A way to inhibit inflammation of blood vessel linings

first_imgNormally, the lining of blood vessels, or endothelium, acts like Teflon when at rest, ignoring the many cells and other factors rushing by in the bloodstream.But in response to inflammatory signals, as well as other stimuli, endothelial cells change suddenly and dramatically — sending out beacons to attract inflammatory cells, changing their surface so those cells can stick to and enter tissues, and initiating a complex cascade of responses essential to fighting infection and dealing with injury.Unfortunately, these same endothelial responses also promote atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in arteries that cause heart attacks, strokes, and other inflammatory diseases.A study led by researchers at two Harvard affiliates, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is the first to demonstrate that BET bromodomain-containing proteins help execute inflammation in the endothelium while inhibition of BET bromodomain can significantly decrease atherosclerosis in vivo.The study was published online Sept. 25 in Molecular Cell.‘We have identified a set of compounds we developed initially for cancer that halt the progression of coronary disease.’ — James E. Bradner“By using tools that interrogate the entire genome, it has been exciting to uncover how inflammatory signals known to promote atherosclerosis employ BET bromodomain-containing proteins as an epigenetic means of directing entire programs of endothelial gene expression,” said co-corresponding senior author Jorge Plutzky of BWH Preventive Cardiology, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “BET bromodomain-containing proteins have been studied in cancer for some time, where they are in therapeutic trials, but now we have mechanistic evidence for how BETs and their inhibition can impact endothelial inflammation and atherosclerosis.”Looking at the epigenome of endothelial cells, researchers sought to get a better understanding of the inflammatory response responsible for the initiation of atherosclerosis by characterizing the dynamics, structure, and function of the elements that regulate the response. This work involved harnessing the expertise of different teams of researchers, including James E. Bradner of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who developed one of the first BET inhibitors.“This research demonstrates how environmental influences lead to dynamic changes in genome structure leading to disease states, here the inflammation associated with heart disease,” said Bradner, an associate professor of medicine at HMS. “Further, we have identified a set of compounds we developed initially for cancer that halt the progression of coronary disease. These unexpected findings exemplify the very best outcome of open, interdisciplinary science.”In preclinical models, the researchers found that activating NF-kB, a canonical mediator of inflammation, rapidly redistributed the BET protein known as BRD4 to chromosomal sites where super enhancers driving expression of nearby inflammatory genes are located. Bromodomains are amino acid regions that bind to specifically modified sites on histones, the proteins around which DNA is coiled. By binding to these amino acid regions, BET bromodomain inhibitors block the assembly of protein complexes that drive expression of certain genes. In these studies, inhibiting BET bromodomains turned off an inflammatory program in human endothelial cells, decreased white blood cells adhering to endothelial cells, and decreased atherosclerosis in mice.“By offering new perspectives on transcriptional programs in inflammation and atherosclerosis and how to identify previously unrecognized players in those responses, these studies can offer new therapeutic approaches for atherosclerosis and other inflammatory conditions,” said Plutzky. “It also shows what collaborative teams thinking about completely different disease states can uncover by working together.”last_img read more

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Philip Blackett tells teens what follows failure

first_imgWhat do you do when you fail?For Magnetic Interviewing founder and CEO Philip Blackett, the answer is captured in his motto, “Adapt & Flex.”Blackett, an M.B.A. candidate in Harvard Business School’s Class of 2016, crossed the river to meet with teens from the Cambridge Housing Authority’s Workforce Development Program. In a personal exchange with students on the Harvard campus, he shared an honest account of his journey to the Business School, offering moments of both laughter and silent reflection.The entrepreneur explained how resiliency and adaptability have been the cornerstones of his success. Blackett underscored the importance of agility in order to persevere despite unexpected obstacles — including, in his case, losing his first job and a failed first business.Teacher-counselor at Work Force, Ayesha Wilson (left), gathers with students at the John Harvard Statue. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“Failing at something, at some point in life, is inevitable,” he said “But often it is on the other side of a ‘failure’ that we find our greatest victories, be it personally, academically, or professionally.” The challenge, he said, is getting to the other sideBlackett’s speech served as a catalyst for the Work Force students who participated in a series of programs at Harvard designed to bolster career exploration and college awareness. It was at the close of their February break that the 32 students convened in Annenberg Hall, where some of them had attended Project Teach, an educational program that has been bringing students to Harvard for more than 20 years.After lunch, students made their way to one of three academic presentations they had chosen. Among the selections were an engineering presentation with Kathryn Hollar, director of educational outreach for Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; a look at history with Irvin Ibarguen, a Ph.D. candidate in history in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and an introduction to the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute with Harold Shawn, the archive’s program director.A keynote Address is given by Philip Blackett, who shared his personal and professional trajectory that led him to Harvard Business School and eventually becoming founder of Magnetic Interviewing. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerFollowing the presentations, students filled the lecture hall, quickly finding friends with whom to share their takeaways. A few showed the magic sand from the engineering discussion, while others showed off the graffiti stickers they’d received at the Hiphop Archive.In reviewing his day, Jeffte Bellevae, a freshman at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, reflected on Blackett’s keynote, which inspired Bellevae to reconsider how he viewed success. “Though there are different roads to success, you still need the same skills of hard work and dedication to get there,” he concluded.A panel discussion, led by Harvard staff and students from Harvard College and the Graduate School of Education, underscored how positivity, resiliency, flexibility, and learning from others have been central themes in helping them shape their academic and professional experiences.As Blackett had noted at the onset of the day, failure is often unavoidable. But by the end, the students were once again reminded that victories may also be waiting for them on the other side.last_img read more

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The Hub’ sparks academic dialogue

first_imgNotre Dame students recently launched the Hub, a new online academic networking site created to facilitate intellectual discussion across various disciplines. The Hub is completely user-generated, depending on contributions from Notre Dame students, faculty and staff. The site consists of three main areas: “Commons,” which is a place for users to share personal experiences and get involved, “Think Tank,” which acts a platform for discussion on local, national and global issues and “Showcase,” which allows users to post some of their best research or artwork. Notre Dame is one of the first universities in the country to support such a site, Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Kirsten Adam and Paul Baranay, both juniors, said. Adam and Baranay said with the Hub, they hope to redirect some of the energy that students exhibit on the Internet to a more professional, intellectual arena. “Students are already used to talking about their lives online with social networking. Moving that into a Notre Dame-focused place like the Hub is a … natural direction,” Baranay said. Adam said that unlike Facebook and Twitter profiles, which are generally hidden from employers, profiles on the Hub are something students should put forward. “It’s a very professional environment. It’s something you tell [future employers] about, not that you try to hide,” Adam said. “You can update your profile to be a mini resume online — it becomes a living document.” Adam said the Hub is also about getting advice from others in the Notre Dame community and addressing communication issues between students in different colleges. “It’s been a really interdisciplinary project,” she said. “We’re sponsored by CUSE, and pulling in money from [various] academic departments.” Baranay said other universities have networking sites similar to the Hub, but theirs are based on more of a social model. The Hub’s focus is much more academic. “CUNY [The City University of New York] has a site called the CUNY Commons, which is not as specific as the Hub,” he said. “In terms of prestigious universities, Notre Dame is the first one pushing towards this [kind of thing].” Adam and Baranay began actively working on the Hub last May. They met with senior Cristin O’Connor over the summer, who was developing the site’s layout and design. “In terms of the architecture — that was mostly done by OIT-affiliated students,” Baranay said. Baranay said former professor of Anthropology Daniel Lende originally came up with the idea for blogs spotlighting research and academic engagements at Notre Dame. Lende then contacted Cecilia Lucero, assistant director of Undergraduate Research in the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). Lucero got in touch with Adam and Baranay, who have been working on the project ever since. Lucero is the current advisor for the Hub. “We have a big mix of people on the editorial team,” Baranay said. “Everyone has different interests, which is [what we wanted].” Besides Adam, Baranay and Lucero, the Hub team includes freshman Chris Moore, sophomore Eric Huang, juniors Rosie Conover and Amanda Jonovski, and seniors Annette Ruth, Cristin O’Connor and Dan Jacobs, who is also the photo editor at The Observer. The Hub itself is public, but in order to post entries or comments, a Notre Dame ID is required. Barany said right now they are focusing on reaching out to undergraduates, faculty and staff but including alumni is a long-term goal. “We’ve had a really positive response,” Adam said. “It’s a new way to engage in the discussions we’re already engaging in, but in a more public way.” Baranay agreed. “The Hub is about pushing yourself beyond what your familiar with, doing something more,” he said. A launch party will take place today from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center. Free Jimmy John’s sandwiches, T-shirts and books will be provided. Check out the newly launched website at thehub.nd.edulast_img read more

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Sole ESL minor reflects on learning experiences

first_imgThe junior class at Saint Mary’s has a small number of students that are pursuing Elementary Education majors. However, out of all those students, Mary Stechschulte, is the only one who chose to also participate in English as a Second Language as her required minor.All Elementary Education majors are required to minor in something, but English as a Second Language is one of the four minors that provide students licensure to teach in Indiana upon completion. The other three are Mild Intervention, Reading and Early Childhood.“I studied French for 13 years, Spanish for two years and I dabbled into a very small amount of Arabic,” Stechschulte said. “The whole point of the minor is that I do not know how to speak any other language fluently.”Stechschulte originally started off as an Elementary Education major with minors in Spanish and history.“Spanish did not really fit into my schedule freshman year,” Stechschulte said. “They never really told us about the English as a Second Language, but I asked the right questions and found out about it.”Stechschulte said the minor focuses on helping train students in the context of classrooms whose first languages are not English.“It teaches how to reach students on different levels while still being respectful,” Stechschulte said. “It is all about cultural competence and making students feel welcome while still helping them learn important techniques.”Saint Mary’s professor Susan Devetski, who started teaching in the College’s education department last semester, said students learn how to teach children and how to embrace diversity in the classroom through this program.“The English learners at elementary and high school are from diverse backgrounds and speak a variety of languages, so teachers need not speak their language, but rather be open and willing to learn to teach English,” Devetski said.This minor not only allows individuals opportunities to learn in a classroom setting, but also to have real life experiences in local schools.“I have a new placement every semester at different schools,” Stechschulte said. “In this past fall semester, I was placed in a school that was mainly composed of Spanish-speaking children, while this semester there is more diversity in the school I am placed at.”Devetski teaches two courses and supervises English as a Second Language students while they work in the field.“Field experience is a strong part of the program,” Devetski said. “Students attend cultural experiences on and off campus to expand their own thinking and understanding.”In the United States, Devetski said, there is a very high need for teachers who are trained and certified in ESL, as the number of English learners continues to grow in elementary, middle and high schools.“The minor is excellent for education majors, and others interested should contact advisors to see if it is possible,” Devetski said.Tags: education, English as a second language, saint mary’s, Susan Devetskilast_img read more

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Vermont Communities in a Digital Age’ event February 16

first_imgThe e-Vermont Community Broadband Project is working across Vermont to help communities solve local issues with 21st century tools. On February 16 e-Vermont will host Vermont Communities in a Digital Age to highlight some of the projects taking place and bring leaders and learners together to share what they have discovered so far. Topics include mobilizing community resources during emergencies, a hands-on lab about digital tools for business, a showcase of how technology is expanding the classroom for 4-6th graders, and a preview of how town meetings can reach a wider audience. The all-day workshop takes place at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center.‘‘High speed Internet is the critical resource of the 21st century for business, education, community building, good governance and communicating with friends and family. It touches on all parts of our lives,’ says e-Vermont Project Director Helen Labun Jordan. ‘But making the best use of this resource takes the kind of creative thinking we’ll be sharing on February 16.’ Labun Jordan notes that this workshop is for people who are comfortable with computers and focused on applying those skills to larger community goals, not on learning basic skills. Anne Galloway is the keynote speaker. Anne is an award-winning journalist and founder/editor of VTDigger.org, a statewide news website dedicated to coverage of Vermont politics, consumer affairs, business and public policy.Registration is only $20 and includes course offerings, refreshments and lunch. For a complete schedule and to pre-register online visit the e-Vermont website at www.e4vt.org(link is external), call 802-859-3090, or e-mail [email protected](link sends e-mail). Follow e-Vermont on Facebook (e-Vermont) and Twitter (@eVermont).e-Vermont partner The Snelling Center for Government is the lead organizer for Vermont Communities in a Digital Age.‘The whole day will offer participants new ideas about how digital tools can be used to create jobs, reinvent schools, attract visitors, improve civic involvement, and enliven Vermont communities,’ stated conference coordinator Joanna Cummings. ‘We hope that hearing directly from some of our communities about their projects will inspire other towns to adapt these tools for their unique needs.’The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project is led by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and is made up of the Vermont State Colleges, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Small Business Development Center, the Snelling Center for Government, Front Porch Forum, Digital Wish, Evslin Family Foundation and Vermont Community Foundation.e-Vermont is supported by a $2.5 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additional support comes from the Evslin Family Foundation, Vermont Community Foundation, the Jan and David Blittersdorf Foundation, UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, the Vermont Rural Partnership and by donated services and equipment from Dell, Microsoft, and Comcast.last_img read more

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The Colombian Navy Shares Lessons with Honduras

first_imgBy Kay Valle/Diálogo January 06, 2019 Units of the Honduran Naval Force benefited from a three-month training course from two Colombian Navy officers. Lieutenant Andrés Bayona Parra and Colombian Marine Corps First Sergeant Jorge Mario Valencia Taborda shared their knowledge with Honduran students at the Naval Training Center (CAN, in Spanish) of the Puerto Castilla Naval Base, in the Bay of Trujillo, Honduras, September 11-December 7, 2018. The training, carried out as part of the Maritime Cooperation Agreement between Colombia and Honduras, seeks to increase Honduran service members’ capabilities in riverine and maritime operations. The courses also strengthened the bonds of friendship between both institutions. The objective is to “train officers, noncommissioned officers, and troops in planning, conducting, and executing special operations,” Honduran Naval Force Lieutenant Alfonzo Bonilla García, director of CAN, told Diálogo. “[It’s] to raise their professional levels in the tactical and technical fields, in leading special troops, while using the art and science of combat.” Intensive courses More than 200 students—officers and noncommissioned officers—took part in the training on topics such as intelligence, command, and sea and land operations. The training was divided into five theoretical and practical courses and one seminar, with almost 200 hours in total. The Honduran units developed naval intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities, seeking to learn the processes for search, analysis, and information dissemination. The course also helped identify strategic, operational, and tactical levels in naval operations throughout the country. The Marine Platoons course sought to help officers verify their troops’ training and capabilities to conduct naval operations. According to Lt. Bayona, students learned to consider factors such as mission, enemy, time, terrain, available troops, operational environment, and civil population. The objective, he told Diálogo, was to “carry out good planning and thereby complete the mission assigned by the leadership.” The Urban Operations course taught the necessary tactics to operate in densely populated areas with obstacles, such as homes, businesses, or vehicles, and identify the required courses of action while taking people’s safety into account. Another course focused on jungle operations, where Honduran officers learned to develop offensive and defensive procedures against the enemy. With the knowledge shared, the officers “can counter all those national and transnational threats, such as narcotrafficking, migrant trafficking, human trafficking, arms trafficking, and smuggling, among others,” said Lt. Bayona. “[They can also fight] the [networks] that use maritime, riverine, and coastal areas for transport. These areas are the Naval Force’s responsibility, and the networks affect the country’s maritime interests.” Empowering the Naval Force According to Honduran Naval Force Captain José Domingo Meza, director of the Honduran Armed Forces’ Public Affairs, the Colombian Navy training improves the preparation of the Naval Force. “Colombia has extensive experience in lake, land, and riverine environments, so receiving training from their experts will strengthen the [Honduran] Armed Forces considerably.” Colombia’s support helps promote information exchange between the two nations, Capt. Meza added. Likewise, he said, the support strengthens binational relations to confront narcotrafficking and related crimes in the region together. Lt. Bayona stressed the good disposition of the Honduran service members. “They are young, intelligent, and disciplined, eager to be better day by day,” he said. “[They have] innovative ideas to maintain and improve the Honduran Naval Force to project a naval power that can protect and guarantee the country’s maritime, riverine, and coastal interests.” This is the second time the Colombian Navy teaches the same set of courses to Honduran officers. CAN received Colombian instructors in 2016 for the first time. For 2019, CAN requested a few courses, basic and advanced, in riverine operations and riverine gunner training, among others, that will be taught at the Colombian Marine Corps’ School of Riverine Combat. “Scenarios are different [in Colombia],” Lt. Bonilla said. “That’s why I recommended that we get certified as instructors to create a course that would adapt to logistics means, scenarios, and types of conflict occurring here.”last_img read more

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Running The Long Island Marathon? Send Us Your Stories!

first_img * indicates required field Email:* If submitting a video, please supply link (YouTube, Vimeo only please) If submitting a photo with write up, please upload the photo here (.jpg only) First Name:* Last Name:* Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York If submitting a photo with write-up, please enter the write-up here (max: 150 words) With the Long Island Marathon quickly approaching, we’ve begun to hear from runners getting ready to honor others while running in the May 5th event. Countless charities are always represented at these events, as well as personal, and often touching tributes.We want to hear about yours!We’re inviting Long Islanders who plan to run in this year’s Long Island Marathon to record a video telling us, and fellow Long Islanders, who you are running for, and why. We think it’s a great way to help spread these heartwarming stories of support and tribute. Video shy? We’ll also accept photos with a brief write up about the person or cause you plan to represent. Simply fill out the form below and we’ll put your photo/video proudly on display! Submit your videos or pictures telling us, and the world, who you’re running for in this year’s Long Island Marathon! Acceptable file types: jpg,jpeg.Maximum file size: 4mb.last_img read more

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A credit union star is born with Constellation launch

first_img 68SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr North Carolina-based Coastal Federal Credit Union and eight partners have unveiled Constellation Digital Partners – an organisation offering the “first and only” suite of digital financial services dedicated solely to credit unions.The creation of the firm and its platform is the result of a three-year long R&D effort, which culminated in the filing of a patent in November 2015. Now, Constellation is building out its cloud-based marketplace and platform that will allow credit unions and members to “choose which services to use inside of a secure banking experience”.Kristopher Kovacs, Constellation’s founder and Coastal Federal CU’s chief information officer, says “despite a recent boom of potential financial technology partners, credit unions cannot access them because of the legacy structure of credit union relationships with current digital banking providers”.To date, Coastal Federal CU and eight others, spanning the US and totalling $12 billion in assets, have committed to investing in the platform. continue reading »last_img read more

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Four AI applications credit unions must implement now

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr While a few industry leaders do get it, many discussions around artificial intelligence (AI) in banking shows that the industry at large still views AI in very abstract terms. While banks seem to be thinking about AI more and more, there still seems to be a consistent struggle in understanding when or where to apply this analytic tool. This struggle often leads to hesitation to actually testing and implementing the benefits of AI at financial institutions.Theory and speculation have surrounded AI for decades, from the idea that machines will eventually “take over the world,” to now seeing early applications via self-driving vehicles and virtual personal assistants. Contrary to what many people believe, AI replacing professionals in the banking industry anytime soon is unlikely. Its real value is in augmentation – to replicate human-like behaviors or tasks, not people at a more rapid rate, leading to new advancements and discoveries.Developments around AI could not have come at a better time. Advanced analytics is growing rapidly, which inherently benefits AI, though business intelligence doesn’t go far enough. Banks have had data for a while, and have reported on that data for years, but with today’s data being so significant in size, much of it is going unused. Additionally, if financial institutions have made the substantial investment to normalize the data so it can be used, it’s often cumbersome to even get it into a format that’s valuable to the business. continue reading »last_img read more

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The mortgage market needs a plumber…fast!

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When you own a house, most hope that they never have to know too much about the intricacy of the home’s plumbing system. Odds are, if there’s a plumber at your home telling you about how your waste line connects to the public sewage system, it’s not a good thing. The financial system has a lot of plumbing that, like the plumbing in your house, if you hear about it, there’s a big problem. Currently the Fed, through different financing facilities, is plugging a lot of leaks and cracks in the system caused by COVID-19. Most of the solutions are from the 2008-2009 playbook. However, there’s a huge “plumbing problem” in the mortgage market that so far has not been addressed in full.The last crisis was centered on mortgages that were underwritten to fail. The latest crisis has to do with the ability to service perfectly good mortgages sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae that have been packaged into the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities (“Agency MBS”). Any payment disruption to the $11.5 trillion Agency MBS market caused by the failure to service would be catastrophic on a global scale. Since we are all full-up on catastrophic right now, another event—especially one that can be avoided—is “unwelcome.”Mortgage lenders who are approved “seller-servicers” for Fannie, Freddie, and Ginnie are paid a monthly fee to collect principal and interest (P&I), hazard insurance, and local real estate taxes from mortgagees. They remit the P&I to the appropriate agency, who in turn passes the P&I to bondholders. The taxes and insurance portion of the borrower’s monthly payment is put into escrow with the servicers responsible for making sure the insurance and taxes are paid. In many cases, the mortgage lenders service their own production.last_img read more

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