Skip navigation

11/14/2014 - Data is useless. Data is a myth. Data is among the most powerful tools for growth organizations have at their disposal today.


A group of Kellogg School professors and prominent alumni discussed the growing field of data analytics, focusing often on the gulf between what managers think data does and what it actually can do.


Professor Florian Zettelmeyer led the discussion with Facebook CMO Gary Briggs '89, Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia '97, Norwest Venture Partners Senior Managing Partner Promod Haque '83 and Professor Brian Uzzi


Professor Florian Zettelmeyer on the myth of analytics




Facebook CMO Gary Briggs '89 on storytelling

Norwest Venture Partners' Promod Haque '83 on the future of analytics

Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia '97 on how to make data a tool

Professor Brian Uzzi on marrying marketing and data

Below is a list of the scheduled of challenges and giveaways for #CATSGiveBack on Dec. 2, 2014.


For a full recap of the event, visit the #CATSGiveBack Recap and Thank You post.>>


Follow along on social media and the web to find out more about the various giveaways and incentives:


For more information and to make a gift today, visit the #CATSGiveBack website.>>


Time (CST)                         Challenges and Giveaways
7 a.m.

Official Launch of #CATSGiveBack

Announcement of $50,000 Challenge

8 a.m.Class of 2013 $5,000 Challenge
9 a.m.

Announcement of $10,000 gift to library

Tell us why you love the library.

Reunion Weekend Tailgate Ticket Giveaway begins, runs until 9 p.m.*

*One pair of tickets awarded per Reunion class

Winner: Kerry Shannon '10

Winner: Britten LaRue '00

Winner: Helen Claire McMahon '55

10 a.m.

The Daily Hour: Videos from Mike Wilbon, Christine Brennan, J.A. Adande, and more!

Special Giveaway -- Two free tickets to view a live taping of ESPN's Emmy-award winning show, Pardon the Interruption (PTI)!

Winner: Sarah Legge '06

11 a.m.

Coach Fitz Happy Birthday Hour: Coach Fitz Signed Football Giveaway

Make a gift in honor of NU Athletics and Fitz.

Post a selfie wishing Fitz a happy birthday.

Tweet at Fitz.

Winner: Elizabeth Jimenez '00

12 p.m.

Music and Arts Hour: New Music and Communications Building Hard-Hat Tour Giveaway

Winner: Jade Lambert Routson '06 JD

1 p.m.

Class of 2013 $5,000 Challenge continues

Young Alumni Ski Trip Giveaway begins, runs until 9 p.m.


Winner: Catherine Merlo '13

2 p.m.

Coach Collins call to action video with special surprise!

Basketball Ticket Giveaway: Four Courtside Tickets to the NU/Western Michigan Game at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Winner: Diane Hanlon '64, '99

4 p.m.

Mark Ratner Chemistry Lab Tour Giveaway

Winner: PJ Grealish '06

5 p.m.

Regional Campaign Committee Member Challenge

Special Giveaway -- Gator Bowl Football Signed by Coach Fitz and the Mississippi State Head Coach

Winner: Sarah Thomas Pagels '00, '06 JD

7 p.m.Waa-Mu Ticket Giveaway
8 p.m.Last Hour: Home stretch of #CATSGiveBack on #GivingTuesday
9 p.m.Announcement of the end of #CATSGiveBack

men's soccer.jpeg

Northwestern men’s soccer team will take on SIU-Edwardsville at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Lakeside Field on the Evanston campus in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.

The Wildcats, one of 24 at-large selections for the tournament, are in the postseason for the ninth time under head coach Tim Lenahan.

The winner of the opening round matchup will advance to take on 15th-seeded California on Nov. 23 in Berkeley.

The Wildcats finished just one point away from a Big Ten regular-season championship this year, posting a 4-1-3 record in the conference. Northwestern was 9-3-6 overall and a sterling 7-0-2 at Lakeside Field.

In addition to Northwestern, five other Big Ten teams Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State earned berths in the tournament, tying a conference record set in 2004.

For more coverage of Northwestern men's soccer, visit

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University scientists Keith A. Brown and Xing Liao have been selected as graduate finalists in the 2014 Collegiate Inventors Competition for their work on the invention of the desktop nanoprinter. They are one of seven teams in this year’s competition.


Brown and Liao both are members of the lab of Chad A. Mirkin. Brown is a postdoctoral fellow, and Liao is a doctoral student in materials science and engineering. Mirkin also is being recognized by the Collegiate Inventors Competition as their advisor and co-inventor.

89.jpgMirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering. As technologies like computer chips get smaller and smaller, the ability to quickly make tiny structures is increasingly important. The desktop nanoprinter provides a tool for scientists and engineers to create nano-prototypes with the touch of a button. The nanoprinter uses thousands of tiny, independently controlled beams of light directed down microscopic pyramids and through nanoscopic apertures at their tips to write nano-scale features over macroscopic areas.

The tool can be used to rapidly and inexpensively print materials that are important to many fields and industries, including electronics, optics, catalysis and the life sciences. Brown, Liao and other graduate and undergraduate finalists traveled to Alexandria, Virginia, to present their inventions Nov. 17 to a panel of final round judges comprised of influential invention experts and inventors: National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office experts and AbbVie scientists.


Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is one of the leading programs in the country encouraging invention and creativity in undergraduate and graduate students.


See more in Northwestern News.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Metastasis is bad news for cancer patients. Northwestern University scientists now have demonstrated a simple but powerful tool that can detect live cancer cells in the bloodstream, potentially long before the cells could settle somewhere in the body and form a dangerous tumor.


The NanoFlare technology is the first genetic-based approach that is able to detect live circulating tumor cells out of the complex matrix that is human blood -- no easy feat. In a breast cancer study, the NanoFlares easily entered cells and lit up the cell if a biomarker target was present, even if only a trace amount. The NanoFlares are tiny spherical nucleic acids with gold nanoparticle cores outfitted with single-stranded DNA “flares.”


“This technology has the potential to profoundly change the way breast cancer in particular and cancers in general are both studied and treated,” said Chad A. Mirkin, a nanomedicine expert and a corresponding author of the study.


Mirkin’s colleagues Dr. C. Shad Thaxton and Dr. Chonghui Cheng, both of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, are also corresponding authors.


The research team, in a paper published the week of Nov. 17 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reported two key innovations:


  • The ability to track tumor cells in the bloodstream based on genetic content located within the cell itself, as opposed to using proteins located on the cell’s surface (current technology)


  • The ability to collect the cells in live form, so they may be studied and used to inform researchers and clinicians as to how to treat a disease -- an important step toward personalized medicine



“Cancers are very genetically diverse, and it’s important to know what cancer subtype a patient has,” Mirkin said. “Now you can think about collecting a patient’s cells and studying how those cells respond to different therapies. The way a patient responds to treatment depends on the genetic makeup of the cancer.”


Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering.


A NanoFlare is designed to recognize a specific genetic code snippet associated with a cancer. The core nanoparticle, only 13 nanometers in diameter, enters cells, and the NanoFlare seeks its target. If the genetic target is present in the cell, the NanoFlare binds to it and the reporter “flare” is released to produce a fluorescent signal. The researchers then can isolate those cells.


“The NanoFlare turns on a light in the cancer cells you are looking for,” said Thaxton, an assistant professor of urology at Feinberg. “That the NanoFlares are effective in the complex matrix of human blood is a great technical advance. We can find small numbers of cancer cells in blood, which really is like searching for a needle in a haystack.”


Once they identified the cancer cells, the researchers were able to separate them from normal cells. This ability to isolate, culture and grow the cancer cells will allow researchers to zero in on the cancer cells that matter to the health of the patient. Most circulating tumor cells may not metastasize, and analysis of the cancer cells could identify those that will.


“This could lead to personalized therapy where we can look at how an individual’s cells respond to different therapeutic cocktails,” said Mirkin, whose lab developed NanoFlares in 2007.


In the study, the genetic targets were messenger RNA (mRNA) that code for certain proteins known to be biomarkers for aggressive breast cancer cells.


The research team first used the blood of healthy individuals, spiking some of the blood with living breast cancer cells to see if the NanoFlares could detect them. (Unspiked blood was used as a control.)


Cheng, an assistant professor of medicine in hematology/oncology at Feinberg, provided the cell lines and NanoFlare targets the researchers used to model blood samples taken from breast cancer patients.


The research team tested four different NanoFlares, each with a different genetic target relevant to breast cancer metastasis. The technology successfully detected the cancer cells with less than 1 percent incidence of false-negative results.


Currently, in another study, the researchers are focused on detecting circulating tumor cells in the blood of patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer.


“When it comes to detecting and treating cancer, the mantra is the earlier, the better,” Thaxton said. “This technology may enable us to better detect circulating cancer cells and provides another tool to add to the toolkit of cancer diagnosis.


Mirkin, Thaxton and Cheng are members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


The National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute supported the research.


The title of the paper is “NanoFlares for the detection, isolation, and culture of live tumor cells from human blood.”


In addition to Mirkin, Thaxton and Cheng, other authors of the paper are Tiffany L. Halo (co-first author), Kaylin M. McMahon (co-first author), Nicholas L. Angeloni, Yilin Xu, Wei Wang and Alyssa B. Chinen, all from Northwestern University, and Vincent L. Cryns, Dmitry Malin and Elena Strekalova, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


See original story: Northwestern News

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University will hold a public memorial service for alumnus James Foley, a committed journalist who devoted his life to exposing the turmoil and suffering of those living in dangerous, war-ravaged countries.


Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, and his grandmother, Olga Wright, plan to attend the memorial, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. in Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.


The service is being planned by University Chaplain Rev. Timothy Stevens, Fr. Kevin Feeney, chaplain and director of Northwestern’s Sheil Catholic Center and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.


"This event provides an opportunity for Medill and Northwestern and the larger community to gather in reflection about Jim's life," said Medill Dean Bradley Hamm. “We are honored that his relatives will join us."


Foley, who earned his master’s degree from Medill in 2008, was killed on Aug. 19 by extremists in the Middle East after being held hostage and imprisoned for nearly two years. He was captured while reporting for the international news service GlobalPost and other agencies in November of 2012 in Syria near the border of Turkey.


Born in Evanston and raised in New Hampshire, Foley worked as a teacher after graduating from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also studied writing and received a master’s in fine arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Turning to journalism in his 30s, Foley came to Medill to pursue his master’s in journalism.



From the moment Foley arrived at Medill’s Washington program, it was clear he wanted to be a war correspondent, said one of his former teachers, Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor at Medill and interim director of Medill’s Washington program.


“He focused on national security because he wanted to tell the stories of the people those policies affect -- service members, the people of the countries we send troops to and Americans who foot the bill,” said Shearer, who will speak at Foley’s memorial.


Foley’s 2012 disappearance marked the second time he had been kidnapped. The previous year, he had been captured in Libya and held for 44 days in a Libyan prison. Just two weeks after his release, Foley visited Medill and spoke to students about his experiences in captivity and his previous reporting in Afghanistan.


“Every day I want to go back,” he told the students. “I’m drawn to the front lines.”


Foley is remembered by friends, family and colleagues as a fearless journalist who made friends easily and cared deeply about those marginalized by society. While studying at Northwestern, Foley worked as a language arts teacher at the Cook County’s sheriff’s boot camp, an alternative to prison.


“There was infinitely more to Jim Foley than we at Medill were privileged to share when he was a student or when he returned regularly by Skype or in person to brief students on the perils and personal calling of reporting on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria,” said Medill professor Jack Doppelt, one of Foley’s professors.


“When I think about Jim, I think about what it means to care intensely about understanding people and bringing that understanding to others,” he said.

Since his death, Foley’s life has been commemorated with a mural in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood where he had once lived. The image depicts one of his last days working in Syria in 2012. His family has created the James Foley Legacy Fund to support issues he cared deeply about.


Several other services have already been held. Last month, more than 1,000 people filled a New Hampshire church to remember Foley on what would have been his 41st birthday.


At Northwestern, a reception will be held immediately following the service at Parkes Hall, 1870 Sheridan Road, which is part of the Millar religious center. Food and beverages will be served. Both the memorial and the reception are open to the public.


Read the original story in Northwestern News.

Northwestern's men's basketball team is off to a 2-0 start after topping Houston Baptist on Nov. 14 in the home opener at Welsh-Ryan Arena and beating Olah_bball.jpegBrown in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 17 in the team's first road game of the season.

Next up for the Wildcats this month are matchups against North Florida and Elon in Evanston, followed by games against Miami of Ohio and either Virginia Tech or Northern Iowa in the Cancun Challenge tournament in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

To see the team's complete schedule, buy tickets for upcoming games or watch video highlights, visit

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

Photo caption: Northwestern's Alex Olah defends against Houston Baptist's Anthony Odunsi during the Wildcats' 65-58 win Nov. 14 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. (Photo credit: Stephen J. Carrera)

A report containing a series of recommendations by Northwestern’s Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force was released Nov. 17. The report of the Task Force is available online as a PDF.


The recommendations include those made in response to an earlier report by the John Evans Study Committee and additional recommendations from the Task Force.

“While our work initially stemmed from that of the Study Committee, we also were informed significantly by additional conversations with members of the Native American community, both those on our Task Force and others,” said Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the Task Force. “We valued that input very much.”

The Task Force was established last year to recommend strategies to strengthen Northwestern’s relationship with Native American communities through recruitment efforts, academic programs and campus support services. The Task Force work included:

  • Reviewing the John Evans Study Committee Report and meeting with two of the authors.
  • Discussing Native American studies programs and support services for 
Native American students with representatives of other universities.
  • Collecting and evaluating benchmarking information concerning peer institutions’ practices in recruiting Native American students.
  • Interviewing members of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ho-Chunk and Menominee tribes.
  • Participating in a town hall meeting sponsored by the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative at the American Indian Center.


“We would like to thank the members of the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force for their dedicated service to the work of the Task Force. Our discussions were often spirited, but always cordial, and we appreciate the thoughtful contributions of the members of the Northwestern and Native American communities who participated in those discussions,” said Phil Harris, a vice-chair of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Task Force.

Members of the Task Force were:

  • Mallory Black, graduate student, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications (Navajo)
  • Lesley-Ann Brown, director of campus inclusion and community, Division of Student Affairs
  • Forrest Bruce, undergraduate student, School of Education and Social Policy, and copresident of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (Ojibwa)
  • Onis Cheathams, associate director of admissions, Office of Undergraduate Admission
  • Mark Cleveland, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences alumnus (Cherokee descent)

  • Dona Cordero, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion, Office of the Provost
  • Loren Ghiglione, professor of journalism and former dean, Medill School
  • Phil Harris, University trustee and Weinberg College alumnus, Task Force cochair
  • Sean Harte, Weinberg College alumnus (Menominee)

  • Bethany Hughes, graduate student, School of Communication (Choctaw)
  • Carol Lee, professor of education, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Sarah Mangelsdorf, dean and professor, Weinberg College

  • Ananda Marin, postdoctoral fellow in psychology, Weinberg College, and alumna, School of Education and Social Policy (African-American, Choctaw, European American descent)
  • Doug Medin, professor of psychology, Weinberg College, and professor of education, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Heather Menefee, undergraduate student, Weinberg College, and former copresident of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance
  • Peter Powell, founder and spiritual director of St. Augustine’s Center for American Indians, Chicago (honorary Cheyenne chief)
  • Mark Sheldon, assistant dean and distinguished senior lecturer in philosophy, Weinberg College
  • Pamala Silas, executive director of the Native American Journalists Association and former CEO of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (Menominee)
  • Sarah Taylor, associate professor of religious studies, Weinberg College
  • Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, Task Force co-chair
  • Amy West, assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago (Southern Cheyenne, European American descent)


The recommendations now will be sent to Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Provost Daniel Linzer.

“I look forward to reviewing the report with the provost,” President Schapiro said. “I know the recommendations will receive thoughtful consideration, and I, too, thank the members of the Task Force for their good work on this report.”

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

For more from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

A Night with Northwestern in DC: The Fight for Capitol Hill

Two nights after America went to the polls in November, the Northwestern Alumni Association hosted A Night with Northwestern in DC: The Fight for Capitol Hill, a panel discussion featuring six political journalists who graduated from Northwestern. Nearly 300 Wildcats attended the sold-out event at the National Press Club to gain an insider's perspective on the midterm elections and their potential effects on Washington politics. For more more information about the event, see the full recap in Our Northwestern.

Upcoming NAA events

Follow the links below to register for upcoming Northwestern Alumni Association events on campus and across the country.


Note: Career development webinars will be held weekly starting in January 2015. Find a topic that suits your needs at

For more from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.


Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA)formerly University Career Serviceshas a new name that reflects its focus on helping Northwestern students through the career advancement process in a personal and optimal way.


Along with its new name, this month NCA unveiled a redesigned website with improved functionality and fresh, industry- and school-specific content. Visit and follow @NUCareerAdvance on Twitter to learn more.

Northwestern alumni interested in helping fellow Wildcats with their career advancement can support NCA and Northwestern students in a variety of ways, whether it’s discussing career paths with a student during an informational interview or arranging for a student to shadow alumni for a day at their place of employment. Here are just a few opportunities:



  • Join the Northwestern Career Advancement LinkedIn Group. Students are encouraged to join the group as a way to explore careers and connect with Northwestern professionals. With more than 6,000 group members, you can share career resources virtually.





  • Participate in the Northwestern Externship (NEXT) Program. NCA partners with the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) to host a one-day shadowing program that offers current Northwestern students the opportunity to accompany alumni on the job to learn more about different professional fields.
  • Return to campus for mock interviews. NCA partners with the NAA to host mock interviewing events to prepare students for behavioral-based interviewing in all fields.
  • Tweet at NCA's job/internship-focused Twitter account @JobsForCats about full-time, part-time and internship positions within your company.
  • Blog for NCA's Employer Spotlight Blog Series. This series showcases the career experience and advice of alumni and gives current Northwestern students an idea of what it’s like to work in an industry or organization of their interest.


  • Hire Northwestern talent by creating internship opportunities.
  • Connect NCA with your University Relations or Recruiting Team and bring ‘Cats into your company.


Are you interested in one of the engagement opportunities listed above, or do you have another idea of how you can give back? Talk with NCA today so its staff can connect your strengths and relationships with the Northwestern community. Contact Katie Farrington, Internship Specialist at Northwestern Career Advancement, with any questions at


Visit the Northwestern News Center to listen to an audio interview about NCA with Mark Presnell, NCA executive director, and Alice Harra, NCA director of employer recruiting and engagement.


For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

Winograd (2).jpg

Bruce Winograd '65, '66 MBA (seated at head of table) and his wife, Deety (standing), hosted a dinner at their home in suburban Chicago last month.

Dinner with 12 Strangers, an annual program in which Northwestern alumni host a dozen current students for dinner at their homes, continues to grow in popularity.


Last month, a record 105 people hosted 50 dinners for 375 students. Two dinners were held for the first time on Northwestern's campus in Qatar, while the rest were hosted by alumni in the Chicago area.


From Feb. 27 to March 1, alumni will be able to host dinners for students interested in careers in specific industries, marking the second consecutive year that industry-specific dinners have been held.


The program, which began in 2005, allows alumni to host a diverse group of about a dozen students, faculty and trustees for dinner at their home or a restaurant. In addition to getting a tasty meal, students get to mingle in an informal setting with professors and alumni while catching a glimpse of life after graduation.


Alumni interested in hosting an industry-specific dinner between Feb. 27 and March 1 can register at


Alumni interested in hosting a general dinner in October or November 2015 should send an email to


For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

After winning the first Big Ten title in program history earlier this month, Northwestern's field hockey team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament after losing to Duke on Nov. 15 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats lost 2-1 to the ninth-ranked Blue Devils, finishing the season with a 16-7 record. Northwestern won the Big Ten title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 win over Maryland on Nov. 9.

This year's NCAA tournament berth was the 13th in Northwestern field hockey history. The Wildcats competed in the NCAA tournament each year from 1982 to 1994, with the exception of 1992.


field hockey game photo.jpeg

Junior Lisa McCarthy during Northwestern's loss to Duke in the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

For more coverage of Northwestern field hockey, visit


For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

College football fans who waited 19 years for Northwestern to play Notre Dame saw an entertaining, back-and-forth game Nov. 15 that ended with a Wildcat win in overtime at Notre Dame Stadium.


After battling all afternoon, the Wildcats fell behind the 15th-ranked Irish by 11 late in the fourth quarter, but kicker Jack Mitchell capped a furious comeback with a 45-yard field goal that tied the game with 25 seconds left to play. In overtime, Mitchell hit a 41-yard field goalhis fourth of the gameto give Northwestern a stunning 43-40 victory.

Check out photos from Wildcats across the country. And log comment below to tell us where you watched the game.

The win, Northwestern’s fifth-ever at Notre Dame Stadium, is the team’s second this season over a ranked opponent after the Wildcats defeated No. 17 Wisconsin at Ryan Field on Oct. 4.

The Wildcats are now preparing for their final road game of the regular season, a matchup against Purdue at 11 a.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 22, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. The game will be broadcast nationwide on ESPNU.

Relive Northwestern's wild victory with a Storify social media recap of the game and photos from South Bend.

To read a full recap of the game, and for more coverage of Northwestern football, visit

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) is announcing a $3 million Infrastructure Initiative to promote investment in high-impact, next-generation scientific equipment at its member universities. The initiative aims to make modern and powerful tools available to the CBC research community at a time when federal grants for scientific infrastructure are scarce.


The CBC is a partnership between Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and is designed to stimulate research collaboration in Chicago.


As part of the Infrastructure Initiative, Northwestern will acquire an electron detector that is a super-resolution camera -- the first of its kind in the Midwest -- for the University’s $5 million cryo-electron microscope core facility for the study of biological specimens. The facility, which is available to Northwestern’s CBC partners, allows researchers to peer inside of a molecule to see what makes it work.


cryoem (1).jpg

“Chicago leads the nation with this new model for more economically acquiring cutting-edge technology for multiple institutions,” said CBC scientific co-director Shohei Koide, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago. “This initiative enables the establishment of transformative instrumentation capabilities, which will allow Chicago-area researchers to stay at the forefront of biomedical discovery.”


The CBC facilitated the Open Access Initiative (approved in March 2014), a cooperative effort that gives CBC researchers access to core facility instrumentation and expertise at each other’s institutions with no additional “outsider” cost.

The Infrastructure Initiative builds upon this agreement by giving each university $1 million to acquire novel, state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation to be shared under the Open Access Initiative. The universities closely collaborated to ensure selected instruments are complementary and non-redundant. Each will contribute additional resources, including space, staffing and long-term support in order to efficiently utilize the new instruments.


Supported by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, the CBC has helped advance the biomedical community in Chicago through a variety of programs, including the establishment of infrastructure facilities, aiding technology acquisition and funding research grants.


“Thanks to the generosity of the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, this latest gift will build on our existing expertise in cryoEM,” said Jay Walsh, Northwestern’s vice president for research. “It will also strengthen the CBC and our partnerships with the University of Chicago and UIC.”


The three Infrastructure Initiative projects receiving CBC funding are:

  • Northwestern will acquire a super-resolution camera for its $5 million cryo-electron microscope (cryoEM) core facility. CryoEM allows researchers to visualize unaltered biological samples in their native environment, at scales ranging from cellular to near-atomic resolution. Among its many applications are the study of the molecular mechanisms of disease and predicting the behavior of drugs and biological matter. The new detector will markedly expand the capabilities of the facility. Only about 25 of these cameras are currently operational in the U.S., none of which are in the Midwest.

  • The University of Chicago will acquire a $1.6 million cryo-electron microscope that will operate in tandem with Northwestern’s facility to establish an integrated, multi-institutional center of excellence in cryoEM. It will greatly expand imaging capabilities and will allow the University of Chicago to build upon and share its strengths in structural biology and molecular engineering. For challenging projects requiring higher resolution, the new microscope will be used to optimize specimen preparation conditions before analysis at Northwestern’s cryoEM facility. Several units at the University of Chicago will be providing matching funds to complete the purchase.

  • UIC will acquire a suite of systems to establish a Single-Cell Analysis Core that will allow gene expression analysis and direct quantitative measurement of proteins at the single-cell level. Recent evidence suggests that individual cells within the same population can differ greatly, even if they are of the same “type.” Since these differences could potentially impact the health and function of the entire population, single-cell analysis is an important biomedical frontier. There is currently no complete single-cell analysis system in Chicago.


“The CBC’s generous grant will provide a welcome addition to the University of Chicago’s state-of-the-art instrumentation and allows talented scientists from around our partner institutions to perform groundbreaking work,” said Donald Levy, vice president for research and for national laboratories at the University of Chicago.


The CBC was launched in 2006 in response to a Searle family challenge to the three Chicago-based universities: design a plan that would enhance local biomedical research in a unique, Midwestern style that fosters collaboration rather than competition.


“The CBC grant helps augment and expand our research capabilities by allowing us to add to an already robust array of equipment available not only to UIC researchers, but also to our colleagues at Northwestern and the University of Chicago through the Open Access Initiative,” said Mitra Dutta, vice chancellor for research at UIC.


For more information on the CBC, visit Chicago Biomedical Consortium online.


The original story can be found on Northwestern News.

Dr. Thomas R. Powers, MD (WCAS63, FSM66) remembers a Christmas outing that ended up ruining his spring but ultimately saving his education.



#CATSGiveBack is Northwestern University’s campaign to engage in Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Giving Tuesday, Dec. 2, celebrates generosity and the spirit of goodwill toward others. It’s a day to come together as a community and demonstrate real support for the causes that are most meaningful to you.

Whether it’s $1 or $100,000, whether it’s toward research at the Feinberg School of Medicine or Project Excite, a program for underserved youth at the School of Education and Social Policy, whether it’s locally or globally, #CATSGiveBack is about making an impact. So spread the word, make a gift, show you care.  


For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

Northwestern alumna Leslie C. Devereaux has made a substantial commitment that will benefit several areas of the University, including Northwestern University Library, undergraduate scholarships and the Department of Athletics and Recreation.

A large portion of the commitment will serve as a lead gift for the transformation and renovation of the University’s Charles Deering Library, where Devereaux enjoyed studying when she was a Northwestern student in the early 1960s.

“We are deeply grateful for Ms. Devereaux’s generosity over more than three decades. Her support has helped make the Library the outstanding resource it is today for the entire University community,” said Sarah M. Pritchard, Dean of Libraries and Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian.

“Her latest gift will serve as a catalyst in the effort to transform Deering Library, allowing generations of Northwestern alumni to reconnect with the library they remember so fondly, while offering current students, faculty and visiting researchers the full advantages of this restored and revitalized space,” Pritchard said.

The Deering transformation aims to restore the 82-year-old building’s unique Collegiate Gothic-style architecture while bringing technology, learning spaces and other improvements that better meet the needs of library users in the 21st century. In 2012, the newly renovated entryway of Deering Library reopened for the first time in more than four decades. The historic lobby entrance now has ADA-approved accessibility ramps, improved climate control systems and a proper security system.

Moving forward, plans include restoring the stained glass and conserving the classic woodwork, carvings and other artwork. The project will also improve the lighting and update environmental controls and security of the collections, increase access to the music and art collections, reestablish classrooms, and create a more secure reading room for the use of rare books, manuscripts and archival materials.

Library visitors will have increased ability to use Wi-Fi, laptops and other devices. Meanwhile, lively new spaces will host author readings, lectures, receptions and other events.

The gift also will be used to help digitize the University’s Football Films Collection, which dates back to 1929 and includes hundreds of hours of fragile footage.

This collection, held by the Northwestern University Archives, includes footage of the 1949 Rose Bowl game and the notorious 1982 “Lake the Posts” win over Northern Illinois, which snapped a 34-game losing streak. (Inspired fans ripped down the goal posts and marched a mile east before tossing them into Lake Michigan.) Once the films are digitized and preserved, they will be available to college football fans around the world.

Devereaux has long cheered on Northwestern’s student-athletes and programs. Therefore, a part of the gift has also been designated for unrestricted use for the Department of Athletics and Recreation.

Devereaux received a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern’s Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1964. A member of the Alpha Phi sorority, she served as treasurer of the Women’s Athletic Association’s Executive Board during her sophomore and junior years.

“My college years were among the most influential and memorable of my life,” said Devereaux, who celebrated her 50th class reunion this fall. “It is my hope that my gifts will contribute to an extraordinary experience for current and future Northwestern students.”

Devereaux is president and treasurer of the Richard C. Devereaux Foundation, named after her late father, former president of the Ferro Stamping Company (later called Ferro Manufacturing Corp.) in Detroit. In 1991, she established the Richard C. Devereaux Endowed Book Fund at Northwestern’s library in her father’s memory. A 2008 gift from Devereaux created the Richard C. Devereaux Endowment Fund to support the humanities collection at the Library.

The recent Devereaux gift is part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising initiative. The University Library, scholarships and Athletics and Recreation are some of the areas in which Northwestern will invest its resources most heavily in the coming years. More information on the Campaign is available at

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

The voices of rising opera stars at Northwestern will soar in the new Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater. The stunning new rehearsal and performance space will be housed inside the Music and Communication Building, which is under construction on the lakefront of the University’s Evanston campus and is expected to be completed in 2015.


This specially appointed opera rehearsal/black box theater is named in honor of Northwestern alumna Shirley Welsh Ryan. She and her husband, alumnus Patrick G. Ryan, have made a leadership gift of support to Northwestern’s $3.75 billion fundraising campaign, We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.

“The Ryans are passionate supporters of the arts and of all things Northwestern, and Shirley and Pat’s love of opera will be reflected in this world-class theater,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “I look forward to attending performances in this special space as our students prepare for careers at the top opera houses in the world.”

The Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater will provide an integral, flexible space for opera rehearsals as well as an intimate venue for small one-act operas and other performances by students and faculty. The theater will feature seating for approximately 150 individuals, dramatic double-height ceilings and expansive windows showcasing stunning views of Lake Michigan.

“Our family has a deep appreciation for musicespecially operaand it brings us great joy to watch Northwestern students develop and hone their crafts as young artists,” said Shirley Welsh Ryan. “Whether they perform on stage or are members of the audience, we encourage Northwestern students to embark on a lifelong relationship with music.”

The opera theater will be one of three music performance hallsincluding the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall and the Carol and David McClintock Choral Rehearsal and Recital Roomlocated on the main floor of the building.

“Students will thrive in the state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal and academic spaces inside the new building,” said Pat Ryan. “The facilities now match the caliber of education Northwestern music students receive. Northwestern offers music students the finest music education, which can be integrated with a variety of educational opportunities.”

The new Music and Communication Building, located at the south end of the Evanston campus, will be the new home for the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. The five-story, 152,000-square-foot facility will include classrooms; teaching labs; academic faculty offices; teaching studios for choral, opera, piano and voice faculty; practice rooms; student lounges; and administrative offices.

The fifth floor of the new building will serve as a new south campus home for the School of Communication administration, providing the dean’s office and faculty members with new offices. Space in the new building will enable the School of Communication to unite the faculty in the department of theatre and the department of performance studies on one floor. The Goettsch Partners architectural firm designed the building.

“The Bienen School is extremely proud of our alumni who have participated as fellows in the Lyric Opera’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School of Music. “The naming of this performance space in our new building will serve as a visible reminder of the many connections between the Bienen School and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. We are grateful to Shirley and Pat for their significant support of the Bienen School.”

Shirley is a 1961 graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She is chair of and serves on the executive committee or on the board of directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Alain Locke Charter Academy. Shirley has been appointed by two U.S. presidents to the President’s National Council on Disability and has served as chairman of the Chicago Community Trust. She founded and directs Northwestern University’s invitational graduate-level Learning for Life series and has been a charter member of Northwestern’s Women’s Board since 1978.

Pat, a 1959 graduate of Northwestern, is distinguished as one of Chicago’s most successful entrepreneurs and prominent civic leaders. He founded and served for 41 years as CEO of Aon Corporation, the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage. At the time of his retirement, Aon had $8 billion in annual revenue with more than 500 offices in 120 countries. He also founded Ryan Specialty Group, where he currently serves as CEO.

A member and immediate past chairman for 14 years of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees, Pat is a member of the International Insurance Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, reflecting his many contributions to higher education. Pat led Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics and is a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

The Ryans have been extraordinary donors to Northwestern for many years, providing leadership and support for academic programs, scholarships, the construction of Northwestern’s nanotechnology center and the Feinberg School of Medicine, and the renovation of Northwestern’s football and basketball stadiums. In honor of their lead gift in support of Northwestern’s athletics campaign, the University’s new multi-use athletics and recreational facility will be named the Ryan Fieldhouse.

An earlier major gift from the Ryans created scholarships for low-income students to attend Northwestern without taking out any student loans. The scholarships have enabled Northwestern to attract high-achieving, low-income students with exceptional leadership potential. The scholarship gift also supported graduate fellowships and facilities on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses, as well as providing athletic scholarships for undergraduate students.

The Ryans’ most recent gift is part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising initiative. Performing arts is one of the areas in which Northwestern will invest its resources most heavily in the coming years. More information on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is available at Further details on Bienen School of Music initiatives can be found at

The Ryans have also given a major gift to the new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex.

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.


Northwestern Athletics has filmed its own video in support of the It's On Us campaign, which is designed to create a cultural shift in the way college campuses think about, talk about and act around sexual assault.


Eleven Northwestern student-athletes from a cross-section of the Wildcats' 19 varsity programs came together to film the video, which is inspired by the initial video released by the White House at the launch of the campaign.


The It's On Us campaign partners with colleges across the country to fundamentally shift the perception of sexual assault, while inspiring everyone to take accountability in prevention efforts. The campaign encourages individuals to become a part of the solution by taking a pledge to commit to keeping men and women safe. Managed by a Washington, D.C., non-profit organization called the Center for American Progress, the campaign is supported by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

For more information on the It's On Us campaign, and to join all of Northwestern Athletics in taking the pledge, visit

To read the original story, visit

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.


AMPY founders (from left) Tejas Shastry, Mike Geier and Alex Smith.

Imagine charging your smartphone by taking a walk around the block.

Now you can with AMPY, a handheld device that captures kinetic energy as you move and then converts that energy into an electronic charge. The device developed by materials science and engineering Ph.D. students Michael Geier, Tejas Shastry and Alex Smith is now available to those who donate to the group’s Kickstarter fund.

Developed during the winter 2013 session of NUvention: Energy, a course that brings together students from across Northwestern to build products and services in the sustainable energy industry, the device is garnering major funding and media buzz. But the idea only came to the group after they wrestled with several ideas that lacked feasibility. Then they had a striking realization.

“We all had the same problem every day — our phones would die,” said Smith, AMPY’s chief product officer. “We’re all active guys, so we wondered if we could use those burned calories to charge our phones.”

Technologies that harvest energy from movement already existed, but they were all large and never really caught on. “Those products didn’t fit into life,” Smith said. “They tended to be the size of a roll of paper towels, and you can’t take that with you on the go.”

The AMPY team worked to keep the device’s size as small as possible. At half the size of a modern smartphone, it can fit in your pocket or easily strap onto your arm or leg to collect energy as you walk, run, cycle or simply fidget. AMPY works with patent-pending, proprietary inductor technology that generates electricity to charge an internal battery. The device can store a week’s worth of energy, which can then be used to charge any device with a USB port. A 30-minute run, for example, can give a   smartphone a three-hour charge or a smartwatch a 24-hour charge.                                                     

If you want to know how much power you’re generating, you can even download an AMPY app that tracks the amount of energy generated and calories burned. “Next, we want to get into wearables integration,” Smith said. “There’s huge potential for our technology to be integrated into the hardware of fitness trackers and smartwatches to provide power. It could free you from plugging them in forever.”

Originally called myPower, AMPY has been a favorite on the startup circuit, winning a total of $100,000 in startup competitions, such as the 2014 Clean Energy Challenge and Cleantech Open Global Forum. The team also won a 2014 Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, which funded prototype production for pilot testing.

The device has received widespread media attention, appearing in Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, CNET, USA Today, and Buzzfeed. Smith also appeared live on Fox Business and CNBC, where viewers voted AMPY as the Tech Crowd Leader of the Week.

To cover manufacturing costs, the AMPY team joined Kickstarter and topped its $100,000 goal in less than 72 hours. Through the campaign, AMPY now has more than 2,200 backers, many who chose to receive an AMPY device and accessories kit that includes an armband, clip and sleeve.

“The Kickstarter campaign was a test to see if people really want this,” Smith said. “We’ve learned that they do.”

To read the original story, visit the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

Northwestern's Program of African Studies and its consortium partner, the Center for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), have been awarded U.S. Department of Education Title VI funding for both the National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) programs.


The total amount awarded to the UIUC-Northwestern University Consortium for NRC and FLAS for 2014-15, the first year of the four-year grant, is $518,000with the total commitment expected to reach more than $2 million through 2018.

With Title VI funding, the Program of African Studies’ longstanding engagement with the African continent will be complemented by local engagement that makes the program’s faculty and student expertise as well as rich library resources on Africa available to a variety of communities.

The NRC grant will fund collaborative activities between the University’s Program of African Studies and UIUC’s Center for African Studies that enhance African studies on both campuses and provide new opportunities for students and faculty. These include annual joint symposia, new course and concentration offerings and strengthened instruction in African languages.

Highlights for Northwestern include the development of a new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in African Security Studies, an intensive summer workshop on Arabic manuscripts from Africa and the development of new practicum sites in Africa for the interdisciplinary Access to Health Project. In that project, students and faculty from Northwestern’s School of Law, its Center for Global Health and Kellogg School of Management work with a community in the developing world to assess its public health needs and to design an appropriate, sustainable intervention.

FLAS funding will allow Northwestern to offer two graduate academic year and three graduate or undergraduate summer fellowships per year for students undergoing training in African languages and related area studies.

To read the full story, visit the Northwestern News Center

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

In an effort to bolster talented school principals, Northwestern faculty will provide leadership training and executive coaching to top educators from Chicago Public Schools.


The Chicago Public Schools Principal Fellowship program is a three-year partnership between Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern’s Center for Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management and School of Education and Social Policy.

The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) will invest $500,000 in the initiative. The Principal Fellowship is also supported by the Crown Family.

Designed to challenge and invigorate already high-performing principals, the year-long program uses cutting-edge leadership development techniques, said Northwestern’s James Spillane, a key architect of the program and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor of Learning and Organizational Change in the School of Education and Social Policy.

The initiative is unique because Northwestern faculty will provide six days of academic training and a 360-degree assessment, which involves receiving performance feedback from a variety of coworkers, rather than solely relying on a superior. The fellows also will receive group and individual coaching from Northwestern experts.

“The 360 evaluation is a terrifying experience, but those who have had it say it’s the most helpful thing they’ve ever done,” said Jane Hoffman, assistant director of non-profit executive education at Kellogg. “Leaders don’t realize people are watching them all the time.”

CPS officials are committed to recruiting, retaining and developing talented principals, according to Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the chief executive officer of CPS, the third-largest school district in the nation.

Recent data suggests that principal effectiveness improves over time, peaking and stabilizing in the fourth or fifth year a principal is on the job, said Byrd-Bennett. “Yet only 40 percent of principals remain in that role after five years,” she said.

In return for one year of development training, the fellows commit to staying in leadership roles at CPS for the next three years.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Kellogg to partner with SESP to help outstanding Chicago Public School principals grow their leadership skill set and increase their impact across the district,” said Liz Livingston Howard, director of Nonprofit Executive Education at Kellogg.

In addition to Hoffman and Spillane, the program was designed by Livingston Howard and Penelope Peterson, dean of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.

To read the full story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

EVANSTON, Ill.  --- Speaking more than one language is good for the brain, according to new research that indicates bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language.


The benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing what language to use and what language to ignore, said Northwestern University’s Viorica Marian, the lead author of the research and a professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders in the School of Communication. When the brain is constantly exercised in this way, it doesn’t have to work as hard to perform cognitive tasks, the researchers found.


“It’s like a stop light,” Marian said. “Bilinguals are always giving the green light to one language and red to another. When you have to do that all the time, you get really good at inhibiting the words you don’t need,” she said.


The study, which will be published online in the journal Brain and Language on Nov. 12 was one of the first to use fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to test co-activation and inhibition in bilinguals. Co-activation during bilingual spoken language comprehension, a concept Marian pioneered in 1999, means that fluent bilinguals have both languages “active” at the same time, whether they are consciously using them or not. Inhibitory control involves selecting the correct language in the face of a competing other language.


Earlier in her career, Marian recorded eye movements to track co-activation and inhibition. She found that when bilinguals heard words in one language, such as “marker” in English, they often made eye movements to objects whose names sounded similar in another language they knew, such as “marka” which means stamp in Russian.


She is now looking at the brain itself by using MRI imagining, which shows blood flow to certain areas as the volunteers perform a cognitive task.  The more oxygen or blood flow to the region, the harder that part of the brain is working.


In her most recent study, volunteers were asked to perform language comprehension tasks. Upon hearing a word, study participants were shown pictures of four objects. For example, after hearing the word “ cloud” they would be shown four pictures, including a picture of a cloud and a picture of a similar-sounding word, such as a “clown.” The study participants needed to recognize the correct word and ignore the similar-sounding competing word.


The bilingual speakers were better at filtering out the competing words because their brains are used to controlling two languages and inhibiting the irrelevant words, the researchers found.


The fMRI scans  showed that “monolinguals had more activation in the inhibitory control regions than bilinguals; they had to work much harder to perform the task,” Marian said.


Other research suggests efficient brains can have benefits in everyday life. For example, bilingual children were better at ignoring classroom noise than children who speak one language, according to a study Marian recently coauthored with colleagues in the U.K., which was published last month in the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.


“Inhibitory control is a hallmark of cognition,” said Marian. “Whether we’re driving or performing surgery, it’s important to focus on what really matters and ignore what doesn’t.”


The fact that bilinguals are constantly practicing inhibitory control could also help explain why bilingualism appears to offer a protective advantage against Alzheimer’s and dementia, said Marian.


“That’s the exciting part,” she said.  “Using another language provides the brain built-in exercise. You don’t have to go out of your way to do a puzzle because the brain is already constantly juggling two languages. “


Marian’s team included Northwestern Ph.D candidates Sarah Chabal and James Bartolotti.  They collaborated with Kailyn Bradley and Arturo Hernandez of the University of Houston.


Marian grew up speaking Romanian and Russian. English is her third language; she also speaks some basic Spanish, French and Dutch.


“It’s never too late to learn another language,” she said. “The benefits can be seen even after just one semester of studying.”


- Alice Dreger is a professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University.


Read the original story here: Northwestern News

By Alice Dreger


A transgender man struggles with how to tell his befuddled doctor that he needs a Pap smear. An out lesbian woman grows impatient with a physician who keeps assuming she must have been subject to sexual abuse as a child. A gay couple bring their sick child to the emergency room only to be asked by the admitting clerk, “Which one of you is the real father?” And a young woman discovers she was born male, with testes, but was surgically sex-changed in infancy because her phallus developed much smaller than the average male’s.


These are the kinds of real-world clinical situations that have been motivating medical education experts to revamp American medical school curricula, to improve care for patients who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or born with “differences of sex development” (that is, the less common forms of sex development, or what is sometimes called “intersex”). Numerous medical institutions, including the Institute of Medicine and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, have been pushing to bring American medical education up to speed with the needs of these populations.


This week the Association of American Medical Colleges is putting out a new comprehensive resource guide for medical educators. The free publication, for which I served as an unpaid contributor, includes 30 specific recommendations as to what a newly graduated physician should be expected to know and to be able to do for patients with diverse forms of gender identities, sexual orientations, and sex development histories.


Our AAMC group hopes to help physicians be prepared to understand and to care for children, adolescents, and adults who may be LGBT, “gender nonconforming” (i.e., not meet cultural expectations for their genders), or born with differences of sex development. These populations are already at increased risk for harm, and the last thing members of these populations need is for more harm to be accidentally added by medical professionals who aren’t well prepared.


For too long, education around the care of these populations has been cordoned off into special areas of the medical curriculum: When AIDS is taught, then gay men are discussed; when genetics is taught, then one or two forms of differences of sex development are covered. What we need are medical curricula that actively integrate the teaching of sexuality, gender, and sex development across the disciplines, throughout the four years of medical school and into residency training.


When this happens, then all patients will begin to benefit from doctors who are knowledgeable and comfortable talking about each patient’s own unique body and life history. Physicians will be able to help patients understand the differences between our biology and our personal identities, to learn how to have healthy and positive sexual experiences, and to manage the stresses that come with social systems that may unjustly oppress people just because they don’t fit into overly simplistic categories.


In producing our recommendations, our group—as others have—also recognized that change has to start at home: that medical schools need to improve their institutional climates to support faculty, students, and staff who themselves are LGBT, gender nonconforming, or were born with a DSD. We believe that once doctors start to recognize that the spectrums we are talking about are all around them in their own institutions, a deeper respect for the concerns for these patients will emerge. We will also then start to see an end to the kinds of harassment that have too long been visited on physicians who have dared to be out about being LGBT.


Given how radically the culture around medicine is changing, with these educational reforms inside medical schools, perhaps as soon as 10 years from now we will see a new world.


A physician who knows a patient is a transgender man or transgender woman will know exactly what screening tests that patient needs to stay healthy. A physician encountering a lesbian patient will not assume she “got that way” because she was sexually abused. A gay couple bringing their sick child to the ER will be treated with the same respect and care as a straight couple. And adults who were born with relatively unusual forms of sex development will already know their medical histories, and their doctors will understand them. Children who are variant in terms of their sex or gender identities will encounter doctors who recognize their real needs and their strengths, and will know how to encourage their families to do the same. The needs of patients will come before other social norms.


To see the original story, visit Northwestern News

Two days after America went to the polls, the Northwestern Alumni Association brought you A Night with Northwestern in DC: The Fight for Capitol Hill.


The fascinating panel discussion, moderated by NBC News National Correspondent Peter Alexander, featured some of the country's most notable political journalists, all Northwestern alumni.



Nearly 300 Wildcats filled the National Press Club and hundreds more watched online. Check out the event video, photos, audio and social media conversation below:


A special thank you to everyone who helped make #ANightWithNU a truly nationwide event through online participation. Digital highlights include:

  • Hundreds viewed the live webcast.
  • More than 400 posts were shared to Twitter and Instagram.
  • The #ANightWithNU hashtag reached nearly 700,000 people on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Panelists answered tweeted questions, a first in the event's history.
  • #ANightWithNU trended in D.C., according to Trendsmap.


Connect with the Northwestern Alumni Association on social media:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Tenth-ranked and third-seeded Northwestern captured its first Big Ten field hockey tournament title in school history, taking down second-ranked and top-seeded Maryland 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Ocker Field.


By virtue of the tournament title, Northwestern (16-6) an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament which gets underway this week. The tournament field is being announced at 9 p.m. Central time Sunday on


Maryland (18-3) entered the matchup on a 13-match winning streak. The Terrapins had not been defeated since Northwestern handed them a 3-2 loss Sept. 20 in Evanston. In fact, the only other team to beat Maryland this season entering Sunday's contest was top-ranked North Carolina.


Even though the Wildcats won the first meeting between the teams, Maryland held a 23-5 edge in shots in that contest. However, Sunday's matchup was a different story. In face, NU didn't allow a shot by the Terrapins until over 26 minutes had passed in the opening half.10516764.jpeg


Maryland held the early possession edge but Northwestern eventually settled in. The Wildcats earned the first penalty corner of the match for either team 24 minutes into the match and made the opportunity pay off.


Dominique Masters' initial shot was deflected and found the stick of Charlotte Martin who fed a pass to inserter Lisa McCarthy who was alone at the doorstep to put home her sixth goal of the season, giving Northwestern a 1-0 lead at 24:04.


The lead was short-lived, though, as the Wildcats were assessed a green card, forcing them to go a player down for two minutes. Maryland was able to earn its first corner of the match and Sarah Sprink scored at 26:35 to make it 1-1.


The teams would remain tied heading into halftime as Northwestern held a 6-2 advantage in shots and 3-1 edge in penalty corners.


The 'Cats used another penalty corner opportunity to take the lead for good five minutes into the second half. McCarthy inserted to Martin who stopped the feed and passed to Isabel Flens who ripped a shot by Brooke Cabrera to make it 2-1 at the 40:40 mark.


Even with the one-goal advantage, Northwestern continued to put the pressure on the Terrapins rather than sitting back. The Wildcats stellar defense frustrated the high-powered Maryland offense all day long.


NU denied every charge by the Terrapins and eventually posted a huge insurance goal at 62:56. Masters, who was Friday's hero with two goals in a 2-1 overtime win over Michigan, put home her third goal of the tournament to make it 3-1 in Northwestern's favor.


Maryland would earn three penalty corners down the stretch, but the `Cats and Big Ten tournament MVP Maddy Carpenter denied them each time. Carpenter made five saves in the victory. Masters was also named to the all-tournament team.


View the original story and see more stats at

Coach Fitz, Ana Gasteyer, and a few of their Wildcat friends have a special message for you.



Mark your calendars for #CATSGiveBack on Dec. 2! #NUWeWill

Nov. 3, 2014 —Three professors in Weinberg College’s Department of History — Scott Sowerby, Helen Tilley and Deborah Cohen — have been singled out for recognition by some of the most prominent organizations in their field.


Scott Sowerby

Sowerby, an associate professor, has won the Whitfield Book Prize for his book, Making Toleration: The Repealers and the Glorious Revolution. The award, bestowed by the Royal Historical Society in the United Kingdom, recognizes the best first book on British or Irish history.


The judges called Sowerby’s work “an extraordinary feat of research in local record offices as well as national repositories,” adding that the book “presents a wholly new picture of the supporters of James II’s policy of religious toleration.”


Sowerby, a historian of early modern Britain and Europe, has also published articles in Past & Present, the Journal of British Studies, the English Historical Review and Parliamentary History.


Earlier this year, Sowerby received the Weinberg College Award for Distinguished Teaching. He teaches courses on Tudor-Stuart Britain, the history of gender and sexuality, and the early British Empire.


Helen Tilley


Tilley, an associate professor, is the winner of the Ludwik Fleck Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science for her 2011 book, Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950.


The book explores the dynamic interplay between scientific research and imperialism in British Africa between 1870 and 1950.


Tilley examines medical, environmental, and human sciences in colonial and post-colonial Africa, emphasizing intersections with environmental history, development studies, and world history.


She has written numerous articles and book chapters on the history of ecology, eugenics, agriculture, and epidemiology in tropical Africa, and is co-editor of Ordering Africa: Anthropology, European Imperialism and the Politics of Knowledge and Utopia-Dystopia: Historical Conditions of Possibility.


Deborah Cohen


Cohen, the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, has won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association for her 2013 book Family Secrets: Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain. The award is in the category of post-1485 British and British Imperial/Commonwealth history.


The book, which explores the role that family secrets have played in the transformation of social mores from the Victorian era to the present day, has also been named a best book of the year by three United Kingdom publications: The Spectator, The Sunday Times and The Times Literary Supplement.


It is the second time Cohen has won the Forkosch Prize. A previous book, The British and their Possessions, was recognized in 2007.


Cohen is a historian of modern Britain and Europe. She is the author of numerous has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, among others.


See the original story here on the Weinberg College website

CHICAGO --- Doctors are more likely to try a new therapy when they are persuaded to do so by an influential colleague, reports a new Northwestern University study whose findings on adopting innovations also have relevance for business, education and research.


The authors have used the new finding to simulate a technology intervention that acts like an influential colleague -- opinionated but not too bossy -- that they plan to design for the real world. The goal is to accelerate physicians’ adoption of new treatments and tests, which historically can take up to 17 years.


“It’s difficult to get doctors to adopt new therapies because you are invading people’s comfort zones and the way they usually do things,” said lead author Curtis Weiss, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH.)


By analyzing physician social networks, the authors examined how doctors are professionally connected and pass information to each other and how that leads to increasing adoption.


The paper, also by senior author Luis Amaral, professor of chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and a professor of medicine at Feinberg, was published Oct. 15 in the journal Physical Review X, the journal of the American Physical Society.


The current belief is physicians “catch” a new therapy in what is known as a contagion model. One doctor sees another doctor prescribing a drug or ordering a test, and she will catch or be infected by that new approach and start using it herself.

But the Northwestern study found the art of persuasion was more effective at boosting adoption. The trick was finding the sweet spot in frequency and tone of those persuasive messages so they’re effective but not off-putting.

The noodging sweet spot? A reminder every five to seven days delivered as a strong suggestion but not an order, according to the study.


“While our study is focused on critical care physicians, our findings are relevant for other settings in education, research and business where small groups of highly qualified peers make decisions about the adoption of innovations whose utility is difficult if not impossible to gauge,” Amaral said.


Long and Winding Road to Convince Doctors to Adopt New Treatments  


It’s a surprisingly long road from Food and Drug Administration approval of a new drug or technique to doctors actually using the new drug in their practices, noted Weiss, whose research focuses on how to get doctors to adopt best practices.


“The traditional model is a study is published in a journal and discussed at medical conferences, and then doctors in that field were supposed to integrate that into their clinical practice,” Weiss said. “The problem with that is doctors are busy and don’t always read the journals or go to those conferences. But the bigger issue is even if you read the article and go to the conference, if you don’t see a patient with that condition for six months, you may have forgotten the therapy. And there’s no follow up or reinforcement after the conference about how to use it.”


Analyzing Physician Social Networks for Influencers


The authors analyzed the social networks of critical care physicians in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) at NMH. The test case was a new high-impact serum assay or blood test that measures an enzyme shown to be a marker of life-threatening bacterial infections and sepsis in critically ill patients. The assay has been reported in medical literature as an effective marker but is not yet a part of the guidelines for care. The current way to diagnose infection is a culture but those results take 48 to 72 hours. A quicker diagnosis may improve patient treatment.


Prior to the study, Northwestern didn’t have the assay available in its lab. Weiss learned the assay was going to become available and convinced the lab director not to tell anyone before the experiment. Weiss and Amaral then seeded information about the new serum to two other ICU physicians chosen at random. The authors tracked the adoption of the assay over the next nine months, during which time 20 out of 36 doctors adopted the assay.


“We discovered the persuasion model was more accurate in explaining the number and pattern of physicians who started to use the assay,“ Weiss said.


A computer simulation based on the experimental data aimed at optimizing adoption showed a reminder every five to seven days delivered as a strong suggestion but not an order would have had the greatest impact in accelerating adoption of the new test.  


“Optimized interventions could help increase adoption of best practices in hospitals around the country and increase quality of care,” Weiss said.


Designing Real-World Interventions to ‘Noodge’ Doctors


Next the authors plan to design real-world interventions that deliver the knowledge to physicians and emphasize using the new therapy (or best practice) closer to the point at which they would actually use it.


Weiss and Amaral are considering verbal face-to-face reminders, messages sent to pagers or by email, or automated reminders generated by the electronic health record.


Interventions also can regularly audit doctors’ adoption. “It could say ‘hey, you only used this 30 percent of the time when you should have used it 100 percent of the time,’” Weiss said.


Read the original story on Northwestern News

If you want to avoid chronic back pain, put out the cigarette. A new Northwestern Medicine® study has found that smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain, and dropping the habit may cut your chances of developing this often debilitating condition.


“Smoking affects the brain,” said Bogdan Petre, lead author of the study and a technical scientist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We found that it affects the way the brain responds to back pain and seems to make individuals less resilient to an episode of pain.”


This is the first evidence to link smoking and chronic pain with the part of the brain associated with addiction and reward. The study was published online in the journal Human Brain Mapping.



The results come from a longitudinal observational study of 160 adults with new cases of back pain. At five different times throughout the course of a year they were given MRI brain scans and were asked to rate the intensity of their back pain and fill out a questionnaire which asked about smoking status and other health issues. Thirty-five healthy control participants and 32 participants with chronic back pain were similarly monitored.


Scientists analyzed MRI activity between two brain areas (nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex, NAc-mPFC), which are involved in addictive behavior and motivated learning. This circuitry is critical in development of chronic pain, the scientists found.


These two regions of the brain “talk” to one another, and scientists discovered that the strength of that connection helps determine who will become a chronic pain patient. By showing how a part of the brain involved in motivated learning allows tobacco addiction to interface with pain chronification, the findings hint at a potentially more general link between addiction and pain.


“That circuit was very strong and active in the brains of smokers,” Petre said. “But we saw a dramatic drop in this circuit's activity in smokers whoof their own willquit smoking during the study, so when they stopped smoking, their vulnerably to chronic pain also decreased.”


Medication, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, did help study participants manage pain, but it didn’t change the activity of the brain circuitry. In the future, behavioral interventions such as smoking cessation programs could be used to manipulate brain mechanisms as an effective strategy for chronic pain prevention and relief.

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Fifteen years ago, Northwestern University scientist Marc Walton was turned on to blue when two basic facts struck him: blue was the first man-made pigment, and the word “blue” didn’t come into existence until many years later. Intrigued, Walton set out to learn more about this “most human color.” (And, yes, blue is his favorite color.)


An expert on the history of blue, Walton is a senior scientist at the Northwestern University-Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). The center is a national model of interdisciplinary scientific research in the arts and was established in 2012 with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


“Blue pigments can’t be readily extracted from the natural environment, so artisans across the millennia have had to use their innovative abilities to manufacture synthetic blue pigments,” said Walton, who studies the ancient world using the physical sciences, including why a magical centuries-old blue pigment recipe works.


Last weekend, as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, he took a curious crowd at the Art Institute on a journey of blue discovery with his sold-out talk “Sacre Bleu.”


Blue’s story begins with lapis lazuli, a semiprecious stone of intense blue color, found in a remote area of Afghanistan. Very expensive and difficult to get, lapis lazuli has been prized since the beginning of recorded history, Walton said. Starting with the rise of civilization around 4500 B.C. and continuing to this day, people have found creative ways to produce blue for artistic expression.


The blue in the burial mask of Tutankhamun, the Virgin Mary’s robe in Renaissance paintings, Delft pottery, Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day” and Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” -- all the different blues used in these works owe their existence to lapis lazuli and the blue pigments it inspired.


Walton recently spoke to Megan Fellman, science and engineering editor in University Relations, about the color blue, his blue-related research and NU-ACCESS’ collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


MF: How does NU-ACCESS relate to your “Sacre Bleu” talk?


MW: One type of project the center does is technical art history, which allows us to understand how a work of art came together. There is an entire historic lineage associated with materials usage, and that’s really what this blue talk is all about -- what raw materials were used, how and why they were used, and how did artisans and artists come up with innovative ways of creating this color to express themselves and the world around them.


MF: Why blue?


MW: I think the story of blue is intertwined with the story of man’s ability to innovate and create. Though it appears to be the most abundant color in our natural world, we can’t readily dig it out of the ground. This forces us to be creative if we are to recreate the color, and that’s what makes it special.


In Anish Kapoor’s popular sculpture “Cloud Gate” (aka, “The Bean”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park, he captures the color blue by reflecting it back to us, from the sky. That’s one approach. But how did this color, so rare in the physical world, end up in countless works of art, from King Tut’s burial mask to Pablo Picasso’s painting “The Old Guitarist”?


My real interest began when I was a graduate student. I was studying Roman development of lead-glazed ceramics, while one of my colleagues was working on a pigment called Egyptian blue. From his work and my subsequent research, I learned two basic facts about the color blue that I have continued to explore ever since. The first is that blue was the first man-made pigment -- the first pigment ever engineered. And the second is that the word for blue didn’t come into existence until after this material was made by man.


Starting with the rise of civilization to present day, I am tracing how there have been different solutions for producing this omnipresent color throughout history. The natural blue we see in abundance in our sky and water is a physical phenomenon having to do with light scattering instead of it being a tangible color we can wrap our hands around. So I’ve been trying to understand how early man harnessed his environment to artificially produce this color that forms a vital part of our material culture today.


MF: What was the first tangible blue?


MW: The first blue material used by man is a mined one, a semiprecious stone called lapis lazuli. It is a really intense blue color and only came from one specific place on Earth -- the northeastern corner of Afghanistan, a very remote area. It was exploited from the beginnings of civilization around 5000 to 4000 B.C. until the present day. The fact that this single source of lapis has been used for such an extended period is one of the success stories of human history. But the key here is that lapis lazuli is a rare commodity -- difficult to mine and transport (especially in antiquity), so it’s expensive.blue2.jpg


MF: Such a vivid blue must have really stood out from the earth colors in use long ago, the oranges, yellows, reds and whites.


MW: Blue was highly desirable but given its rarity, different solutions were needed to produce the prized color. These solutions include the birth of glass. The earliest glasses were designed to mimic semiprecious stones and were used to decorate coffins, for jewelry and as eye inlays in sculpture. All these were synthetic versions of lapis lazuli.


Blue is the first and most dominant synthetic pigment of the ancient world. And it is entirely a human invention, which is why I agree with the singer Regina Spektor when she calls blue “the most human color.”


As soon as you start to synthesize something it becomes part of the economy. The know-how spreads and you can trace trade patterns using chemical analysis of materials and artworks.


MF: What was the first man-made pigment?


MW: Egyptian blue. It is related to glass and inspired by lapis lazuli, the true blue. It was even called that. The first glasses were glazed materials to which artisans added colorants. They pushed the chemistry and engineering of these materials to produce something that was a synthetic equivalent of lapis lazuli with its deep blue color.


Egyptian blue is the first blue pigment to be used extensively. Ancient Egyptians painted their walls with it, they painted the ceilings of their tombs to mimic the night sky -- this was almost the common man’s blue. And it was used for an extended period of time -- from the late Bronze Age (approximately 1300 B.C.) all the way through the Roman period (5th century A.D.).


But then the Romans move away from using blue as a primary color in their painting. The technology of how to make Egyptian blue dies out in the Dark Ages.


MF: What happens next?


MW: Around the 6th century A.D., all of a sudden we start to see the first sustained use of lapis lazuli as a pigment. Artisans begin crushing up this rock, which was not previously used as a pigment, into a powder to produce Buddhist wall paintings in the caves of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, not far from the original source of lapis.


It then takes about 300 years for that technology to travel 4,000 miles and reach the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. The technology is picked up in Venice around the 10th century A.D., and the pigment is called ultramarine, which literally means “over the seas.”


To make ultramarine, Venetians crushed the lapis lazuli stone, which is a mixture of blues, whites and even some yellow, and used a complex separation process to extract the blue coloring.


This processing was labor intensive, which meant that ultramarine was expensive. This could explain why it remained the primary pigment during the Renaissance for depicting such holy icons as the Virgin Mary and her robe.


Naturally, artisans were interested in finding cheaper alternatives for making the color blue. At first they started using azurite, a cheaper alternative of ultramarine blue, as an underlayer to extend the effect of the more expensive top layer. After that, cobalt blue colorants, Prussian blue -- used by such artists as Canaletto, Van Gogh and Picasso during his Blue Period -- and modern synthetic pigments were produced. Today, a plethora of organic and inorganic compounds can be used to make blue -- the color’s production has skyrocketed in the last 100 years.



MF: When was the word “blue” first used?


MW: There is tantalizing evidence for the earliest Egyptian blue material (called a frit) dating back to Dynasty Zero, or 3100 B.C. We don’t see the word for blue appearing in the literature for another several hundred years. This is really intriguing -- the idea of developing a material without a designation -- and it opens up the question of how material discovery relates to linguistic development.


MF: How does your NU-ACCESS research fit with blue?


MW: We are currently investigating the process I mentioned earlier, where artisans during the Renaissance reinvented the 6th-century process of creating the pigment ultramarine from lapis lazuli by removing all the constituents except the mineral lazurite. To date, nobody has been able to explain this process from a scientific perspective.


The recipe for manufacturing ultramarine using the Venetian method was recorded in the 15th century A.D. by an Italian workman named Cennino Cennini in “The Craftman’s Handbook.” A lye solution was used to extract the blue-colored mineral lazurite from a waxy resin ball in which all the unwanted minerals remained. We’ve recreated this technique at NU-ACCESS, and it works beautifully, but we now want to understand why it works from a chemical perspective.


MF: I understand that one of NU-ACCESS’ first two collaborations with outside institutions includes a blue work. What is it?


MW: We are analyzing “Tp 2” a painting by László Moholy-Nagy, from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. It is a great example of synthetic ultramarine in modern art. While the artist knew his artwork was blue, he may not have been aware that the colorant was ultramarine as we have discovered from our analysis. This material had found its way into all manner of industrial products by this time (1930).


At NU-ACCESS, we are interested in determining who had access to various technologies at different time periods and how they innovated to achieve alternatives or improve on existing processes. We can then use this knowledge for devising conservation treatments, for determining the provenance of objects and sometimes for authentication. But it ultimately comes back to this idea of how do people innovate and evolve, which has been a lifelong interest of mine.


Today we are surrounded by technological innovations, and yet we continue to seek out the latest, greatest technology to make things better, faster, cheaper. This same impulse is evident throughout antiquity even if the timescale of change and innovation was much longer then. But it’s the same process -- ancient innovators inspired by the natural but rare source of blue (lapis lazuli) were driven by the desire to develop practical solutions to a once impractical process of creating a synthetic blue (glass). By tracing such processes in antiquity, we hope to gain a better understanding of technical innovation in our contemporary world.


Read the original story and see more images here: Who Knew There Was so Much to Blue?: Northwestern University News

Northwestern students living on campus in residence halls or Greek houses engage in an annual competition in which residents greencup.pngreduce water and energy use. Now in its 8th year, this year's Green Cup, a student driven initiative, takes place from Oct. 20th - Nov. 16th, 2014.

The goals of the initiative are to change student behavior regarding natural resource consumption and for students to better understand their daily impacts on the environment.


For more on the inititiative, goals, and the competition, visit Northwestern University Office of Sustainibility


New, top-of-the-line fitness equipment and two exercise studios are part of a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on Northwestern's Evanston campus.


The expansion and renovation as well as the opening of the new Northwestern Sailing Center were celebrated at events Nov. 6.


The addition to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion is the first major change to the building since the Combe Tennis Center opened in 2002, and it coincides with the completion of the North Campus Parking Garage.


“This is a wonderful project,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said at the facility during a dedication ceremony attended by dozens of Northwestern officials, trustees, donors, senior staff, students and guests.


“The lifeblood of the University is the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion,” President Schapiro said. He paid tribute to Lester and Renee Crown, who were on hand for a ribbon cutting with the president and Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. Lester Crown is a Life Trustee and the son of Henry Crown. Members of the Crown family have been leaders and supporters of Northwestern for decades.



“This facility offers world-class fitness and recreation experiences under one roof and gives our students and the Northwestern community the opportunity to keep healthy and active,” President Schapiro said.


About $300,000 was spent on new machines and equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines as well as free weights and strength-training machines. Two new massage therapy suites, a wellness area for fitness evaluations and an annex of new office space also are part of the renovation.


The existing locker rooms have been revamped; two private, gender-neutral showers and changing rooms have been installed; and existing spaces throughout the facility have been refreshed.


“We researched what other universities and health clubs offered, and we now meet or exceed the benchmark set by the top fitness centers,” said Dan Bulfin, director of recreation at Northwestern.


“The opening of the two group exercise studios has already made a difference in our programming,” Bulfin said. “We now offer three different group exercise classes simultaneously, during peak exercise times. Before, we could only offer one class at a time, and it was held in a gymnasium.”


Membership to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center is free for students and offered at a discounted rate for faculty, staff and their family members. Alumni and members of the Evanston community also can become members.


The facility is situated on the Lake Michigan shore. The 95,000-square-foot facility serves approximately 1,400 participants each day. Participants take part in a myriad of activities such as swimming, basketball, squash, racquetball, tennis, group fitness, indoor cycling, weightlifting and other general cardiovascular and exercise activities.


The new Northwestern University Sailing Center opened this summer on the Evanston campus. Just feet from Lake Michigan’s shore on the south side of campus, the $2.5 million project replaces a small wooden building that served as the University’s boathouse since the 1970s.


At an earlier ceremony, President Schapiro, Phillips, athletics officials, dignitaries and students gathered for a dedication of the new Sailing Center.


“What a blessing it is for this University to be on the lake,” said the president. “With this facility, the new Music and Communication Building and the Visitors Center, we are now doing a better job of incorporating Lake Michigan into our campus.


“It’s always been a dream for me that we would get a sailing center befitting the quality of the people who use it.”


To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.


For more stories from this month's Alumni News, visit the NAA on Our Northwestern, the University's online community.

Two days after America goes to the polls, the Northwestern Alumni Association brings you A Night with Northwestern in DC: The Fight for Capitol Hill. Whether or not you can make it to DC, you receive inside access to the National Press Club for this fascinating panel discussion, moderated by NBC News National Correspondent Peter Alexander and featuring some of the country's most notable political journalists,* all Northwestern alumni. 

Watch it live
Watch our live broadcast of the panel discussion beginning at 7 p.m. ET on the Northwestern Alumni Association webpage. Find out what the future holds for the winning candidate, our political parties, and the country.

Get social
Join the conversation and share your questions with our panelists. Follow the live-tweet of the panel discussion at @NUalumni on Twitter, and use the hashtag #ANightWithNU. Or share your questions for panelists on Facebook and Google+. Learn more.

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions brought together top prosecutors from across the country to discuss the recent significant increase in “conviction integrity units” -- units within prosecutors’ offices that review claims of past wrongful convictions and develop best practices for avoiding them in the future.


The “Conviction Integrity Conference” took place from 12:30 to 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the Law School’s Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago. Doors opened at noon.



Just last week the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) announced that Kenneth Thompson, the King’s County District Attorney (Brooklyn, New York) agreed to vacate the conviction of David McCallum, a man who has been incarcerated for the past 29 years for a murder he did not commit. The exoneration came after a review of the case by the office’s conviction review unit. Thompson and the head of his unit, Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan, were both panelists at the conference.


“We see prosecutor conviction integrity units as the next wave of efforts to rectify and prevent wrongful convictions, and our conference will be the first public forum to explore this topic in depth,” said Karen Daniel, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. “This will be a groundbreaking event in many respects.”


The conference examined critically how conviction integrity units can and should function and highlighted the opportunities that exist for constructive collaboration among prosecutors’ offices, defense attorneys and legal organizations that engage in innocence work.


Panelists represented the viewpoints of the judiciary, the defense bar, experts, academia, victims and exonerees and included prominent Illinois members of the criminal justice system including Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, who both participated in the panel “Conviction Integrity Units -- Purpose, Structure, Operations and Challenges.”


Presiding Judge Paul P. Biebel Jr. of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division, was among the panelists participating in the panel “Why We Need Conviction Integrity Review.” The panel “Common Causes of Wrongful Convictions” concluded the conference.


To see the complete agenda and for registration information, visit the Center on Wrongful Convictions online.


Read the original story on the Northwestern News Center.

CHICAGO --- A nano-sized discovery by Northwestern Medicine® scientists helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness.


Scientists used a new super-resolution imaging method -- the same method recognized with the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry -- to peer deep into brain tissue from mice with bipolar-like behaviors. In the synapses (where communication between brain cells occurs), they discovered tiny “nanodomain” structures with concentrated levels of ANK3 -- the gene most strongly associated with bipolar disorder risk. ANK3 is coding for the protein ankyrin-G.


“We knew that ankyrin-G played an important role in bipolar disease, but we didn't know how,” said Northwestern Medicine scientist Peter Penzes, corresponding author of the paper. “Through this imaging method we found the gene formed in nanodomain structures in the synapses, and we determined that these structures control or regulate the behavior of synapses.”


Penzes is a professor in physiology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The results were published Oct. 22 in the journal Neuron.


High-profile cases, including actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and politician Jesse Jackson, Jr., have brought attention to bipolar disorder. The illness causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. About 3 percent of Americans experience bipolar disorder symptoms, and there is no cure.


Recent large-scale human genetic studies have shown that genes can contribute to disease risk along with stress and other environmental factors. However, how these risk genes affect the brain is not known.


This is the first time any psychiatric risk gene has been analyzed at such a detailed level of resolution. As explained in the paper, Penzes used the Nikon Structured Illumination Super-resolution Microscope to study a mouse model of bipolar disorder. The microscope realizes resolution of up to 115 nanometers. To put that size in perspective, there are 1,000 nanometers in a micron, and there are 25,400 microns in one inch. Very few of these microscopes exist worldwide.


“There is important information about genes and diseases that can only been seen at this level of resolution,” Penzes said. “We provide a neurobiological explanation of the function of the leading risk gene, and this might provide insight into the abnormalities in bipolar disorder.”


The biological framework presented in this paper could be used in human studies of bipolar disorder in the future, with the goal of developing therapeutic approaches to target these genes.


For the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

CHICAGO --- Get an unprecedented perspective on Martin Luther King Jr. at a daylong symposium at Northwestern University School of Law that brought together scholars as well as attorneys who represented the civil rights leader during major phases of his activism. king-1.jpg

King’s activism in Chicago was among the topics of the conversations with attorneys. Sponsored by the School of Law’s Journal of Law and Social Policy (JLSP), “Martin Luther King’s Lawyers: From Montgomery to the March on Washington to Memphis” was held from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago.


Free and open to the public, the event is JLSP’s 8th annual symposium.


The King attorneys who were featured in the conversations include Clarence B. Jones, first Diversity Visiting Professor at the University of San Francisco and contributing writer to the “I Have a Dream” speech; Northwestern Law alumnus Judge Horace Ward, who represented King in a case against Georgia authorities; and W.J. Michael Cody, of Burch, Porter & Johnson, one of King’s Memphis attorneys.

The symposium also featured Gil Cornfield and Gil Feldman, who partnered with King to combat housing discrimination during the Chicago Freedom Movement (1965 to 1966).


“This symposium is truly exceptional, as these individuals who represented Dr. King in nearly every one of his major movements have never before gathered together to discuss their experiences,” said Kimberly Seymour, JLSP symposium chair and a JD-LLM program student.

Clayborne Carson, Martin Luther King Jr. Centennial Professor of History, and Ronnie Lott, founding director of The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, gave remarks about King’s lawyers.


Aldon Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern, gave an overview of King’s career. Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern, participated in a conversation about Fred Gray, King’s first attorney and Rosa Parks’ lawyer; that discussion also included Northwestern Law alumnus Jonathan Entin, associate dean for academic affairs, the David L. Brennan Professor of Law and professor of political science at Case Western Reserve Law School.

Len Rubinowitz, professor of law at Northwestern and faculty advisor to the JLSP, has been working on an article about King’s lawyers over the last year and proposed the topic for the annual symposium.


“The editors got excited about the idea, and Kimberly and others have worked extremely hard to make it happen,” Rubinowitz said. “The symposium will lead to an issue of the journal that will include a transcript of the symposium and my article on King’s lawyers.”


To see the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.