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_ESQ5983.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University has announced that Janet Dees will join the museum Sept. 21, 2015.


Dees brings to the Block expertise in contemporary art with a global perspective and leadership in the development of experimental curatorial practices from SITE Santa Fe, an innovative contemporary art venue committed to presenting visual art of our time.


Founded in 1995 to organize the first international biennial of contemporary art in the United States, SITE Santa Fe launched a new biennial exhibition series in 2014 that focused on art of the Americas -- an area in which Dees has played a major role.


“With her broad knowledge of global contemporary art, strong relationships with artists and her deep commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary connections, Janet’s practice matches our mission,” said Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs at the Block Museum. “She will play a pivotal role in shaping our curatorial program, particularly in modern and contemporary art, by bringing multiple perspectives to bear in a dynamic fashion across time, place, culture and media.”


As curator at SITE Santa Fe, Dees developed and managed new curatorial frameworks that foreground fresh cultural perspectives. In this regard, she co-curated “Unsettled Landscapes,” the first exhibition of “SITElines: New Perspectives on the Art of the Americas,” a reimagined biennial exhibition series. In this exhibition, Dees worked collaboratively as part of a team of four curators to investigate ideas of broad contemporary relevance, through the works of contemporary artists from 15 countries.


She also co-organized a yearlong collaborative series of 20 projects including exhibitions and special events, featuring an international array of previous SITE Santa Fe artists on the occasion of the organization’s 20th anniversary. Additionally, Dees curated “Unsuspected Possibilities,” which was partially funded by a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Innovation and Artistic Collaboration Grant and is currently on view at SITE Santa Fe.


“The Block is an amazing institution, and I am very excited to join it at a time when it is expanding its programming and profile,” Dees said. “I look forward to being a part of this process and becoming an active member of the Northwestern University and greater Chicago arts communities.”


In coming to the Block, Dees will draw upon her comprehensive understanding of museum practice and global contemporary art. Specifically, she researched and taught African and African-American art through her prior affiliations with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art at the University of Delaware, the Museum for African Art in New York and the African Burial Ground Project.


Dees also considered Spanish colonial art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York and the Hispanic Society of America. She further broadened her scope by nurturing an interest in contemporary Native American Art during her tenure at SITE Santa Fe.


“It is tremendously exciting to welcome Janet Dees,” said Huey Copeland, associate professor, department of art history, and associate dean for academic affairs, The Graduate School at Northwestern. “An inspiring curator, rigorous scholar and agile thinker, Dees’ work has time and again demonstrated her commitment to fresh cultural perspectives that both literally and figuratively remap the worlds of art and culture across the Americas.


“She will not only complement cutting-edge engagements with the arts on campus, but also challenge all of us to think more expansively about how questions of colonialism, geography and power at once shape and deform our experiences of the visual world.”

Dees is a Ph.D. candidate in 18th-20th century American art history at the University of Delaware, where she also received a Master of Arts from the department of art history in 2005. She earned a B.A. in art history in 1998 with a minor in African/African-American studies at Fordham University in New York City.

“The Block, like Northwestern University, supports research that catalyzes innovation around the most relevant issues of our time, and Janet will have a shaping impact on the museum’s future artistic program,” said Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum. “She is committed to foregrounding artists that see through multicultural prisms, and we are all looking forward to expanding our presentation of new global perspectives.”




The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University is committed to presenting art across time, place, culture and media and to considering art from interdisciplinary perspectives. It serves the academic and cultural needs of the University and Chicago-area communities 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. Admission 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 about the Block Museum here.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

_ESQ3770.JPGFive prominent business leaders and philanthropists have been appointed to the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. Four of the appointees are new; one is a returning member.


They are:


Edith W. Cooper


Cooper is global head of human resources at Goldman Sachs, where she is responsible for the well-being, development and promotion of more than 30,000 people. A member of the firm’s management committee, she has been an executive vice president of Goldman Sachs since 2011 and has led human capital management since 2008.


Prior to her current role, she worked in sales management and led several businesses within the securities division. After a combined 10 years at Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust, Cooper joined Goldman Sachs in 1996 to build and lead the firm’s energy sales group. In 2002, she was responsible for the firm’s futures business. Before that, she was co-head of the commodities business in Europe and Asia, based in London.


Cooper earned a master’s degree in management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.


H. Patrick Hackett Jr.


H. Patrick Hackett Jr. is principal of HHS Partners, LLC, a privately held investment company in the Chicago area. Previously, Hackett retired as chief executive officer and president of RREEF Capital Inc., and the principal of The RREEF Funds, an international commercial real estate investment management firm. RREEF is now owned by Deutsche Bank.


For many years, Hackett taught real estate finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management as an adjunct professor. During this time, he also served on the real estate advisory board of Kellogg and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Hackett currently serves on the business boards of First Industrial Realty Trust, Wintrust Bank and Trust Company and Wintrust Financial Corporation, chairing the audit and finance committees.


Hackett received his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern and a master’s degree in management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.


Adam R. Karr


Adam R. Karr is the managing director of Orbis Investment Management and the director of Orbis Investment Management Ltd., which he joined in 2002. Orbis is a privately held offshore firm that invests more than $25 billion in capital and manages several performance-driven equity funds.


Karr is responsible for overall leadership of Orbis U.S. operations, which are based in San Francisco. He is the portfolio manager for Orbis U.S. Equity Fund and a member of a five-person management committee that directs the global business.


Prior to Orbis, Karr was a partner at Palladium Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in New York.  Karr received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University as a Robert A. Toigo Fellow.


He and his wife, Tonia, have endowed scholarships at Northwestern, Stanford University and Harvard, including the Karr Scholars Fund at Northwestern for students interested in teaching at inner-city schools. Karr also serves on the board of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which prepares talented, economically disadvantaged high school students to succeed at highly competitive colleges.


Karr founded SEO Scholars San Francisco and is a member of its advisory board. He previously served as a Northwestern trustee from 2010 to 2014.


Ivy Beth Lewis


After practicing intellectual property law at Brown & Bain in Palo Alto, California, Ivy Beth Lewis home-schooled her three children from first through eighth grades while simultaneously managing a sheep and cattle station in New Zealand.


Lewis continues to manage the New Zealand farm while also working as a freelance editor. She focuses her philanthropy on organizations dedicated to finding the truth and freeing the wrongfully convicted. Lewis serves on the advisory board for the Medill Justice Project at Northwestern and the Bluhm Legal Clinic at the Northwestern University School of Law. She is also on the board of The Management Center in Washington, D.C.


Lewis received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.


Kimberly Querrey


Kimberly Querrey is president of SQ Advisors, LLC, an employee-owned investment manager. Querrey has more than 25 years of experience in operations, including production, regulatory affairs, troubleshooting, mergers and acquisitions, human resources and union negotiations.


Previously, she was president of the consulting firm Querrey Enterprises, where she helped clients with an array of strategic and operations management issues and invested in startups and emerging markets.


Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Querrey held several executive operating and managerial positions at IMCO Recycling, American Bureau of Shipping, Occidental Chemical and Western Michigan University.


She serves on the board of directors for Artis Naples and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs executive committee. She is a life trustee of The Field Museum in Chicago and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, she serves on the board of directors for Chesapeake Energy Company.


Querrey has served on various boards in Chicago, including the Academy for Urban School Leadership, After School Matters and the Chicago Public Education Fund.


Querrey holds Bachelor of Science degrees from West Virginia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree from Murray State University.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

Feinberg_Bldg_08.jpgCHICAGO --- Some stressful experiences – such as chronic childhood abuse – are so overwhelming and traumatic, the memories hide like a shadow in the brain.


At first, hidden memories that can’t be consciously accessed may protect the individual from the emotional pain of recalling the event. But eventually those suppressed memories can cause debilitating psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders.


A process known as state-dependent learning is believed to contribute to the formation of memories that are inaccessible to normal consciousness. Thus, memories formed in a particular mood, arousal or drug-induced state can best be retrieved when the brain is back in that state.


In a new study with mice, Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time the mechanism by which state-dependent learning renders stressful fear-related memories consciously inaccessible.


“The findings show there are multiple pathways to storage of fear-inducing memories, and we identified an important one for fear-related memories,” said principal investigator Dr. Jelena Radulovic, the Dunbar Professor in Bipolar Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This could eventually lead to new treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders for whom conscious access to their traumatic memories is needed if they are to recover.”


It’s difficult for therapists to help these patients, Radulovic said, because the patients themselves can’t remember their traumatic experiences that are the root cause of their symptoms.


The best way to access the memories in this system is to return the brain to the same state of consciousness as when the memory was encoded, the study showed.


The study was published August 17 in Nature Neuroscience.


Changing the Brain’s Radio Frequencies


Two amino acids, glutamate and GABA, are the yin and yang of the brain, directing its emotional tides and controlling whether nerve cells are excited or inhibited (calm). Under normal conditions the system is balanced. But when we are hyper-aroused and vigilant, glutamate surges. Glutamate is also the primary chemical that helps store memories in our neuronal networks in a way that they are easy to remember.


GABA, on the other hand, calms us and helps us sleep, blocking the action of the excitable glutamate. The most commonly used tranquilizing drug, benzodiazepine, activates GABA receptors in our brains.


There are two kinds of GABA receptors. One kind, synaptic GABA receptors, works in tandem with glutamate receptors to balance the excitation of the brain in response to external events such as stress.


The other population, extra-synaptic GABA receptors, are independent agents. They ignore the peppy glutamate. Instead, their job is internally focused, adjusting brain waves and mental states according to the levels of internal chemicals, such as GABA, sex hormones and micro RNAs. Extra-synaptic GABA receptors change the brain’s state to make us aroused, sleepy, alert, sedated, inebriated or even psychotic. However, Northwestern scientists discovered another critical role; these receptors also help encode memories of a fear-inducing event and then store them away, hidden from consciousness.


“The brain functions in different states, much like a radio operates at AM and FM frequency bands,” Radulovic said. “It’s as if the brain is normally tuned to FM stations to access memories, but needs to be tuned to AM stations to access subconscious memories. If a traumatic event occurs when these extra-synaptic GABA receptors are activated, the memory of this event cannot be accessed unless these receptors are activated once again, essentially tuning the brain into the AM stations.”


Retrieving Stressful Memories in Mice


In the experiment, scientists infused the hippocampus of mice with gaboxadol, a drug that stimulates extra-synaptic GABA receptors. “It’s like we got them a little inebriated, just enough to change their brain state,” Radulovic said.


Then the mice were put in a box and given a brief, mild electric shock. When the mice were returned to the same box the next day, they moved about freely and weren’t afraid, indicating they didn’t recall the earlier shock in the space. However, when scientists put the mice back on the drug and returned them to the box, they froze, fearfully anticipating another shock.


“This establishes when the mice were returned to the same brain state created by the drug, they remembered the stressful experience of the shock,” Radulovic said.


The experiment showed when the extra-synaptic GABA receptors were activated with the drug, they changed the way the stressful event was encoded. In the drug-induced state, the brain used completely different molecular pathways and neuronal circuits to store the memory.


“It’s an entirely different system even at the genetic and molecular level than the one that encodes normal memories,” said lead study author Vladimir Jovasevic, who worked on the study when he was a postdoctoral fellow in Radulovic’s lab.


This different system is regulated by a small microRNA, miR-33, and may be the brain’s protective mechanism when an experience is overwhelmingly stressful.


The findings imply that in response to traumatic stress, some individuals, instead of activating the glutamate system to store memories, activate the extra-synaptic GABA system and form inaccessible traumatic memories.


Traumatic Memories Rerouted and Hidden Away


Memories are usually stored in distributed brain networks including the cortex, and can thus be readily accessed to consciously remember an event. But when the mice were in a different brain state induced by gaboxadol, the stressful event primarily activated subcortical memory regions of the brain. The drug rerouted the processing of stress-related memories within the brain circuits so that they couldn’t be consciously accessed.


The study was supported by grant MH078064 from the National Institute of Mental Health, grants NS061963 and NS087479 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, all of the National Institutes of Health and by a Ken and Ruth Davee Award for Innovative Investigations in Mood Disorders.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

20613_D1073.JPGCHICAGO --- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been passed down in many families for generations -- causing reproductive and metabolic health problems for millions of women around the world. Yet, its cause remains unknown despite more than 80 years of research since the disorder was first described in 1935.


A new Northwestern Medicine genome-wide association study of PCOS -- the first of its kind to focus on women of European ancestry -- has provided important new insights into the underlying biology of the disorder.


Using the DNA of thousands of women and genotyping nearly 700,000 genetic markers from each individual, an international team led by investigators from Northwestern Medicine have identified two new genetic susceptibility regions that appear to be unique to European women with PCOS, as well as one region also present in Chinese women with PCOS.


Most importantly, one of these new regions contains the gene for the pituitary hormone gonadotropin, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), providing evidence that disruption in this pathway that regulates ovarian function plays an essential role in the development of PCOS.


The study was published August 18 in the journal Nature Communications.


“Identifying the genes associated with PCOS give us clues about the biological pathways that cause the disorder,” said Dr. Andrea Dunaif, senior author of the study. “Understanding these pathways can lead to new treatments and disease prevention approaches.”


Dunaif is the Charles F. Kettering Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She also is a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


“There are no FDA-approved drugs for PCOS,” Dunaif said. “We can manage symptoms and improve fertility in patients but, without understanding the cause of PCOS, we cannot cure the condition.”


“Large-scale genetic analyses that became possible after the mapping of the human genome allow us to investigate the entire genome for disease-causing DNA variants,” she said. “This information will be critical for the development of effective treatments for PCOS and for genetic testing to identify at-risk girls before the onset of symptoms.”


PCOS affects seven to 10 percent of reproductive-age women worldwide with symptoms such as increased male-pattern hair growth, weight gain, irregular periods and infertility. These symptoms are due to increased production of male hormones, in particular testosterone, by the ovary and disordered secretion of the pituitary gonadotropins, LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH, resulting in anovulation (the absence of ovulation).


As a result of previous research from Dunaif’s lab, PCOS also is associated with insulin resistance and is now recognized as a leading risk factor for type-2 diabetes in young women.  Her group has been at the forefront of genetic studies of PCOS and has shown that male relatives and the children of affected women are at increased risk type 2 diabetes and reproductive problems.


The Northwestern study complements a recent genome-wide association study of Chinese women that identified 11 PCOS susceptibility regions of the genome. The regions include the genes for the receptors for the gonadotropins, LH and FSH. LH and FSH acting through these receptors regulate the production of ovarian hormones, such as estradiol and testosterone (ovaries make both male and female hormones), as well as the maturation and ovulation of the egg. Taken together with the Northwestern study, finding of the gene for FSH hormone itself, these analyses implicate genes regulating gonadotropins and their actions in causing PCOS.


“For a number of years, researchers had been thinking that it was testosterone produced by the ovary that was a major problem in PCOS, but our study did not find signals for genes regulating testosterone,” Dunaif said. “In contrast, we did find a signal for the FSH gene, which is produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This suggests that FSH, in either how it acts on the ovary or how it is secreted, is very important in the development of PCOS. This is a new way of thinking about the biology of PCOS.”


The Northwestern study included three phases with three different sets of DNA. All of the DNA was from women of European ancestry, those with PCOS and those without it (the controls).


“My lab focuses on big data analysis such as this genome wide analysis to identify genetic variants that are associated with increased disease risk,” said M. Geoffrey Hayes, lead author of the study who specializes in statistical genetics at Feinberg. “We genotyped nearly 700,000 markers across the genomes in each of nearly 4,000 women from the U.S. in the first phase. Then we replicated our findings with two additional groups of more than 4,500 women from the U.S. and Europe.”


Hayes is an assistant professor of endocrinology at Feinberg and an assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Altogether, nearly 9,000 individual DNA samples were used in the study with samples provided from Northwestern Medicine and partner institutions around the world. The NUgene Project, a genomic biobank sponsored by the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern in partnership with Northwestern Medicine, provided many of the control samples.


“The next step in this research is to use the genetic variations in the genes that confer increased risk for PCOS and build models to investigate the how the biologic pathways implicated are disrupted functionally,” Hayes said. “One of the three gene regions identified in our study in Europeans was also found in Chinese suggesting that there may be some shared genetic susceptibility to PCOS in Europeans and Chinese, who diverged evolutionarily more than 40,000 years ago. We plan to DNA sequence the regions that we found in common with the Chinese.”


The Northwestern scientists are partnering with Professor Zi-Jiang Chen and her colleagues at Shandong University, PRC to advance this work.


More genome-wide association studies of PCOS are needed in other racial and ethnic groups.  Next the Northwestern scientists plan to investigate the genomes of women of African ancestry with the disorder. These studies will provide insight into the shared genetic basis for PCOS and will aid in the finding of the genes that are key players in the development of the disease across ethnicities.


This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health grants R01 HD057223, P50 HD044405, U54 HD34449, R01 HD057450, R01 HD056510, R01 HL075079, P50, HD057796, R01 HD065029, R01 HD29364, K24 HD01346, R01 DK071895 and R01 DK65598.


Other authors of this paper are: Margrit Urbanek, Loren L. Armstrong, Ji Young Lee and Ryan Sisk of Northwestern; David A. Ehrmann of the University of Chicago; Tugce Karaderi, Mark I. McCarthy and Cecilia M. Lindgren of University of Oxford; Tom Barber, University of Warwick; Stephen Franks, Imperial College London; Corrine K. Welt, University of Utah; Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, University of Athens Medical School; Dimitrios Panidis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; Mark O. Goodarzi, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Ricardo Azziz, Georgia Regents University; Yi Zhang, Roland G. James and Ahmed H. Kissebah, Medical College of Wisconsin; Michael Olivier, Texas Biomedical Research Institute; Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Karolinska Institute and Richard S. Legro, Penn State College of Medicine.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

This week’s Wildcat of the Week features Samir Mayekar ’06, ’13 MBA, current Northwestern Alumni Association Board Officer and Chicago Regional Campaign Committee member. Find out more about upcoming Campaign/Purple Pride events. >>


I had three criteria for selecting a college: a world class institution with strengths in many disciplines; a presence in a major city; Division 1 athletics and a great marching band. Northwestern was the only institution that fit those criteria; I applied Early Decision!


The thing I love most about Northwestern is my alma mater’s diversity. We have such depth in so many various fields: liberal arts, engineering, fine arts, journalism, law, and business.This range of strengths allowed me to take courses I never imagined. For instance, two of my favorite courses were Russian Literature and Advanced Choreography (despite the fact that I studied political science). The lessons I learned in those classes were applicable to other fields and also provided deep personal fulfillment. That sort of experience is only possible at an institution like Northwestern.


My favorite memory at Northwestern was when we beat Ohio State (33-27) in double overtime at night! It was an electrifying atmosphere. I remember watching Sports Center over and over the next day!


The one fact that never ceases to amaze me — whenever I email or call someone from the alumni database to help me with my company, I receive a response >95% of the time. Wildcats help each other and I encourage all alumni to tap into our rich network to help you get to where you want to be.


I give back to Northwestern in three ways. I am a member of NU Loyal, our giving society; I guest lecture courses on entrepreneurship every year; and I serve as a volunteer for the Alumni Association. I do all of this because Northwestern has given me so much — I started a company based on technology from the engineering school, I met my wife in the marching band, and my personal and professional networks are dominated by Northwestern alumni. I am incredibly proud my life took a Northwestern direction.


Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

Giving to Northwestern is a priority for me because I’ve directly seen the value of my NU education on my career—Northwestern has opened doors for me. Also, many of my lifelong friends are from Northwestern and supporting our school together, financially and at social and sporting events, helps keep us connected.


Northwestern made an impact on my personal and my professional life—an impact on who I am.


Giving is critical because alumni participation is a signal of our satisfaction with our University. When you make a gift, you’re giving Northwestern a vote of confidence in both the quality of your experience and the direction the University is taking. You’re saying, “This place was meaningful to me, I am grateful for my time at Northwestern, and I care about its future.”


Giving to Northwestern is about supporting what’s important to you. I’m personally excited about the new entrepreneurial initiatives and courses; these advances in education and programming enable Northwestern to remain competitive, bring in the most exciting professors, and attract the best students.


The alumni who came before us invested in new, innovative programs that enriched our time as students. We reaped those benefits, and now it’s our turn to continue the tradition and help new programs to flourish for tomorrow’s Wildcats.


Each of you has your own reason for supporting Northwestern, and I hope you will join me in making a gift by August 31 to honor that. Make your gift now to make it all possible.


Go ’Cats!                      


Maxwell Hayman ‘09

Member, San Francisco Regional Board of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle

NU Loyal Silver


Make your gift today>>>

Catherine WoolleyEVANSTON, Ill. --- Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level, a Northwestern University research team reports in a new study of a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy.


Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now Northwestern neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus. This provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways.


“The importance of studying sex differences in the brain is about making biology and medicine relevant to everyone, to both men and women,” said Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study. “It is not about things such as who is better at reading a map or why more men than women choose to enter certain professions.”


Among their findings, the scientists found that a drug called URB-597, which regulates a molecule important in neurotransmitter release, had an effect in females that it did not have in males. While the study was done in rats, it has broad implications for humans because this drug and others like it are currently being tested in clinical trials in humans.


“Our study starts to put some specifics on what types of molecular differences there are in male and female brains,” Woolley said.


Woolley is the William Deering Chair in Biological Sciences, professor of neurobiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


The study of inhibitory synapses and endocannabinoids, which regulate neurotransmitters, was published today (Aug. 12) in The Journal of Neuroscience. It is the first study to detail where males and females differ in a key molecular pathway in the brain.


“We don’t know whether this finding will translate to humans or not,” Woolley said, “but right now people who are investigating endocannabinoids in humans probably are not aware that manipulating these molecules could have different effects in males and females.”


Specifically, Woolley and her research team found that in female brains the drug URB-597 increased the inhibitory effect of a key endocannabinoid in the brain, called anandamide, causing a decrease in the release of neurotransmitters. In male brains, the drug had no effect. (The difference is not related to circulating reproductive hormones.)


The subject of many clinical trials, endocannabinoids are molecules that help regulate the amount of certain neurotransmitters released at synapses, the gap between neurons. These molecules are involved in a variety of physiological processes including memory, motivational state, appetite and pain as well as in epilepsy, a neurological disorder. (Their name comes from the fact that endocannabinoids activate the same neural receptors as the active ingredient in marijuana.)


Understanding what controls the synthesis, release and breakdown of endocannabinoids has broad implications both for normal and pathological brain function, Woolley said. This study contributes an important piece of knowledge.


For 20 years, Woolley actively avoided studying sex differences in the brain until her own data showed her that differences between females and males were real. Her discovery, reported in 2012, that estrogens decreased inhibitory synaptic transmission in the brains of female rats but not in males, changed her thinking.


“Being a scientist is about changing your mind in the face of new evidence,” Woolley said. “I had to change my mind in the face of this evidence.”


Building on these earlier findings, Woolley and her team used a series of electrophysiological and biochemical studies to pinpoint what causes this effect. The researchers found the difference between males and females lies in the interaction between the molecules ERalpha and mGluR1. Details of the molecular pathway are reported in the new study.


To find out what is the same and what is different between males and females, scientists need to study both sexes, Woolley maintains. Currently, about 85 percent of basic neuroscience studies are done in male animals, tissues or cells.


“We are not doing women -- and specifically women’s health -- any favors by pretending that things are the same if they are not,” Woolley said. “If the results of research would be different in female animals, tissues and cells, then we need to know. This is essential so that we can find appropriate diagnoses, treatments and, ultimately, cures for disease in both sexes.”


The National Institutes of Health (grant R01 NS037324) and the NIH Office for Research on Women’s Health supported the research.


The paper is titled “Sex Differences in Molecular Signaling at Inhibitory Synapses in the Hippocampus.”


In addition to Woolley, other authors of the paper are Nino Tabatadze (first author), Guangzhe Huang, Renee M. May and Anant Jain, all of Northwestern.


See more in Northwestern News. >>

This week's Wildcat of the Week is Jack Stephen ’12, director of recent alumni for the NU Club of the SF Bay Area.


When Jack interviews students as part of the Northwestern Alumni Admission Council program, he remembers why he chose Northwestern as a high school senior.


“I realized then that Northwestern was the most closely aligned with my interests: a liberal arts education, competitive athletics, a large theater/film presence, and a beautiful campus moderately close to home,” Jack says.


Jack only knew a couple of people--fellow Wildcats, of course--when he moved to San Francisco three years ago. He contacted the alumni club in the area because he wanted to meet new people and attend events with other Northwestern alumni. Shortly after joining the club, Jack was elected as the director of recent alumni for the NU Club of the San Francisco Bay Area. In this role, he plans events and programs to engage young alumni.


“I try to give back to the University in whatever ways I can realistically manage,” Jack says.  “While I may not currently be a man of incredible financial means (yet!), I recognize that small donations add up.”


Jack is looking forward to the basketball season where he thinks the Wildcats have a good chance of "sneaking up on a few teams."




Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

This year's 'Cats Connect events, student/alumni networking receptions hosted by the Northwestern Alumni Association and Northwestern Career Advancement, created opportunities for Wildcats to network in six cities across the United States.


Student attendees met with accomplished alumni from different industries, honed their networking skills, and met fellow interns, while alumni were able to share their career insight and expertise. Check out photos submitted by 2015 participants below, and view more in this Our Northwestern photo album.


Learn more about student experiences with #NUCatsConnect from Aisha Hauser, who attended ’Cats Connect in LA, and Hannah Wald, who attended ’Cats Connect in Chicago. Follow the conversation at #NUCatsConnect.


View the official ’Cats Connect Storify here. >>


Interested in bringing this event to your city next year? Email


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Chicago, IL

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Los Angeles, CA

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New York, NY

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San Francisco, CA

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Seattle, WA

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Washington D.C.

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View the full album here. >>


Congratulations to our Northwestern alumni, friends, and fellow Wildcats who have already received a Purple Prize through Calling All 'Cats - now they can show off their Purple Pride in style!


  • Stephanie Ann Stack '13
  • Darby Lynn St Clair-Barrie '11
  • Barbara Parke Weaver '54
  • Dana I. Katz '97
  • Jonathan Aaron Rosenblatt '10
  • Jeffrey A. Dretler '85
  • Joyce H. Pang '10
  • Peter Hai Zhang '12
  • Lauren Katherine Tyndall '13


Learn more about Calling All 'Cats and how you can make an impact before the end of the fiscal year. >>

Make a gift today and help Northwestern meet its alumni giving participation goal.

Brittany Petersen '09, a Medill alumna and Infinity status donor, is this week's Wildcat of the Week.


Less than 72 hours after stepping on campus as a freshman, I knew the words (and trombone part!) to the Alma Mater, "Go U," and the slightly more obscure alternative fight song, "Push On." Why? Well, it was band camp! For cues on school spirit, I had 150 new friends to set the example.

I loved my classes, professors, and classmates in Medill, but it was the Northwestern University Marching Band (NUMBALUMS) that stoked my purple pride then and now.

I'm proud to be on the NUMBALUMS board, and I give to Northwestern through the Northwestern Bands "Push On" Fund to help establish an endowment for NUMB. I want to ensure that future generations of students share the joys of representing their university through music, enthusiasm, and sheer P&G (that's PRIDE AND GUTS). Go 'Cats!


Support the "Push On" fund. >>

More on Infinity status donors. >>


#CallingAllCats: Be like Brittany and support your NU passion by giving this year! Make a gift by August 14 and you’ll be entered to win a purple prize basket.




Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

NU-8.jpgRegistration for Reunion 2015 is now open at


If you're a member of an undergraduate class ending in 0 or 5, or if you've graduated in the past five years, don't miss your chance to catch up with classmates and make new friendships by returning to campus for Reunion weekend, October 16-18.


Join thousands of other Wildcats for class parties, campus tours, the Homecoming football game against Iowa and dozens of other Reunion events.


For more information about Reunion 2015, please see the detailed schedule of events on the Northwestern Alumni Association's website.

basket.pngWith Northwestern’s fiscal year coming to an end on August 31, we are calling on all Wildcats to make their annual gift! You can make a gift of any amount to any area of the University that is meaningful to you.


To make the next couple weeks even more exciting, eventful and successful, Northwestern has launched a giveaway and referral program — an opportunity for you to spread the word about the importance of alumni giving and enter to win great prizes at the same time.


When you make a gift by August 14, you will be entered to win one of 12 Purple Prizes — baskets that include Northwestern sweatshirts, stadium blankets, frames, mugs and more, valued at about $300 each.

Additionally, you can refer one friend and ask them to enter your unique referral code in the Referral Code box (on the bottom of the online gift form) when they make their gift by August 14. If that friend makes a gift and uses your referral code, you’ll both be entered to win prizes. The more friends you refer, the more chances you have to win!


If you made your gift before August 3, we emailed you a unique 10-digit referral code. If you don’t know your referral code, call us at 800-222-5603 to find out what it is.

The bottom line is this: If each of you got just one person to give any amount, then we'd exceed our goal. It's as simple as that.

Visit to learn more and make your gift today!

Whether you're looking to develop your professional skills or reconnect with former classmates while cheering on the Wildcats, the Northwestern Alumni Association has an event for you this fall.


The NAA hosts tailgates at all Northwestern football games, both home and away, and offers a weekly webinar series to help alumni develop the skills that can propel them in their careers. For more information on these and other events, visit the NAA's website.

By Jack Corrigan ’17


26a.jpgIt would be difficult to find someone at Northwestern who has touched more students’ lives than Irwin Weil.


Charismatic and bowtie-clad, the beloved Slavic Languages and Literatures professor emeritus sparked generations of students’ interest in Eastern European studies during his nearly 50-year tenure at the University. His passion for Russian culture consistently drew over 800 students to his course on the Soviet Union and its successor states, and many credit him with making Northwestern’s Slavic Languages and Literatures department one of the most well regarded programs in the country.


Behind the fascinating man is an equally fascinating life. From his childhood growing up in a Jewish-American family to his career as a Russian-American mediator during the Cold War, Weil accumulated no shortage of stories. After much prodding by friends and colleagues and help from Tony Brown, a Russian professor at Brigham Young University, Weil finally put those stories down on paper, publishing “From the Cincinnati Reds to the Moscow Reds: The Memoirs of Irwin Weil” in May.


The book tells Weil’s life story, beginning with his youth in a baseball-obsessed household in Ohio, where his father, Sidney, owned the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Weil learned a lot from his dad, whom he says had “a heart as big as big could be.”


“If anyone ever came to him for help he would never refuse,” Weil said in a recent interview. “He was a remarkable guy.”


Weil fell in love with Russian culture after he read Dostoevsky’s "The Brothers Karamazov" for an undergraduate course at the University of Chicago. The Russian classic “knocked him for a loop,” and as legend has it, he devoured "Crime and Punishment" in less than 24 hours the next weekend. From then on, Weil was hooked on everything Russian.


Weil taught at Harvard before coming to Northwestern in 1966 when the Slavic Languages and Literatures department was created. However, he spent much of his professional career outside the classroom, striving to make peace between his native United States and his beloved Russia.


Weil traveled to the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia over 100 times after 1960, rubbing elbows with some of Russia’s most esteemed artists and academics, including poet Kornei Chukovsky and composer Dmitri Shostakovich. He lectured at many schools in the Soviet Union and helped found an American Studies Center at Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow.


Weil aimed to build understanding in both Evanston and Moscow. During one of the most tense periods in modern history, he helped bridge the gap between the two countries he loved, showing each that the other wasn’t all bad. Like the Russian authors he so admires, Weil summed up his mantra in a story.


Once while teaching at a university in Moscow, he arranged for a few politically conservative Americans to speak to the class. Before the lecture, he gave his students this advice:


“In the end, ask yourself this question: In what ways were they right, and in what ways am I right? That’s what we in America call ‘education.’”


Jack Corrigan, an editorial intern at Northwestern magazine, is about to begin his junior year at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Andrea Photo (00000002).jpgAndrea Nazarian (left) grew up in Toronto and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, before enrolling in the Master of Science in Communication (MSC) program at Northwestern’s School of Communication in September 2014. She will receive her master’s degree August 13.


Since January, Andrea has also worked in a part-time student position on the marketing and communications team at Northwestern’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development. As she prepares to graduate, Andrea took some time to reflect on her time at Northwestern.


Over the last 11 months of my life, I’ve seen some highs and lows. But most importantly, I have come away with an immense sense of personal growth and fulfillment. My experience as a graduate student at Northwestern was not at all what I expected it to be, and for that I’m thankful.


Having come to the MSC program straight out of undergrad, I was used to my academic life being a certain way. I completed my bachelor’s degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, a university in a town so tiny with a school community so tight-knit that my classmates felt more like family than people I simply sat next to in lecture.


Coming to Northwestern from Queen’s was a bit of a shock to the system at first. The part-time format of the MSC program left me with a lot of free time on my hands initially. I tried to find internship and volunteer opportunities but the nature of my student visa prohibited me from doing any type of paid or unpaid work anywhere other than at Northwestern until June 2015. This was September 2014. Add to this the fact that many people in my program were over the age of 35 and had their own full-time jobs, families and lives outside of the program, and I found myself feeling very bored and very lonely in the initial months.


I immersed myself in the academic material. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed what we learned about in our MSC classes. Professor Mike Roloff’s dry sarcasm and sharp wit made a relatively straightforward class about change management in the workplace engaging and punchy.


Professor Paul Arntson’s leadership and decision-making class required each student to lead a mock meeting and decision-making process while being videotaped. We were given feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of our leadership and communication style after the fact, which kept us focused and on our toes during the whole process. Looking back at that experience both literally and figuratively, I found the exercise to be very worthwhile.


My favourite MSC class by far, though, was Strategy in the Global Economy, taught by Professor Dilip Gaonkar. In Dilip’s class we discussed everything from the rise of Nike to the implications of globalization on the international economy. The content of the course was relevant and stimulating, and Dilip’s teaching style left me hungry to learn more, even after the class had wrapped up.


International students like myself were required to take separate classes from the rest of the cohort during two of the program’s four quarters. Through those classes, I connected and made lasting friendships with MSC students from Oman, the Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan. These students have become dear friends over the course of the program, and I hope to visit all of them in their home countries one day.


By the time the winter quarter rolled around, I had found myself a part-time job doing marketing and communications writing at Northwestern’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development. Joining the ARD team was the best decision I could have made during my time at NU. Everyone from my supervisor to the other student employees with whom I shared my desk were incredibly kind and supportive people. I was never bored—I was consistently given engaging and relevant assignments and always felt like a valued member of ARD’s marketing and communications team. As I write this, I am less than a month away from my last day at the ARD office before moving back to Canada. Having worked here for the last eight months, it’s safe to say that I’ll miss this place and the people in it.


After graduation, I plan on moving back to the land of hockey and maple syrup to find my first “real” full-time job. I have already begun the long and tedious job search process and hope to find an in-house public relations job at a major organization in either Toronto or Vancouver.


Looking back on these last 11 months, I know I’ve learned a lot both inside and outside the classroom. Coming to Northwestern’s MSC program from a different country, straight out of undergrad and knowing literally no one, was simultaneously exciting and challenging. Nevertheless, in retrospect, even though the circumstances weren’t always perfect, I am nothing but grateful for the valuable experiences, lessons and relationships that came from my time here in Evanston.

Stevens-168x210.jpgA Northwestern professor’s working paper has led to a judicial order stating that private prisons may not force those in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody to work.


“This is the first time a court has told a private prison firm housing people under U.S. immigration laws that it couldn’t force them to work and that if it did, restitution and damages for this ‘unjust enrichment’ could be pursued,” said Jacqueline Stevens (left), director of Northwestern’s Deportation Research Clinic, professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and author of the paper. She called the decision historic.


A U.S. District Court judge in Colorado issued an order in July telling one of the largest private prison firms in the country, GEO Inc., that if people in their custody under deportation laws could prove they were forced to work, and that the firm was enriching itself as a consequence of this, then plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit would be entitled to millions in damages.


GEO Inc. holds more U.S. residents in custody under immigration laws than any other private prison firm. The case was brought against the GEO facility in Aurora, Colorado, following attorneys reading a New York Times article featuring a link to a working paper by Stevens.


Immigrants around the country in private detention centers are being put to work for far below the minimum wage. Furthermore, many of them are not even legally permitted to work in the United States.


Stevens said she decided to map out the “voluntary” work program and legal history to help attorneys navigate the program, which has survived because of obscurity and stonewalling on releasing information by ICE.


Attorney Brandt Milstein saw the New York Times article, read Stevens’ paper, and then contacted Andrew Free, FOIA attorney for the Deportation Research Clinic, who was co-counsel on the case, providing legal research and arguments for the plaintiff brief.


“Regardless of whether the appellate court overturns the decision, the United States now has on record a judicial order stating that private prisons may not force those in custody under immigration laws to work, and that firms can be held responsible for financial penalties if they are found to have done so,” Stevens said.


“The actual proof of these forced labor episodes is the low fruit -- it is copiously documented -- and the determination on these points of law will stand as a significant development in the history of civil rights accomplishments.”


The Deportation Research Clinic, housed in the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern, conducts research informed by the emerging paradigm of forensic intelligence, whereby scholarship is tied to analyzing and creating new legal discourses and facts.


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

Northwestern's Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are co-sponsoring an interdisciplinary symposium on global health that will be held in Chicago in November.


The event, "Global Health Then and Now: Equality, Development, and Globalization," will be held November 20 and 21. The central goal of the symposium is to catalyze the exchange and cross-pollination of ideas and research on the interdisciplinary factors, impediments and solutions to the advancement of global health.


Economist and author Jeffrey D. Sachs will be the event's keynote speaker. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders.


Sachs is widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. His work on ending poverty, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease and promoting sustainable environmental practices has taken him to more than 125 countries that are home to more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more than a quarter century he has advised dozens of heads of state and governments on economic strategy in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.


For more information about the symposium, including a registration link, visit the Buffett Institute's website.

GESI-Jinja-ORUDE-lg.jpgThe Global Engagement Studies Institute, a service learning study abroad program run by Northwestern's Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, was honored this year with the Excellence in Diversifying International Education (EDIE) award for outstanding contributions to access, diversity, and inclusion in international education and exchange.


The award is given annually by the Diversity Abroad Network, the leading professional consortium of higher education institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing diversity and equity in international education. The Buffet Institute accepted the award on behalf of Northwestern University.


GESI is the Buffett Institute’s primary undergraduate initiative and complements the many other efforts at the Institute that work to diversify international education and strengthen internationalization on campus. Founded in 2007, GESI is now the university’s largest and most diverse international studies program with approximately half of participants representing underrepresented student populations. The Institutional EDIE goes to Northwestern in recognition of achievement in the development of practices that foster diversity and inclusion in international education and exchange as well as encourage an inclusive campus environment for international students.


To read the rest of the story, visit the Buffett Institute's website.

microphone.jpgNorthwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) Dean and CEO Everette Dennis appeared this summer on “Let’s Consider the Source,” a show about the media that is broadcast nationally in the United States on SiriusXM radio.


Dennis talked about NU-Q’s journalism and communications programs, the Arab Spring and findings from NU-Q’s most recent study about media use in the Middle East.


“Let’s Consider the Source” is hosted by Bob Mann, professor and chair of communication arts and president of the Faculty Council at Caldwell College in New Jersey.


To listen to the segment, visit NU-Q's website.

Melissa Nott Davis_2.jpgWith only a few weeks left until the end of Northwestern’s fiscal year on August 31, I hope you will make your gift of any amount to any area of the University that is meaningful to you.


Your gift is critical to the University because of the impact it makes on students—but there is something else I want to share with you about the importance of alumni giving. Each year, every university sets a participation goal—the percentage of alumni donors they hope will make a gift to the institution that year. Northwestern’s participation goal this year is very ambitious.


You may think, “Northwestern will definitely reach its goal without my help.” And indeed, we have already made important progress. But in order to reach the participation goal for this fiscal year, we need more alumni to show their support. When you make your gift, we’ll be one step closer to success.


Alumni participation is a key measure included in national rankings of colleges and universities and helps Northwestern attract support from foundations, corporations, and other donors. Reaching our goal means something very real, something that changes the way the world sees our University.


Northwestern has made an indelible impact on all of us. We need to show the world what an exceptional place our University is—my contribution, your contribution, and contributions from the entire Northwestern community will make that happen.

Make your gift today. Help send the message that Northwestern is, and will continue to be, one of the best universities in the world.


Go ’Cats!


Melissa Nott Davis ’97


Co-Chair, Boston Regional Board of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle

NU Loyal Gold



Put on your purple and support the Northwestern football team on the road! Join fellow alumni and fans in the N Zone -- the Northwestern Alumni Association's official away-game tailgate -- beginning with the Wildcats' September 19 matchup against Duke in Durham, North Carolina.


Tailgate packages start at just $30 for the pregame tailgate (excluding tickets to the game). Game tickets in the official Wildcat Fan Section at each road game are available so you can be guaranteed to sit with the single largest group of Northwestern fans at the game!


All tailgate packages include:


  • Food and drink
  • Prize drawings and entertainment
  • Appearances by Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips, Willie the Wildcat, Northwestern cheerleaders and more!


Visit the NAA's website to register for N Zone tailgates at Northwestern road games.

After being developed at Northwestern University, Jerry the Bear has enjoyed quite a journey.


He has won business competitions, met Warren Buffett, helped deliver a TEDx talk, and improved the lives of countless children who have Type-1 diabetes. Now he can add another milestone to his ever-growing resume: on August 4, Jerry the Bear visited President Barack Obama as part of the first-ever White House Demo Day.


jerry-the-bear-visits-the-white-house-b.jpgCreated by Hannah Chung '12 and Aaron Horowitz '12 -- both graduates of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science -- the interactive teddy bear helps diabetic children build healthy behaviors through play. (To watch Chung and Horowitz discuss Jerry with Obama, skip to the 15:35 mark of the above video.) 


Jerry was first developed in 2009 as a project with Design for America, a student initiative founded at Northwestern that uses design for social good. After graduating in 2012, Chung and Horowitz built Jerry into the startup company Sproutel, which makes interacting learning games for children with chronic illnesses.


Sproutel was invited to take part in the White House Demo Day, which welcomed 32 companies founded by women and/or underrepresented minorities as a part of an effort to boost racial and gender diversity in the startup scene. According to the White House, women lead 3 percent of venture capital-backed startups in the United States, and African Americans lead just 1 percent.


“Ideas can come from anybody and anywhere and be inspired by any kind of life experience,” Obama told event attendees in the State Dining Room. “We have to judge those ideas by their merit and make sure they’re not filtered out because of misconceptions... That’s the very heart of America. Any of us can make it if we try.”


Jerry helps kids count carbohydrates and monitor their blood sugar levels. A screen on Jerry’s belly indicates when his glucose level is low, and he perks up when fed certain foods or given insulin. If his fingers are pressed, Jerry makes comments, such as “I feel great!”


Chung and Horowitz introduced Obama to Jerry and shared their personal stories. Along with having a diabetic father, Chung lost two grandparents to complications with Type-2 diabetes. As a child, Horowitz had low levels of human growth hormone, requiring him to regularly self-administer injections for years. These experiences encouraged the team to find ways to make health fun for kids in order to help them manage the illness. They are also developing similar products for children with food allergies and asthma.


Calling the product “fantastic” and “fun,” Obama, who was celebrating his 54th birthday, pressed Jerry’s finger, prompting it to chirp, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President!” Surprised, Obama laughed along with the crowd. At the end of the event, the startup teams sang “Happy Birthday” together.


“We are so happy that we were able to represent Sproutel and Jerry the Bear as one of the companies that pushes diversity in tech,” Chung said.


To read the original story, visit McCormick's website.


Patrick Kiser, PhD, associate professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology (left), and Thomas Hope, PhD, professor in Cell and Molecular Biology (right), are principal investigators of the new study.

Northwestern Medicine scientists have received a 5-year, $17.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for an interdisciplinary project that aims to invent, develop and test an implantable drug delivery system to protect high-risk individuals from HIV infection for up to a year at a time.

The Sustained Long-Acting Protection Against HIV (SLAP HIV) program, funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), will bring together 15 basic scientists and clinical investigators from 15 departments across Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Kellogg School of Management.

Currently, there are three ways to prevent sexual transmission of HIV: abstinence, condoms and taking antiretroviral drugs every day. But adherence to each of these methods is low.

“Long-acting systems have the great advantage of not requiring repeated modification of behavior,” said Patrick Kiser, PhD, associate professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Feinberg and Biomedical Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering. “With implants or injectable systems that deliver antiretroviral drugs, a person no longer has to worry about contracting HIV for a relatively long period of time.”

Kiser and Thomas Hope, PhD, professor in Cell and Molecular Biology, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Biomedical Engineering, will be the principal investigators of the project.

In the project’s first year, Kiser and Hope will work together to invent a new kind of implant that delivers antiretroviral drugs in a controlled way. Specifically, they are interested in a drug called cabotegravir, which stops the HIV virus from putting its DNA into a host’s genetic material.

“Technology like this could be an important tool in fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic in the US and in low-income countries,” Kiser said.

“This can provide a way to protect high-risk individuals while we wait for the development of a protective vaccine,” Hope added.

Scientists from multiple institutions involved in the project will develop and test two additional drug delivery platforms. The investigators will then select one to pursue for clinical development.

“The funding of this project represents a new era in HIV prevention research at Northwestern and places our team at the cutting edge in both basic science and clinical development of HIV prevention and treatment technologies,” Kiser said.

Additional Northwestern Medicine investigators involved in the study include Richard D’Aquila, MD, professor, Babafemi Taiwo, MBBS, ’06 GME, associate professor, and Harry Taylor, PhD, research assistant professor, all in Medicine-Infectious Diseases; George Greene, PhD, research assistant professor, and Brian Mustanski, PhD, associate professor, both in Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Cassing Hammond, MD, associate professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Srinadh Komanduri, MD, associate professor in Medicine-Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Surgery-Gastrointestinal and Endocrine; Robert Murphy, MD, director of the Center for Global Health and professor in Medicine-Infectious Disease and at the McCormick School of Engineering; and Monica Rani, MD.

Investigators from Johns Hopkins University, Tulane University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, University of Chicago, University of Utah, Columbia University, Case Western University, University of North Carolina and University of California, Los Angeles will also participate in the project.

The project is funded by NIH NIAID grant UM1 AI120184.

To read the original story, visit Northwestern Medicine's website.



Jay Walsh, vice president for research at Northwestern University, emphasized the importance of research to the nation’s future during a recent roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C.

Hosted by the Science Coalition and the Association of American Universities (AAU), "All Things Research 2015” brought together journalists with senior research officers from leading universities at the National Press Club for a lively panel about the current state of research in academia.

In an era of government cutbacks that have slashed federal dollars for sponsored research at universities and other institutions, uncertain and inconsistent research funding was a major topic of concern at the roundtable.

“What is actually difficult for us as [administrative] leaders within our universities, as well as faculty members, is dealing with the variations, the fluxes that occur in the funding,” Walsh said. “[Having consistent funding] is absolutely vital to moving from an idea, to data, to knowledge that can be moved out into society.”

Media coverage: Research Executives Describe the Benefits of Scientific Research

Despite uncertain funding from various government entities, many of the panelists expressed optimism for their students’ and faculties’ future endeavors. Northwestern is continuing to develop new avenues to ensure that the University’s innovative approach to research has enduring and significant social impact, Walsh said.

Investment in Northwestern research now comes from many sources, including start-ups and other businesses in the Chicago community. Managing those new relationships between universities and companies can present new challenges.

“There is now a closer linkage between the discoverer of technology and the company that’s moving it forward,” said Walsh. As these lines continue to blur and relationships evolve, he added, universities must keep designing the optimal mechanisms to manage the exceptional value that is derived from the collaborations.

Moderated by Mike Waring, executive director of federal relations at the University of Michigan, the roundtable explored the following topics:

  • Science and the national interest
  • Economic development and the research university
  • Future innovation opportunities and challenges

Joining Walsh were David O. Conover, vice president for research, Stony Brook University; Fred King, vice president for research, West Virginia University; Michael Pazzani, vice chancellor for research and economic development, University of California, Riverside; Mark Redfern, vice provost for research, University of Pittsburgh; Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development, University of South Florida, and president, USF Research Foundation; Gloria S. Waters, vice president and associate provost for research, Boston University; Denis Wirtz, vice provost for research, Johns Hopkins University; and David Wynes, vice president for research administration, Emory University.

The Science Coalition is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading public and private research universities. It is dedicated to sustaining strong federal funding of basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation and drive America’s global competitiveness.

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


The City of Evanston has recognized Northwestern University’s innovative renovation work and commitment to preserving its historic properties. Three recent construction projects have been given Evanston Preservation and Design Awards for 2015.

Scott Hall and Cahn Auditorium, Proper Restoration/Rehabilitation

Approximately 270 exterior windows facing Sheridan Road were restored to original quality.

Patten Gymnasium, Innovative Solution in Preservation

The gymnasium, built in 1940, required major facade improvements due to structural defects. Working closely with the architect and contractor, the University developed an innovative structural solution which left the facade unchanged.

Pi Beta Phi sorority (636 Emerson St.), Sensitive Addition/Innovative Solutions in Preservation

Created a seamless and integrated design for an accessible walkway, patio and supporting landscaping.

“Northwestern is very conscious of enhancing its environment. It also is aware of new technologies that aid in restoration processes,” said Andrew McGonigle, project manager of Facilities Management. “We’re proud to work closely with Evanston’s Preservation Commission so that, whenever possible, people see the Northwestern campus as it has always been.”

Evanston Preservation and Design Awards recognize property owners, architects, contractors and local organizations for their contributions to maintaining and enhancing the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of the city. Projects are judged in a range of categories, including sensitive addition, adaptive reuse and appropriate new construction.


Northwestern also received five awards this year from Design Evanston, a nonprofit advocacy group that promote quality design:

  • Sailing Center for Excellence in Design: New Construction
  • Scott Hall and Cahn Auditorium Citation of Merit for Rehabilitation and Renovation
  • Harris Hall for Excellence in Design: Rehabilitation/Renovation
  • Seeley G. Mudd Library for Significant Contribution: Rehabilitation/Renovation
  • Seabury Hall for Significant Contribution: Rehabilitation/Renovation


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


All-Fitz Team unveiled

Posted by anew.0000677560 Aug 10, 2015


As Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald prepares to begin his 10th season this fall as the leader of the Wildcats, wanted to hear from our loyal fans to decide who has been the best of the best on the gridiron during his tenure to date.


We wanted to know who belonged on the All-Fitz Team, a compilation of the top players who have honorably donned the Purple and White since Fitzgerald's first season as the head coach of Chicago's Big Ten Team in 2006. In order to be eligible for the prestigious squad, players had to be graduates of the program who played at least one season under Fitzgerald's guidance.


You the fans decided on the All-Fitz Team! Voting opened on Thursday, July 9, with the ballot broken down by position. Voters choose a quarterback, running back, superback/tight end, three wide receivers and five offensive linemen. On the other side of the ball, you selected four defensive linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties. From the special teams units, voters chose a kicker, a punter and a special teams standout.


The All-Fitz Team was unveiled at the end of July, leading into the Big Ten Media Days on July 30 and 31 and the start of the 2015 season.


All-Fitz Team






Dan Persa (2008-11)

Dan Persa stood behind center at Northwestern and steadily climbed his way up the record book throughout his career. When it was finished, the QB was the NCAA career leader in completion percentage with a mark of 72.9 percent.  A 2010 All-Big Ten First Teamer, Persa also ranks sixth in Northwestern history with 5,897 yards. He was also named to multiple Player of the Year Watch Lists in 2011 before earning a 2011 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection. He was also the team's 2010 Co-MVP.


Running Back


Tyrell Sutton (2005-08)

Sutton finished his career in Evanston with his name dotted throughout Northwestern's record book. He earned All-Big Ten recognition four times, including in 2005 when he was a second-team honoree. Sutton ranks second in program history in career yards (3,886) and total touchdowns (37). He ranks fourth in career rushing touchdowns with 31 and the speedster ran for 100 yards or more 16 times. Sutton, the 2006 Northwestern co-MVP, played in 40 games in an NU uniform, starting 38 of those tilts.


Wide Receiver


Zeke Markshausen (2007-09)

Markshausen etched his name in the single-season record books at Northwestern in 2009. He caught 91 passes, which stands as the second-best single-season mark in program history and had 858 receiving yards, good for 10th. Markshausen was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection in 2009 and was named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-America team.


Jeremy Ebert (2008-11)

In 52 career games, with 35 starts, Ebert vaulted up Northwestern's record book, finishing third in program history with 2,400 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. He became only the third Northwestern wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season, doing so in 2011. Ebert earned a First Team All-Big Ten selection in 2010 and was a 2011 Biletnikoff candidate. He finished the 2011 season with Second Team All-Big Ten honors and played in the NFL from 2012-14.


Eric Peterman (2005-08)

Peterman made at least one catch in 29 straight games to end his career. He ranks fifth all-time at Northwestern in receiving yards (2,011) and eighth in touchdowns (12). Peterman led the team with 869 all-purpose yards in 2007 and was a 2008 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection. He played in the NFL from 2009-10.


Superback / Tight End


Drake Dunsmore (2007-11)

Not only did Dunsmore receive consensus All-Big Ten First Team recognition in 2011, but he was named the Big Ten Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year that season. Dunsmore was a semifinalist for the Mackey Award and he finished his NU career ranked fourth all-time with 14 receiving touchdowns. He made 29 starts in his 50 career games and he was one of two true freshmen to see the field in 2007.


Offensive Line


Doug Bartels (2008-11)

Bartels was a former walk-on who earned a scholarship in 2008 and started the final nine games of that season. He started 25 games and played in 48 total. Bartels was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and earned Academic All-District honors three times.


Ryan Keenan (2003-06)

Keenan began his Northwestern career as a right guard but switched to tackle in 2006, where he started all 12 games of the season. He was the team's 2006 strength and conditioning champion.


Ben Burkett (2008-11)

Burkett made 52 consecutive starts at center and right guard in his Northwestern career. He was selected three times to the Rimington Trophy Watch List and was a 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award candidate.


Joel Belding (2005-08)

Belding started 24 games and proved to be versatile, splitting time in 37 games between center and guard. The 2007 Northwestern offense led the Big Ten in yards.


Brandon Vitabile (2011-14)

Vitabile was a four-year starter for Northwestern and started all 50 games of his career at center. He was twice named team captain and was selected Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both 2013 and 2014. Vitabile earned the National Football Foundation's Scholar-Athlete Award in 2014 and was a 2014 Rimington Award candidate.




Defensive Line


Corey Wootton (2006-09)

A 2008 All-Big Ten First Team selection, Wootton made 49 starts at Northwestern, which marked a record at the time of his graduation. He ranks third in program annals with 19.5 sacks and fourth with 38 tackles for loss. Wootton intercepted four passes during his career and he was the team's most valuable player in 2008. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2010 and has been playing professionally ever since.


Tyler Scott  (2010-13)

Scott earned a second-team All-Big Ten nod in 2013 after receiving honorable mention status in 2012. Both years he was named Northwestern's co-MVP and he ranks sixth all-time in sacks at Northwestern with 16. Prior to the 2013 campaign, Scott was named to the preseason watch lists for several major awards, including the Nagurski, Lombardi and Hendricks awards.


Brian Arnfelt (2009-12)

Arnfelt served as an anchor on the defensive line between 2009-12. He appeared in 37 career games, making 47 tackles, including eight for a loss. He was a co-captain of the 2012 Wildcats, while earning Academic All-America second-team honors during that season. Arnfelt was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization in the NFL from 2013-14.


Jack DiNardo (2008-11)

DiNardo played in 40 games for the Wildcats, while making 22 starts during his career. The lineman recorded 73 tackles during his tenure, including 13.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Three of those sacks came during his senior season in 2011. DiNardo was also adept at blocking kicks, finishing with three during his time at Northwestern, including a pair in one game against Central Michigan in 2010.




Quentin Davie (2007-10)

Davie was a 2010 co-captain who started 39 of 49 career games for the Wildcats. He ranks tied for 10th all-time in program history with 10 sacks, and in 2010, Davie led the 'Cats with three interceptions. The linebacker was also named All-Bowl Team honorable mention following the Outback Bowl when he made nine tackles (2.5 TFL), a sack and a pass breakup against Auburn. Davie played in the 2011 NFLPA All-Star Game.


Nick Roach (2003-06)

Roach made 32 starts in 51 career games and was a 2006 co-captain and team MVP. He appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2003. Roach finished his Northwestern career with 241 tackles (137 solo, 16 TFL) and two interceptions. He ranked third in the Big Ten in tackles per game in 2006 prior to a season-ending injury. Roach played in the NFL from 2007-14.


Chi Chi Ariguzo (2011-14)

Ariguzo was a three-time All-Big Ten honorable mention recipient for the Wildcats from 2011-14. He made 39 career starts while playing in 48 games. Ariguzo finished his collegiate career tied for 10th all-time at Northwestern with 333 tackles and tied for seventh in program history with five fumble recoveries. In May, he signed an NFL contract with the San Diego Chargers.




Sherrick McManis (2006-09)

McManis ranks seventh all-time at Northwestern with nine interceptions. His five INTs in 2009 led the Big Ten and ranked 8th nationally. He is seventh in the single-season Northwestern record book with 12 pass breakups in 2008. McManis was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2008 and earned First Team All-Big Ten honors in 2009. He was also named the Northwestern team MVP in 2009. McManis was invited to the 2010 East-West Shrine Game and has played in the NFL since 2010.


Jordan Mabin (2008-11)

Mabin played in 51 career games, starting 49 of them, and was a co-captain of the 2011 Northwestern squad. He led the Big Ten in pass breakups in 2010 and ranks fourth in school history with 24. Mabin is tied for 12th in Northwestern history with seven interceptions. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selections in both 2010 and 2011 and has played in the NFL since 2012.




Ibraheim Campbell (2011-14)

Campbell was a mainstay in the defensive backfield at Northwestern from 2011-14. He earned three All-Big Ten recognitions, including a second-team nod following his senior season in 2014. The 2011 Freshman All-America selection finished his career ranked tied for fourth in program history with 11 interceptions and tied for fifth with 24 pass breakups. He started 45 of his 46 career games, and despite missing four games during his senior season, Campbell tied for the Big Ten lead with four forced fumbles in 2014. He was a quarterfinalist for the Lott Award in 2014 and selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2015 NFL Draft.


Brendan Smith (2005-09)

A two-time team captain, Smith, earned All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2006 and 2008. He started 40 of his 45 career games and tied for 12th all-time at Northwestern with seven interceptions. Smith was the first Wildcat ever to play in and start three consecutive bowl games, doing so at the 2005 Sun Bowl, 2008 Alamo Bowl and 2010 Outback Bowl.






Jeff Budzien (2010-13)

Budzien holds several Northwestern records including career points (280) and field goal percentage (.872). The two-time Baaken-Andersen Big Ten Kick of the Year was a two-time All-Big Ten performer and a 2013 All-American. Twice Budzien was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and he ranks second all-time in Wildcats history with 48 career field goals.




Slade Larscheid (2003-06)

Larsheid began his Northwestern career as a placekicker and ended it as one of the Big Ten's best punters in 2006. During his freshman season, Larsheid was 19-for-19 on extra points before becoming the first-string punter during his senior season in 2006. He led the Big Ten in punts that year and ranked fifth in the conference with 2,417 yards, good for a 37.2 yards per punt average.


Special Teams Standout


Phil Brunner (2006-08)

Brunner was the Northwestern long-snapper for three seasons. He was named to the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society in 2008 and was a CoSIDA Academic All-America selection his senior season.


Single-game tickets for each of Northwestern's seven contests at Ryan Field this fall are on sale now.

To purchase single-game tickets, please call 888-GO-PURPLE (888-467-8775) or visit Season tickets -- the only way to guarantee the best seats at Ryan Field -- are also on sale.


The 2015 season, and the home schedule, begins on Saturday, September 5, when nationally-ranked Stanford comes calling to Ryan Field at 11 a.m. The Wildcats have not faced the Cardinal since September 10, 1994, when the two teams finished the afternoon in a 41-41 tie.


Week two features another home tilt, this one against an in-state foe in Eastern Illinois on September 12. Kickoff for the second-ever meeting between Chicago's Big Ten Team and the Panthers is slotted for 3 p.m.


Following a trip to Duke, Northwestern returns home on Saturday, September 26, to host the Ball State Cardinals under the lights at Ryan Field. NU has played 16 night games at home dating back to 1935. The game against Ball State, which will kickoff at 7 p.m., will mark the sixth consecutive season that the Wildcats will play a night game at home.


Big Ten play begins for Northwestern when the Minnesota Golden Gophers visit for a West Division clash on October 3. Two weeks later, on October 17, the 'Cats will welcome Iowa for the 2015 Homecoming game at 11 a.m.


Northwestern closes out the home portion of its schedule with back-to-back home games at Ryan Field on November 7 against Penn State and November 14 against Purdue. The divisional crossover game against the Nittany Lions will be part of NU's Family Weekend festivities. The home finale against the Boilermakers will be Senior Day at Ryan Field.


Wildcat Football Family Packs, sponsored by Coke Zero and Connie's Pizza, return this fall. Families will be able to purchase four game tickets, four slices of Connie's Pizza, four Coca-Cola products, four Northwestern hats and a commemorative game program starting at only $89. Packages are limited. For more information about Wildcat Football Family Packs, please click here.


Northwestern rising senior Jordan Wilimovsky (center in above photo) won the 10K open water world title July 27 at the FINA World Championships, earning an automatic berth into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.


Wilimovsky swam the course in 1:49:48.2 to win the world title by nearly 12 full seconds over silver medalist Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands. Greece's Spyridon Gianniotis took bronze while fellow American Sean Ryan was fourth. Wilimovsky took the lead with three kilometers remaining and never looked back as he raced away from the 72-man field.


Wilimovsky and Ryan are the first swimmers and just the third and fourth United States athletes in any sport to qualify for Rio. Two others -- Nathan Schrimsher in the modern pentathlon and Jennifer Wu in table tennis -- qualified at the Pan American Games earlier this month. Swimmers who finished in the top-10 of the 10K race at the World Championships earned automatic entry into the 2016 Olympics, with a maximum of two entries per country.


Wilimovsky is just the second American to ever win the world championship in the 10K open water event, joining 2005 world champ Chip Peterson.


The rising senior -- who will take an Olympic year off for the 2015-16 season to train for Rio -- has been on fire at all distances all summer long. He won the USA Swimming 10K national championship in April to earn entry into the World Championships, then won the 2015 Cayman Islands Flowers Sea Swim one mile and 10K titles in June before capturing the 1,500 freestyle at the Los Angeles Invitational three weeks ago.


Wilimovsky won the 2015 Big Ten championship in the mile and finished third in the event at the NCAA Championships. A three-time All-American, he is Northwestern's school record holder in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events.


With Wilimovsky's qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Northwestern will have representation in its sixth-straight Summer Olympiad dating to alumni Antoinette Lucas (field hockey) and Jim Carpenter (fencing) competing at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Beginning with Mike Alexandrov swimming for Bulgaria in 2004, NU has had at least one swimmer compete in each of the last three Olympics. 2007 graduate Matt Grevers won a combined six medals in the 2008 and 2012 Games for the United States.


To read the original story, visit

With only a few weeks left before the end of Northwestern’s fiscal year on August 31, I hope you will make your gift to any area of the University that is meaningful to you—your professional school, program, or any number of funds that support a life-changing experience for graduate students.


After attending college at Northwestern and working on Wall Street, I eventually returned to Evanston to pursue a master’s degree at the Kellogg School of Management. I was able to deepen my knowledge of finance and round out my skill sets in areas such as strategy and marketing. It was invaluable training that helped me on the path to becoming a Managing Director and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Sagent Advisors.


My wife Lisa and I give back to Northwestern because it offers the full package—a diverse community, a top research university that prides itself on giving individualized attention to students, a lively college town setting, infectious school spirit, Big Ten athletics, and Chicago just a train ride away.


I’m energized by the growth of the University and the physical changes I see on campus, including state-of-the-art facilities that enhance the great sense of community and the excitement, vibe, and ambition of the exceptional students who will go on to become tomorrow’s leaders in their respective fields.


Northwestern made an impact on me, and now I’m thrilled to make an impact on Northwestern’s students.


Bill Kohr ’86, ’90 MBA

Co-Chair, Northwestern University Leadership Circle Chicago Regional Board

NU Loyal Gold


Make your gift today. >>

This week's Wildcat of the Week, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Ashish Lal ’98, is #CallingAllCats in honor of Northwestern's fiscal year end on August 31. Lal, incoming Co-Chair of the Chicago Regional Board of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle and a silver-level member NU Loyal shares his thoughts on why giving back is important to him:


Each of us has our own personal reasons for giving back to Northwestern. For me, it’s because college was a transformative experience. I learned how to think critically and solve problems in a team-based environment through participation in the Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (MMSS) program. I was surrounded by people with different backgrounds and experiences, which drove me to pursue a career in international business upon graduation. I built lifelong relationships through participation in the Greek system, special interest clubs, playing sports and otherwise—these people are among my closest friends today.


I choose to give back to Northwestern so that the University can maintain its diversity and inclusivity. I give consistently to help maintain Northwestern’s exceptional reputation—alumni participation influences national rankings, which helps the University attract top students and faculty from around the world as well as other types of donor support. I’m asking you to make a gift to Northwestern before August 31 for these reasons and others that may be more personal to you.


With only a few weeks left before the end of Northwestern’s fiscal year, make your gift today.


Alumni, find out more about #CallingAllCats. >>




Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

20120114_Moskal42.jpgBy Amanda Morris


Northwestern University spin-off Naurex Inc. has entered into a transaction with large pharmaceutical company Allergan, paving the way for its promising antidepressant programs to proceed into late-stage clinical trial and eventually enter the market.


Under the terms of the all-cash transaction, Allergan will acquire Naurex for a $560 million upfront payment of net cash acquired, as well as potential success-based research and development and commercial milestone payments.


The transaction represents the culmination of more than 30 years of neuropharmaceutical development in the laboratory of Joseph Moskal, distinguished research professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and seven years of business development among a team with many Northwestern Engineering connections.


The spin-out company will allow Moskal and his colleagues to continue discovering and developing novel modulators of the NMDA receptor and innovating with that technology to discover new therapies for brain and nervous system disorders.


“It feels really good to get Naurex to the point where the innovation and value of our lead antidepressant programs are recognized by a company with Allergan’s development and commercial expertise in the field,” Moskal said. “And it’s the natural time. We finished proving these molecules have dramatic potential through much of the early clinical work. Now it’s time to hand these important therapies to a capable party with the necessary large resources — and to focus on repeating this innovation with our proven team and technology.”


A New Path for Treatment


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), major depression is the second leading cause of disability in US adults, affecting as much as 10 percent of the population.


Naurex’s fast-acting drug for major depression disorder, called rapastinel (previously named GLYX-13), has shown unrivaled success in Phase I and II clinical trials. Not only does the drug take effect within hours, but one dose can last for one to two weeks without any known side effects. Last year, the intravenous injectable drug received the Food and Drug Administration’s highly coveted fast-track designation, a classification given only to drugs that demonstrate superior effectiveness and safety.


“There are about 60 people from the Phase II trial who are still taking rapastinel,” said Moskal, Naurex’s founder and chief scientific officer. “The fact that these people are willing to go to the doctor every week and take an injection is amazing. That speaks for itself.”


Rapastinel is currently in Phase III clinical trials. The company’s second antidepressant drug, NRX-1074, currently in Phase II clinical trials, has shown similar success and will be available in an orally deliverable pill. Because they work differently than popular antidepressants, rapastinel and NRX-1074 could provide much-needed relief for 30 to 40 percent of patients who are unresponsive to available medications.


“Patients often go from one therapy to another to another,” said Naurex president and CEO Norbert Riedel. “One treatment might work for a short time, but then they have to start all over. Meanwhile, they are burdened with all sorts of side effects that interfere with their quality of life.”


Rapastinel has showed rapid, substantial, and sustained effects for those with even hard-to-treat symptoms. The promising drug works by targeting the brain’s NMDA receptors, which are involved in learning and memory mechanisms. This is a markedly different approach from current, widely used antidepressants that instead increase serotonin levels. While rapastinel is not the drug to target the NMDA receptors, it is potentially the safest. None of the clinical trial subjects thus far have experienced serious adverse side effects related to the drug. Other drugs on the market and in development that target NMDA receptors can cause hallucinations, nausea, insomnia, and even psychotic episodes. Moskal posits that rapastinel does not block the receptor’s ion channel, which may be the reason it doesn’t have the same side effects.


“Fundamentally, we have found the key to unlocking the way in which this receptor needs to be modulated to restore normal brain function,” Moskal said.


Modest Beginnings


The work that eventually led to rapastinel began back in 1983. Moskal remembers wearing jeans and sneakers as a senior staff fellow at the NIMH’s Intramural Research Program, where he developed molecules and monoclonal antibodies to use as probes to understand pathways of learning and memory. After injecting the antibodies into an animal model, Moskal experienced a major breakthrough in his research. The animal models acted in exactly the way he predicted.


“I wanted to see if the antibody would stimulate learning and memory, and it did,” Moskal said. “The animal learned twice as fast as the controls. There was a real, functioning mammal that was truly learning.”


Moskal joined Northwestern University in 1990 and founded the Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics with the goal to translate discoveries into clinically useful compounds. It was there that he converted the large monoclonal antibodies into small molecules that he suspected might have therapeutic potential. GLYX-13, now called rapastinel, was one of them.


Joe didn’t approach his work thinking ‘I want to develop the next multi-million dollar drug,’” said Bill Gantz, the executive chairman of the board at Naurex. “He wanted to understand cognition. He was coming at it from a unique perspective.”

With the goal of bringing his therapeutics to market, Moskal founded Naurex in late 2006 and started raising meaningful seed funding in 2008. While the company was the fourth to grow out of his research, it was the first to succeed. He credits some of the success to Northwestern’s supportive and innovative environment, which enabled him to work alongside students and world-class researchers while developing a business. But much of the success is owed to Moskal’s unflappable determination and resilience.

“If you’re going to be in this business for 30 or 40 years, you’re going to experience failure,” he said. “But for me, failure never felt like failure. It was just a different kind of data.”

Building the Right Team

In 2011, Naurex raised $18 million in financing, jumpstarting momentum for the company. It attracted Gantz and Riedel, veterans of the pharmaceutical industry and members of Northwestern Engineering’s McCormick Advisory Council. At the time, Gantz was on the board of Adams Street Partners, a private equity firm that invested in Naurex. Riedel was the corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer at Baxter International, where he developed Baxter Ventures in 2011 with a goal to invest in startups. One of the fund’s first grants went to Naurex.

Believing that Moskal and his team discovered a breakthrough treatment for depression, Gantz and Riedel were motivated to join Naurex because of their faith in the technology. The second factor that attracted them was Moskal. Described by Riedel as “a bundle of energy,” Moskal talks fast and laughs easily. Even at age 65, he shows no signs of stopping.

“He exemplifies academic brilliance,” Riedel said. “But he also gives people an environment where they can flourish. He has passion, perseverance, and an infectious enthusiasm for his work.”

“It can be a challenge to turn research into a fully functioning company,” Gantz said. “But what’s wonderful about Joe is his curiosity. His curiosity extends not only into science but into business and how things work commercially.”

With the right team in place, Naurex became virtually unstoppable. The company has received $163 million of venture funding and investments, with $80 million of the total coming from just one round of financing in November 2014.

“It was one of the largest financings in history for private biotech companies in the United States,” Riedel said. “I’m not aware of any other examples of a university technology commanding that much attention from investors.”

A Bright Future

Moskal has found that the NMDA receptor is not just involved in depression but in many other central nervous system disorders. The new spin-out company will discover and develop other small molecules that modulate the same receptor to treat a wide array of debilitating diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system. Moskal said these terrible illnesses have few effective treatments and are “ripe” for his compounds.

“Joe’s research has opened a whole universe of brain conditions where the same master switch is either involved in the normal physiology of the brain or involved in helping trigger the disease,” Riedel said. “If we now take a small molecule and administer it to models of many brain and nervous system conditions, we see striking therapeutic benefits in all instances.”

Over the past nine years, Naurex has grown from a small start-up into a highly valuable company with strong interest from both investors and large companies. Moskal and his team are now poised to continue innovating in new disease areas with their spin-out company. “I’m psyched to ride the next wave,” Moskal said. “I believe that the best is yet to come for our technology and team.”

Read more in McCormick News. >>

Swift_Hall_at_Northwestern.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Dedre Gentner, the Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy, is the 16th recipient of the David E. Rumelhart Prize.


Established only 14 years ago, the David E. Rumelhart Prize is considered to be the most important award in the cognitive science field. The prize is awarded annually to an individual making a significant contemporary contribution to the theoretical foundations of human cognition. The prize consists of a hand-crafted, custom bronze medal, a certificate, a citation of the awardee’s contribution and a monetary award of $100,000.


The announcement of the award was made July 24 during the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in Pasadena, California. Gentner will receive the award and give a prize lecture at next year’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.


“Dedre Gentner’s work tackles some of the most challenging and foundational topics in human cognition, including mental representation, reasoning, language and learning,” said Tania Lombrozo, associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the Rumelhart Prize selection committee. “Her approach has been systematic and multidisciplinary, informed by ideas across the cognitive sciences, including psychology, computer science and linguistics.”


Lombrozo added that Gentner’s contributions have been far-reaching.


“Her work has advanced our understanding of analogical reasoning, metaphor, language learning and early childhood development, to name just a few,” Lombrozo said.


Gentner has influenced the field not only through her prolific experimental work with both children and adults, but also through her general theory of analogical reasoning, called Structure-Mapping Theory.


A central insight of Structure-Mapping Theory is that humans, unlike most other species, can notice common relations across situations, even when the concrete objects involved in the situations are totally different. Many great discoveries in science involve this kind of match -- for example, (Ernest) Rutherford’s analogy between the atom and the solar system or (Nicolas Léonard Sadi) Carnot’s analogy between heat flow and water flow. But this process is not limited to great scientific discoveries. Gentner’s research has revealed that structure-mapping is a central process in human learning and reasoning -- in learning mathematics, in children’s language learning and even in everyday reasoning from one example to another.


Structure-Mapping Theory formalizes the process people use in comparing two situations. It states that when people compare two things, they align the relational structures of the two domains. The properties of objects in the domains need not match, and deeply nested relational structures are favored over independent relations. In collaboration with Kenneth Forbus and Brian Falkenhainer, this theory was implemented in the Structure-Mapping Engine (SME), which both formalized the process model and offered a computationally tractable algorithm for carrying out the process of mapping structures and drawing inferences.


The Rumelhart Prize is funded by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation.  The selection is made by a committee of distinguished researchers who come from all parts of cognitive science.


Serving as a professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, and later Stanford University, David E. Rumelhart made many contributions to the formal analysis of human cognition, working primarily within the frameworks of mathematical psychology, symbolic artificial intelligence and parallel distributed processing. Rumelhart articulated a clear view of what cognitive science, the discipline, is or ought to be. He maintained that for cognitive science to be a science, it would have to have formal theories -- and he often pointed to linguistic theories, as well as to mathematical and computational models, as examples of what he had in mind. He died in 2011.


“I’m deeply honored to receive the David E. Rumelhart Award and to join the illustrious company of prior recipients,” said Gentner, also director of the Cognitive Science Program at Northwestern. “This award is doubly meaningful in being named for David Rumelhart, whose ideas have been of major importance in my work.”


A complete list of recipients can be found on the David E. Rumelhart Prize website.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

Feinberg_Bldg_13.jpgAll those leftover pizza crusts you snatch from your kids’ plates add up. Men gain weight after they become fathers for the first time whether or not they live with their children, reports a large, new Northwestern Medicine study that tracked the weight of more than 10,000 men from adolescence to young adulthood.

The typical 6-foot-tall man who lives with his child gained an average of about 4.4 pounds after becoming a first-time dad; the 6-foot-tall dad who does not live with his child gained about 3.3 pounds, the study reports. That’s a 2.6 percent rise in BMI (body mass index) for resident dads and a 2 percent rise in BMI for non-resident dads after controlling for other variables.


By contrast, the average 6-foot-tall man in this group who was not a father actually lost 1.4 pounds over the same time period.


This is one of the first studies to examine how fatherhood affects a major biomarker of health, the BMI. The study was published July 21 in the American Journal of Men’s Health.


The study controlled for other factors that could contribute to weight gain such as age, race, education, income, daily activity, screen time and marriage status. It is already known marriage results in a weight gain for men. The fatherhood weight gain is in addition to the increase resulting from marriage.


“Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage,” said lead author Dr. Craig Garfield, associate professor of pediatrics and of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and attending pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “The more weight the fathers gain and the higher their BMI, the greater risk they have for developing heart disease as well as diabetes and cancer.”


New fathers’ weight gain may be due to changes in lifestyle and eating habits.


“You have new responsibilities when you have your kids and may not have time to take care of yourself the way you once did in terms of exercise,” Garfield said. “Your family becomes the priority.”


Eating habits may shift as the house fills with cookies, ice cream and other snack food.


“We all know dads who clean their kids’ plates after every meal,” Garfield said. His personal weakness: finishing his kids’ leftover cheese pizza.


Over the 20 years of the study, all 10,253 participants had their BMI measured at four different time points:  early adolescence, later adolescence, mid-20s and early 30s. Each participant was categorized either as a non-father, resident father or non-resident father. Then researchers looked at each person’s BMI at each time point and took the average of all those measurements to determine whether their fatherhood status was associated with their BMI.


Because many new dads don’t have a personal physician, pediatricians are in a good position to counsel dads about taking care of their health. Many new fathers think they’re too young and healthy to need their own doctor, Garfield said.


“New dads are coming into the health care system as a pediatric chaperone,” Garfield said. “This is an opportunity to talk about things that are important for dad’s health and the child’s health and to offer dads nutritional counseling and mental health education.”


Previous research by Garfield showed new fathers have an increase in depression symptoms in the early years after their child’s birth.

“We now realize the transition to fatherhood is an important developmental life stage for men’s health,” Garfield said. “It’s a magical moment where so many things change in a man’s life. Now the medical field needs to think about how can we help these men of child-rearing age who often don’t come to the doctor’s office for themselves.

Other Northwestern authors are Joshua Rutsohn, Thomas W. McDade, Emma K. Adam and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale.

The study is titled “Longitudinal Study of Body Mass Index in Young Males and the Transition to Fatherhood.” The study was supported by grant K23HD060664 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

Read more on Northwestern News. >>