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“Can he hear me?” family members are desperate to know when a loved one with a traumatic brain injury is in a coma.


A new Northwestern Medicine and Hines VA Hospital study shows the voices of loved ones telling the patient familiar stories stored in his long-term memory can help awaken the unconscious brain and speed recovery from the coma.


Coma patients who heard familiar stories repeated by family members four times a day for six weeks, via recordings played over headphones, recovered consciousness significantly faster and had an improved recovery compared to patients who did not hear the stories, reports the study.


The paper was published January 22 in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.


“We believe hearing those stories in parents’ and siblings’ voices exercises the circuits in the brain responsible for long-term memories,” said lead author Theresa Pape. “That stimulation helped trigger the first glimmer of awareness.”


As a result, the coma patients can wake more easily, become more aware of their environment and start responding to conversations and directions.


“It’s like coming out of anesthesia,” Pape said. “It’s the first step in recovering full consciousness.”


Pape is a neuroscientist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a neuroscientist at Hines VA.


“After the study treatment, I could tap them on the shoulder, and they would look at me,” Pape said. “Before the treatment they wouldn’t do that.”


Being more aware of their environment means the patients can actively participate in physical, speech and occupational therapy, all essential for their rehabilitation.


A coma is an unconscious condition in which the patient can’t open his eyes. Patients usually progress from a coma to either a minimally conscious or vegetative state, and these states can last a few weeks, months or years. Every five seconds, someone in the U.S. has a traumatic brain injury. Troops deployed to wars zones are at an even greater risk for having a severe enough brain injury to cause a coma.


“It’s an incredibly common and devastating injury,” Pape said.


The familiar voices treatment also benefits families.


“Families feel helpless and out of control when a loved one is in a coma,” Pape said. “It’s a terrible feeling for them. This gives them a sense of control over the patient’s recovery and the chance to be part of the treatment.”


Such was the case for Corinth Catanus, whose husband, Godfrey, a former California youth minister, was a participant in the study after being in a coma for three months. “The stories I told him helped Godfrey recover from his coma, and they helped me feel I could do something for him,” she said. “That gave me hope.”

To read the rest of the story, including more details about Godfrey Catanus' recovery from a coma, 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.

More than 1,000 people packed Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on January 28 to celebrate alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott and her gift to Northwestern exceeding $100 million — marking a transformative moment for global studies at the University.

The mood was warm and light, and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro was in his element moderating a lively panel discussion on global issues by University experts from Northwestern’s three campuses, including the University’s first international campus in Qatar.

The enthusiastic crowd responded repeatedly with sustained applause for the program and two standing ovations for Mrs. Elliott and her historic gift.

President Schapiro began his remarks by letting the audience know that he was going to read words from a script that were sure to cause a sensation.

“I am elated to report that Northwestern University has received the largest single gift in the University’s history,” he read, pointing his finger in the air. “This gift of more than $100 million from alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott brings her total giving to the campaign to almost $110 million, which will be used to create the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies.”

The crowd cheered loudly, only too happy to give President Schapiro the enthusiastic response he predicted.

The Buffett Institute for Global Studies will follow a multidisciplinary and problem-solving approach to advancing important global issues and “take the scope and impact of our global programs to a whole new level,” President Schapiro added.

Mrs. Elliott, a 1954 graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences who for many years has been a major supporter of international studies at the University, observed most of the celebration from her front-row seat in the audience, next to her brother, Warren Buffett, the legendary financial investor and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

After she was prompted by the president to stand up and be recognized, the spillover crowd clearly registered its love for Mrs. Elliott, giving her the longest sustained applause of the day.

At the end of the panel program, President Schapiro recognized that Mrs. Elliott’s “big brother,” obviously a crowd favorite, would escort her to the stage so that she could receive her gift. After Mr. Buffett did, President Schapiro hugged Mrs. Elliott and presented her with a large antique map of the world, eliciting a standing ovation.

President Schapiro read the inscription on the gift’s plaque: “For Roberta Buffett Elliott, in grateful recognition of her historic and visionary gift creating the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies. This Institute will ensure that Northwestern University will forever be at the frontier of global understanding. January 28, 2015.”

“One of the four pillars of the [strategic] plan was globalization, and thanks to Bertie’s visionary philanthropy, we now will have the resources in place to transform nearly every corner of the University’s global programming,” President Schapiro said at the beginning of the celebration. “And because she took the unusual step of funding the entire gift immediately, implementation begins today.”

The University can begin recruiting the Institute’s founding director and implementing its programs.

Mrs. Elliott previously made a series of gifts to endow what is now named the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern.

Mrs. Elliott’s total giving to the University’s $3.75 billion fundraising campaign is approximately $110 million. With the gift announced today, the total amount raised for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern has surpassed $2 billion, marking a new Northwestern milestone for campaign fundraising.


For more coverage of Mrs. Elliott's gift to the University, 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. --- Don’t rely on the Academy Awards next month if you are seeking to know whether the movies deemed great today will survive the test of time.


According to a new Northwestern University study, the best predictor of a movie’s significance is how often a movie is referenced by other movies. In other words, a movie’s significance is decided by today’s and tomorrow’s film directors -- not the critics.


oz638.jpg“Movie critics can be overconfident in spotting important works, and they have bias,” said Luís Amaral, the leader of the study and co-director the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems. “Our method is as objective as it gets.”


Amaral also is a professor of chemical and biological engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.


He and his colleagues are the first to systematically compare different approaches for estimating a film’s significance. They considered metrics for measures both subjective (critical reviews, awards, public opinion) and objective (citations, box office sales).


The researchers found their automated method of movie citations is better at predicting greatness, especially in movies 25 years old or older, than these runners-up: the expertise of movie critics (a group of critics or a single critic), the wisdom of the crowd, the numbers of awards won and the amount of box office sales, among others.


Based on this analysis, Amaral plans to also assess the true importance of scientific papers, paintings and music.


The study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


The research team conducted a big data study of 15,425 U.S.-produced films listed in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Specifically, they looked to see how well an approach predicted a movie’s inclusion in the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress, which is akin to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


In their analysis, the researchers found the number of times a movie 25 years or older is referenced by other movies best predicts inclusion in this registry of American films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”


Films with the most long-gap citations that also are in the National Film Registry are “The Wizard of Oz,” “Star Wars,” “Psycho,” “Casablanca” and “Gone With the Wind.”


“Directors keep coming back to movies that are significant,” Amaral said. “If you show a little bit from ‘Psycho,’ such as referencing the shower scene, you are putting that whole movie in front of the viewer of the new movie.”


“There is something about a movie that is hidden to us, but there are measurable things, such as critic ratings, awards and referencing by other filmmakers, that hint at this hidden element -- a movie’s significance,” he said. “We find that ultimately it is the creators, the filmmakers themselves, who will determine which movies are important, not the expert critics.”


Also important, the researchers write, is that the automated method can easily be applied to older films for which no other rating may be available.


Amaral enjoys movies, but what he really wants to do is develop a method for identifying the most significant scientific papers. Given the varied sizes of scientific fields, the sheer number of citations is not sufficient for determining greatness, he said.


“More than 1 million scientific papers are published each year worldwide,” Amaral said. “It can be difficult to distinguish a good scientific paper from an average one, much like the movies. My next goal is to develop a good measure of scientific citations to get inside what is going on in the scientific literature.”


The U.S. Army Research Office (grant W911NF-14-1-0259) supported the research.


The title of the paper is “Cross-evaluation of metrics to estimate the significance of creative works.” Other authors of the paper are Max Wasserman (first author) and Xiao Han T. Zeng, both of Northwestern.


Read the original story in Northwestern News

visitors_center_exterior.jpgVisit the "We Will" website for the latest Campaign news and announcements.

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



If you were lucky, you found your “first love” at college: an academic passion you never knew you had, a freshman roommate who became a lifelong best friend, a significant other who changed you forever.


We want to hear all about it: Comment below to tell us your stories of love through Northwestern. You may even be featured on the Northwestern Alumni Association Facebook page. #ILoveNUandU




Read stories of NU love >>

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The Northwestern Alumni Association is on #Instagram! Follow @northwesternalumni on Instagram to stay connected with your alma mater and your fellow Wildcats.


You can also keep in touch with the NAA on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube and, of course, Our Northwestern.

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

Save the Date for Global 'Cats Connect!


Global 'Cats Connect is a new program sponsored by the Northwestern Alumni Association that gives you the opportunity to expand your Northwestern network locally and around the world. Open to all Northwestern alumni, Global 'Cats Connect is a series of free networking events that will be held on the same night in cities across the globe.

These events represent a great chance for you to meet fellow Wildcats, expand your network and show your Purple Pride. Mark your calendar for Thursday, March 12, and visit for more information as new events and cities are added.

Registration for Global 'Cats Connect events will open in early February.

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

A new Northwestern website, with a dynamic searchable database, allows students, faculty and administrators to easily locate learning, research and collaboration opportunities both within Northwestern and around the world.


Recently launched by the Office of the Provost, the Global and Research Opportunities website is a database with more than 400 opportunities (with data added and updated regularly) and customizable features that can zero in on programs that match users’ interests.

For instance, advisers can identify opportunities to match their students’ research and travel interests, administrators can gain an overview picture of existing collaborations with other institutions around the globe, and faculty can easily pinpoint opportunities to foster partnerships across shared interests at the University. Students can use the database to find undergraduate research positions in Northwestern labs, travel grants, study abroad programs, internships, fellowships and volunteer service programs.

Faculty and administrators who create profiles can detail the work that takes place in their labs, centers or programs and list any opportunities. The faculty profiles link up with NU Scholars, another searchable Northwestern database that contains information about faculty academic appointments, publications, grants, patents and additional scholarly accomplishments.

In recent years, the number of experiential learning programs at Northwestern has grown dramatically, with more educational and research opportunities for students and faculty than ever.

“Whether it's research experience in a lab, studying abroad in a foreign country or taking on an internship in Chicago, the website will help them see all Northwestern offers,” said Peter Civetta, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

The website goes beyond just keyword searches. Users are able to interact with the data through visualization tools that represent opportunities pinned to a 3D globe or grouped by language, school or other keyword tag clouds. The database also is accessible to student computer developers who want to access the information to create apps or other useful tools with the data.

Users can create a profile, bookmark favorite opportunities and reach out directly to people who run programs. They can search for programs based at individual schools at Northwestern or explore the website according to geographical region or language used. When programs bookmarked or marked as favorites are updated with new information, users are notified by email.

"We want everyone to take advantage of this website and play with the interactive features and see all of the opportunities available,” Civetta said. “They can access it from their phone, laptop or tablet and start exploring the amazing diversity of what Northwestern has to offer. This database is also a work-in-progress, and we will be looking for feedback from people on how to improve and expand it moving forward.”

The website was designed by a team from Northwestern University Information Technology Academic and Research Technologies.

To read the original version of this 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.

Stephen_Autar.pngStephen Autar (left), a senior in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, recently returned from his Journalism Residency at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, Colorado. Medill's Journalism Residency program places undergraduate students with news/online companies, magazines, broadcast stations, online organizations and marketing communications groups for one academic quarter so they can get valuable experience learning and working in the real world.

Stephen, who is originally from the Bronx, wrote the following recap of his Journalism Residency for Our Northwestern.

By Stephen Autar

It may be winter quarter, but it feels so good to be back on campus. I left Evanston at the end of August, when my summer internship and lease ended, and just returned at the beginning of January after having had the immense pleasure of spending fall quarter in Boulder, Colorado, for my Journalism Residency (JR). It was 11 weeks that were definitely well spent.


Boulder.jpgI felt really bittersweet in the time leading up to JR, because who really wants to spend their last football season as an undergraduate away from campus? However, when I arrived in Colorado in the middle of September, the beauty of the place majorly softened the blow. The Flatirons huge rock formations near Boulder were absolutely stunning to wake up to every morning. But what was even more gorgeous for me was the fact that I got to live in sunshine everyday! During my 11 weeks in Boulder, it snowed only one week. Still, I was mesmerized every day that week by the fact that I could see the sun from the window near my desk in the newsroom.


As a journalism student on Medill's News/Online track, I was placed at Boulder’s newspaper, the Daily Camera, as a city desk reporter. It was my first experience in a newsroom, and I was more than slightly terrified at how much my lack of experience would be a hindrance. Despite that fear, I was excited to be a reporter and to explore the city covering news.


The Daily Camera is Boulder’s only daily newspaper and Boulder County’s largest daily newspaper. It's under the same ownership as The Denver Post, Colorado’s largest newspaper and the country’s ninth-largest. The Camera shared a newsroom and some staff with newspapers that are owned by the same company and cover neighboring cities and towns. What that meant for me (and every other reporter) was I got the chance to see my byline printed in several papers, including on the Denver Post’s website, which did not at all get old during my internship.


Boulder is a really cool, tech-heavy city, and the area is buzzing with startups. The business reporter once sent me to cover a “Demo Day” for startups in an accelerator program, where the entrepreneurs pitched the businesses they’d spent months working on to potential investors. I was a total fish out of water, but it was a great time, even if they spelled my name wrong on my nametag.


newspaper.jpgSince I was just an intern at the Daily Camera for a short time, I wasn't given a beat to cover, but I dubbed myself the unofficial Boulder nonprofit beat reporter. It seemed as if I was covering something about a nonprofit every other week, which was just fine with me. One story took me to the offices of an organization that focuses on teaching Earth stewardship to children, and their campus was right by Sombrero Marsh, which might have been the prettiest stretch of land in all of Boulder.


I started my JR with an online byline on my very first day(!!) and ended it with a story on the front page on my last day in the newsroom.


In between those days, I reported on over 30 stories that made it to print, and a few that didn’t pan out. Three others made it on the front page, and one about ballots was picked up by the Associated Press and ran on a few other news sites. I even took a yoga class named Broga for a features story. I worked with a fantastic editor, Matt Sebastian, and a great newsroom of reporters that included four Northwestern alums. I do not think I could have asked for nor imagined a better JR experience than the one I got.

A selection of Stephen's stories from his JR:


_ESQ3997.JPGNorthwestern students looking for an alternative spring break can now immerse themselves in the riches of the Chicago area during a new for-credit, five-day crash course in the arts and humanities.

Students of all majors can attend a closed rehearsal of the new mariachi opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, take a drawing class at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and learn improv techniques at The Second City before a performance.

Funded by Northwestern’s Kaplan Institute for the Humanities in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, “The Humanities Plunge” will be held March 23 to 27.

The course essentially covers a humanities “bucket list,” including movies, theater, dance, architectural tours, museum visits and culinary adventures.


For sustenance during the five-day course, students will sample a variety of ethnic restaurants around the city.


At the same time, faculty members will provide a structured framework to help students critically assess the experience. To earn half a credit, students need to write three blog posts during the week, and a short reflective paper is due during the spring term.


“It’s not only about having fun and going on interesting field trips, but also about giving the students a lens through which they can view the different events,” said Thomas Burke, assistant director for the Kaplan Institute.


During a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden, for example, Sheila Wille, the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the Kaplan Institute, will talk about the history of botanical and entomological illustration, primarily in Europe during the Age of Exploration. After the lecture, the students will take a botanical drawing class with one of the art teachers at the Botanic Garden.


“The great thing about this part of the ‘plunge’ is that they will get to learn the history of art and science ‘armchair’ knowledge and then they will actually try to practice that art and science,” Wille said. “These are complementary ways of learning history that also will give them a sense of where scientific illustration is today.”


Event tickets, transportation and some meals are free for the students.


For more information, including a tentative schedule of events, visit the Humanities Plunge website. To read the original version of this 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 head coach Drew Pariano has announced the signing of four high school seniors scheduled to enroll for the 2015-16 academic year.

Zack Chakonis (Don Bosco Prep, N.J.), Luke Norland (Jackson County Central, Minn.), Alec McKenna (New Trier, Ill.) and Anthony Petrone (Highland Prep, Fla.) all signed National Letters of Intent to wrestle for Pariano and the Wildcats.

"All of the incoming freshmen have the attitude that we look for in a student-athlete," Pariano said. "They are dedicated to the sport, and on top of that they are intuitive individuals who want to achieve great things during their time at Northwestern. All four of these athletes will complement our lineup as we continue to strive for Big Ten and NCAA Championships."

Chakonis is the nation's top-ranked amateur heavyweight, according to InterMat's high school rankings. He has twice appeared in the New Jersey state finals and is a four-time champion at the BCCA George Jockish Holiday tournament. Chakonis will join fellow New Jersey native Johnny Sebastian (Ramsey, N.J./Bergen Catholic) on the Wildcats roster.

Norland (165/174) is ranked 15th in the nation in his 170 lbs. weight class. The Minnesota native is a three-time state place winner and was named a USA Wrestling Junior freestyle All-American in 2014.

Northwestern picked up a highly regarded local prospect at 141 lbs. in McKenna. The two-time Illinois state qualifier is the all-time winningest wrestler at New Trier High School in nearby Winnetka. McKenna was named the national high school wrestler of the week by Clinch Gear in December.

Petrone rounds out the 2015. He will enter Northwestern as a 149-pounder. He amassed more than 200 wins in his high school career and placed in the top-5 of the state tournament four times, including a state championship in 2013.

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.

Katrina_Adams.jpegFormer Northwestern tennis star Katrina Adams was recently named chair of the board, president and CEO of the United States Tennis Association.

Adams is the first African American and first former professional player to lead the national organization. She is also the youngest person to assume the position. The former Wildcat standout served a two-year term as first vice president of the USTA before taking on her new role.

In November, Adams was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. She is a 1997 inductee of the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame.

Adams put together an exemplary career during her time at Northwestern. She was an NCAA All-American and helped the Wildcats to Big Ten titles in 1986 and 1987. She was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in both singles and doubles and was named the ITA Freshman of the Year in 1986. She won a doubles national championship with Diane Donnelly in 1987.

Adams left Northwestern in 1988 to turn pro and advanced to the Round of 16 in singles at Wimbledon during her rookie year. She reached as high as eighth in the world in doubles rankings and won 20 doubles titles during her 12-year career.

Along with her position at the USTA, Adams is currently a television commentator for the Tennis Channel, a position she has held since 2003. She also serves as an executive director of the Harlem Junior Tennis League.

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.

schiller.jpegNorthwestern's fencing team notched seven wins on January 17 at the Western Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo., including career victory No. 1,200 for head coach Laurie Schiller.


The Wildcats entered the day with a 12-0 record in dual matches this season, while Schiller began the day with 1,195 career victories in his 38th season as the head coach of the program.

Known as one of the top fencing coaches in the country, Schiller has garnered national recognition throughout his career. In 1998 and most recently 2004, he was voted Collegiate Coach of the Year by the United States Fencing Coaches Association.

Schiller is not only the most successful fencing coach in Northwestern history, but he is also one of the most successful coaches the sport has ever seen. Schiller has more wins than all but one other coach in the sport's history. He was the second head coach to reach 1,000 wins in a career, and he has guided the Wildcats to 14 consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

In addition to his coaching duties, Schiller has taught history at Northwestern. He recently had a book published by the Blue and Gray Education Society on the evolution of Federal cavalry tactics during the Civil War.

For more information about Northwestern fencing, visit

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

mehta.jpgNorthwestern junior and women's soccer co-captain Nandi Mehta has been selected as one of three current and former student-athletes to serve as representatives of the Big Ten’s nearly 9,500 student-athletes as part of the NCAA’s new Division I autonomy governance structure.

"These three individuals are quality representatives of their respective institutions and embody the true essence of being a student-athlete," University of Iowa President and Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors Chair Sally Mason said. "We are proud of their commitment to representing all of the student-athletes across the conference."

Mehta was a co-captain of the 2014 Wildcats women’s soccer team that finished the season on a 5-1-2 run that included an upset of the nation’s No. 6 team in the Big Ten Tournament. She is majoring in economics and international studies while pursuing a certificate in managerial analytics from the Kellogg School of Management. She is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, and she has been selected as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Mehta, who grew up in Lexington, Mass., was named one of five recipients of the 2014 NU For Life Kabiller Memorial Award for Excellence in Character, Commitment and Community. NU for Life is a Northwestern Athletics initiative that helps student-athletes transition from college to the professional world. She has also dedicated countless hours to the Evanston and Chicago communities through events including Dance Marathon, Breaststroke For Breast Cancer, Field Day and youth clinics.

Mehta will be joined in representing the Big Ten by former Minnesota football student-athlete Chris Hawthorn and Purdue men’s golf senior Ben-Marvin Egel.

Mehta, Hawthorne and Egel will hold voting power on proposed governance rule changes and will represent the conference’s student-athletes as part of the NCAA’s mission to “engage and empower student-athletes by giving them both a voice and vote within a transparent decision-making process.”

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted last August to restructure how schools and conferences govern themselves, paving the way for student-athletes to have a voice and a vote at every level of decision-making.

The new model grants flexibility to schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences to change rules for themselves in a list of specific areas within Division I. The legislative process for these 65 schools includes the three student-athlete representatives from each conference who will vote on rule changes.

To read the rest of the story, visit

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

Eczema wreaks havoc on its sufferers’ lives with health problems that are more than skin deep. Adults who have eczema a chronic itchy skin disease that often starts in childhood have higher rates of smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and obesity and are less likely to exercise than adults who don’t have the disease, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.


These behaviors give them a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as diabetes. They also have higher rates of insomnia. About 10 percent of adults in the U.S. have eczema.

“This disease takes a huge emotional toll on its sufferers, like chronic pain,” said lead study author Jonathan Silverberg. “Because eczema often starts in early childhood, people are affected all through their developmental years and adolescence. It hurts their self-esteem and identity. That’s part of why we see all these negative behaviors.”

Silverberg is an assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and a dermatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also is director of the Northwestern Medicine Multidisciplinary Eczema Center.

Adding to eczema patients’ health woes is difficulty exercising, because sweat and heat aggravate the itching. “They will avoid anything that triggers the itch,” Silverberg said. “Patients report their eczema flares during a workout.”

The study was published January 8 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“This opens our eyes in the world of dermatology that we’re not just treating chronic inflammation of the skin but the behavioral, lifestyle side of things,” Silverberg said. Dermatologists need to ask patients about their lifestyle habits such as smoking and physical activity so they can offer interventions.  

The study analyzed data for 27,157 and 34,525 adults aged 18 to 85 years from the 2010 and 2012 National Health Interview Survey. The Northwestern study reported patients with eczema had 54 percent higher odds of being morbidly obese, 48 percent higher odds of hypertension, up to 93 percent higher odds of having pre-diabetes and up to 42 percent higher odds of having diabetes. They also had 36 percent higher odds of high cholesterol.   

Silverberg said patients should be offered interventions for alcohol and smoking by their dermatologists. In addition, he is collaborating with colleagues in Northwestern’s department of physical therapy and human movement sciences to figure out how patients with eczema can exercise to improve their health without worsening their skin flare-ups.  

Silverberg also is an assistant professor in preventive medicine and medical social sciences.

Philip Greenland, the Harry W. Dingman Professor of Cardiology at Feinberg and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was a coauthor on the study. Greenland also is the director of the Center for Population Health Sciences at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern.  

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.


Students Jaesuk (Eugene) Park, a sophomore, and Martha Curi, a junior, discuss their project for the Clinton Global Initiative University.

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) has accepted 12 interdisciplinary Northwestern teams in the pilot year of its relationship with Northwestern.

The selected teams worked closely with the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) to submit proposals addressing pressing issues in education, the environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

CGI U, which was founded by Bill Clinton in 2007, unites the innovation talents of students from more than 300 universities across the globe to foster student-led actions that address sustainability issues affecting their communities and the world. Students accepted to CGI U will meet at a summit at the University of Miami in March, where they will network with world leaders, professionals, and peers.

CGI U offered students from different schools at Northwestern the opportunity to meet for brainstorming sessions and writing workshops at the ISEN offices, where many teams formed.

Undergraduates Martha Curi, Juan David Dominguez, and Jaesuk (Eugene) Park merged their individual projects and unique expertise into a group project that aims to help students from low socioeconomic backgrounds learn critical thinking through web-based computer science methods.

“All of our ideas had to do with increasing access to education,” says Curi. “As a team, we hope to lead the next generation of diverse programmers."

To read the rest of the story and view a list of all Northwestern students who were selected for CGI U, visit ISEN's website.


Northwestern's 10-day celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. began with a day of service on January 17 and will include several events in Evanston and Chicago, from speakers to theater productions.


Carol Moseley Braun, who in 1992 became the first African American woman to be elected to the US Senate, delivered a keynote address during a candlelight vigil January 19 at Alice Millar Chapel on the Evanston campus.


Michelle Alexander, a celebrated civil rights attorney, advocate and legal scholar, will deliver a keynote address at 6 p.m. January 26 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Evanston campus. Alexander has written that many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by the mass incarceration of black Americans through the war on drugs.


The Northwestern community has celebrated King's life and legacy since 1987 with an expanded special commemoration, including stage events, discussions, lectures, films, music, the continuation of the Alpha Phi Alpha Candlelight Vigil, and theater and service projects. In January 2013, Northwestern designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official University-recognized annual holiday for students, faculty and staff.


Additional information:



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

Northwestern's highly regarded Audiology and Speech, Language, and Learning clinics have combined forces to become the Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning. The Center opened in a new state-of-the-art building on January 7.


NorthwestFacade600.jpgOpen to the public, the non-profit Center at the School of Communication offers evidence-based evaluation and treatment for children and adults, all while providing research and training experiences to Northwestern graduate students in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology and learning disabilities.


"The new facility bridges science and service under one roof, offering one of the area's top resources for clinical services,” said Denise Boggs Eisenhauer, director of the Speech-Language Services at the Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning.


Expanded services, modern amenities and free covered parking will be offered. Enhancements to the new space include a family observation room, state-of-the-art audiology and voice lab equipment and more patient rooms.


The Center also will feature an “Audio Environment Simulation Room,” one of the few such spaces in the country. Patients in the audio room will be able to test hearing devices against a range of background noises and real-world environments to fine-tune and personalize fittings. Speech, language and learning clients also will be able to change the background settings to practice communicating in various simulated environments.


Northwestern, the birthplace of audiology, has also pioneered the identification and treatment of communication and learning challenges. "The new Center offers the opportunity for increased collaboration across disciplines and integrates innovation and science to form the foundation of our clinical care,” said Diane Novak, manager of audiology services.


The Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning is located at 2315 N. Campus Drive, housed within the new North Parking Garage; it has a separate entrance through the building's southwest door (or Elevator B in the garage).


Visit for a comprehensive list of services and information on resources, research and communication disorders, or call 847-491-3165.


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.

Jane-Raley-Horizontal-Short.jpgIt is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of Co-Director Jane Raley, a member of our legal staff since 2000 and truly the heart of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.  She died peacefully at home on Christmas morning, surrounded by her loving family.


The cause of criminal justice has lost one of our greatest and most compassionate warriors.  Jane was an incredible lawyer, a tenacious advocate for her clients, a revered mentor of law students and young lawyers, and an exceptionally loving and caring person.  All who knew her will miss her beyond measure.  Many innocent men and women are free from their convictions due to Jane’s work, and many young lawyers are out doing good in the world—and understand the good that attorneys can accomplish—due to Jane’s magnificent example during her 14 years as a law professor at Northwestern University School of Law.


A sampling of online tributes to Jane:



The memorial service for Jane was held at 2 p.m. on January 3 at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, in Deerfield, Illinois.  All are welcome.


Rest in peace, our dear Jane.


(In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her memory to the Jane Raley Memorial Fund at Northwestern University School of Law. Please contact for more information.)


Visit Northwestern Law for more

EVANSTON, Ill. --- No methods currently exist for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects one out of nine people over the age of 65. Now, an interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers has developed a noninvasive MRI approach that can detect the disease in a living animal. And it can do so at the earliest stages of the disease, well before typical Alzheimer’s symptoms appear.neurons638.jpg


Led by neuroscientist William L. Klein and materials scientist Vinayak P. Dravid, the research team developed an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) probe that pairs a magnetic nanostructure (MNS) with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of the disease. The accumulated toxins, because of the associated magnetic nanostructures, show up as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.


This ability to detect the molecular toxins may one day enable scientists to both spot trouble early and better design drugs or therapies to combat and monitor the disease. And, while not the focus of the study, early evidence suggests the MRI probe improves memory, too, by binding to the toxins to render them “handcuffed” to do further damage.


“We have a new brain imaging method that can detect the toxin that leads to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Klein, who first identified the amyloid beta oligomer in 1998. He is a professor of neurobiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


“Using MRI, we can see the toxins attached to neurons in the brain,” Klein said. “We expect to use this tool to detect this disease early and to help identify drugs that can effectively eliminate the toxin and improve health.”


With the successful demonstration of the MRI probe, Northwestern researchers now have established the molecular basis for the cause, detection by non-invasive MR imaging and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Dravid introduced this magnetic nanostructure MRI contrast enhancement approach for Alzheimer’s following his earlier work utilizing MNS as smart nanotechnology carriers for targeted cancer diagnostics and therapy. (A MNS is typically 10 to 15 nanometers in diameter; one nanometer is one billionth of a meter.)


Details of the new Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic were published Dec. 22 by the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Klein and Dravid are co-corresponding authors.


The emotional and economic impacts of Alzheimer’s disease are devastating. This year, the direct cost of the disease in the United States is more than $200 billion, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s “2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” By the year 2050, that cost is expected to be $1.1 trillion as baby boomers age. And these figures do not account for the lost time of caregivers.


This new MRI probe technology is detecting something different from conventional technology: toxic amyloid beta oligomers instead of plaques, which occur at a stage of Alzheimer’s when therapeutic intervention would be very late. Amyloid beta oligomers now are widely believed to be the culprit in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent memory loss.


In a diseased brain, the mobile amyloid beta oligomers attack the synapses of neurons, destroying memory and ultimately resulting in neuron death. As time progresses, the amyloid beta builds up and starts to stick together, forming the amyloid plaques that current probes target. Oligomers may appear more than a decade before plaques are detected.


“Non-invasive imaging by MRI of amyloid beta oligomers is a giant step forward towards diagnosis of this debilitating disease in its earliest form,” said Dravid, the Abraham Harris Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.


There is a major need for what the Northwestern research team is doing -- identifying and detecting the correct biomarker for new drug discovery. Despite extraordinary efforts, no effective drugs exist yet for Alzheimer’s disease.


“This MRI method could be used to determine how well a new drug is working,” Dravid said. “If a drug is effective, you would expect the amyloid beta signal to go down.”


The nontoxic MRI probe was delivered intranasally to mouse models with Alzheimer’s disease and control animals without the disease. In animals with Alzheimer’s, the toxins’ presence can be seen clearly in the hippocampus in MRI scans of the brain. No dark areas, however, were seen in the hippocampus of the control group.


The ability to detect amyloid beta oligomers, Klein said, is important for two reasons:  amyloid beta oligomers are the toxins that damage neurons, and the oligomers are the first sign of trouble in the disease process, appearing before any other pathology.


Klein, Dravid and their colleagues also observed that the behavior of animals with Alzheimer’s improved even after receiving a single dose of the MRI probe.


“While preliminary, the data suggests the probe could be used not only as a diagnostic tool but also as a therapeutic,” said Kirsten L. Viola, a co-first author of the study and a research manager in Klein’s laboratory.


Along with the studies in live animals, the research team also studied human brain tissue from Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The samples were from individuals who died from Alzheimer’s and those who did not have the disease. After introducing the MRI probe, the researchers saw large dark areas in the Alzheimer brains, indicating the presence of amyloid beta oligomers.


The National Institutes of Health (grants AG022547, AG029460 and AG045637), the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (grant 1R21AG045637-01A1) and Baxter Healthcare supported the research.


The title of the paper is “Towards non-invasive diagnostic imaging of early-stage Alzheimer's disease.


In addition to Klein, Dravid and Viola, other authors of the paper are from Northwestern University; Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil; Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; and North Shore University Health Systems.


Images are available at


Editor’s note: Northwestern University holds the rights to two U.S. and several international patents concerning antibodies that target amyloid beta oligomers. Acumen Pharmaceuticals holds the licensing rights to develop anti-amyloid beta oligomer antibodies for therapeutic use. William L. Klein is a founder of Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and serves as a member of its scientific advisory board.


Northwestern also has filed an intellectual property/patent application based on magnetic nanostructure (MNS) for diagnostic imaging and therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.


See more at Northwestern News

EVANSTON, Ill. ---It was a banner year for thought-provoking lyricism from Northwestern University, thanks largely to works by Chicago writers Eula Biss and Stuart Dybek, who both teach creative writing at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences._ERR0159.JPG


Biss’s best-selling book “On Immunity: An Inoculation,” was described by The New York Times as “a spellbinding blend of memoir, science journalism and literary criticism.” Her work was selected as one of the top 10 books of the year by several major publications, including The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon, Time Out and Chicago Magazine.


Rave reviews followed the publication of Biss’s book and the summer release of Dybek’s two works of fiction, “Paper Lantern and Love Stories” and “Ecstatic Cahoots.”


Dybek, long a quintessential voice of Chicago and Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern, was cited by The New York Times as “not only our most relevant writer, but maybe one of our best.” The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader selected Dybek’s “Paper Lantern” as one of its best 10 books of the year. Chicago Magazine named Dybek the “Best all-star” for works “that showcase both his elegant turns of phrase and intense love of this city," and also chose the 72-year-old short-story writer as one of its "2014 Chicagoans of the Year.”


Biss’s “voracious intellect imbues all her work,” according to Chicago magazine which called her book the "best breakout genre." '“On Immunity” is a probing, detailed look at the history of immunization and the fears that drive some people against the practice," the magazine wrote.


The New York Times noted that “Biss unpacks what the fear of vaccines tells us about larger anxieties involving purity, contamination and interdependency. Deeply researched and anchored in Biss’s own experiences as a new mother, this ferociously intelligent book is itself an inoculation against bad science and superstition, and a reminder that we owe one another our lives.”


Struggling to categorize Dybek’s writing in his latest collections, reviewers have cited the master storyteller’s expression of images and memories that seem to hover almost below consciousness and beyond words, sometimes taking off in fantastic and, at first glance, disconnected directions.


“Images bleed into one another, and time moves unpredictably, defying notions of what stories ought to do," the Chicago Reader wrote. “Dybek pushes up against limitations of language, always in search of beauty.”


See Northwestern News for more

graphic-SchrupSarahO'Rourke_v2013-05-22.jpgA recent Reuters special report named three Northwestern Law professors to its list of the most influential attorneys to the Supreme Court. Sarah O’Rourke Schrup, Jeffrey Green (not pictured), and Carter Phillips (JD ’77) (not pictured)— all co-directors of the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Supreme Court Clinic—were identified in “The Echo Chamber,” a three-part report which examines the inner workings of the Supreme Court of the United States and the lawyers that lead in appealing and arguing cases before the high court.


Reuters assembled the list by sifting through nine years of cases, 8,000 law firms, and 17,000 attorneys. Ultimately, 66 attorneys were winnowed down from this list representing the strongest petitioners and oral advocates to the Supreme Court. Top petitioners had a success rate four times above the average for getting an appeal accepted. Sarah O’Rourke Schrup was identified as a top petitioner filing 28 times and successfully granted four. Schrup is also the founder and director of Northwestern’s Appellate Advocacy Center helping students prepare briefs and participate in appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for Supreme Court cases. Adjunct professor Jeffrey Green, partner at Sidley Austin, also made the list as a top petitioner with 34 filed and six granted.


Green argued two cases in front of the Supreme Court, successfully winning once and has served as a trusted mentor to Northwestern Law students in the Supreme Court practicum.


Finally, Carter Philips (JD ’77) earned a spot on the list by being a top oral advocate and petitioner, filing 107 petitions and being granted 15, and leading 36 oral arguments and winning 13. Phillips clerked for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, was an assistant to the Solicitor General, and has achieved a record for arguing the most cases —79 — of any attorney in private practice. Phillips is a partner at Sidley Austin and an instructor in the Supreme Court clinic, guiding students to successfully writing briefs and arguing cases in moot court.


Northwestern Law’s Appellate Advocacy Center offers a unique mix of practical experience in federal, intermediate, and Supreme Court proceedings to students.


Visit Northwestern Law for the original news release

James L. Schroeder, MD, ’81 GME, longtime associate professor in james-schroeder-250.pngMedicine-Rheumatology and former president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation (NMFF), passed away on Dec. 30. He was 62.


Throughout his 30-year career at Feinberg, Dr. Schroeder established himself as a highly respected leader, teacher and physician, most recently serving as senior associate dean for external relations. From 1999 to 2009, he was president and CEO of NMFF, which has since become Northwestern Medical Group.


"Jim was a great colleague and leader in the department and the faculty practice. He was an exemplary physician and master clinician. He has had, and will continue to have, an enduring impact on our culture and practice in the years ahead,” said Douglas Vaughan, MD, chair of Medicine. “He attended Medical Grand Rounds quite regularly the last few months, and I was awed by his fortitude, his spirit and his enduring curiosity. He will be missed."


Born in Akron, Ohio, Dr. Schroeder lived in Wilmette with his wife, Carol. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. His history with Northwestern Medicine dates to 1978, when he began his residency in Internal Medicine. After a fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, he returned to Chicago as one of the earliest members of NMFF, joining the Division of Rheumatology in 1983. He also earned an MBA from Northwestern in 1987.


“Jim always supported the vitality of the Division of Rheumatology,” said Richard Pope, MD, chief of Medicine-Rheumatology. “He always took great care of his patients – they appreciated his upbeat personality, which I think was part of the therapy. On a personal note, I always enjoyed discussing a variety of issues with him, such as local politics, the economy of medicine and other things, as we sat finishing our notes at the end of the day.”


Dr. Schroeder is survived by his wife, four children and two grandchildren.


A memorial service took place at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10 at Christ Church, 784 Sheridan Road, in Winnetka. A reception followed at Indian Hill Club, 1 Indian Hill Road, in Winnetka. Donations in Dr. Schroeder’s memory can be made to the Northwestern University Arthritis Research Society (Attn: Maureen Mizwicki:


Visit Northwestern Medicine for more about Dr. Schroeder and his work

EVANSTON, Ill. --- What is the impact when one culture acquires the sacred objects of another? The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University is putting that question under the microscope this winter with the exhibition “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies.”


kashmir638.jpgFree and open to the public from Jan. 13 through April 12, 2015, this Main Gallery exhibition takes a penetrating look at how Buddhist art from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas has traveled across centuries and borders -- first within the region and later to the U.S. and Europe -- raising questions about cultural impact and the varying motivations behind modes of collecting.


(See below for a list of free public events complementing “Collecting Paradise,” including an opening day celebration, Block Cinema film screenings and scholarly lectures.)


“Collecting Paradise” features Buddhist objects, including manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures in ivory, metal and wood, dating from the 7th to 17th centuries. With 44 objects, the exhibition presents an original and innovative look at art from the region of Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, as well as how it has been “collected” over time.


The exhibition was curated by a leading scholar in the field, Robert Linrothe, associate professor of art history in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, with the support of Christian Luczanits, the David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.


“‘Collecting Paradise’ is the most ambitious exhibition in the Block’s history, and we are very grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for recognizing its significance,” said Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum. “As part of our new global initiative, this exhibition brings together works of Asian art that are true masterpieces -- among the most important of their kind in the U.S.”


“Professor Linrothe is one of the few experts in art of this region teaching in the U.S. today. He has spent decades traveling to remote locations to study historic sites and form relationships with local experts. This direct experience of the art of Kashmir and the Western Himalayas in situ has contributed to his innovative and thought-provoking thesis on the migration of culture,” Corrin added.


A companion exhibition, “Collecting Culture: Himalaya through the Lens,” Jan. 13 through April 12, in the Alsdorf Gallery, further examines the impact of centuries of collecting in the region. Co-curated by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, the Block’s associate director of curatorial affairs, and Robert Linrothe, “Collecting Culture” looks critically at U.S. and European engagement in the Himalayas beginning in the mid-19th century through lenses, including photography, cartography, natural science and ethnography. It reflects on the ways Westerners have perceived, defined and acquired the Himalayas, raising questions about what is gained and what is lost when objects are removed from their intended cultural context.


“Collecting Culture” presents the expeditions of four individuals from the late 1920s through the 1940s -- Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci; American zoologist Walter Koelz, who worked with Thakur Rup Chand, his Indian partner and guide; and Northwestern University professor William McGovern.


Eleven of Tucci’s, Koelz’s and Rup Chand’s acquisitions are included in “Collecting Paradise.” This enables museum visitors to consider the motivations and actions of these individuals, as well as contemplate the impact of transferring consecrated objects from religious shrines to museums, where they are presented for their aesthetic value.


“With these exhibitions, we are raising questions that a university museum is uniquely capable of addressing -- specifically, the complex issues surrounding the origins of an object and how its meaning can shift with context. Through a dynamic schedule of free public programs this winter, we will present audiences with unique opportunities to consider and examine these questions,” Corrin said.


“Collecting Paradise” brings together works from The Art Institute of Chicago, the Asia Society (New York City), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Rubin Museum of Art (New York City), the Saint Louis Art Museum, the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and four private collections.


The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated, color catalogue that shares new research and perspectives that have developed during the formation of the exhibition. After its premiere at the Block, “Collecting Paradise” will travel to the Rubin Museum of Art, the foremost museum of Himalayan art in the U.S.




From the 7th to 11th centuries, Kashmir -- a lush valley connected to the Silk Road -- was a wealthy center of transcultural trade, culture and religion. Beginning in the 10th century, Buddhists in the Western Himalayas traveled to Kashmir to acquire, preserve and emulate its sophisticated art.


Kashmiri artists also accepted invitations to travel to the Western Himalayas during this period to work with and teach local artists. The distinctive workmanship of the “Kashmiri style” became integrated into the identity of Tibetan Buddhism in this period and experienced a revival in the Western Himalayas in the 15th and 16th centuries.


Centuries later, beginning in the 1900s, artworks from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas became prized acquisitions for collections in the U.S. and Europe. Western explorers, scholars and travelers removed these works -- often surreptitiously -- from their places of origin. Today many of these works reside in public and private collections.




Robert Linrothe is an associate professor in Weinberg College’s department of art history at Northwestern University. He received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago. In 2008–09, he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has concentrated on the pre-modern mural painting of Ladakh and Zangskar (Indian Himalayas) and the contemporary revival of monastic painting in Amdo (China, northeastern cultural Tibet). From 2002–04, Linrothe served as the inaugural curator of Himalayan art at the Rubin Museum of Art. He is the author of many publications, including “Paradise & Plumage: Chinese Connections in Tibetan Arhat Painting”; “Demonic Divine: Himalayan Art and Beyond” (2002) with Jeff Watt; “Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas” (2006); and the article “Mirror Image: Deity and Donor as Vajrasattva” in “History of Religions” 54 no. 1 (2014): 5–33, among others. For more, visit


The exhibitions were organized by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University; and the Rubin Museum of Art, New York.


Additional funding and support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; Myers Foundations; Alumnae of Northwestern; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly; Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University; and department of art history, Northwestern University.






The Block is a teaching museum that aims to serve a general audience, students and scholars and faculty with relevant, engaging programming. To enhance the exhibition and further explore its themes, the Block is hosting a variety of free programs during winter and spring 2015. Events include opportunities to hear from exhibition curator Robert Linrothe about the art works, a workshop on cross-cultural dialogue, a lecture on the development of Tibetan Buddhism and film screenings, among others.


All of the following events will take place at the Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.


Unless otherwise noted, general admission to Block Cinema is $6 for the general public or $4 for Block Museum members, Northwestern faculty, staff and students; students from other schools with valid IDs and individuals 60 and older.


Opening Celebration, 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Robert Linrothe, Northwestern art history faculty member and curator of the exhibition, will provide an overview of “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies.” Linrothe will address two sets of themes underpinning the exhibition -- travel, trade and artistic exchange across the Himalayas between the 7th and 17th centuries; and how and why works like those in the exhibition have been collected by Himalayan Buddhists and by Westerners, and the consequences of their respective approaches. The presentation will be followed by a conversation between Linrothe and Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, the George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Block Cinema Screening, “The Epic of Everest” (Captain John Noel, 1924, United Kingdom, DCP, 85 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23. “The Epic of Everest” is a fascinating account of an attempt to climb the fabled mountain and a vibrant look at Tibetan villagers and nomads, but it is the stunning photography of Everest and the Himalayas that steals the show. Explorer and director Captain John Noel captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the region and its harsh conditions.


Curator’s Gallery Talk, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28. Join Northwestern art history faculty member and exhibition curator Robert Linrothe for a guided view of selected objects in the Main Gallery. He will introduce the exhibition's five main sections and direct visitors' attention to relationships in the themes and styles of works from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas. This will be followed by a tour of “Collecting Culture: Himalaya through the Lens,” Jan. 13-April 12, 2015, a companion exhibition in the Alsdorf Gallery, in which some of the primary Western collectors are featured.


Block Cinema Screening, “Lost Horizon” (Frank Capra, 1937, United States, DCP, 132 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. Based on James Hilton’s best-selling novel, Frank Capra’s “Lost Horizon” creates one of the most vivid settings in film. A plane crash brings the diverse group of survivors to Shangri-La, a mysterious and harmonious valley high in the Himalayan mountains.


Music in the Galleries, 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, Feb. 12, Feb. 19 and Feb. 26. Organized by the Block Museum’s Student Advisory Board, informal weekly Thursday afternoon performances by Northwestern student musicians and musical ensembles, inspired by both Eastern and Western musical traditions, will permeate the museum’s galleries.


Lecture by Siddiq Wahid, “The History of a Border-Crossing Lineage in Central and South Asia: The Radhu Family,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4. Siddiq Wahid, a historian of Central Asian and Tibetan political history and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, will trace the history of the Western Himalayas through the eyes of his family’s experience. The Radhu family, to which Wahid belongs, is arguably a microcosm of the experience of frontier peoples in the transition from a ‘traditional’ world to the ‘modern’ one. The case will illustrate what happens to frontier populations that are wrapped around ‘lines’ drawn in faraway capitals and called ‘borders.’


Block Cinema Screening, “Black Narcissus” (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947, United Kingdom, 35mm, 100 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6. One of the glories of Technicolor cinema, “Black Narcissus” focuses on a group of Anglican nuns who live in a convent high in the Himalayas. The exotic locale has an almost mystical influence on the sisters, kindling both romantic and carnal releases that threaten their mission, their state of mind and their way of life.


Lecture by Madhuvanti Ghose, “Early Art of Kashmir,” 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10 (New Date). Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, will discuss the art of Kashmir prior to the period covered by ‘Collecting Paradise’ as a way of contextualizing the exhibition. She will speak about the impact of Gandharan art on the origins of an indigenous Kashmiri style of art from the 5th century to the period where ‘Collecting Paradise’ picks up the narrative.


Block Cinema Screening, “Haider” (Vishal Bhardwaj, 2014, India, DCP, 160 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13. In the latest film by Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj, a young man returns to Kashmir after his father's disappearance to confront the uncle who had a hand in his father's fate. “Haider” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, displacing the action from Denmark to the city of Srinagar in the war-torn Kashmir of the mid-1990s.


Lecture by Matthew T. Kapstein, “Kashmir and the Development of Tibetan Buddhism,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18. Director of Tibetan studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris and Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, Matthew T. Kapstein will address aspects of the history of Buddhist philosophy and literature in Kashmir and their legacy in Tibet, providing historical and cultural context to the objects on display in the exhibition.


Block Cinema Screening, “Valley of the Saints” (Musa Syeed, 2012, United States, DCP, 82 minutes), 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19. Widely considered to be the crown jewel of Kashmir, Dal Lake is a sprawling aquatic community where erupting political violence often distracts from the natural beauty. Gulzar, a young, working-class boatman, plans to skip town with his best friend Afzal in search of a better life, but a weeklong military curfew (and a beautiful ecologist, Asifa, delays their departure. With the end of the conflict looming, Gulzar has to choose between a new life or a new love.


Lecture by Liza Oliver, “Luxury's Labors: Kashmir in the South Asian Textile Trade with Europe,” time to be announced, Friday, March 6. Liza Oliver, postdoctoral fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and recent Northwestern Art History Ph.D., will consider the symbolic and commodity value of Kashmiri shawls across Indian and European markets.  With primary focus on the 19th century, she will also examine how Kashmiri trade with Europe altered the social standing and labor practices of Indian textile artisans.


Block Cinema screening, “Saving Mes Aynak” (Brent Huffman, 2014, United States, DCP, 60 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, March 6. “Saving Mes Aynak” follows an Afghan archaeologist as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site from imminent demolition by a Chinese mining company. Some believe that future discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and Buddhism itself. Director Brent Huffman will attend the screening. General admission is free.


Artist’s Talk by Larry Snider, “Photography and the State of Kashmir,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 1. Chicago-based photographer Larry Snider has travelled to regions across Asia, including Ladakh, part of the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir, immersing himself in the landscape and culture and photographing individuals from diverse communities. In conversation with “Collecting Paradise” curator Robert Linrothe, Snider will share his work and observations of the region, with Linrothe reflecting on the ways in which Ladakh’s environment and religious heritage connects to the present.


Gallery Talk by Carla Sinopoli, “Collecting Kashmir: The Expeditions of Walter N. Koelz,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. The collection of Walter Koelz, an American zoologist who undertook collecting expeditions in the Western Himalayas during the 1930s, has contributed significantly to our understanding of Himalayan art. In a gallery talk focused on “Collecting Culture,” which includes many objects from Koelz’ collection, Carla Sinopoli, University of Michigan anthropology faculty member and curator of Asian archaeology at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, will address Koelz’ collecting practices.




The Block Museum is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. A long-term construction project has limited access to Arts Circle Drive. For the most up-to-date directions, visit


Parking in the garage and lot directly south of the museum is always free after 4 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.




The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art is the fine art museum of Northwestern University. It serves the academic and cultural needs of the University and Chicago-area community with thought-provoking exhibitions, a rich and diverse permanent collection, dynamic programs, and classic and contemporary film screenings at Block Cinema.


Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2015, the Block is a dynamic, imaginative teaching and learning resource that aims to inspire a new generation of artists, scholars and arts professionals. It is free and open to all, and visitors are invited to participate in experiential learning opportunities that bridge the classroom and the world beyond the campus. Learn more at


Featured image: Thangka of Four-Armed Mahakala, Western Tibet, Tholing Monastery (?); 15th century Pigments on cotton; Solomon Family Collection.

For the original story, please visit Northwestern News

Pediatric patients who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Taylor Swift, Rihanna and other singers of their choosing or audiobooks had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.


taylor swift.jpg

The children, ages nine to 14, chose from a playlist of top music in different genres including pop, country, rock and classical. Short audiobooks were another option in the study.


A strategy to control post-surgical pain without medication is important because opioid analgesics most commonly used to control post-surgical pain can cause breathing problems in children. Thus, caregivers usually limit the amount of opiods prescribed, and children’s pain is not well controlled.


“Audio therapy is an exciting opportunity and should be considered by hospitals as an important strategy to minimize pain in children undergoing major surgery,” said study senior author Dr. Santhanam Suresh. “This is inexpensive and doesn’t have any side effects.”


Suresh is a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and chair of pediatric anesthesiology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Suresh conducted the study with his daughter, Sunitha Suresh '11, who designed it when she was a biomedical engineering student at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science with a minor in music cognition. She now is a fourth-year medical student at Johns Hopkins Medical School.


The paper was published January 3 in Pediatric Surgery.


This is believed to be the first randomized study to evaluate and demonstrate the use of patient-preferred audio therapy as a promising strategy to control post-surgical pain in children. Prior studies looked at the effectiveness of music for pain during short medical procedures. Those studies also did not use objective measures of pain nor did they show whether the perception of pain was affected by the music itself or if an alternate audio therapy would be equally as effective.


Santhanam Suresh believes the audio therapy helped thwart a secondary pathway in the prefrontal cortex involved in the memory of pain.


“There is a certain amount of learning that goes on with pain,” he said. “The idea is, if you don’t think about it, maybe you won’t experience it as much. We are trying to cheat the brain a little bit. We are trying to refocus mental channels on to something else.”


Letting patients choose their music or stories is an important part of the treatment, Suresh said. “Everyone relates to music, but people have different preferences.”


The therapy worked regardless of a patient’s initial pain score. “It didn’t matter whether their pain score was lower or higher when they were first exposed to the audio therapy,” Suresh said. “It worked for everyone and can also be used in patients who have had ambulatory surgery and are less likely to receive opiods at home.”


“One of the most rewarding aspects of the study was the ability for patients to continue their own audio therapy,” said Sunitha Suresh, the first author on the study. “After the study, several patients ended up bringing in their iPods and listening to their own music. They hadn’t thought of it before.”


The equal effectiveness of the audiobooks was an unexpected finding, Sunitha Suresh noted.


“Some parents commented that their young kids listening to audiobooks would calm down and fall asleep, “she said. “It was a soothing and distracting voice.”


In the study, about 60 pediatric patients at Lurie Children’s received pain evaluations prior to and after receiving the audio therapy. They reported their pain levels based on identifying facial images such as a grimace or tears or a happy face to illustrate how they were feeling.


The children were divided into three groups; one heard 30 minutes of music of their choice, one heard 30 minutes of stories of their choice and one listened to 30 minutes of silence via noise-canceling headphones. The patients in the music and story groups had a significant reduction in pain. The patients who heard silence did not experience a change in pain.


Sunitha Suresh worked with Richard Ashley, associate professor of music theory and cognition at the Bienen School of Music, when designing the study. Northwestern’s Dr. Gildasio S. De Oliveira Jr. also was a study co-author.


The study was funded by a Northwestern undergraduate research grant.


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.

prepare-interview.jpgThe Northwestern Alumni Association believes in life-long career development to help you maintain your professional edge. Through the NAA's career webinars, we give alumni and students the chance to hear experts discuss topics such as crafting your story, making an industry or function change, managing employees, taking the entrepreneurial plunge and more. Because these webinars are available online, you can access them anywhere and as often as you want.


Interested in presenting a webinar? Are you a human resources professional or career coach?  Are you a content expert and looking for an avenue to present your cutting edge material? Email, and we can get your topic in front of the best alumni in the world!



Upcoming 2015 Webinars

January 22: Grit: True Career Stories, Interview with Zack Johnson '10, CEO of Syndio


Presented by Zack Johnson '10 and Carol Ross '83, '87 MS

Register Here:

Cost = Free


“Unexpected Stories Leading To Success."

People learn from each other's stories, especially when the stories reveal what is NOT in the official bio. This includes setbacks, challenges, and failures that require "grit" to keep going. Whether it's Malcolm Gladwell's concept of 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery, or life's unexpected twists and turns, the real story is often hidden under the halo of success. In this series of interviews with accomplished NU alumni, we'll explore what it takes to get to the top of one's profession. Be prepared to be surprised.


To find out more about Zack Johnson, click here:



January 28: Building a Body of Work in a Blended World


Presented by Pamela Slim and Carol Ross '83, '87 MS

Register Here:

Cost = Free


These days it’s increasingly rare to have a stable career in any field. More and more of us are blending big company jobs, start-up gigs, freelance work, and volunteer side projects. We take chances to expand our knowledge, capabilities, and experience. But how do we make sense of that kind of career—and explain it?


In this interview with Pamela Slim, the acclaimed author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, and now, Body of Work, you'll learn tools to have a meaningful career in this new world of work. We'll talk about how to find the connections among diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.



February 3: How to Network When You Don't Know What You Want to Do


Presented by Anna Graham Hunter

Register Here:

Cost = Free


In this webinar, Anna Graham Hunter, career happiness coach, will share how to make the transition to a career you love even when you’re not sure what you want to do next. Anna will explain her step-by-step process for having conversations that will allow you to: clarify what drives and motivates you at work; explore a wide variety trends, companies, and kinds of work; and build a network of champions committed to your success – allies who will give you the inside track to your dream job before it is even posted.



February 10: Your Personal Brand: What Is It and Why Do You Need One?


Presented by Eileen Masciale '84

Register Here:

Cost = Free


What is a personal brand? Why do you need one? What steps can you take to improve your personal brand?

Learn how you can leverage social media and easily accessible marketing tools to help you in your career, whether you are seeking new business, looking to make a career change, or hoping to elevate your standing in your industry.



February 19: Career Transitions: 7 Key Strategies to Transform Your Career


Presented by Althea McIntyre

Register Here:

Cost = $5


You’re a seasoned professional with considerable talent, skills and career passions, but you feel bored, stuck and frustrated in your current position. You are ready to make a significant career move, but aren’t quite sure what you need to do to make it happen. How can you plan your next career move into a meaningful, fulfilling, and lucrative position?


Perhaps you want to change jobs, change careers, launch your own business, or move into the not-for-profit arena. You want to change your path into a career that is truly aligned for you, but you need expert career advice, guidance and support.



February 25: Grit: True Career Stories, Interview with Curt Coffman, Author of First Break All the Rules and Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch


Presented by Curt Coffman and Carol Ross '83, '87 MS

Register Here:

Cost = Free


“Unexpected Stories Leading To Success”


People learn from each other's stories, especially when the stories reveal what is NOT in the official bio. This includes setbacks, challenges, and failures that require "grit" to keep going. Whether it's Malcolm Gladwell's concept of 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery, or life's unexpected twists and turns, the real story is often hidden under the halo of success. In this series of interviews with accomplished NU alumni, we'll explore what it takes to get to the top of one's profession. Be prepared to be surprised.


To learn more about Curt Coffman, click here:

Laking-Posts.jpgJay Sharman ’95 founded Lake The Posts in June 2007 to serve a daily dose of sports commentary about Northwestern football and basketball. Earlier this week, Sharman, who wrote the blog with staffer Philip Rossman-Reich ’10, announced the popular site would post its final blog on January 15. Wildcats around the world will miss celebrating the wins and venting after losses with Lake The Posts. Were you a fan of the blog?


Comment below to tell us your thoughts and to thank Jay and Philip for their tireless work to bring national attention to Wildcat athletics.


Closing Time, Part I

Closing Time, Part II

Closing Time, Part III