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Posted by anew.0000677560 Mar 31, 2015

Franchetti-w-cadets_L.jpgOn Aug. 14, 2014, the North Korean military fired three short-range missiles into the waters to the east of the Korean Peninsula less than an hour before Pope Francis was scheduled to land in Seoul, South Korea, for the start of his first papal trip to Asia. Shortly after his arrival, two more missiles were fired. Some observers said it was typical of the North wanting attention when something big was happening in the South. Others said it was a protest in advance of war game exercises between the U.S. Navy and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy scheduled for the following week.


Whatever the motive, the provocation was an example of the tensions and dangers that exist between the two nations that share a peninsula divided at the 38th parallel by the terms of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement. The signing of that document ended hostilities after the three-year Korean War, though technically the two sides are still in a state of war because no “final peaceful settlement” has yet been reached.


The bilateral exercise that followed the missile firings was one of approximately 20 each year carried out by the U.S. 7th Fleet and the ROK Navy that are designed to enhance the maritime security around the peninsula and promote readiness and deterrence.

Last August U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti and her staff at U.S. Naval Forces Korea helped plan and coordinate the naval portions of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise that involved more than 30,000 U.S. and Korean service members.


A Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps graduate, Franchetti ’85 is the first woman to serve as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea and one of fewer than 40 female admirals in the U.S. Navy. An expert military tactician and strategist who has commanded a guided-missile destroyer and served as a commodore of a destroyer squadron, she is the U.S. Navy’s representative in the Republic of Korea whose main job is to strengthen collective security efforts in the region.


“Our number one mission here is to be ready to meet any challenges in defending the Korean Peninsula,” explains Franchetti during an October interview at her office at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul. “The U.S. and ROK alliance is prepared to fight tonight should deterrence fail.”


She leads a team of naval personnel and civilians who work to promote the strong alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and the two nations’ navies, and to enhance the partnership in the defense of the country. Franchetti emphasizes that Korea and the United States are full partners. “Katchi kapshida — we go together,” she says, using the Korean phrase.


“We don’t know what’s going to happen today, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” she says, “but our job on the peninsula is to be ready.”

The George Washington Strike Group and Republic of Korea Navy ships participate in tactical maneuver training in international waters near the Korean Peninsula. Photo by Mass Communication Spc. 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman. Map above by Michael Newhouse.

North Korea has the fourth-largest army in the world, with more than 1 million troops. More than 70 percent of its ground forces are deployed near the Demilitarized Zone — just 35 miles north of Seoul — that separates the two countries. The country is led by a young, inexperienced, secretive and often unpredictable dictator, Kim Jong-un, who aspires to make his country one of the world’s nuclear powers.


Given the volatility of North Korea’s leader and the country’s confrontational actions against South Korea and the United States through missile launches, recent cyberattacks and nuclear warhead development, the alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States has never been more critical.


Continue reading in Northwestern Magazine.>>

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A faculty task force to assess and improve the undergraduate experience at Northwestern University has been formed and will seek significant input from the University community to ensure that a wide array of perspectives are considered, Provost Daniel Linzer announced today.


The task force, chaired by Indira Raman, professor of neurobiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will undertake its work over spring and fall quarters, culminating with a report to the provost on findings and recommendations.


Input will be sought from faculty, students and administrators across the University to develop the recommendations for enhancing undergraduate academics and the overall undergraduate student experience.


XR4A0113.jpgProvost Linzer cited a 1988 report on the Northwestern undergraduate experience, known colloquially as the “Heyck Report.” The report, named after the late Professor William Heyck, an internationally respected British and Irish history scholar, “identified many issues that continue to be important areas of focus for the University today,” he said.


“Now more than 25 years old, the Heyck Report has had an enormous impact on Northwestern,” Provost Linzer said. “It is time to build upon that invaluable blueprint for undergraduate education with new perspectives that have emerged as Northwestern has become a more global institution and one of the most selective universities in the nation.”


Task force members:


• Steve Carr, professor, Material Sciences and Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering, and associate dean of undergraduate engineering


• Mesmin Destin, assistant professor, Human Development and Social Policy, School of Education and Social Policy


• Kimberly Gray, professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering


• Robert Gundlach, professor, Linguistics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and director, The Writing Program


• Eszter Hargittai, April McClain-Delaney and John Delaney Research Professor, Communication Studies, School of Communication


• Candy Lee, professor, Communication Management and Strategy, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications


• Andrew Mills, assistant professor in residence, Journalism Program, Northwestern University-Qatar


• John Mordacq, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Program in Biological Sciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and PBS Laboratory Director


• Todd Murphey, Charles Deering McCormick Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science


• Susan Piagentini, Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Music Theory and Cognition, Bienen School of Music


• Indira Raman, Bill and Gayle Cook Professor, Neurobiology (chair), Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences


• Laurie Zoloth, professor, Religious Studies, Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and faculty senate representative


Ex officio representation:


• Todd Adams, assistant vice president and dean of students


• Cheryl Berriman, representative of The Graduate School


• Ron Braeutigam, Harvey Kapnick Professor, Economics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and associate provost for undergraduate education


• Michael Mills, associate provost for University Enrollment


• Anna Rennich, ASG Academics vice president



Staff support will be provided by Jake Julia, associate vice president and associate provost for academic initiatives, and Eileen McCarthy, director, Office of Change Management.


See original story in Northwestern News

9566254184_f1c3bec15e_b.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University placed in the Peace Corps’ 2015 top rankings of colleges and universities that produced volunteers in 2014, offering students an experience that can transform their lives and help others around the world.


The University was ranked in the category of mid-sized colleges and universities, with 14 graduates currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.


Since President John F. Kennedy launched the program in 1961, 937 Northwestern alumni have volunteered abroad to help spearhead progress in developing countries and promote friendship between the American people and others throughout the world.


Among this year’s volunteers, Northwestern alumnus Eric Cooper, 23, is acting as an educational volunteer in Maxixe, Mozambique, teaching lessons on computers and chemistry to 11th-graders. Cooper also helped start a primary school and community library in the same town. A graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from Bartlett, Ill., he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2013.


“The Peace Corps has opened my eyes,” Cooper said. “I have seen true poverty and how that affects the daily lives of people, but I also have seen people come together and support each other in ways I never thought possible.”


Cooper credits Northwestern for preparing him for international service.


“After graduating from Northwestern, I was prepared to jump into a new community, culture and environment with the confidence and determination to make a difference,” he said.


When he returns from Mozambique, Cooper plans to attend medical school with hopes of one day practicing as a pediatrician.


“My time working with children has given me the most joy,” he said. “No matter how bad my day has been, reading a book with children in the neighborhood always puts a smile on my face.”


“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” said Peace Corps director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”


Northwestern students interested in serving in the Peace Corps can browse a list of open programs. Applications for a Fall 2015 assignment are due by April 1.


This year, the University ranked 19th among similarly sized colleges and universities in terms of number of Peace Corps volunteers.


See more in Northwestern News

_DSC3295.JPGEVANSTON, Ill. --- A Northwestern University-led study in the emerging field of nanocytology could one day help men make better decisions about whether or not to undergo aggressive prostate cancer treatments.


Technology developed by Northwestern University researchers may help solve that quandary by allowing physicians to identify which nascent cancers are likely to escalate into potentially life-threatening malignancies and which ones will remain "indolent," or non-aggressive.


The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was once the recommended screening tool for detecting prostate cancer, but there is now disagreement over the use of this test because it can’t predict which men with elevated PSA levels will actually develop an aggressive form of the disease.


“If we can predict a prognosis with our technology, then men will know if their cancer is dangerous and if they should seek treatment,” said Vadim Backman, senior author of the study. “Right now there is no perfect tool to predict a prognosis for prostate cancer. Our research is preliminary, but it is promising and proves that the concept works.”


Backman is a professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


The study, which includes researchers from Northwestern, NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and Boston Medical Center, was published online in PLOS ONE.


Backman has been studying cell abnormalities at the nanoscale in many different types of cancers, using an optical technique he pioneered called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy. PWS can detect cell features as small as 20 nanometers, uncovering differences in cells that otherwise appear normal using standard microscopy techniques.


His previous studies have shown promise that PWS can assess the risk of lung, colon and pancreatic cancers in humans. This sort of prescreening can lead to earlier, life-saving interventions. This is the first study to use PWS to predict a cancer prognosis, the likely course of the disease.


Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, but doctors also say it is often overdiagnosed and overtreated. By age 80, more than 50 percent of men will develop prostate cancer but not all will have the aggressive, deadly form of the disease.


However, because their prognosis is unknown, many opt for aggressive treatments that have side effects that cause urinary, bowel and erectile dysfunctions and more.


“The goal is to find specific biomarkers of aggressive cancers,” said Charles Brendler, MD, Co-Director of the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health & Program for Personalized Cancer Care at NorthShore and author of the study. “These biomarkers will allow us to individualize our treatment recommendations and improve patient outcomes.”


To be able to give a patient a prognosis, not just identification of risk of tumors, would be a major advancement, said Dr. Hemant K. Roy professor of medicine and Chief of gastroenterology at Boston Medical Center and an author of the study.


“This approach may allow tailoring of clinical decisions regarding management of patients with prostate cancer, thus maximizing the benefit and minimizing the harms of therapy,” Roy said.


In this study, researchers analyzed prostate tissue biopsies from two cohorts of prostate cancer patients. The first cohort included eight men with non-progressing cancer and 10 with progressing cancer. The PWS operator was blinded to the clinical status of the patients.


The second cohort was comprised of 10 progressors and 10 non-progressors in which the PWS investigators were blinded to the entire group.


There was a profound increase in nano-architectural disorder in the progressors as compared to the non-progressors. This assessment may represent a powerful biomarker to predict cancer progression for men with early-stage prostate cancer.


“This study has high quality data because it was done in a blinded fashion,” Backman said. “Given that even in the unblinded dataset the investigator responsible for data acquisition was unaware of the clinical status, there is no possibility of bias.”


More studies are planned to further this research. Backman also hopes to use similar techniques to predict cancer progression in ovarian, breast and esophageal cancers.


The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers: U01CA111257, R01CA156186, R01CA165309, R01CA128641, R01CA155284, and R42CA168055) and the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health.


The study authors are Hemant K. Roy of Boston Medical Center; Charles B. Brendler, Karen L. Kaul, Brian T. Helfand, Chi-Hsiung Wang, Margo Quinn, Jacqueline Petkewicz and Michael Paterakos, of NorthShore University HealthSystem; and Hariharan Subramanian, Di Zhang, Charles Maneval, John Chandler, Leah Bowen and Vadim Backman, of Northwestern University.


See more in Northwestern News

The chants rose to the roof of the Owen L. Coon Forum: “Manny! Manny! Manny!”


The Cash Cows had just won the Kellogg School of Management’s new student Olympics, and soon Manny — who had emerged as a leader during the weeklong orientation program that pits teams of first-year MBA students against each other in collaboration-inducing competitions — was being tossed in the air.


Manny-opener_L.jpg"It was like a high school football game for me,” says Manuel Dorantes, who is also known as “Father Manny.” “It was phenomenal.


"They had no idea who I was,” adds Dorantes, a Chicago diocesan priest who had ditched the collar for his Cash Cows team T-shirt throughout Kellogg’s Complete Immersion in Management Week. “So on Monday, the first day of class, I show up with my collar on, and you should have seen the jaws drop.

My classmates [who knew there was a clergyman in the class] were like, ‘You’re the Catholic priest? Are you serious?’

I think they were disappointed,” he says with a laugh.


Dorantes is now a second-year MBA student who splits his time between Chicago and the Vatican, where he occasionally works as a liaison to the Spanish-speaking media for the press office of the Holy See, the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. Dorantes’ first major assignment was the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II last April. It was an unforgettable experience, he says.


In the fall Dorantes studied change management and global economics through Kellogg’s International Exchange Program at the London Business School — a convenient two-hour flight from Rome — after a paid summer internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a financial services consultant in the fraud and money laundering department for a Chicago client. (Unlike priests in a religious order — Jesuits or Franciscans, for example — diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty. Dorantes manages his own finances and is paying his own way at Kellogg with help from an F.C. Austin Scholarship.)


Dorantes has come a long way from his roots in Ixtapan de la Sal, a town in the State of Mexico near Mexico City. He immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was 12 years old. Dorantes struggled with the language and culture but graduated from Waukegan High School at 16 and in 2000 entered St. Joseph College Seminary, a preseminary philosophy program affiliated with and based at Loyola University Chicago.


That’s when the priest sex abuse scandal broke. “Every single day as a young seminarian I read another story of why I shouldn’t be a priest,” says Dorantes. “I saw church leaders doing a poor job with the media, just being tossed around and not really knowing how to respond.


“I was wrestling with this internally: If God were really calling me to be a priest in the United States, dealing with the media was going to be in my path. I discerned that seeking a journalism degree was the way to go, and then, if God were still calling me, I’d be back at seminary after I finished the degree.”


With permission from his superiors, Dorantes started a broadcast communications program at Loyola and was soon interning with Telemundo Chicago. “That was a formative time for me,” he says. “[To start the day] I was doing morning prayer and going to Mass and thinking about philosophical questions. And then in the afternoon, I would jump in a helicopter to cover a shooting on the South Side.”


After earning his degree in communications and philosophy from Loyola, Dorantes began his studies at Mundelein Seminary. He briefly interrupted his seminary training to work for Univision, a U.S. Spanish-language television network, at its Miami headquarters.


Continue reading in Northwestern Magazine.>>

_DSC4483.JPGNorthwestern University is unveiling two new massive open online courses (MOOCs) this spring, one to help young people find their way into the health care workplace and another to help students understand how to shape business operations for maximum success.


The two new courses -- created by professors from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Kellogg School of Management, respectively -- join a growing curriculum of MOOCs at the University, including three previously successful MOOCs that are being offered again this spring. They showcase Northwestern’s diverse curricular strengths.


Since first launching the popular online courses in 2013 on the Coursera platform, which offers courses that are free and open to anyone, anywhere, Northwestern has created almost a dozen MOOCs on topics ranging from media, journalism and engineering to law, music and content strategy.


The University also is offering its first MOOC specialization on the Coursera platform: two courses and a final project in content strategy for professionals in organizations.



The course is taught by two Kellogg professors: Gad Allon, professor of managerial economics and decision sciences, and Jan A. Van Mieghem, Harold L. Stuart Professor of Managerial Economics and professor of operations management.


Students will study how to build and evaluate the “operating system” of a firm to maximize value, according to the course website, which “involves tailoring the firm’s operational competencies, assets and processes to a specific business strategy.”


  • On April 13, Northwestern launched the Feinberg School’s first MOOC, Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Health Care, which aims to help high school students, recent graduates and those considering career transitions explore health care career options and learn strategies for entry into the health care workforce and health related fields.


Taught by Melissa A. Simon, George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology and vice chair of clinical research at Feinberg, the course will share “strategies and secrets” for finding and getting job opportunities in medicine and health care.


“This course will introduce you to health care professions, help you map a path toward a health career and impart skills relevant for any career,” according to the course website. Those skills include “articulating your personal story, resume and cover letter writing, job search, interviewing, professional networking and professional communications.”


The course features more than 50 different guests and lecturers, including faculty from Feinberg; Kellogg; the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; the School of Professional Studies; Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication. It also includes staff from Northwestern Career Advancement, the Northwestern provost and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital president. Health professionals filmed for video segments are from institutions around the Chicago area and across the United States.


Simon observed that this is the first MOOC with the goal of improving diversity in the health care workforce.


“We aim to plant the seed of possibility and lay the ground work for underrepresented and nontraditional students -- and others who are interested in a career change -- to translate their life experiences and talent into marketable skills relevant to the health care workforce,” she said.


On a personal note, Simon added, “I’m a first-generation college student, and I grew up in the bottom 1 percent in Detroit. These struggles and trajectory toward a career in medicine directly impacted and informed my decision to create this MOOC from scratch.”


In addition to the two new MOOCs and the specialization program being offered, the three previously successful MOOCs are being offered again this spring. Those courses, which started March 30, are:


  • Digital Image Processing -- Students learn the basic principles and tools used to process images and videos and how to apply them in solving practical problems of commercial and scientific interests. Digital image and video processing continues to enable the multimedia technology revolution we are experiencing today.
  • Life Cycle Assessment -- This course answers the question: “How green is that product?” Students learn the basics of the life-cycle assessment (LCA) method for holistic environmental analysis of products, technologies and systems. LCA sheds light on the environmental implications of the consumption and behavioral choices we all make on a daily basis.
  • Content Strategy (part of a specialization) -- This MOOC is for professionals at all levels of a for-profit, nonprofit, volunteer or government organization who want to significantly improve their abilities to understand audiences and develop strategic words, pictures, graphics and videos to convey their organization’s most important goals.


Northwestern MOOCs are produced and supported by a team of experts at the University with skills ranging from training in advanced learning and knowledge of Internet technology to online instruction expertise developed by the School of Professional Studies and support services provided by Northwestern University Library.


The group works through the Coordinated Service Center (CSC), which was created by the Office of the Provost to coordinate the respective talents and programs of traditional support units on campus. The goal of the CSC is to provide a centralized point of contact and consultation for faculty members involved in the process of creating, developing and implementing their MOOCs.


“The CSC offers strategic guidance regarding MOOC policy and process issues,” explains Jake Julia, associate vice president and associate provost of academic initiatives at Northwestern. He noted that the center, together with the University Faculty Distance Learning Workgroup, reviews and approves MOOCs prior to launch and provides opportunities for Northwestern Coursera instructors to meet as a cohort with the CSC to share ideas and experiences throughout the process.


“The CSC is also interested in evaluating learning outcomes and assessing the experiences of both Coursera students and instructors to better understand how these online tools and digital assets might be utilized to enhance the teaching and learning experience on campus,” Julia said.


The CSC provides a team of highly skilled individuals from the School of Professional Studies (SPS), NUIT Academic & Research Technologies, the Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching and the library to support efforts to create MOOCs, apply innovative approaches to them and explore the pedagogical and course delivery options available through the Coursera platform.


Joel Shapiro, associate dean of academic programs for SPS, noted that the process of creating MOOCs at Northwestern has been “remarkably collaborative.” SPS has worked closely with NUIT, for example, to contribute design and technological expertise in the creation of the structure and technology of the classes.


NUIT has done the video work that goes into the teaching platform, while Searle has worked on design and assessment tools, Shapiro explained. The library has had an important role navigating copyright issues, and SPS has brought to bear knowledge on online course design after running five successful credit-bearing, online master’s degree programs.


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



The James Dyson Award is open and accepting entries. Encompassing 20 countries across the globe, it showcases the next generation of design engineers by providing you with a platform to launch your ideas.


The brief is simple: Design Something That Solves a Problem. The JDA is open to current and recent design and engineering university students, inclusive to both teams and individuals. It's part of the James Dyson Foundation's mission to showcase the next generation of engineers.


Need inspiration? Check out an example of a good project.


From raising $4 million in funding to setting up award-winning businesses, JDA winners go on to achieve great things. To find out more information or to enter the award visit Entries close on July 2nd.

It's time to crown the most beautiful spot on Northwestern's campus!


Round 1

The Arch vs. University Hall (March 19), WINNER: UNIVERSITY HALL

Deering Library vs. Ward Building (March 20), WINNER: DEERING LIBRARY

Shakespeare Garden vs. Annie May Swift Hall (March 21), WINNER: SHAKESPEARE GARDEN

NU Lakefill vs. Segal Visitors Center (March 22), WINNER: LAKEFILL

UP NEXT: Semifinals

University Hall vs. Shakespeare Garden (March 26), WINNER: SHAKESPEARE GARDEN

Deering Library vs. NU Lakefill (March 27), WINNER: NU LAKEFILL


Shakespeare Garden vs. NU Lakefill




To vote, comment below or visit


95-year-old Northwestern alumnus Charles Eugster '50 sets a new age-group World Record in the indoor 200m.


His new record of 55.48" knocked 2.4" off the previous record, set by American Orville Rogers in March 2013.


Video courtesy of Silver Grey Sports Club:


Northwestern earned an at-large bid to the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and will open tournament play Friday, March 20, against 10th-seeded Arkansas in Waco, Texas. The game will be televised by ESPN2.


The winner of the matchup between Northwestern and Arkansas will take on the victor of the contest between host Baylor (30-3) and Northwestern State (19-14) on Sunday, March 22.


The Wildcats received the No. 7 seed in the Oklahoma City Region, earning their seventh NCAA tournament appearance and their first since 1997. That season, Northwestern suffered a 61-46 opening-round loss to a George Washington squad that was led by current Wildcats head coach Joe McKeown.


This year's Northwestern squad went undefeated during the month of February, winning all eight of its contests. The Wildcats tied for fourth place in the Big Ten during the regular season and have won nine of their last 11 games. Both losses came to undefeated conference champion Maryland.


Northwestern is led by first-team All-Big Ten selection Nia Coffey. The sophomore forward paces the team with averages of 15.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.


The Wildcats sport a balanced scoring attack overall as six different players are averaging at least 8.7 points per game.


Arkansas is led by the sophomore duo of Jessica Jackson and Kelsey Brooks, who are averaging 14.9 and 14.1 points per game, respectively. The Razorbacks -- coached by Jimmy Dykes -- finished tied for ninth in the SEC and defeated Ole Miss in their first game of the conference tournament before falling to top-seeded South Carolina.


Arkansas holds a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with Northwestern. The teams last met December 17, 2009, in Evanston, with the Wildcats recording a 67-55 victory.


For more coverage of Northwestern women's basketball, visit

We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern surpassed a significant milestone in early March — more than 100,000 donors have made one or more gifts to Northwestern during the Campaign. By reaching the 100,000 donor mark, Northwestern has made crucial progress toward its goal of receiving donations from 141,000 people during the Campaign.


Sharon Coleman photo by Steve Stern (2).jpgThe 100,000th gift was made by Sharon Coleman ’80 (left), a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications who lives in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Sharon was inspired to give to Northwestern when she received an email from her 35th Reunion co-chairs challenging 300 donors to make a gift by March 2.


Sharon said she made her gift because “the request was simple, doable and had an imminent deadline. The challenge was an excellent way to show that all alumni are needed and matter, not just the large donors.”


Sharon’s gift speaks to the power of Northwestern volunteers and the impact they can have by encouraging their peers to support the school.


Samantha Yi.jpg

The 100,001st gift was made by Samantha Yi (left), a senior in the School of Education and Social Policy. Samantha said she contributed to her senior class gift to help Northwestern keep building its community. She directed half of her gift to SESP and half to the Northwestern chapter of Supplies for Dreams, a student-run nonprofit that she calls “a testament to the audacity and ferocious passion of the undergraduates at Northwestern.”


Adam Karr ’93, the “We Will” Campaign’s co-chair for participation, said Samantha’s gift “is a great example of how we are working with students even before they graduate to understand the importance of their commitment to Northwestern. Stories like these are proof that, by broadening our base of support to record numbers, we will build a culture of giving that ensures the University’s excellence well into the future.”

The participation of the entire Northwestern community is key to the success of the “We Will” Campaign, said Kevin Wesley, associate vice president of Northwestern's Office of Alumni Relations and Development.


Each and every gift is helping advance the University and making it possible for current and future Northwestern students and faculty to excel and discover, to imagine and pioneer, to lead and transform,” Wesley said. “The entire Northwestern community is encouraged to become involved with the ‘We Will’ Campaign in order to continue the momentum we have generated so far. We still have important work ahead of us and many ambitious targets to meet.”


For more information about the “We Will” Campaign, and to make your gift, please visit

Leading national sports journalists Christine Brennan of USA Today and Michael Wilbon of ESPN will join the faculty of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications as professors of practice as part of the school’s new sports journalism graduate program.

In addition to continuing their current professional roles at USA Today and ESPN, respectively, Brennan and Wilbon, former Medill classmates and distinguished alumni, will teach part time at Medill. Operating out of Medill’s Washington, D.C., newsroom, they will contribute regularly to classes, projects and events on Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses.

“Christine and Mike care deeply about educating and inspiring the next generation of sports journalists,” said Medill Dean Brad Hamm. “They are ideal role models for our students, and I appreciate their strong commitment to the excellence of Medill and Northwestern.”

brennan175.jpgBrennan '80, '81 MS is an award-winning national sports columnist for USA Today, a commentator for ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio, and a best-selling author. She has covered 16 consecutive summer and winter Olympic Games, numerous Super Bowls and college football and basketball championship games, and international events in more than 20 countries. She has written seven books, including the 1996 best-seller, Inside Edge, which was named one of the top 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated, and her father-daughter memoir, Best Seat in the House.

Brennan, the first full-time female sportswriter at The Miami Herald and the first woman to cover the NFL for The Washington Post, was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). As president of AWSM, she started a scholarship-internship program that has supported more than 130 college-age women pursuing careers in sports media.

At Northwestern, Brennan has initiated mentoring and speed-networking events for Medill students as well as student-athletes. She also has started an annual summer fellowship to provide support for Medill students doing unpaid journalism-related internships.

“Medill didn’t just prepare us to be journalists,” Brennan observed. “It literally launched us into the adventure of a lifetime. Michael and I have known each other since the first day of our freshman year, so it’s a great honor for us to be able to serve the school we love in this manner.”

wilbon175.jpgWilbon '80 serves on Medill’s Board of Advisers, and both he and Brennan serve on Northwestern’s Board of Trustees. In addition, both are members of Medill’s Hall of Achievement for distinguished alumni.

Wilbon is co-host of Pardon The Interruption (PTI) on ESPN, a contributor to ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the NBA, and a columnist for and ESPN Chicago. Wilbon enjoyed a 30-year career at The Washington Post, including 20 years as a sports columnist. During his career, he covered numerous summer and winter Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Final Fours, NBA Finals, major golf championships and Stanley Cup Finals.

The Society of Professional Journalists honored Wilbon as top sports columnist in America in 2000. The National Association of Black Journalists awarded Wilbon its lifetime achievement award in 2009. He has edited two books with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It and Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man, both of which made the New York Times best-seller list.

Wilbon and his former Washington Post colleague Tony Kornheiser have co-hosted PTI since the show’s debut in October 2001. PTI earned the 2009 Sports Emmy Award in the “Daily Studio” category. Previously, Wilbon appeared on a pair of WRC-TV-4 sports shows in Washington, D.C., Redskins Report and Full Court Press, both with George Michael.

To learn more about Medill's sports journalism graduate program, visit the Northwestern News Center.

Northwestern Career Advancement held a series of workshops, talks and events from March 9-13 as part of Nonprofit Week, an event designed to help students learn about potential careers with nonprofit organizations.


The week’s events included the Nonprofit Career Trek, which enabled students to visit locations such as the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, the Heartland Alliance and the Environmental Law & Policy Center while connecting with Northwestern alumni and industry professionals.


Several Northwestern alumni who work for nonprofits also wrote blog posts about their career paths as part of Nonprofit Week:


Northwestern University School of Law has launched the Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation (CPEI) to investigate how legal education can best prepare new lawyers for the rigors of practice in a rapidly changing legal marketplace.


CPEI is designed to be an incubator for innovation in legal education, one that will bring together diverse voices and perspectives from the legal community, the businesses and institutions that work with it, and the legal academy itself to address key topics in legal education and its relationship to the profession.

James A. Lupo, professor of practice at Northwestern Law, will direct the center’s work.

“The legal profession has been evolving at an amazing pace in the last few years,” Lupo said. “Legal education must evolve, too. The center will bring together leaders from all sectors of the legal profession to inform the Law School’s efforts in creating programs and initiatives designed to ensure Northwestern’s graduates are best prepared to succeed throughout their careers in a dynamic professional environment.”

CPEI grew out of the School of Law’s most recent strategic planning process.

“A primary focus of our strategic planning process was to investigate how best to serve our students, our community and our profession not only for today but for tomorrow as well,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern Law. “We created CPEI to build connections between the Law School and the practice community, to facilitate a two-way conversation about how we prepare our students so that they are ready to effectively engage in, and eventually lead, the profession.”

Key early initiatives of the center will include a series of forums with managing partners and recruiting partners, corporate counsel and attorneys who work in the nonprofit and public sectors to discuss the skills and doctrinal grounding these professionals feel are most important for new lawyers.

The center also anticipates hosting an attorney development forum to discuss the relationship between and respective objectives of law school education and on-the-job training. The center will organize practice-area advisory groups to ensure that Northwestern Law’s curricular and co-curricular offerings are current and appropriate for students wishing to target particular practice areas and sectors. In addition, there are plans for a legal-practice and business entrepreneurship program specifically for students who may wish to start their own practices or law-related businesses.

Furthermore, the center will also organize annual debriefings for summer associates and recent graduates to discuss what these new lawyers feel was useful -- and what would have been useful -- in their educational experience at Northwestern Law.

“The primary goal is to deliver actionable intelligence around which we can enhance our programs and curriculum,” Lupo said. “We will listen to all ideas, propose innovation and implement meaningful change.”

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


Virginia Rometty '79, chairman, president and chief executive officer of IBM and a member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees, is among the four distinguished individuals who will be recognized with honorary degrees at the University’s 157th commencement ceremony. 

Ranked number one in Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for the last three years, Rometty will deliver the main commencement address at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 19, at Ryan Field.

Besides Rometty, the others who will receive honorary degrees are Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress and singer Audra McDonald, the only person to win in all four of the Tony’s acting categories; Dan Shechtman, a widely published researcher who was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for identifying a new category of materials, thereby overturning a centuries-old scientific paradigm; and Margaret Beale Spencer, a psychologist whose work centers on the effects of ethnicity, gender and race on youth and adolescent development.

For full biographies of each of the honorary degree recipients, please visit the Northwestern News Center.


Northwestern junior Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) won the 1,650 freestyle Big Ten championship Saturday night in dominating and record-breaking fashion to lead the Wildcats on the final day of the conference meet at Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

Saturday night's session -- including Wilimovsky's win -- will air on BTN at 10:30 a.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, March 1.

Wilimovsky swam an incredible NCAA `A' automatic qualification time of 14:33.50 to break his own Northwestern school record, the Iowa pool record and -- most importantly -- earn his first-career Big Ten championship and the first for Northwestern since 2008 when newly minted NU Athletic Hall of Famer Kyle Bubolz won the 50 freestyle.


Wilimovsky's previous career-best was a 14:42.99 he completed to finish second at last year's Big Ten Championships. Earlier this week, Wilimovsky finished third in the 500 free to make Saturday's swim his second podium finish of the meet. Wilimovsky went out just behind Michigan freshman PJ Ransford and stayed with him until the 600-yard mark of the race, at which point Wilimovsky passed his Wolverine rival and never looked back. His final margin of victory was 16.13 seconds, or more than an entire length of the pool.

Wilimovsky, a member of the U.S. National Team in the open water and 1,500-meter freestyle events, now currently has the top time in the nation in the 1,650-yard freestyle entering next month's NCAA Championships.


In addition to his school record in the 1,650 free, his 1,000 free split of 8:45.66 smashed his own school record at that distance by nearly nine seconds.

By virtue of his win, Wilimovsky was named an All-Big Ten first-team selection. Senior Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) earned NU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award nod following the conclusion of the meet. Northwestern as a team finished the 2015 Big Ten Championships in ninth place overall with 181 points. Read on for the rest of Saturday's results for the #B1GCats:


Preliminary Portion of Saturday's Action:

Northwestern placed four Wildcats in scoring finals during preliminary action in five events Saturday morning.

Northwestern got two swimmers into the consolation final of Saturday's first event, the 200 backstroke. Junior Grant Halsall (Laxey, Isle of Man, GBR) became the fifth-fastest Wildcat ever in the event with an NCAA `B' cut and career-best 1:43.79 to qualify 11th overall for the evening while freshman Alex Snarski (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) was just behind him in 12th with a career-best 1:44.27.


Two more Wildcats straddled the line of automatic second swims in the 200 back. Sophomore Jonathan Lieberman (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) dropped over four seconds off of his career-best in the event to swim an NCAA `B' cut of 1:45.37 and place 24th overall, earning a bonus final swim. Meanwhile, freshman Nick Petersen (Thiensville, Wis./Homestead) swam a career-best 1:45.61 for a `B' cut of his own to place 25th.


Freshman Almog Olshtein (Haifa, Israel/Haifa) made the scoring consolation final of the 100 free with a career-best and NCAA `B' time of 43.99 to qualify 15th overall. Sophomore Andy Jovanovic (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) had a career-best 44.52 to place 24th overall, grabbing the final bonus heat slot for Saturday night.

In the 200 breast, junior Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) went an NCAA `B' time of 1:58.97 to come in 20th overall in the morning, picking up a bonus final swim in the evening.


Senior Seitz was NU's top finisher in the 200 fly Saturday morning, placing 30th overall with a career-best 1:51.84.

In the platform diving event, in his final collegiate competition, senior John Andrade (Avon, Conn./Avon) qualified 15th overall for the platform consolation final with a career-best score of 289.55.


Finals Portion of Saturday's Action

Wilimovsky wasn't the only Wildcat to swim in the 1,650 freestyle Saturday evening. Sophomore Charlie Cole (Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards) scored one point for NU with a career-best and NCAA `B' time of 15:17.48 that placed him 16th overall among the field and third all-time in the event at Northwestern. Cole scored points in all three of his individual events at the Big Ten meet -- the only Wildcat to do so.

In the consolation final of the 200 back, Halsall was not quite able to repeat his time from the morning, but he still took second in the heat and 10th overall in the event with a 1:44.07. Snarski grabbed one point with a 16th-place finish.


Neither Lieberman (21st) nor Petersen (24th) matched their morning times in the 200 back bonus final. In the bonus heat of the 100 free, Kohner did go lower, .52 of a second faster in fact, to touch in 44.70 and finish 18th in the conference. Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII) got to swim in the bonus final after fully eight swimmers ahead of him scratched their final, and he swam a 45.26 to place 21st. Morris was right behind him in 22nd position.

In the 200 breast bonus heat, Donkersgoed remained in 20th position with a 1:58.81, .16 of a second faster than his morning effort.

In the final individual event of the Championships, Andrade moved up one spot during the consolation final of platform diving to score three points with a 14th-place 286.35.

The meet concluded with Olshtein, Snarski, Auren and Jovanovic swimming an eighth-place 2:56.99 in the 400 free relay.


Northwestern claimed two Big Ten champions March 8 as Jason Tsirtsis and Mike McMullan each won thrilling one-point decisions to claim their spots on top of the podium.


Tsirtsis and McMullan become the 40th and 41st Northwestern wrestlers, respectively, to win a conference championship.

"It is rewarding to watch them achieve their goals," head coach Drew Pariano said. "They are setting themselves up well for NCAAs. I am just really happy for Mike and Jason."


Tsirtsis won his second consecutive title at 149 lbs. with a 2-1 decision over Iowa's Brandon Sorensen. The match was wrestled just as tight as the first meeting between the two, but the outcome was very different the second time around.


McMullan took on Iowa's Bobby Telford for the eighth time in his career and picked up his fifth and most important win over the Iowa senior. McMullan fell behind 3-0 early in the second period but battled back to tie it up, and then quickly escaped after starting down to begin the third period.


McMullan fended off Telford for the remainder of the match to hold onto his 4-3 lead and claim his first Big Ten title. "I am so excited. I have put in so much work," McMullan said. "To do this at this time in my career is pretty special."

2015 marks the third consecutive year that a Northwestern wrestler has stood atop the podium as a Big Ten champion. Tsirtsis is the first repeat champion since Jake Herbert went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. The 2015 Big Ten Championships marks the first time since 2007 that Northwestern has claimed multiple conference champions. Jake Herbert, Ryan Lang and Mike Tamilow all won titles for the Wildcats in that season.

Northwestern placed ninth with 72 team points, the most since the Wildcats scored 75 in 2012.


To read the rest of the story, visit

The Foundation is a behind-the-scenes look at Wildcats football as the team prepares for its season opener September 5 against Stanford at Ryan Field.

The series debuted March 3 with an episode about the team's offense at the beginning of spring practice, focusing on the three players competing to be named the team's starting quarterback. Watch the full episode below:

The series' second episode, released March 10, focuses on the defense and coordinator Mike Hankwitz. Hanwitz talks about the purpose of spring practice and what he hopes the Wildcats will accomplish each time that they take the field. Watch the full episode below:

Four more episodes of The Foundation are scheduled to be released on through mid-April. 

8558052.jpegNorthwestern is continuing the development of its new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex on Northwestern's Evanston campus. The University plans to file a permit request with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other agencies in regard to construction of the building.

In addition, renovation of the soccer/lacrosse and field hockey fields and construction of an outdoor football practice field will begin this spring.

The complex will include a new fieldhouse that will provide a large, indoor multipurpose facility that will be used for football practice as well as other athletic team practices and competitions, recreational activities and non-sporting events. The new fieldhouse will be named Ryan Fieldhouse in honor of the leadership generosity of alumni Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan. The field located inside the fieldhouse will be named Wilson Field in honor of support from alumni Stephen R. and Susan K. Wilson.

Additionally, the construction of a new outdoor football practice field and renovation of the soccer/lacrosse and field hockey fields will provide improved facilities for varsity sports, club sports and intramurals. The renovated soccer/lacrosse field will be named Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium in honor of a campaign gift from alumnus J. Landis (Lanny) Martin and his wife, Sharon.

Northwestern also has received a leadership gift from alumni Mark and Kimbra Walter, providing significant support for Northwestern Athletics and Recreation.

Ryan Fieldhouse will be located adjacent to the existing Henry Crown Sports Pavilion/Norris Aquatics Center and Combe Tennis Center. The new facility will replace an existing structure, which houses three basketball courts and a running track, and a nearby outdoor parking lot.

The project will include:

  • Ryan Fieldhouse, which will house a full-sized indoor athletic field that will enable Northwestern's student-athletes to practice and compete indoors during inclement weather. The fieldhouse will also be used for campus events, such as Dance Marathon.
  • Portable seating for approximately 1,000 people with room for additional seats so the facility can be used as a site for University convocations and other events.
  • Three basketball courts that will be used for intramural sports and recreational activities.
  • An indoor running track.
  • Locker rooms for varsity sports teams.
  • Sports performance areas with weights and exercise equipment.
  • Sports medicine facilities.
  • Renovation of the existing soccer/lacrosse and field hockey fields and construction of a new outdoor football practice field that would be used for varsity team practices, intramurals and other purposes.

When construction is completed, all of Northwestern's football program activities, other than the games themselves, will be consolidated on the main campus, rather than on the athletic campus located at Central Street and Ashland Avenue, approximately a mile west of the main campus.

"We are thrilled to take the first steps on a truly transformational project for our Wildcats student-athletes and the entire Northwestern University community," said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. "This institution cultivates and expects excellence, and this complex will be second-to-none in allowing us to continue to provide a world-class experience."

Construction will begin as soon as permits and approvals are secured. The University will work with the appropriate federal, state and city agencies, which will review the building plans, to ensure that the building meets all relevant regulatory requirements.

Renovation of the soccer/lacrosse and field hockey fields and construction of the outdoor football practice field will begin this spring and is expected to be completed by spring 2016. Some portions of the project may be completed earlier.

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


A rendering of the new biomedical research center on Northwestern's Chicago campus, which will be named the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center.

Northwestern Trustee and alumnus Louis A. Simpson '58, '96 P and his spouse, Kimberly K. Querrey '96 P, have made an additional $92 million gift to Northwestern in support of the University’s biomedical research programs at the Feinberg School of Medicine.


The latest gift comes just a year after the couple made a $25 million gift to Northwestern to endow the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (SQI). SQI is conducting some of the world’s most innovative, interdisciplinary research in applying nanotechnology to regenerative medicine.

These gifts, along with the couple’s earlier gifts, bring their total contributions to We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern to $117.8 million. This represents the largest amount given by a single donor to the campaign.


In recognition of their generosity, the new biomedical research center on Northwestern’s Chicago campus will be named the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center.


To read the entire story, please visit

DM-web.jpgThe totals are in, and the 2015 edition of dance_marathon raised $1,130,979!


Wildcats, do you have photos of your DM outfit? Is there a song (or songs) you always associate with Dance Marathon? Or a special dance move that kept you going through the night?


Comment below to share photos, reminisce, and offer advice to future DM participants.


NUDM Home >>

Meet this year's NUDM Emcees. >>

Make a Gift to Dance Marathon. >>


Tweet about DM using the hashtags #MakeLifeBright, #NUDM, and #30Hours.

Northwestern University placed in the Peace Corps’ 2015 top rankings of colleges and universities that produced volunteers in 2014, offering students an experience that can transform their lives and help others around the world.

The University was ranked in the category of mid-sized colleges and universities, with 14 graduates currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since President John F. Kennedy launched the program in 1961, 937 Northwestern alumni have volunteered abroad to help spearhead progress in developing countries and promote friendship between the American people and others throughout the world.

Among this year’s volunteers, Northwestern alumnus Eric Cooper, 23, is acting as an educational volunteer in Maxixe, Mozambique, teaching lessons on computers and chemistry to 11th-graders. Cooper also helped start a primary school and community library in the same town. A graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from Bartlett, Ill., he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2013.

“The Peace Corps has opened my eyes,” Cooper said. “I have seen true poverty and how that affects the daily lives of people, but I also have seen people come together and support each other in ways I never thought possible.”

Cooper credits Northwestern for preparing him for international service.

“After graduating from Northwestern, I was prepared to jump into a new community, culture and environment with the confidence and determination to make a difference,” he said.

When he returns from Mozambique, Cooper plans to attend medical school with hopes of one day practicing as a pediatrician.

“My time working with children has given me the most joy,” he said. “No matter how bad my day has been, reading a book with children in the neighborhood always puts a smile on my face.”

“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” said Peace Corps director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”

Northwestern students interested in serving in the Peace Corps can browse a list of open programs. Applications for a Fall 2015 assignment are due by April 1.

This year, the University ranked 19th among similarly sized colleges and universities in terms of number of Peace Corps volunteers.

Edited by Andrea Nazarian, a student in Northwestern's Master of Science in Communication program.

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

Jonathon McBride, a junior in the School of Education and Social Policy, will travel in his role as the 2015 Circumnavigators Travel-Study Award winner to mcbride175.jpgfive countries this summer to examine various university responses to sexual assault on campus.

Offered jointly by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Chicago Chapter of the Circumnavigators Club, the $9,000 award funds a 10-week global summer research trip. The recipient must visit at least five countries on three continents.

McBride, a social policy and biological sciences major, hopes to provide data towards a global discussion of best practices regarding the handling of sexual assault on campuses throughout the world.

His project “The American Sexual Assault Crisis in a Global Context: Policies, Resources, and Student Engagement” will investigate university policies and resources for sexual assault on campus in Brazil, Netherlands, Egypt, South Africa and Australia.

At each university, McBride will examine sexual assault policies, the resources that deal with sexual assault and student engagement. His research will record best and worst practices for handling sexual assault cases on campus in order to foster discussion about what can be done to combat the issue.

“The project grows out of the work I have done on Northwestern’s campus with MARS (Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault),” McBride said. MARS is a group that works to create a healthier and safer campus environment by facilitating discussion about sexual assault. The student organization helps men understand sexual assault as an issue that both men and women can engage themselves in understanding and preventing.

Among other mentors, McBride sought guidance from Nick Davis, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies and English and current director of graduate studies in gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern.

“I was impressed with his priorities, his moral sense, his unpretentious eloquence, and his expertise from the moment he visited me in my office months ago,” Davis said. “I was elated to endorse his application. I am thrilled he won the grant and I see it as an ideal case of converting one's intellectual interests and extra-curricular commitments into an urgently practical context.”

Davis believes McBride’s work in MARS has made him a campus leader ready to effect positive change in his community.

The rigorous selection process of the Circumnavigators grant motivates students of varying majors and backgrounds to submit sophisticated independent research project proposals. Non-winning applicants are encouraged to revise their proposals to apply for summer undergraduate research grants, Fulbright scholarships and other opportunities.

The Circumnavigators Club Foundation was established in 1964 as a philanthropic and educational organization to enable members of the Circumnavigators Club to provide financial support to programs that further the Club's mission of improving international relations through friendship and understanding.

The Foundation partners with a small number of universities across the country to offer the scholarship. Northwestern partially funds the grant and, therefore, is able to award it each year.


Edited by Andrea Nazarian, a student in Northwestern's Master of Science in Communication program.

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

Amyloid -- an abnormal protein whose accumulation in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease -- starts accumulating inside neurons of people as young as 20, a much younger age than scientists ever imagined, reports a surprising new Northwestern Medicine study.

Scientists believe this is the first time amyloid accumulation has been shown in such young human brains. It’s long been known that amyloid accumulates and forms clumps of plaque outside neurons in aging adults and in Alzheimer’s.

The study was published March 2 in the journal Brain.

In the study, scientists examined basal forebrain cholinergic neurons to try to understand why they are damaged early and are among the first to die in normal aging and in Alzheimer’s. These vulnerable neurons are closely involved in memory and attention. 

Geula and colleagues examined these neurons from the brains of three groups of deceased individuals: 13 cognitively normal young individuals, ages 20 to 66; 16 non-demented old individuals, ages 70 to 99; and 21 individuals with Alzheimer’s ages 60 to 95.

Scientists found amyloid molecules began accumulating inside these neurons in young adulthood and continued throughout the lifespan. Nerve cells in other areas of the brain did not show the same extent of amyloid accumulation. The amyloid molecules in these cells formed small toxic clumps, amyloid oligomers, which were present even in individuals in their 20’s and other normal young individuals. The size of the clumps grew larger in older individuals and those with Alzheimer’s.

“This points to why these neurons die early,” Geula said. “The small clumps of amyloid may be a key reason. The lifelong accumulation of amyloid in these neurons likely contributes to the vulnerability of these cells to pathology in aging and loss in Alzheimer’s.”

The growing clumps likely damage and eventually kill the neurons. It’s known that when neurons are exposed to these clumps, they trigger an excess of calcium leaking into the cell, which can cause their death.

Other Northwestern authors include first author Alaina Baker-Nigh, Shahrooz Vahedi, Elena Goetz Davis, Sandra Weintraub, Eileen H. Bigio and William L. Klein.Brains were obtained from the Northwestern University Alzheimer’s Disease Center Brain Bank and from pathologists from institutions throughout the United States.

This work was supported in part by a Zenith Fellows Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, and by grants from the National Institute on Aging (AG014706, AG027141, AG20506 T32) of the National Institutes of Health.

The study is published here.

For information on participating in a clinical trial for older individuals who may be at risk for Alzheimer's disease, visit

Edited by Andrea Nazarian, a student in Northwestern’s Master of Science in Communication program.

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