analysis in research synthesis over the past 40 years has transformed scientific thinking and research approaches. Meta-analysis has also become invaluable to making advances in many scientific fields, including medicine and ecology.

3/2/2018 Breaking Through Disparities, Advancing Women in Medicine
Women have practiced medicine and conducted biomedical and other scientific research for decades, yet disparities remain at the highest levels in academic medicine. On March 7, more than 150 Stony Brook University women faculty and students will assemble at the School of Medicine's 12th Women in Medicine Research Day to celebrate the achievements of women researchers, discuss issues women continue to face during medial training and the workplace, and share their own research in a networking environment.

3/2/2018 "Supercolony" of Adélie Penguins Discovered in Antarctica
For the past 40 years, the total number of Adélie Penguins, one of the most common on the Antarctic peninsula, has been steadily declining--or so biologists have thought. A new study led by Stony Brook University ecologist Heather Lynch and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), however, is providing new insights on this species of penguin.

2/16/2018 Integrated Gas Energy Technology Institute Launches at Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University and National Grid have launched the country's most comprehensive Institute of Gas Innovation and Technology.

2/6/2018 New Drug Target Emerges for a Dangerous Fungal Pathogen
The Cryptococcus neogormans fungal pathogen is deadly. Now a team of researchers led by Stony Brook University scientists have discovered a novel gene that helps understand the mechanism of survival of this pathogen in various host conditions.

1/31/2018 Fossil Evidence Shows Bats Colonized from Islands to Continents
Plants and animals are generally thought to colonize from continents to islands, over time leading to the evolution of separate island species.

1/26/2018 Mammals Moving Less in Human Landscapes May Upset Ecosystems
Could baboons and other mammals worldwide soon need pedometers? A new study reveals that on average, mammals move less in human-modified landscapes.

4/20/2017 Two Physicians Recognized for Novel Work in Cancer, Antifungal Research Named to AAP
Stony Brook University School of Medicine physician-scientists Ute Moll, MD, and Maurizio Del Poeta, MD, have been elected into the prestigious Association of American Physicians (APP). The AAP recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in the pursuit of medical knowledge and the advancement of clinical science through experimentation and discovery. Both physicians will be inducted as AAP members at the organization's annual meeting in Chicago on April 22.

3/24/2017 Research Suggests a Possible Role for a Storm of "Jumping Genes" in ALS
By inserting an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked human gene called TDP-43 into fruit flies, researchers at Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discovered a potential role for 'transposons' in the disease. Transposons, which are also called 'jumping genes' because they jump from place to place within DNA, are virus-like entities that fill most of the spaces between genes in an organism. The new research demonstrates that these transposons are no longer effectively inhibited, resulting in a storm of jumping genes, leading to DNA damage accumulation and cell death. The research, published in the current issue of PLOS Genetics, may be a clue to the genetic processes of ALS and the idea that anti-transposon systems may collapse in individuals with ALS.

1/13/2017 Research Shows that Cell Division and Invasion are Separate Actions in Cancer Process
Hallmarks of cancer progression are uncontrolled proliferation (division) of cancer cells and invasive behavior, leading to the spread of tumor cells throughout the body. Now two Stony Brook University cell biologists, David Matus, PhD, and Benjamin Martin, PhD, have discovered that cell division and invasion are mutually exclusive behaviors. For this novel finding, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has awarded the researchers with the 2017 Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award and a two-year grant of $300,000, followed by another renewable grant of $300,000 for an additional two years to further advance their work.

12/8/2016 Bahl Center Will Transform Approach to Precision Cancer Medicine
Understanding the metabolism of cancer at its most complicated cellular levels is an essential approach to advance cancer research and patient outcomes. Add new imaging tools and technology that can map tumors with more precision than ever before and you have a new, one-of-a-kind translational research resource, soon to be located at the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Stony Brook University held a dedication ceremony for the official opening of the new program on December 1, in its first laboratory space in the Health Sciences tower.

12/6/2016 Study Reveals More Individuals May have "Masked" Hypertension than Thought
A new study shows that around the clock monitoring of blood pressure during daily activity revealed masked, or undetected, high blood pressure in a significant number of otherwise healthy adults who had normal readings in the clinic. The findings stem from data of 888 participants at Stony Brook University and Columbia University. Led by Joseph E. Schwartz, PhD, of Stony Brook University, the findings will be published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.