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Two Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine scientists, Jeffrey Savas and Arun Sharma, are winners of the Jeff Savas2015 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards. Sharma is also Director of Surgical Research and a member of the Developmental Biology Program at Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Savas, an assistant professor of neurology, won for a project to correct hampered synapses in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sharma, a research assistant professor in urology, won for his proposal to develop new treatments for Crohn’s disease in children.

Each year, The Hartwell Foundation invites a limited number of institutions in the U.S. to nominate faculty members who are involved in early-stage, cutting-edge biomedical research that has not qualified for significant funding from outside sources. The award provides $100,000 in annual direct costs for three years. Twelve individuals representing nine institutions received recognition as Hartwell Investigators. Northwestern was one of only three institutions receiving two awards. This marks the third year in a row that a researcher affiliated with Northwestern and with the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute has received this honor.

“The 2015 competition was very competitive. The proposal by Savas was indicative of strong representation in neurobiologyArun Sharma this year. The proposal by Sharma was also quite compelling, with exciting potential for benefitting children,” said Fred Dombrose, president of The Hartwell Foundation.

The goal of Savas’s research is to investigate proteins in particular brain synapses that may be linked to autism spectrum disorder. (Synapses are specialized junctions between two or more nerve cells.) “This research on mouse models of autism aims to provide new knowledge to accelerate the development of effective therapeutics to treat children with ASD,” he said.  “My proposal represents a pioneering effort and will be the first investigation to determine how specific synapses are perturbed and reformed in ASD.”

Savas said he will combine genetic, chemical and mass spectrometry-based methods into a new approach that facilitates probing the particular molecules present at individual synapses.

Autism spectrum disorder comprises a group of brain development disorders characterized by significant deficits in social communication and social interaction. Children with ASD also have an increased risk of intellectual disabilities, epilepsy and attention deficit disorder. Approximately 1 in 68 children is affected by ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It is believed that ASD represents a heterogeneous collection of disorders caused by the mutation of multiple genes that function within common brain pathways. Recent genetic research suggests that proteins in brain synapses play a key role in the pathology of ASD, where altered functionality in synapses can lead to disturbances in neural circuits, which ultimately contribute to impaired behaviors and pathology. Understanding the underlying mechanism of altered synapse function could provide possible targets for drug therapy.

“As a new father, being chosen for this award is particularly meaningful to me since the mission of The Hartwell Foundation is to fund projects with the potential to benefit children,” Savas said. “Early career awards like The Hartwell are hugely important to junior faculty members like myself since they provide research support to obtain the preliminary data needed to secure sustained funding through the National Institutes of Health.”

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Allow Good Northwestern

Allow Good Northwestern, a new student-run education program led by four Northwestern students, won a grant of $10,000 to continue its work on youth philanthropy. The program began as a capstone project for the Civic Engagement Certificate Program at the School of Education and Social Policy.

Recently the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University awarded its top Generous U grant to Allow Good Northwestern, composed of SESP students Fannie Koltun, Matt Herndon and Imani Wilson and Communication student Rachel Sepulveda. The Northwestern group, a partnership with the Evanston nonprofit Allowance for Good, applied for the grant in collaboration with a similar program at the University of Chicago.

Allow Good goals
“Our mission is to educate high school students in the Evanston area on issues concerning philanthropy, social justice and community development in order to ultimately empower these youth to be change makers in their communities,” says Koltun, a sophomore studying human development and psychological services. With the support of Northwestern undergraduates, high school students work towards carefully researching how they will gift a local nonprofit with a $1,000 grant.

The Northwestern group, as a chapter of Evanston’s Allowance for Good nonprofit, plans to provide weekly courses to high school students that emphasize methods for responsible giving. “We feel this experiential learning component encourages students to thoroughly conduct nonprofit research and engage more in philanthropy lessons,” says Koltun.

Allow Good Northwestern blossomed from a capstone project in the SESP Civic Engagement Certificate Program into a campus organization that fosters lasting connections between Northwestern and local high schools. Now the volunteer-based group is seeking interested Northwestern undergraduate students for both executive board member and teacher positions.

Students in Allow Good Northwestern want to disprove the assumptions that today’s youth are self-absorbed and that philanthropy is only for rich people. “Allowance For Good strongly believes that everyone can be a philanthropist,” says Koltun. “Philanthropic giving thus becomes a way for youth to become engaged with their communities by learning about local social issues, local nonprofits and ways of evaluating organizations.

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Low-income families of children with food allergies spend 2.5 times more on emergency department and hospitalization costs nationally, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.


The dependence on emergency care means children with food allergies from low-income families may not be able to afford foods free of their food allergen, obtain epinephrine or see an allergist who would counsel them on prevention and management of their food allergies.


“This shows disparities exist in care for low-income children with food allergy,” said lead investigator Dr. Ruchi Gupta. “The first line management for food allergy is prevention, but costs for special foods and epinephrine auto injectors can be a barrier for many families. Some patients may not have access to allergen-free foods and cannot afford to fill their prescription.”

Gupta is an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Low-income families may be unfamiliar with programs that can help them receive epinephrine at low costs.

The paper was published in Pediatrics April 27.

“We are worried these children are not getting access to specialty care to provide detailed education and confirmation of their allergies,” Gupta said. “This leads to more potential life-threatening allergic reactions that lead to more emergency room visits.”

Lower-income families also tend to incur fewer costs for specialty care and spend less on out-of-pocket medication costs.

Researchers analyzed data from a national survey of 1,643 caregivers of food-allergic children and found that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds had lower odds of being diagnosed by a physician.

“The specialists are the ones who provide a lot of education and guidance for families with food allergy, and these families are missing out on that,” said first author Lucy Bilaver.

Bilaver was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Healthcare Studies at Feinberg when she worked on the study and now is an assistant professor of nursing and health studies at Northern Illinois University.

The lowest income families were paying $1,021 per year for emergency and hospitalization costs compared to $416 per year for the highest income group.

Researchers also point out families with lower socioeconomic status often lack the financial means and access to allergen-free foods to prevent allergic reactions before they start. They suggest pediatricians work with families to create an action plan detailing how to recognize allergic reactions, including when and how to give epinephrine. Additionally, more needs to be done to ensure families can access safe foods.

The study was supported by Food Allergy Research & Education.

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Arch_FVM0995.jpgNorthwestern University was recognized as a champion in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) College and University Green Power Challenge. The award recognizes Northwestern as well as the Big Ten Conference for having six participating schools who collectively used the most green power among all conferences.


Northwestern voluntarily purchases more than 122 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 50 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage -- equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 11,200 average American homes annually.

The University generates some of its own green power from a solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The 16.8-kilowatt panel display has the potential to generate as much as 20,000 kWh of electricity per year. The amount generated on campus is expected to increase every year as new solar arrays are installed on campus.

Northwestern also works to reduce the environmental impact of energy consumption on campus through a partnership with ENERGY STAR®, an EPA program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate through superior energy efficiency. The University uses the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to track energy use in buildings and identify opportunities to improve efficiency.

In addition, when improving facilities or planning for new construction, energy efficiency and sustainability are key considerations. Since 2010, Northwestern’s efforts have resulted in an impressive savings of 146,288,182 kBtu, resulting in 11 national awards.


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A stunning explosion of zinc fireworks occurs when a human egg is activated by a sperm enzyme, and the size of these “sparks” is a direct measure of the quality of the egg and its ability to develop into an embryo, according to new research from Northwestern Medicine.


The discovery has potential to help doctors choose the best eggs to transfer during in vitro fertilization (IVF), the scientists said.

This is the first time the zinc sparks have been documented in a human egg.

“This means if you can look at the zinc spark at the time of fertilization, you will know immediately which eggs are the good ones to transfer in in vitro fertilization (IVF),” said Teresa Woodruff, one of the study’s two senior authors and an expert in ovarian biology at Northwestern. “It’s a way of sorting egg quality in a way we’ve never been able to assess before.”

Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and director of Northwestern’s Center for Reproductive Science.

Scientists activated the egg by injecting a sperm enzyme into the egg that triggers calcium to increase within the egg and zinc to be released from the egg. (The eggs in the study were not fertilized with actual sperm because that is not permitted in human research under federal law.)

“It was remarkable,” Woodruff said. “We discovered the zinc spark just five years ago in the mouse, and to see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization, yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human. This discovery required a unique partnership between biologists and chemists and non-federal dollars to support the research,” she said.

The study was published April 26 in Scientific Reports.

As the zinc is released from the egg, it binds to small molecule probes, which emit light in fluorescence microscopy experiments. Thus the rapid zinc release can be followed as a flash of light that appears as a spark.

“These fluorescence microscopy studies establish that the zinc spark occurs in human egg biology, and that can be observed outside of the cell,” said Tom O’Halloran, a co-senior author.  O’Halloran is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of Northwestern’s Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.

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Elisabeth Bumiller (BSJ '77)

Medill will induct six alumni this year into its Hall of Achievement at a ceremony May 12 at the Chicago History Museum. Among the alumni being recognized are three Pulitzer Prize winners, a top marketing executive from Samsung, the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times and an ESPN Radio host.

“These alumni truly represent the best of Medill,” said Dean Bradley J. Hamm, “They have distinguished themselves in their fields and are a credit to their alma mater. We are proud to recognize their outstanding achievements.”

The Hall of Achievement was established in 1997 to honor Medill alumni whose distinctive careers have had positive impacts on their fields.

Elisabeth Bumiller (BSJ77)

Bumiller is Washington Bureau Chief of The New York Times, where she oversees the paper’s coverage of the nation’s capital. Previously, she was a Times Pentagon correspondent from 2008 to early 2013, a period when she embedded with the American military in Afghanistan. In 2008, she covered the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain.  Before that, she was The Times’ City Hall Bureau chief. From 1979 to 1985, Bumiller worked for The Washington Post in Washington, New Delhi, Tokyo and New York.

She is the author of three books: Condoleezza Rice: An American Life,” “May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India,” and “The Secrets of Mariko: A Year in the Life of a Japanese Woman and Her Family.”

Mike Greenberg (BSJ89)

Greenberg is co-host of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” (5-9 a.m. CT and simulcast on ESPN2) – the nation’s most listened-to sports talk show. It is broadcasted over more than 300 radio stations, covering 99 percent of the United States. He has hosted the show for 17 years, and both Greenberg and co-host Mike Golic will be inducted this year into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.    

Greenberg is the author of four books, all of which have landed on the New York Times Best Seller List: the semi-autobiographical “Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot: The Life and Times of a Sportscaster Dad,” “Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life” (co-authored with Mike Golic and celebrating the show’s 10 years on air), and novels “All You Could Ask For,” and “My Father’s Wives.”

Donal Henahan (BSJ48)     

While chief music critic for The New York Times, Donal Henahan won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Henahan, who served as a fighter pilot during World War II, graduated from Medill in 1948. While enrolled at Northwestern, he began writing for the Chicago Daily News. In 1957, Henahan, who was an accomplished pianist and classical guitarist, became the chief music critic of the Daily News. He joined The New York Times in 1967, where he reviewed operas, concerts and recitals and also authored long-form essays on a variety of cultural topics for The Times’ Sunday paper. He was named chief music critic at The Times in 1980. He retired in 1991, but continued freelance writing. Henahan also wrote for publications including the Saturday Review, Musical Quarterly, American Choral Review, Harper’s Bazaar, Saturday Evening Post and Esquire. He died in 2012.

William H. Jones (MSJ65)

In 1971, Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for a series of articles about police officers engaging in a conspiracy to direct hospital calls to private ambulance companies. The series revealed mistreatment of ambulance patients, especially poor people. In order to research the story, Jones worked as an ambulance driver and received first-aid training.  Following publication of Jones’ investigation in the Chicago Tribune, 16 people were indicted including the presidents of Chicago’s two largest ambulance companies.

A year after winning the Pulitzer, Jones became the Tribune’s city editor. He went on to become assistant managing editor, managing editor-news and then managing editor. He served as a Pulitzer juror as well. He died at the age of 43 in 1982.

Younghee Lee (MSA90)

Lee is Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics, where she oversees the company’s global brands and strategic marketing communications. Samsung has reached No. 7 in “Best Global Brands” from InterBrand. At Samsung, she has introduced clear product segmentation and consumer-oriented strategies. From Olympic Games, Fashion Weeks, the Oscars, and more, Lee’s influence has helped her company engage cultural momentum around the world in an effort to reshape the image of an engineering-based technology company into a brand that consumers love.

In 2013, Forbes named her the second most influential chief marketing officer. She was previously Managing Director for L’Oreal and Marketing Manager at Unilever.

Tina Rosenberg (MSJ82)

Rosenberg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, co-writer of the New York Times Fixes column and co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which spreads her passion for rigorous reporting on solutions to social problems.

She is the author of three books. She wrote “Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America,” based on research funded from a MacArthur Fellowship. Her second book, “The Haunted Land: Facing Europe’s Ghosts After Communism,” won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Her most recent book,  “Join the Club: How Peer Pressure can Transform the World,” explores how positive peer pressure can change people’s behavior to solve societal problems.

These alumni will be honored in a special ceremony taking place in Chicago later this spring.

In 2015, Medill inducted into the Hall of Achievement the following individuals: Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporters David Barstow (BSJ86) and James Risen (MSJ78), Fox Searchlight President Nancy Utley (BSJ77, MSJ78), FleishmanHillard’s President of the Americas Jack Modzelewski (MSJ80), corporate communications executive Patty Blackburn (BSJ74, MSJ76) and best-selling novelist George R. R. Martin (BSJ70, MSJ71) whose books are the basis for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series.

On Thursday, May 12, four of these alumni – Bumiller, Greenberg, Lee and Rosenberg - will speak at a panel event on-campus and be honored in a special ceremony taking place in Chicago. For more details on the HOA panel, click here.

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2016 Big Ten women's golf champions team photo trophy smile

Freshman Stephanie Lau sank a clinching 10-foot putt on the 18thgreen to give Northwestern its second straight Big Ten Championship, and third in four years, on Sunday at The Fort Golf Resort. The 'Cats closed the tournament with a 6-under 282 in the final round, finishing the event with a Big Ten-record 12-under 852, an 11-shot improvement over their Championship winning performance at this same course a year ago.


The top-seeded Wildcats teed off Sunday with a two-shot advantage, but a scorching final round by Ohio State (-8) gave the Buckeyes a one-shot lead as the final group walked the final fairway. Lau's approach landed just left of the green but a savvy chip left her with a 10-foot par putt, one that would secure a share of the championship after Ohio State missed their own par attempt.


The rookie was unfazed by the magnitude of the moment in part because she wasn't fully aware of the stakes.


"I knew the leaderboard was really close, but the first thing on my mind was just to get an up-and-down," said Lau. "I knew I had a lot of good putts during the final round, but none of them fell. I told myself, 'I'm going to stay even, and I'm going to make this putt.'"


Her head coach had no doubt about the situation.


"I was a little unclear [about the leaderboard] coming up the 18th fairway, but I texted with [assistant] Beth [Miller] a bit and we knew that we needed a make-miss scenario for us to get a piece of the title," said Emily Fletcher, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year.


As the putt fell, the crowd around the green erupted, led by Lau's teammates who immediately mobbed her.


"I dream about these moments," said the freshman. "When I walked up [the 18th fairway], I looked around at the crowd, and thought, 'Wow'. I try to enjoy it and take it in, because I know these are the moments that I play for, that I practice for. I was nervous seeing them all, but it was awesome."

Read the full story at NU Sports.

The child of pharmacists from Taiwan and grandchild of Chinese artists, Northwestern University senior Diana ChangDiana Chang has always had passion for both science and art.


That unique combination has landed Chang a full-year Yenching Academy fellowship to study at China's top university, Peking University. Chang, a double major in biological sciences and art theory and practice in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will join a select group of graduates from across the globe as part of the university’s Master of China Studies program.


“People usually say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, right and left brained!’” Chang said. “I think they’re actually quite similar in that artists and scientists are both intensely curious about the human experience: one meta-physically, one physically. But it’s the same creativity answering their curiosities.”

The Yenching Academy is a fully funded two-year program that works to foster global connections and dialogue. The program offers a wide array of interdisciplinary humanities and social science courses on China and brings together promising young leaders and innovators to explore China and its role in the world -- past, present and future.

Influenced by her grandfather, who practiced Chinese calligraphy, and her grandmother, a painter of the Chinese landscape tradition, Chang’s graduate studies will focus primarily on literature and culture.

“Beijing is considered the Mecca of Chinese contemporary art,” she said.

At Northwestern, Chang studied the mammalian brain in neurophysiologist John Disterhoft’s lab at The Feinberg School of Medicine. She also volunteered as a peer advisor for Wildcat Welcome and was elected into Weinberg’s Phi Beta Kappa society for academic excellence.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned here is that everyone thinks differently, and there’s great value in that,” Chang said. “It’s easy to work alone, but I think truly effecting change comes from working together.”


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Penelope L. Peterson, dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) and the

Penelope Peterson

Eleanor R. Baldwin Professor of Education at Northwestern University, will retire from the dean’s position Aug. 31, 2017, Provost Daniel Linzer announced. Peterson has been dean of SESP since 1997 and is currently Northwestern’s longest-serving dean as well as the longest-serving dean in the history of the School of Education and Social Policy.


“During her distinguished tenure, Penelope has provided exceptional leadership for the school,” Linzer said. “I look forward to having several opportunities over the next year to recognize Penelope’s significant contributions to both SESP and Northwestern University.”


Peterson has led the hiring of an outstanding group of faculty. SESP faculty members have gone from bringing in a total of approximately $400,000 of external research funding per faculty member to more than $760,000 of external research funding per faculty member. SESP’s tenure-line faculty of 35 now incudes seven members of the National Academy of Education, one in the National Academy of Sciences and three in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, SESP has ranked consistently among the top 10 education schools nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

“Penelope Peterson has been a key member of the Northwestern community,” President Morton Schapiro said. “Her dedication, innovative approach and tremendous leadership have benefited the University immensely, and we deeply appreciate her significant contributions to the University’s academic success.”

As dean, Peterson also has created and sustained a number of innovative and impactful initiatives, including Northwestern Academy, a multi-year college preparation and enrichment program for diverse, academically motivated students in Chicago Public Schools. The academy is a four-year program designed to prepare Chicago high school students for highly selective colleges and universities through supplemental educational opportunities and support services and is a key element of Northwestern’s Good Neighbor, Great University initiative.


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Hazel Technologies' Aidan Mouat and Adam Preslar with Clean Energy Trust CEO Erik Berkerts

Northwestern spinout company Hazel Technologies took home the top prize of $500,000 at the sixth annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge Tuesday.

Drawing a crowd of venture capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives, the Challenge aims to support clean tech innovation in the Midwest by combining access to capital with access to premier mentorship and national exposure.

“Clean tech innovation, particularly deep tech innovation tied to fields such as materials science and chemistry, takes time and is extremely expensive,” said Erik Birkerts, CEO of the Clean Energy Trust. "We need to do more to take clean energy to market.”

Since 2011, the CET Challenge has awarded $3.2 million in funding to 29 teams, which has returned $86 million and created 300 new jobs.

Hazel Technologies, whose FruitBrite technology extends the shelf life of produce, flowers, and plants by up to 400 percent took home the Illinois Clean Energy Fund award, amounting to half of the $1 million of funding handed out to teams at this year’s Challenge.

“At this level of the competition, you’re competing with the highest caliber of companies in this stage of clean tech innovation," said Aidan Mouat, CEO of Hazel Technologies.

The team will use the funding for optimization of the technology and full commercialization of the product.

They were joined in the student track at the competition by INjoo Networks, a Northwestern team whose energy management software leverages the data of various networks in a building to solve occupancy problems and efficiently heat and cool rooms.

Both companies competing in this year’s Challenge spun out of Northwestern’s 2015 NUvention: Energy class, a clean tech commercialization course co-sponsored by the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN).

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A treasured oil painting by renowned artist John Singer Sargent -- one of America’s greatest portraitists -- has been fully John Singer Sargentrestored and will be on display at Northwestern University Libraries.


The rare, up-close viewing will be from May 5 through May 19 in the third floor reading room of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Deering Library, 1937 Sheridan Road, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

“Removal of the yellowed varnish has significantly improved the tonal qualities of the painting and allows for closer examination of Sargent’s brushwork and creative use of color,” said Scott Devine, the Marie A. Quinlan Director of Preservation and Conservation at University Libraries. “The painting, which is one of Sargent’s last large-scale society portraits, can now be studied and fully appreciated for the way in which it references Sargent’s earlier works.”

After the special display the painting will be placed back in climate-controlled storage until the anticipated renovation of Deering Library. The Deering Library is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

This year’s restoration of Sargent’s portrait of Mrs. Dorothy Allhusen was made possible thanks to a $9,000 grant by The Alumnae of Northwestern University, an all-volunteer group of women that has given more than $7.5 million in fellowships, scholarships, and awards to faculty and students during the past 100 years.


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A new Northwestern Medicine study published in Nature Medicine has shown that reprogrammed stem cells can be used to identify patients with cancer who are likely to experience a dangerous side effect of a common chemotherapy drug.

Doxorubicin, also known Adriamycin, effectively treats a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer and pediatric leukemia. But for about 8 percent of patients, the drug causes cardiotoxicity – heart muscle damage so severe that it can lead to heart failure. Currently, healthcare providers can’t predict in advance who will fall into this subset of patients.

“We were interested in whether there is a genetic reason for why some patients experience cardiotoxicity and some do not,” said corresponding author Paul Burridge, PhD, assistant professor of Pharmacology and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

It’s difficult to isolate and grow a patient’s heart cells in a lab, so Burridge took an alternative route to test the drug: stem cells. First, Burridge and scientists at Stanford University acquired skin cells from patients with breast cancer who were treated with doxorubicin – some with cardiotoxicity and some without it. The investigators reprogrammed the skin cells into stem cells that can become many different types of cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells.

“We then turned these stem cells into heart muscle cells, treated them with doxorubicin and measured their responses,” Burridge explained. “Our results showed that heart cells from patients who have cardiotoxicity were significantly more sensitive to doxorubicin-induced toxicity. They had more structural damage, reduced contraction, DNA damage and died more easily.”

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Mesmin DestinSESP assistant professor Mesmin Destin was selected for the 2016 class of William T. Grant Scholars. Through the Scholars Program, launched in 1982, the William T. Grant Foundationsupports the professional development of promising researchers in the social, behavioral and health sciences who have received their degree within the past seven years.

Destin will receive $350,000 to implement a five-year research plan that will extend his skills and knowledge into new areas. Destin is one of five new William T. Grant Scholars selected from a group of applicants nominated by their institutions. A committee of senior academics chose the Scholars based on their proposals and interviews.

Destin’s proposed research topic is “Healthy Pathways toward Academic Achievement and Social Mobility for Low-SES Youth.” He will examine whether a school-based intervention to increase school motivation and academic outcomes for disadvantaged adolescents has positive effects on students’ health.

“Adolescents from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds are at risk for poor academic outcomes and are likely to face unique health challenges, even if they succeed in school and experience social mobility,” Destin says. His study will test whether students who participate in groups that encourage academic motivation and provide social support and connection have improved health and achievement outcomes. It will also quantify how students’ social interactions and social support may serve as pathways to academic achievement and physical health.

Research on a school-based intervention and assessment “will establish the foundation for a program of research investigating experiences of social support and connection to others as a pathway towards healthy achievement for low-SES adolescents,” he adds.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Destin earned his PhD at the University of Michigan. He is a faculty member at SESP and the Department of Psychology at Nortestern, as well as a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. His research interests center on the psychological processes underlying associations between socioeconomic circumstances and outcomes such as academic motivation and achievement and the effects of financial assets on goals and behavior. His research projects have focused on small classroom-based interventions to improve school outcomes for low-income and minority youth.

William T. Grant Foundation vice president Vivian Tseng remarked, “Our Foundation is dedicated to funding research to advance theory, build evidence, and improve policy and practice. Key to this goal is supporting a pipeline of diverse researchers who will tackle the weighty issues facing kids and families across the country. This new cohort of Scholars has demonstrated a willingness to expand their expertise and to take some measured risks in order to take on these challenges. We are pleased to have them join our community of William T. Grant Scholars.”

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Bennett Goldberg has been appointed assistant provost for learning and teaching, director of the

Bennet GoldbergSearle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching and professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University, effective Aug. 1, 2016.


Goldberg currently is the director of STEM Education Initiatives in the Office of the Provost at Boston University and a professor in physics, electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering and education.

“Bennett Goldberg is a national voice in the scholarship of learning and teaching,” said Ron Braeutigam, associate provost for undergraduate education at Northwestern. “He will continue the groundbreaking work of Greg Light, former director of the Searle Center, in engaging faculty and administrators in the work of strengthening academic supports for all students, enhancing the culture of assessment and leading the implementation of new educational technologies.”

Goldberg has an impressive portfolio of scholarship around learning and teaching. In his current role, he has been instrumental in working with colleges, departments and faculty to increase the amount of evidence-based and active-learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction and in developing and implementing training in teaching and learning for STEM Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellows.

From 2004 to 2014, he was director of Boston University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology, which he founded, an interdisciplinary center with academic and industrial scientists and engineers. Goldberg also is the director of the nanomedicine program, which brings together faculty and researchers across two campuses in the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.

Goldberg is a lifelong champion for diversity and inclusion in education, having directed the National Science Foundation Graduate Students in K-12 education programs and served as the science liaison to local urban high schools. He and his colleagues have worked to develop an online course in AP Physics to provide access to students from underserved schools, and they have augmented the course with real and virtual tutoring from Boston University undergraduate students. Goldberg has adopted a hands-on approach to science education, building outreach events and programs for high school students from underserved public high schools and their parents as well as science learning and teaching modules for local elementary schools.


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Jonah Musa obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Northwestern in 2009 with support from the Northwestern University AIDS International Training and Research Program (NU-AITRP). His desire to have a deeper and broader view of issues affecting poor health outcomes was the major attraction for enrolling into the Health Sciences Integrated PhD program.




Where is your hometown?

I’m a Nigerian, born and raised in Kaduna, northern Nigeria.

What are your research interests?


I focus on epidemiology and health services research to better understand factors associated with prevention and early detection of cervical cancer in low-resource settings, particularly among HIV infected populations.

What exciting projects are you working on?

I’m part of the research team collaboration between the Northwestern Center for Global Health and the University of Jos, Nigeria, on HIV-associated malignancies.

Being a clinician from Nigeria, with prior clinical research experience on cervical cancer prevention among HIV infected population, I’m now focusing on developing and utilizing health services research methodologies to understand how health care delivery factors inter-play with social, environmental, economic and patient-related factors in cancer prevention and treatment outcomes in Nigeria.

What attracted you to the PhD program?

My previous training experience at Feinberg was an eye-opener to the critical role of capacity building for research as the ultimate investment that holds promise for curing the myriad of health problems around the world.

It was a shocking and fascinating epiphany to discover that health problems could be solved based on asking the right questions, designing appropriate methodologies to find the correct answers and in turn taking the appropriate actions. The experience at the masters level gave me a bird’s-eye view of the enormous opportunities and possibilities that can make a positive impact on health care systems and that could lead to improvement in individual and population health.

My desire to have a deeper and broader view of issues affecting poor health outcomes was the major attraction for enrolling into the PhD program at Northwestern. Indeed, I’m beginning to see things more deeply and widely now. I’ve started to understand how personal, community, economic, clinical and public policy variables interact to shape health systems and the various levels at which we can intervene to improve the health outcomes of individuals, populations in a global landscape.

What has been your best experience at Feinberg?

Discovering the dynamism in science and the need to keep searching for “the truth.” Learning that “good science and research takes us closer to the truth” gives me inspiration and joy!

How would you describe the faculty at Feinberg?

Fabulous! Very experienced and dedicated faculty, always willing to help students understand, discover and realize their great potentials in research and academia. Many of the faculty have stimulated my interest in very difficult research areas such as “decision analysis” in medicine. I love their commitment, team science and the interdisciplinary approach to solving research problems.

What do you do in your free time?

I have a lovely wife and two little kids who are always competing for my free time! It’s always fun to be with them, either at home, recreational parks, restaurants or visiting friends.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I want to be a successful academic and independent investigator in epidemiology and health services research and contribute to the understanding of effective, cost-saving interventions for improving cancer outcomes in low-resource settings.

Locker Room Celebration at Wisconsin

Nine of Northwestern's varsity athletic programs have earned perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores in the most recent data released Wednesday by the NCAA on the heels of the announcement that 12 NU teams earned APR Public Recognition Awards last week.


Northwestern baseball, field hockey, softball, women's basketball, cross country, women's golf, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, and volleyball all achieved 1,000 scores in the current cohort. Three other programs -- women's lacrosse, men's swimming and diving and men's soccer -- had 997 scores or better, and no NU team was lower than a 979.


"The Academic Progress Rate is an important benchmark of success in our ultimate goal of graduating student-athletes, and at Northwestern we are proud to remain leaders for our Big Ten and NCAA peers," said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. "It cannot be overstated how proud we are of our student-athletes and the standard of excellence they set in the classroom."


Northwestern led the Big Ten in 12 sports, including field hockey (1,000), men's soccer (997) and men's swimming and diving (997) leading the conference outright among their respective peers, with men's soccer also ranking seventh nationally. NU football scored a 992 APR for the current cohort, tied atop the conference with Wisconsin and Minnesota, and tied for second nationally among FBS programs.


Baseball, women's basketball and women's soccer were each one of just two Big Ten programs with perfect 1,000 scores while softball and women's swimming and diving were one of three in their sports.


Last week, the NCAA announced that 12 of Northwestern's teams earned Public Recognition Awards for placing among the top-10 percent in their respective sports in the most recent APR data. NU had 63 percent (12-of-19) of its teams earn the recognition, leading the Big Ten and ranking in the top three of all FBS schools.


Every NCAA Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete. The score also serves as a predictor of graduation success. All of the information in the latest report is for the past four academic years (2011-15). The entire searchable database can be found at

View the original story here.

When considering where to go for a two-week trip for a journalism class, Uganda never comes quickly to mind.

“It’s a relatively safe place to work out of with stories full of conflict,” said Brent Huffman, assistant professor of journalism who accompanied the MSJ students on the trip.

The trip to Uganda was built into the summer MSJ documentary class. Students did pre-production for four weeks, and flew out in the middle of the 10 week class to report. The students produced two documentaries from the trip, and both were incredibly successful, with one premiering at PBS and the other at a large film festival

“Jinja (the city in Uganda) is the perfect combination of English speakers, safe and having bigger issues that students can focus on,” Huffman said.

The documentaries focused the human aspects of normal, happy children – specifically, on superstition. The first told the story of a man with albinism who created an NGO to support and protect children with albinism from a culture in which albino children will be sacrificed. The second covered the story of children from poor families sold to witch doctors to be sacrificed.

“The fact that the students had this life-changing experience (nobody [from Medill] had ever been in Africa) was this incredible experience,” Huffman said. “Seeing the students grow and change, feel sad to leave and feel like a family member, they even keep in touch over Facebook!”

Rachael Ponn (MSJ15), one of the students on the trip, echoed Huffman’s remarks.

“I was able to go to Uganda and do exactly what I came here for,” Ponn said. “I’m so incredibly grateful to have been accepted to the Uganda experience.”

View the original story here.

Six members of the Northwestern University faculty have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.


The six, representing schools and disciplines across the University, are among the 213 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, the humanities, the arts, business and public affairs elected to the academy this year for their pathbreaking work.

The new Northwestern members are:

  • Bernard S. Black, the Nicholas D. Chabraja Professor at the Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg School of Management. His principal research areas are law and finance, international corporate governance, health care and medical malpractice, and corporate and securities law.
  • Bryna Kra, the Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Mathematics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She works in ergodic theory and dynamical systems, particularly on problems motivated by combinatorics and number theory.
  • Carol D. Lee, the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy. Her research addresses cultural supports for learning that include a broad ecological focus, with attention to language and literacy and African-American youth.
  • Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for medical affairs and the Lewis Landsberg Dean at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The principal goal of his research is to understand the immunologic and fibrogenic mechanisms of interstitial renal diseases.
  • Peter W. Voorhees, the Frank C. Engelhart Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. His research focuses on the kinetics of phase transformations -- ranging from the growth of nanowires to the solidification of alloys -- using experiment, simulation and theory. 
  • Michael R. Wasielewski, the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry in Weinberg and executive director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). He has pioneered new approaches to solar energy conversion with his research on light-driven charge transport in molecules and nanoscale materials.

Members of the 236th class will be inducted at an Oct. 8 ceremony at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. Current academy research focuses on higher education, the humanities and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good.

View the original story here.

Academic Medical Center.jpgCHICAGO --- In an entirely new approach to treating asthma and allergies, a biodegradable nanoparticle acts like a Trojan horse, hiding an allergen in a friendly shell, to convince the immune system not to attack it, according to new Northwestern Medicine research. As a result, the allergic reaction in the airways is shut down long- term and an asthma attack prevented.


The technology can be applied to food allergies as well. The nanoparticle is currently being tested in a mouse model of peanut allergy, similar to food allergy in humans.


“The findings represent a novel, safe and effective long-term way to treat and potentially ‘cure’ patients with life-threatening respiratory and food allergies,” said senior author Stephen Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This may eliminate the need for life-long use of medications to treat lung allergy.”


It’s the first time this method for creating tolerance in the immune system has been used in allergic diseases. The approach has been used in autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis and celiac disease in previous preclinical Northwestern research.


The asthma allergy study was in mice, but the technology is progressing to clinical trials in autoimmune disease. The nanoparticle technology is being developed commercially by Cour Pharmaceuticals Development Co., which is working with Miller to bring this new approach to patients. A clinical trial using the nanoparticles to treat celiac disease is in development.


The new study on nanoparticles treating asthma was published April 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


“It’s a universal treatment,” Miller said. “Depending on what allergy you want to eliminate, you can load up the nanoparticle with ragweed pollen or a peanut protein.”


The nanoparticles are composed of an FDA-approved biopolymer called PLGA that includes lactic acid and glycolic acid.


Also a senior author is Lonnie Shea, adjunct professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg, and chair of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan.


When the allergen-loaded nanoparticle is injected into the bloodstream of mice, the immune system isn’t concerned with it because it sees the particle as innocuous debris. Then the nanoparticle and its hidden cargo are consumed by a macrophage, essentially a vacuum-cleaner cell.


“The vacuum-cleaner cell presents the allergen or antigen to the immune system in a way that says, ‘No worries, this belongs here,’” Miller said. The immune system then shuts down its attack on the allergen, and the immune system is reset to normal.


The allergen, in this case egg protein, was administered into the lungs of mice who have been pretreated to be allergic to the protein and already had antibodies in their blood against it. So when they were re-exposed to it, they responded with an allergic response like asthma. After being treated with the nanoparticle, they no longer had an allergic response to the allergen. 


The approach also has a second benefit. It creates a more normal, balanced immune system by increasing the number of regulatory T cells, immune cells important for recognizing the airway allergens as normal. This method turns off the dangerous Th2 T cell that causes the allergy and expands the good, calming regulatory T cells.


The research was supported in part by grant EB-013198 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and grant NS-026543 from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, both of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Dunard Fund and a predoctoral fellowship TL1R000108 from the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>

04-grant.jpgWhether young people care about their health and pay attention to public health campaigns is at the heart of a health communication study being carried out by Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), in collaboration with other researchers in Qatar and the U.S.


The study, ‘Qatari adolescents: How do they use digital technologies for health information and health monitoring?,’ which received a $300,000 grant from the Qatar National Research Fund in March examines how Qatari youth from 13 to 18 years of age acquire and evaluate information about health issues of all kinds. The study probes into what is known about young people’s specific health concerns and conditions, as well as how they use technology to acquire and share such information.


Aimed at discovering how future public information campaigns can better reach youth beyond typical media sources and school settings, the study is being carried out by Dr. Klaus Schoenbach (pictured), NU-Q’s associate dean for research, an internationally known media researcher; and Dr. Ellen Wartella, a renowned expert on children’s media and health, who is a Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani professor of communication, psychology and education at NU’s Evanston, Illinois campus in the U.S. They are joined by Dr. Salma Mawfek Khaled, a survey researcher at Qatar University’s Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) where she is an assistant professor and Dr. Paul Amuna, who heads the research section of the Primary Health Care Corporation of Qatar who will serve as consultant.


“We are evaluating the channels adolescents use to find answers for their health concerns in order to find what works best. We hope that information that will improve the options available to them,” said Schoenbach, who will be leading the research team.   


Qatar’s youth are subject to some of the highest rates of obesity-risk in the world. In addition, they are exposed to cultural vices such as shisha smoking and environmental restrictions such as extreme weather conditions.


“The threshold for physical activity is much higher in this part of the world than in most countries, so we’re trying to communicate the best ways to educate and train using digital sources,” Schoenbach said.


Schoenbach is an expert on persuasive communication. Next to having conducted a large number of studies on persuasion in the area of public affairs, he has written the first German textbook on persuasive communication.


Wartella is a leading scholar on the role of media in children’s development and serves on a variety of national and international boards and committees on children’s health and wellness issues. She has published more than 100 books, articles and book chapters on children and media issues and has conducted multiple studies as a consultant and a member of three study commissions at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine on childhood obesity.


Khaled is assistant research professor at the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University. She has extensive experience in survey research methods and applied survey data analysis through her work an analyst and methodology consultant with Statistics Canada. At SESRI, Khaled has conducted health system analysis using large survey datasets.


The research project will begin in 2016 and completed in 2017.


Read more in the Northwestern University in Qatar News Center. >>

kirabo-jackson-thumb-lrg.jpgSESP associate professor Kirabo Jackson was named a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, based on his outstanding scholarship and proposed research on “Identifying Excellent Teachers.” The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program provides the most prestigious and generous fellowships to advance research in the social sciences and humanities.


Carnegie Corporation of New York announced 33 fellows, selected from approximately 200 nominees nationwide. Fellows were selected based on the originality, promise and potential impact of their proposals. As part of the fellowship, scholars will receive up to $200,000 each to support a research sabbatical focused on their studies in the social sciences and humanities. Each will receive funding for one to two years of scholarly research and writing aimed at addressing some of the world’s most urgent challenges to U.S. democracy and international order, according to Carnegie.


Research on teacher quality


Jackson's research as a Carnegie Fellow will provide evidence on "how to better identify high-quality teachers that improve the broad set of skills students need to succeed into adulthood." He will be looking at both cognitive and "soft" skills as he examines questions such as how much teachers improve a broad set of skills required for adult succes, how to identify excellent teachers, and what are the long-range adult outcomes of having a teacher who improved soft skills.


An economist who earned his PhD from Harvard University in 2007, Jackson is an associate professor of human development and social policy and a faculty fellow with Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. He has analyzed several important aspects of education policy such as the importance of public school funding on student outcomes through adulthood, the effects of college-preparatory programs on students’ college and labor market outcomes, the effects of educational tracking on students’ academic achievement, and the effects of single-sex education on students’ academic performance.


However, the bulk of Jackson’s work has focused on better understanding teacher labor markets. Jackson’s extensive work on teachers analyzes the role of peer learning in teacher effectiveness, how student demographics directly affect the distribution of teacher quality across schools, how a teacher’s effectiveness depends on the schooling context within which they operate, how best to measure teacher quality, and other related topics. His scholarly articles have appeared in leading economics journals, and his research has been featured in a number of respected media outlets.


Becoming a Carnegie Fellow


The nominating process for the Carnegie Fellowship entailed three levels of review and began with the Corporation seeking recommendations from more than 600 leaders representing a range of universities, think tanks, publishers and nonprofit organizations nationwide. Candidates’ proposals were evaluated by an anonymous team of prominent scholars, educators and intellectuals. The final selections were made by a distinguished panel of 16 jurors, including heads of the country’s premier scholarly institutions and presidents of leading universities and foundations.


“Our founder, Andrew Carnegie, charged Carnegie Corporation with the task of creating, advancing, and diffusing knowledge in order to enlighten American society and strengthen our democracy. This outstanding new cohort of 33 Carnegie Fellows is a result of that mandate,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Read more in the School of Education and Social Policy's News Center. >>

Lisa Gartner.jpgNorthwestern alumna Lisa Gartner, 28, was one of three Tampa Bay Times reporters honored April 18 with the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.


Using data and powerful narrative accounts, Gartner and her colleagues conducted a yearlong investigation into struggling public elementary schools in Florida’s Pinellas County. They won the highest prize in American journalism “for exposing a local school board's culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories, with tragic consequences for the community,” according to the Pulitzer judges.


Gartner, a 2010 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketed Communications, served as editor in chief of North By Northwestern.


Gartner currently covers Pinellas County Schools, colleges and universities. Before joining the Tampa Bay Times in 2013, she covered D.C. Public Schools for The Washington Examiner. A product of Florida public schools, Lisa grew up in Palm Beach County. She attended Northwestern “after purchasing a very heavy coat,” according to her bio.


Among the other winners was 2014 Medill graduate Priya Krishnakumar, who works as a graphics and data journalist at the Los Angeles Times. The Times won a staff award in the breaking news category for "exceptional reporting, including both local and global perspectives, on the shooting in San Bernardino and the terror investigation that followed."


At Northwestern, Krishnakumar was a student fellow at the Knight Lab and a creative director at North by Northwestern.


Read more in the Tampa Bay Times.


Read the full story in Northwestern News. >>

schapiro200.jpgMembers of the Northwestern University community are invited to two “Conversations with President Schapiro” this month in which President Morton Schapiro will discuss the state of the University and provide an update on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.


A Chicago campus event will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 21, in Hughes Auditorium in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. A second event is slated for 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, in the McCormick Foundation Center forum on the Evanston campus.


In addition to keynote remarks from President Schapiro, this year’s events will feature Provost Daniel Linzer, Executive Vice President Nim Chinniah, Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin and Vice President and General Counsel Philip Harris. They will participate in a moderated Q&A session with President Schapiro regarding a range of topics including diversity and inclusion, campus development and more.


The “Conversations” will be webcast live on the Office of the President web site.


These annual events are sponsored by the Northwestern University Staff Advisory Council (NUSAC) and the Office of the President.


For those unable to attend in person, questions or comments may be emailed to NUSAC.


Administrative leaders are asked to allow staff members in their area to attend one of the events.


See the official announcement in Northwestern News. >>


Learn more about the event from the Office of the President. >>


Natalie Bortoli '98

Natalie Bortoli graduated from Northwestern University in 1998 with a degree in journalism. Since then, she earned a master's degree in education from Harvard University, and now works as the vice president of educational programming and experience development at the Chicago Children's Museum. She will live tweet her work day on April 21 for Northwestern Career Advancement. Follow along at @JobsforCats. Here, Natalie gives a preview of what her career is like.

What’s the best part of your job?  

The people and the culture. I work among dedicated people who have a passion for making a difference in children's lives. At the museum, our job is to make learning fun, memorable and meaningful, so along with that comes a staff that excels at thinking creatively and bringing joy into their work. There is a culture of playfulness that flows through our workplace as well as a genuine respect for each other's diverse perspectives. When your work is to create a healthy and inspiring environment for children, people give the best of themselves.


What’s the most challenging aspect?

Juggling all the disparate tasks that come along with a management position in a non-profit organization. On any given day, I might switch gears from developing broad strategies for the organization, to analyzing our budget, to contributing to a grant proposal, to counseling a staff member, to responding to a visitor, to ironing 1,000 ribbons for an upcoming art installation. The switching of gears happens constantly, so there is a fair amount of brain fatigue.


What career advice do you have for graduating seniors and young alumni?

Never stop being a learner. Even after school is done, continue to be a student. Build relationships with people from whom you can learn. Take on projects that enable you to stretch into new realms. Find opportunities through work, volunteering, or pass times that enable you to build new knowledge, grow as a person, and identify untapped skills and interests. Collect experiences and take healthy risks.


What’s the best career advice you ever received?

"Relationships matter."


What do you remember most from your time at Northwestern?

Walking through the doors on the very first day! I wanted to attend NU from the time I was in 8th grade, so it was a dream realized. Beyond that: engaging in classes and conversations that made me look at the world differently; learning how to ask good questions and write with integrity; building friendships that have lasted 20 years. Oh, and the sight of campus on a perfect spring day.


How did Northwestern prepare you for your career path?

As a journalism student, I learned how to dive into issues, build a level of expertise, and communicate that knowledge to others through effective and engaging stories. My career in education came later, but in so many ways, built upon those original skills. In the world of museum education, I delve into all sorts of topics, build expertise, and then translate that knowledge into meaningful experiences from which people can learn. The qualifications are the same: a curious nature, an ability to learn quickly in a variety of realms, and a desire to share knowledge and experiences with others.


What do you hope the Northwestern community learns from your Twitter Takeover?

That hard work can be a heck of a lot of fun when it's done with great people in a great environment. Also, that we're never too old to play.

nxt638.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s entrepreneurial culture continues to grow and thrive, and now aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators will benefit from two new commercialization resources.


The $10 million N.XT Fund for faculty and students will support early-stage innovations based on Northwestern technologies (patented by the University) that are too advanced for federal funding but too early for private investment. Applications for the first funding cycle are due April 21.


The $4 million NUseeds Fund will support student startups with or without Northwestern-owned technologies. The goal is to accelerate the successful launch of innovations from Northwestern by financing the most promising early-stage ventures. NUseeds is being funded by philanthropic gifts as part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. The first funding cycle for NUseeds is expected to open April 15.


“Northwestern students are wonderfully creative, and we want to ensure the best ideas and ventures are supported during their early development,” said Chris Galvin, a University trustee and member of the Board of Trustees’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee. “Success at Northwestern ripples outward, impacting society and the economy while also strengthening our ties with the local entrepreneurial community.”


N.XT and NUseeds build upon The Garage, an innovation space established last year at Northwestern, as well as the robust entrepreneurial curricula from the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (McCormick School of Engineering), the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice (Kellogg School of Management) and the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (Pritzker School of Law).


All of these programs work in concert to support a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem at Northwestern and in the community at large.


“Northwestern has developed a robust network of resources to help the entrepreneurially minded, from an undergraduate student developing her first venture to a leading faculty member looking to launch a new product that will improve people’s lives,” said J.B. Pritzker, Northwestern alumnus and trustee. “This support for innovation at all levels will lead to the creation of stronger companies coming out of Northwestern, participating in Chicago-based business incubators MATTER and 1871, and contributing to Chicago’s economic development.”


Pritzker is co-founder and managing partner of Pritzker Group. He is a leader in the Chicago entrepreneurship community and has been a key driver in growing and strengthening the entrepreneurship, innovation and technology sectors. His venture capital firm is one of the largest and most successful in the nation.


“N.XT and NUseeds are part of Northwestern’s broader commitment to propel innovations to the public,” said Alicia Löffler, executive director of Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO). “These new funds will provide critical resources for promising technologies created by our faculty and students.”


N.XT Fund


The goal of the fund is to support faculty and student entrepreneurs using Northwestern-owned technologies so they can propel innovations to the next stage of commercial development. Selected by external experts and investors, awardees will use the funds to achieve clear milestones, such as product validation, prototyping and market identification, within a year. They also will receive coaching from external experts.


Applications for the first funding cycle are due April 21. A group of finalists will be selected, and each will pitch their Northwestern innovation June 2. The N.XT awards will be announced after that date. Kellogg students trained by external venture capitalists, called N.XT Fund Associates, will do the due diligence work required to invest in these innovations.


Individual awards will range between $50,000 and $200,000. N.XT applications will be accepted year-round, although awards will only be made twice a year.


For more information, contact Nicholas Maull, assistant director of new ventures at INVO, at


NUseeds Fund


The NUseeds Fund is a venture capital fund for Northwestern students that will supply initial resources needed to build a commercial entity. Startups are not required to have Northwestern-owned technologies. NUseeds provides seed investments to accelerate the successful launch of innovations from Northwestern students by financing the most promising early-stage ventures.


To be eligible, student ventures are required to have participated in The Garage Residency Program and to have received funding from an institutional investment partner and/or a traditional accelerator program.


Funding is expected to open April 15. Individual awards will range between $10,000 and $100,000. An external committee of investors will vet applications. Funded teams will receive coaching from The Garage’s network of external alumni and community experts.


For more information or to contribute to the fund, contact Melissa Crounse, executive director of The Garage, at


Read the full story in Northwestern News. >>

JimPhillips.jpegNorthwestern student-athletes continued to raise the bar on academic performance during the winter quarter of 2016, establishing a record for overall GPA among several other impressive numbers.

The Wildcats' overall student-athlete GPA was 3.31, the program's highest on record. The average team GPA also was 3.31, second only to the fall quarter mark of 3.32. Winter 2016 marks the 29th consecutive quarter in which Northwestern student-athletes had a GPA over 3.0.

"The results in the classroom continue to impress," said Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips. "For our student-athletes to set another GPA record during the winter quarter when so many teams are in competition, in postseason play and on the road shows how dedicated they are to academic success. We are so proud of their achievements."

Eighteen of NU's 19 varsity programs had term GPAs above a 3.0, led by field hockey (3.619), women's soccer (3.534), cross country (3.512) and volleyball (3.420).

Individually, 79 percent of student-athletes had GPAs above a 3.0, with 41 student-athletes earning perfect 4.0 marks for the quarter.

From an awards standpoint, Northwestern earned 41 Academic All-Big Ten awards in winter sports, bringing the Wildcats' total for the 2015-16 year to 144 overall.

To read the original version of this story, go to

Isaac-Adewole.jpgIsaac Adewole, adjunct professor of medicine and a native of Nigeria, has been sworn in as the African country’s minister of health.

Formerly vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan, the first medical school in Nigeria, Adewole has collaborated with faculty in Feinberg’s Center for Global Health on several studies supported by the National Institutes of Health. Since 2010, he has been a principal investigator of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, a consortium that includes Feinberg that was developed to transform medical education at the six leading medical schools in Nigeria.

“My current assignment at the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria will not hinder my role at Northwestern University,” he said. “Rather, I will use my current position to strengthen collaboration between Northwestern and the Federal Ministry of Health as well as other affiliated institutions in Nigeria. My plan is to leverage on my long-term relationship with colleagues at Northwestern to support my vision of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection in my country.”

Adewole has served as a physician and professor of obstetrics and gynecology for several decades in Nigeria. Through his research, he investigates methods for increasing cervical cancer screenings, decreasing unwanted pregnancies and eliminating pediatric HIV in his country.

To read more about Adewole's appointment, visit Feinberg's website.

arch.jpgNorthwestern will offer annual scholarships of up to $50,000 to City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) students who are admitted as undergraduate students and transfer to Northwestern, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro announced.


Under the new CCC Star Scholars Initiative, Northwestern will provide financial assistance for two years for students who have completed their studies at City Colleges of Chicago and come to Northwestern. Each student will be eligible to receive a Star Scholar Award in an amount of up to $50,000 to be funded by Northwestern.

“I commend Northwestern for joining in the collective of Chicago colleges and universities who have stepped up to create a clear path for our students from high school to community college and on to a four-year university,” Mayor Emanuel said. “These institutions recognize the potential of our hardworking students, so I want to thank them for joining our effort to help break down the financial barriers to a college education and provide more ladders of opportunity to a great career and a stronger future."

The partnership with City Colleges of Chicago represents the most recent initiative in Northwestern’s continuing efforts to increase access to the University for students from Chicago, President Schapiro said.

“Northwestern University has always sought to attract the best students, both nationally and here in Chicago, and provide them with the financial support needed to obtain a Northwestern education,” President Schapiro said. “Through this partnership and others, we hope to make it possible for more students from low- and middle-income families and who are first-generation college students to attend Northwestern.”

By establishing the CCC Star Scholars Initiative, Northwestern hopes to attract outstanding City Colleges graduates who otherwise might not consider the University, President Schapiro said.

Similar efforts by Northwestern over the past few years to attract Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates have been extremely successful. More than 100 CPS graduates are expected to enroll as freshmen at Northwestern next fall, an increase from fewer than 60 in 2010. The University’s Good Neighbor, Great University program, which provides need-based financial aid for students from Chicago and Evanston schools, this year has 328 undergraduates receiving $2.9 million in scholarships.

Northwestern also created a special program to aid CPS students in preparing for college. As announced by Mayor Emanuel and President Schapiro in 2013, the Northwestern Academy helps CPS students prepare for and gain admittance to selective colleges and universities. The Northwestern Academy helps CPS high school students who are academically talented and enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program with supplemental educational opportunities and support services at no cost to the students in order to challenge them in high school and prepare them for higher education at selective colleges and universities.

Students in the inaugural class of the innovative college prep program will tour top-tier universities over spring break, a significant milestone in their journey to higher education. As part of the program’s first trip to research colleges, the high school juniors – some joined by their parents -- will depart from Chicago April 17; one group will head to schools in Pennsylvania, while the other will tour top Midwestern schools. A third group will explore college campuses this summer.

The students are all first-generation college-bound, come from a low-income family or are part of a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education. These are the highly motivated kids who qualified for, but aren’t enrolled in, selective enrollment high schools. The partnership with CPS involves year-round tutoring, leadership training, confidence building, counseling, family workshops and field trips to cultural institutions such as the Steppenwolf Theatre and The Adler Planetarium.

Northwestern also recently announced that it will significantly increase financial aid for its students, eliminate loans for incoming undergraduate students and provide University-funded scholarships to undocumented students who are graduates of U.S. high schools. Key initiatives include:

  • All-grant financial aid packages. Beginning next fall, all entering first-year students who qualify for Northwestern grant assistance will be awarded aid packages without any loans. Their aid offer will include only grants, scholarships, summer earnings expectations and a work-study job opportunity. The all-grant aid package would enable students to graduate without incurring debt for their main educational expenses.


  • Increased financial aid for undocumented students who are graduates of U.S. high schools. Beginning with next fall’s entering class, Northwestern will provide significantly increased financial assistance to academically qualified undocumented students who attended and graduated from a U.S. high school. Even though they have graduated from U.S. high schools, undocumented students are not eligible for federal grants and loans or State of Illinois grants. Northwestern will now provide the same University-funded scholarship assistance to qualified undocumented students that it does to U.S. citizens, using private funds to provide financial aid to support their studies.

“An increasing number of outstanding high school students are those who were brought to the U.S. as small children after being born in another country,” President Schapiro said. “Despite Congressional efforts to make college accessible and affordable to these students through the DREAM Act, this bill has not yet been enacted. Therefore, as part of its efforts to reach out to underserved communities, Northwestern will provide increased funds to enable these students to come here.”


  • Replacement of lost MAP funding. The Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides tuition grants for low- and middle-income students, is not currently funded due to the lack of a state budget. Northwestern has assured all of its full-time undergraduate students that the University will replace the lost MAP funding with University funds this year. Approximately 500 Northwestern undergraduates receive a total of about $2.4 million in MAP grants.

“We continue to hope that the governor and the legislature can reach an agreement on a FY2016 budget and restore MAP funding, which supports Illinois students,” President Schapiro said. “In order to enable our students to continue without incurring additional costs, Northwestern will stretch its institutional resources to make up for the lost state funds.”

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

Coral reefs are early casualties of climate change, but not every coral reacts the same way to the stress of ocean warming. Now a Northwestern University research team is the first to provide a quantitative “global index” detailing which of the world’s coral species are most susceptible to coral bleaching and most likely to die.


The world currently is experiencing the longest global coral bleaching event ever recorded, with the Great Barrier Reef and U.S. reefs among those suffering. Bleaching happens when stressed corals expel their life-providing algae, turning coral reefs stark white as their skeletons show through. Some corals rebound, but many do not.


The coral bleaching response index was published today (April 13) as an Early View article by the journal Global Change Biology. Based on a massive amount of historical data, the index can be used to compare the bleaching responses of corals throughout the world and to predict which corals may be most affected by future bleaching events.

“Coral bleaching is an inescapable example of the effects of climate change,” said Timothy D. Swain, the study’s first author and a postdoctoral fellow at the McCormick School of Engineering. “We can see it with our eyes, and we also clearly see the progression of climate change in our data. Our goal is to use data to understand what is driving bleaching and learn how we can protect the world’s coral reefs, so we don’t lose them so quickly.”

Swain is a member of the interdisciplinary research team that analyzed publicly available data on nearly half the world’s corals -- including actual measurements of bleaching -- to produce the global index. The team was led by molecular biologist Luisa A. Marcelino and included Vadim Backman, both professors at McCormick.

The global index is a standardized measure of vulnerability, by species of coral, to thermal stress. It identifies the species most susceptible to bleaching and those most likely to perish as a result of the damage; hardier species also are identified. The index ranks the corals’ susceptibility to thermal stress from 1 to 100, with the most susceptible first in the list.

The index provides a valuable new tool to conservationists and park managers committed to preserving coral reefs and scientists interested in learning more about the hundreds of reef-building corals.

Read the full story here.

Norris_IMG_3029.JPGA selection of Victoria Martinez’s latest fabric installations, paintings, collages and soft sculptures are on exhibit through April 31 during her monthlong show “Wizard Can,” at Northwestern University’s Dittmar Memorial Gallery.


Martinez, a whiz at transforming ordinary household items, also will present a free Artist Talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at the Dittmar.


Free and open to the public, the Evanston campus gallery is located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive (pictured).


The exhibition’s quirky title -- “Wizard Can” -- is meant to reflect the artist’s one-woman show, which Martinez likes to think of “as an exploding metal aluminum can full of fun.”


The show’s title was inspired by a friend who altered her voice as she recited a line from “The Wizard of Oz”; and another friend who refers to Martinez as a “wizard” because of her ability to juggle various art projects and teach four classes per week.


“I also have been researching wizards and read that wizards are only men, which is interesting to me because I believe women can do whatever they please as long as they set their mind on their goals.”


The interdisciplinary artist turns fashion and home decorating fabrics, bed linens and clear plastic sheeting (the kind used for see-through covers to protect upholstered sofas and easy chairs from wear and tear) into cheerful pieces she considers her “environmental interventions.”


As an artist who responds to her environment, Martinez’s most recent works embody her research from culturally vibrant locations in Chicago’s Pilsen community -- where she grew up and continues to live. They also reflect her recent visit to the archaeological ruins in Teotihuacan, Mexico, built between the 1st and 7th centuries and rhythmic patterns she encounters in gritty abandoned spaces that embrace the urban environment.


Martinez’s art works incorporate bed sheets, paisley scarves, tablecloths, sections of hand-painted produce signs from Mexican grocery stores, old clothing from the artist's apartment, fabric scraps from her childhood home in Pilsen, as well as fabrics and decorative trim she found at neighborhood thrift stores, marketplaces and a textile warehouse.


See the full story here.

Sir Richard Blundell, the David Ricardo Professor of Political Economy at University College London, and János Kollár, the Donner Professor of Science and Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, are the recipients of the prestigious 2016
Sir Richard BlundellNemmers prizes in economics and mathematics, respectively.

Northwestern University announced the recipients of the 2016 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics and the 2016 Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics today. The prizes are awarded every other year in recognition of major contributions to new knowledge or the development of significant new modes of analysis.

Blundell was selected for his important contributions to labor economics, public finance and applied econometrics. “His research improves the foundations for economic policy and furthers our understanding of economic behavior,” the selection committee noted.

Kollár was selected for his “fundamental contributions to algebraic geometry, including the minimal model program and its applications, the theory of rational connectedness and the study of real algebraic varieties.”

Janos Kollar

“Richard Blundell and János Kollár are original thinkers in economics and mathematics, and it is an extraordinary privilege for Northwestern to recognize them for their significant contributions,” Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said. “We look forward to having them on campus, sharing their knowledge and interacting with the University community.”

In connection with the Nemmers awards, Blundell and Kollár will deliver public lectures and participate in other scholarly activities at Northwestern during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

Each prize carries a $200,000 stipend, among the largest monetary awards in the United States for outstanding achievements in economics and mathematics. This year marks the 12th time Northwestern has awarded the two prizes.

Northwestern awards two other Nemmers prizes every other year, one in medical science and one in music. In February, Northwestern awarded the inaugural Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science to Dr. Huda Zoghbi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor at Baylor College of Medicine. The 2016 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition will be announced this spring.

View the full story here.

Elena Barham Friday Feature 2

Weinberg senior and Wildcats cross-country runner Elena Barham '16 will serve as a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace beginning in August.

The endowment offers about a dozen fellowships each year, choosing from a pool of nominees from almost 400 colleges and universities. Barham, who is majoring in political science and philosophy, is the first Northwestern student to earn a Carnegie Fellowship since 2001. She will work as a research assistant in the Carnegie Fellowship's Rule of Law program, reporting to experts in foreign policy.

To read a full interview with Barham about her time as a Northwestern student-athlete and her post-graduation plans, go to

Viorica MarianDuring Northwestern University’s 11th annual Pepper Lecture, Northwestern Professor Viorica Marian will describe how speaking more than one language changes the brain.


The free public lecture begins at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 at the Frances Searle Building, Room 3-417, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston. A cocktail reception will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Marian’s pioneering research suggests that bilingual speakers process information differently than those who know a single language because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing what language to use and what language to ignore.

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

When the brain is constantly exercised in this way, it changes how bilinguals perceive the world, said Marian, the Ralph and Jean Sundin Endowed Chair in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Professor of Psychology.

Using eye-tracking, mouse-tracking, EEG and FMRI data, Marian has demonstrated that the highly interactive and dynamic nature of the bilingual’s brain changes the way it functions.

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

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

Marian’s talk, titled “Bilingualism and its Consequences for Cognition, Language and the Brain,” is sponsored by the Northwestern University School of Communication’s Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

See the original story here.

hou_lifangLifang Hou, chief of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention in the Department of Preventive Medicine, has been named a member of a Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific experts, cancer leaders and patient advocates that will inform the scientific direction and goals at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate cancer research.

As a member of the panel, she will serve as a part of a working group of the presidentially-appointed National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), which will make recommendations to the NCI. NCI will also seek guidance from thought leaders throughout the cancer community.

“It is a great honor to be able to participate in the vice president’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative,” said Hou, who is also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “I am confident that the initiative will enable cancer researchers to leverage novel technologies, exciting scientific findings, existing infrastructures and interdisciplinary expertise and experience from the entire scientific community to move our current cancer research, treatment and preventive efforts to ever-higher levels, including addressing the persistent disparities in cancer screening, early detection, prevention and therapies.”

Over the next several months, the panel will consider how to advance the development of cancer vaccines, approaches to early detection, advances in immunotherapy and combination therapies, single-cell genomic profiling of cancer cells and cells in the tumor microenvironment, enhanced data sharing and new approaches to the treatment of pediatric cancers. Dr. Hou will join 27 other members on the panel whose expertise represent a spectrum of scientific and clinical areas, in addition to individuals from cancer advocacy groups and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

“This is an exciting initiative,” said Leonidas Platanias, director of the Lurie Cancer Center. “Lifang’s insights and expertise will be a tremendous addition to the panel’s important efforts.”

Read the full story here.

State of the School

Five years ago, Kellogg mapped out an ambitious 7-year plan to transform business education and set its trajectory for the 21st century. In five years, the work of transformation is largely complete and the school has achieved nearly every milestone.

  • Established a distinctive, matrixed approach to thought leadership, faculty research, and curriculum with four cross-disciplinary strategic initiatives and six foundational academic departments, creating a platform for addressing emerging business problems in novel ways
  • Raised more than $280 million in the first-ever major capital campaign and doubled contributions to the annual fund
  • “Topped off” its 410,000-square-foot, one-of-a-kind, lakefront global hub, which has reached a final height of 103 feet
  • Rebalanced and strengthened its dynamic degree portfolio to meet market demands, including the growth of the One-Year MBA Program, redesign of the MMM Program, and launch of the new MS in Management Studies Program
  • Expanded its unparalleled Executive MBA Global Network — integrating students on four continents and seven campuses

“It is an exciting moment at Kellogg. Our progress is palpable, the teams that we’ve built across our community are incredible and the path to 2020 is clear,” says Dean Sally Blount '92.


This March more than 500 faculty, students, staff and alumni gathered in Evanston to mark the school’s progress at the State of the School event — Kellogg’s first gathering of this kind. See event highlights below.


Kellogg has made tremendous progress but the work is not completed. The school continues to drive toward its $350 million fundraising goal and completion of its new building, scheduled to open in 2017.

View the original story here.

Students in the inaugural class of Northwestern University’s innovative college prep program for Chicago students will tour top-tier universities over spring break, a significant milestone in their journey to higher education.


As part of Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools' first trip to research colleges, the high school juniors -- some joined by their parents -- will depart from Chicago April 17; one group will head to schools in Pennsylvania, while the other will tour top Midwest schools. A third group will explore college campuses this summer.


The students are all first-generation college-bound, come from a low-income family or are part of a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education. These are the highly motivated teenagers who qualified for, but aren’t enrolled in, selective enrollment high schools.

The Academy’s goal is to provide rigorous college-prep work and personal enrichment at no cost to ambitious students who may need a boost to enroll in selective four-year colleges. Launched in 2013 by Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, the partnership with Chicago Public Schools involves year-round tutoring, leadership training, confidence building, counseling, family workshops and field trips to cultural institutions such as the Steppenwolf Theatre and The Adler Planetarium.

“A firsthand look at what colleges have to offer is sure to inspire them even more,” said Northwestern Academy Director Cassandra Geiger. “It’s an essential part of their college process and in making decisions about future goals.”

Now in its third year, the Academy has two classes of students for a total enrollment of 129. The new freshman class is being selected, and the Academy will be running at full capacity in the summer of 2016.

Eighty-four percent of the new students are first-generation, college-bound, and 97 percent come from low-income households. “All the students are academically high-achieving and motivated to pursue rigorous course work,” Geiger said.

The support extends well beyond academic advising and tutoring in math, chemistry and physics. The students also work on developing leadership and social skills and are exposed to cultural and civic programs.

During the last two years, in weekend and summer sessions held at Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development, the students worked on improving improvisational skills, critical thinking, writing, speaking and presentation. They explored Chicago’s cultural gems, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Steppenwolf Theatre. And they have attended events on the Northwestern campus and Chicago Humanities Festival sessions.

“We stress exposure and exploration, trying to offer enriching experiences they might not have access to at home or at school,” Geiger said.

See the full story here.

What started as a lofty vision is now considered one of the finest college baseball stadiums in the country.


Northwestern University held a dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Rocky and Berenice Miller Park Sunday, April 3, during Northwestern baseball’s opening weekend.

“Today is a remarkable day for Northwestern baseball,” Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips told a crowd of nearly 150 members of the Wildcats family, calling the new ballpark “an absolute game changer.”

Read more about the history of the park and recent renovations.

Rocky and Berenice Miller Park and many of its featured amenities are named in honor of Northwestern baseball’s best supporters and other distinguished members of the Northwestern community.

Speaking on behalf of his teammates, senior pitcher Jake Stolley ’16 shared his gratitude for the program’s benefactors at the dedication ceremony. “It’s such a humbling opportunity to call this new venue home,” Stolley said. “It’s going to make a profound impact on our program. We’re forever grateful.”

Phillips added, “We are humbled by the leadership of so many throughout the journey to realize this vision and thrilled for the opportunity to celebrate this historic weekend with all who have made this project a reality.”

To read the full story, including background on the project's benefactors, go to

NU-Q alumna Maha Al-Ansari and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-ThaniNU-Q alumna Maha Al-Ansari '15 and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Maha Al-Ansari has won a prestigious award recognizing her achievements at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q). The Education Excellence Awards - considered the highest academic honor for individuals and educational institutions in Qatar – are awarded annually by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Al-Ansari received a gold medal, which places her second in the university-level category.

“Maha’s exemplary academic record, professional achievements and service to the school and the community made her the perfect candidate for this well-deserved recognition,” said Dean and CEO of NU-Q Everette E. Dennis.

Education plays a significant role in the human development component of the four pillars of Qatar’s national vision 2030. The Education Excellence Awards honors outstanding students who are working towards that vision.

The complex selection process takes into account the overall performance of the applicants during their educational period, reviewing co-curricular activities such as athletic performance, and contribution to the community.

“The positive atmosphere at NU-Q has definitely allowed me to make the most of my university experience,” Al-Ansari said. “We’re constantly presented with amazing opportunities and surrounded by inspiring professors and peers at Northwestern, so striving for greatness is easy.”

Al-Ansari, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 2015, interned at Sports Illustrated in New York while a student at Northwestern and also worked as a sports analyst on QF Radio. In addition to serving as the treasurer of NU-Q’s Student Union, Al-Ansari was the captain of the women’s basketball team, the Lady Wildcats, which often ranked first among Education City universities in league tournaments during her time as a player.

“Maha was a leader on the basketball court and in her class during her time at NU-Q. She has always been committed to excellent performance,” said Mary Dedinsky, director of the journalism program and associate professor in residence.

Al-Ansari is the first Qatari to work at the beIN Sports English programs’ department, where she is currently an assistant journalist. “I hope to be a pioneer in the field of journalism, and help set the foundation for future generations. While excelling in education is definitely important, it is merely a stepping stone. It’s how you use that education in the future that makes all the difference,” said Al Ansari.


View the original story here.

Northwestern University’s entrepreneurial culture continues to grow and thrive, and now aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators will benefit from two new commercialization resources.


The $10 million N.XT Fund for faculty and students will support early-stage innovations based on Northwestern technologies (patented by the University) that are too advanced for federal funding but too early for private investment.

The $4 million NUseeds Fund will support student startups with or without Northwestern-owned technologies. The goal is to accelerate the successful launch of innovations from Northwestern by financing the most promising early-stage ventures. NUseeds is being funded by philanthropic gifts as part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.

“Northwestern students are wonderfully creative, and we want to ensure the best ideas and ventures are supported during their early development,” said Chris Galvin, a University trustee and member of the Board of Trustees’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee. “Success at Northwestern ripples outward, impacting society and the economy while also strengthening our ties with the local entrepreneurial community.”

N.XT and NUseeds build upon The Garage, an innovation space established last year at Northwestern, as well as the robust entrepreneurial curricula from the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (McCormick School of Engineering), the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice (Kellogg School of Management) and the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (Pritzker School of Law).

All of these programs work in concert to support a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem at Northwestern and in the community at large.

“Northwestern has developed a robust network of resources to help the entrepreneurially minded, from an undergraduate student developing her first venture to a leading faculty member looking to launch a new product that will improve people’s lives,” said J.B. Pritzker, Northwestern alumnus and trustee. “This support for innovation at all levels will lead to the creation of stronger companies coming out of Northwestern, participating in Chicago-based business incubators MATTER and 1871, and contributing to Chicago’s economic development.”


Read the full story here.

NU-Q student Valeria Marinova at the Northwestern Evanston campus in the U.S.For students at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), a semester at the university’s home campus in the United States offers them an opportunity to both study and explore.

Ten NU-Q juniors are participating in the six-month Evanston Communication Exchange Program. The program, which reflects Northwestern’s commitment to global engagement, allows NU-Q students from Doha to take classes and sample life at the home campus situated on Lake Michigan.

“Northwestern University in Qatar has a series of programs which provide our students with the opportunity to live and study in the United States, Europe and the Middle East region as part of their undergraduate experience,” said Everette E, Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q. “This program has the added benefit of providing students with the opportunity to engage with fellow Northwestern students in a variety of disciplines – and to use that engagement to enhance their experience with Northwestern.”

Valeria Marinova (pictured above), a communication major at NU-Q, is enjoying exploring Chicago’s cultural and educational institutions this semester while also studying at Northwestern. “Chicago is a beautiful city,” with so much to see, Marinova said, while she acknowledged that nothing could quite prepare her for the typical Illinois winter.

Originally from Bulgaria, Marinova’s parents moved the family to Doha in 2007. She attended both junior high and high school in Qatar, before a strong interest in film prompted her to enroll in NU-Q’s communication program, starting as a freshman in the fall of 2013. She then jumped at the opportunity to spend a semester this year in Evanston, lured in part by an animation class.

“My childhood dream is to end up at Pixar,” she said.

The semester at the home campus has required some adjustments, Marinova said, including acclimating to larger class sizes. She also admits to being apprehensive about how she would be received by her fellow Northwestern students, although those concerns were quickly laid to rest. “You meet different people. I think that’s the biggest plus,” she said.

In addition to animation, Marinova is taking Iranian cinema, English literature and introductory drawing. She balances her school commitments with a part-time position as a graphic designer for the student center at Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Doha, a job that she is able to do remotely. 

Read the full story here.

_DSC2073.JPGNorthwestern University has developed two new funding programs in an ongoing effort to foster and recognize faculty excellence in diversity and equity.


The Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity celebrates outstanding people or groups who are working collaboratively to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable climate at Northwestern. Two $5,000 awards will be given each year.

The Provost Grant for Faculty Innovation in Diversity and Equity funds novel and innovative practices that will enhance education and research through improved diversity and inclusion. Funding is expected to range from $2,000 for modest proposals to $25,000 for extensive proposals that may include multiple faculty partners or extend across units or schools.

“Northwestern is a place where both students and faculty are encouraged to connect the community and engage with the world,” said Northwestern University Provost Daniel Linzer. “These awards and grants are designed to celebrate and further faculty innovation to support these efforts.”


Faculty members who have clearly led an effort, initiative or project that increased diversity, inclusion and equity related to a variety of factors -- sex, gender identity, political affiliation, disability and more -- can be nominated for one of two $5,000 awards. The projects should demonstrate a positive and collaborative approach.

All faculty are eligible for nomination, as are joint nominations for initiatives that involve two or more faculty members, units or departments. Nominations must be received by Oct. 1.  Further information and the nomination form can be found on the Office of the Provost’s website.


Faculty members with pioneering and innovative ideas about how to enhance education and research through improved diversity and inclusion at Northwestern are encouraged to apply for a grant. Proposed projects -- either new or existing initiatives -- that clearly show a positive impact on faculty recruitment, hiring and retention are especially welcome. Topics can be related to among other things, sex, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, age, political affiliation, religion, philosophy or sexual orientation.

Proposals must be submitted by Oct. 1. Work on the projects should begin by January 2017. Find further information and the application form on the Office of the Provost’s website.

Read the original story here.

IMG_1418.jpgNorthwestern University’s Evanston campus will be the site of an eclectic lineup of guest performances by world-renowned artists this spring. Upcoming programs will feature prize-winning pianist Andrew Tyson; the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition winning Dover Quartet; Metropolitan Opera tenor Matthew Polenzani; and classical guitarist Alvaro Pierri.


Also taking the stage in upcoming weeks will be Mnozil Brass, a witty brass group from Austria, who also vocalize during their stage antics; flutist Claire Chase and more than 100 Bienen School and Chicago area flutists who will perform a monumental work by Salvatore Sciarrino; Ensemble Linea, a creative contemporary collective of musicians founded in Strasbourg, France; Keyboard Conversations with pianist Jeffrey Siegel, who will present another installment of his “concert-with-commentary” series; and a program of classical keyboard works by the multi-international piano competition winningCheng-Chow Trio.                                                                                        

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, the events will be held at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, and the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts’ Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive, as noted.


Some of the Spring 2016 Guest Artists/Ensembles

  • Pianist Andrew Tyson will continue the Bienen School’s Skyline Piano Artist Series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, at the Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Tyson will perform the music of Scarlatti, Chopin and Ravel, as well as Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The winner of Switzerland’s 2015 Geza Anda Competition and a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Tyson has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, Alice Tully Hall and the Caramoor Festival. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $10 for students with valid IDs.

  • Special Event: The Austria-based Mnozil Brass will give a lecture Q&A and performance demonstration at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, at the Ryan Center’s Galvin Recital Hall. Their program will feature pieces from the ensemble’s current North American tour of their hit show “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Between pieces, the players will share stories of the ensemble’s origin and their process for programming and rehearsing, as well as answer questions from the audience. Mnozil Brass is known across the globe for their combination of virtuosity and theatrical wit. A brief video of the group is available online. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.

  • Claire Chase and Guests, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Ryan Center’s Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Bienen School visiting artist Claire Chase will be joined on stage by more than 100 flutists, including three Bienen School graduate students, flutists from the People's Music School and Merit School of Music, members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and additional Chicago-area flutists to perform Salvatore Sciarrino's monumental “Il cerchio tagliato dei suoni” (“Cutting the Circle of Sounds”). Chase participated in the work's U.S. premiere at the Guggenheim Museum in 2012 and led its critically acclaimed West Coast premiere in 2015 at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall. Marveling that the performance turned the concert hall into “an enormous lung” the Los Angeles Times declared that “it was unlike anything anyone had surely heard before or even ever imagined.” An internationally recognized flutist, new music advocate and musical entrepreneur, Chase is the only flutist to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.


See the full list of upcoming events here.

This article originally appeared in USA Today on March 20, 2016.


By Puneet Opal and Ameet R. KiniPuneet  Opal, MD/PhD

The explosive spread of the Zika virus has captured our attention and dominated headlines. Of particular concern is the possible link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. Meanwhile, worries about Ebola have diminished, with the World Health Organization declaring an end to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The frenzy that the Ebola virusgenerated in the United States during the fall of 2014 has become a distant memory. What lessons can we learn from our reaction to the Ebola threat, and how can we apply these lessons to Zika and future epidemics?

In many instances, our response to Ebola was irrational and over the top. We had scenes of schools being shut down for dubious reasons, cruise ships prevented from docking, images of workers "disinfecting" public spaces including bowling alleys, and mandatory quarantines for asymptomatic healthcare workers returning from West Africa. There is no denying that Ebola is a deadly disease, with a fatality rate of approximately 50% in infected individuals. However, since Ebola is not an airborne or insect-borne virus, the chances of an epidemic in the United States were essentially zero. Indeed, the risk of death from the influenza virus or the West Nile virus was much higher.

This overreaction to small risks is nothing new. Humans are terrible at assessing risk, routinely overestimating risks such as deaths due to shark attacks. According to psychologists, one reason for risk misperception is the "availability heuristic," a concept pioneered by the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky. "Availability" refers to the ease by which we can recall examples of risky events. Risks that are easily recalled (often due to extensive coverage) are overestimated while risks under our radar are underestimated.

How should we deal with this misperception of risk? Some feel it is acceptable to respond to risks with seemingly irrational actions — if those actions calm public fears. After all, while our fears may be irrational, they are still real. This approach is similar to the "monster spray" that parents give small children to combat fear of the dark. Harmless aerosols that kids can spray under their beds get rid of the "monster" hiding there. Similarly, irrational public actions may still be justified by acting as an "adult monster spray" for our anxieties.


See the full article here.

Dr. Puneet Opal is a neurologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he is also a director of the Physician-Scientist Training Program. Dr. Ameet R. Kini is director of hematopathology and flow cytometry at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

misc_19.jpgHigher oxytocin levels in the third trimester of pregnancy predicts the severity of postpartum depression symptoms in women who previously suffered from depression, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.


The small study of 66 women indicates the potential for finding biomarkers to predict depressive symptoms postpartum.

“It’s not ready to become a new blood test yet,” stressed lead investigator Dr. Suena Massey, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine psychiatrist. “But it tells us that we are on the track to identifying biomarkers to help predict postpartum depression.”

The link between depressive symptoms and higher level of oxytocin surprised Massey. She had expected it to be associated with lower oxytocin.

“There’s emerging research that a past history of depression can change the oxytocin receptor in such a way that it becomes less efficient,” Massey said. “Perhaps, when women are starting to experience early signs of depression, their bodies release more oxytocin to combat it.”

The paper was published March 8 in Archives of Women’s Mental Health.

Scientists recruited 66 pregnant healthy women who were not depressed. They measured oxytocin levels in the third trimester and depression symptoms six weeks postpartum. Of that group, 13 of the women had a prior history of depression before the pregnancy. Among these women, the higher their oxytocin levels, the more depressive symptoms they experienced at six weeks.

Symptoms included waking up too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep, more worrying or anxiety, more aches and pains, headaches, changes in bowel patterns, feeling tired or a sense of heaviness, changes in appetite and feeling sad.

Read the rest of the story here.

misc_13.jpgGenes are not destiny in determining whether an individual will suffer from depression, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. Environment is a major factor, and nurture can override nature.


When rats genetically bred for depression received the equivalent of rat “psychotherapy,” their depressed behavior was alleviated. And, after the depressed rats had the therapy, some of their blood biomarkers for depression changed to non-depressed levels.

“The environment can modify a genetic predisposition to depression,” said lead study investigator Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “If someone has a strong history of depression in her family and is afraid she or her future children will develop depression, our study is reassuring. It suggests that even with a high predisposition for depression, psychotherapy or behavioral activation therapy can alleviate it.”

The study also found genetic influences and environmental influences on depression likely work through different molecular pathways. Rats bred for depression and rats that were depressed due to their environment showed changes in the levels of entirely different blood markers for depression. Being able to differentiate between the two types of depression eventually could lead to more precise treatment with medication or psychotherapy.

The study was published March 29 in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature journal.

The rats in the Northwestern study had been bred for depression-like behavior for 33 generations and showed extreme despair.


“You don’t have people who are completely genetically predisposed to depression the way the rats were,” Redei said. “If you can modify depression in these rats, you most certainly should be able to do it in humans.”

Read the full story here.

Northwestern University chemists Joseph T. Hupp and Teri W. Odom have been named fellows by the Materials Research


Society (MRS). The highly selective MRS fellowship recognizes individuals for their significant contributions to materials research.


Hupp, a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was selected for “enabling discoveries in the syntheses of functional porous materials.”

Hupp and his research group make and study molecular materials and supramolecular assemblies. Some are designed to help scientists understand fundamental aspects of molecular recognition, directed assembly, light harvesting and directional energy transport, and electron transfer reactivity. Others are designed to exploit these phenomena to solve problems involving solar energy conversion, chemical fuel storage and release, chemical sensing, molecular transport and chemical separations or selective catalysis.


Odom, a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in Weinberg, a professor of

materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and associate director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, was honored for “pioneering contributions to scalable nanofabrication tools and the plasmonic meta-materials with extraordinary optical properties that have resulted from them.”

Odom is an expert in designing structured nanoscale materials that exhibit extraordinary size and shape-dependent optical properties. She has pioneered a suite of multi-scale nanofabrication tools that has resulted in plasmon-based nanoscale lasers that exhibit tunable color and flat optics that can manipulate light at the nanoscale and beat the diffraction limit. Odom also has invented a class of biological nanoconstructs, called gold nanostars, which provide unique insight into nanoparticle-cell interactions and show superior imaging and therapeutic properties due to their shape. The nanostars can target and deliver drugs to specific components of cells, promising precision targeting for cancer therapeutics.

MRS Fellows will be honored at the MRS 2016 spring meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

See the original story here.

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman will screen his film “In Jackson Heights” on Monday, April 18, at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum at Northwestern University.

Frederick Wiseman


The free, public viewing will be followed by a talkback moderated by Debra Tolchinsky, associate professor of radio/television/film and director of the MFA in documentary media program.

Prolific, profoundly influential and compelling, Wiseman’s documentary films have been called some of America’s most valued reflections. For nearly half a century, he has examined institutions (mostly American) and challenged viewers to reflect upon democracy, inequality, conformity and creativity.

“In Jackson Heights” explores the conflict between maintaining ties to old traditions and adapting to American values through the lens of a multiethnic neighborhood in Queens, New York. Jackson Heights, where 167 languages are spoken, is one of the most culturally diverse communities in the U.S.

Wiseman is the School of Communication’s 2016 Hoffman Professor for Documentary Media, a short-term filmmaker residency.

The event will take place at Pick-Laudati Hall in the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at 40 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.

View the original story here.

Howard Tullman

Howard A. Tullman, chief executive officer of 1871, Chicago’s world-renowned mega-incubator for tech startups, will deliver the main convocation address at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, his alma mater, at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., in Chicago.


Tullman, a 1967 graduate of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Law School’s class of 1970, heads up 1871, which provides entrepreneurs with the space, the opportunity, the network and other resources needed to build successful new businesses.

A technologist, venture capitalist, educator and serial entrepreneur, Tullman has started more than a dozen businesses and has more than 50 years of start-up, emerging technology and turn-around experience in a wide variety of fields. His work on behalf of the city of Chicago has resulted in the creation of thousands of new jobs, new educational programs for children and improved technology classes in Chicago’s schools.

He is responsible for the remarkable turnaround and Chicago relocation of Kendall College, and he co-founded Tribeca Flashpoint College, which gives students the opportunity to learn existing and emerging technology in the media, arts and communications fields.


Before turning to entrepreneurship, he practiced law for 10 years, specializing in class action litigation and Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. He is a life member of the Northwestern Law Board and the winner of the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center’s 2008 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.

View the original story here.

Garrett-2016-Web-Banner.gifCHICAGO --- What do CEOs and general counsels expect from their lawyers? A conversation with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) director of the division of corporation finance and a discussion about how activist shareholders target companies are among the highlights of the 36th Annual Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute.


The conference will be held Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29, at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago.


Led by top corporate law practitioners, the institute is the preeminent securities law conference in the Midwest, bringing together senior officials from the SEC and leading securities practitioners.


This year’s institute, with perspectives from board members, in-house and firm attorneys and regulators, is designed to provide private practitioners and corporate counsel with a timely analysis of critical securities and corporate law issues and developments confronting publicly and privately held corporations.


April 28: “What Do the CEO and GC Expect From Their Lawyers?” -- a discussion with Debra A. Cafaro and T. Richard Riney of Ventas Inc. Chicago -- will kick off the first day of the institute, followed by “The Inner Workings of Activist Shareholders” with Matthew A. Drapkin of Northern Right Capital Management and Stephen Fraidin of Pershing Square Capital Management. A conversation with Keith Higgins, director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance will be held later in the afternoon.


April 29: The institute’s second day will commence with the always popular “Mock Trial-Valuation Issues Under Delaware Law” -- presided over by Leo Strine Jr., chief justice, Delaware Supreme Court. The mock trial will be followed by a conversation with Chief Justice Shrine and hot topics in M&A.


More than 10 sessions will be held during the two-day conference, including “The Institutional Investors’ Perspective,” “Ethics in the Corporate Setting, ” “Cybersecurity for Lawyers” and “Key Disclosure Issues for 2016,” which will address the effective use of non-GAAP financial measures and current trends in SEC comments and more.


The Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute is recognized for mandatory continuing legal education credit in most states.


For more information, including a complete schedule, registration instructions and continuing legal education (CLE) information, visit


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

_DSC6261.jpgCHICAGO --- The infant daughters of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) show a higher level of an enzyme that activates testosterone and may be an early sign of developing the complex genetic disease, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.


PCOS is one of the leading causes of hormonally related infertility and type 2 diabetes in young women. It affects about 5 million women in the U.S.


Scientists have long sought the primary driver of the disease. Catching it early may enable the development of early treatment or improved prevention. The daughters of affected women are at increased risk to develop PCOS.


The study shows infants whose mothers have PCOS have a higher level of an enzyme that activates androgens -- the best known of which is testosterone -- than infants whose mothers don’t have the disease. That could mean the girls are being exposed to higher levels of testosterone in utero and during infancy, both critical times for development.


“Increased activity of this enzyme, called 5-alpha-reductase, would lead to a higher activation of and greater exposure to testosterone in these daughters, which could contribute to the development of PCOS,” said lead author Dr. Laura Torchen, assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


PCOS, a serious metabolic disorder, has long-term health risks throughout a woman's lifespan, including obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Affected women also have other risk factors for heart disease.


The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is the most important for converting testosterone to the much more potent androgen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Increased levels of testosterone and DHT cause the symptoms of PCOS including excessive hair growth and fertility problems.


“We wondered, when do changes in hormone production or metabolism begin in these daughters?” Torchen said. In early infancy, the ovaries in infant girls are very active and produce sex hormones, Torchen noted.


When female animals are exposed to testosterone early in development -- in utero or early in infancy -- they develop what looks like PCOS with insulin resistance, high testosterone levels and irregular menstrual periods.


“Because PCOS can’t be diagnosed until after puberty, we’ve been trying to look for early changes that may signal its development,” said senior author Dr. Andrea Dunaif, the Charles F. Kettering Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Feinberg and a Northwestern Medicine endocrinologist. “We hope we may be able to develop early treatment or improved prevention, if we can catch it early.”


Scientists measured 5-alpha-reductase activity in the urine of infant girls (1 to 3 years old), 21 of whose mothers had PCOS and 36 control girls. The goal was to determine if daughters of women with PCOS have altered androgen metabolism in early childhood. The study showed the daughters of women with PCOS had a 30 percent higher level of the enzyme activity.

The study was published recently in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr. Wiebke Arlt, the William Withering Chair of Medicine at the University of Birmingham, England, also is a senior author on the paper.

The study was supported by grants P50 HD044405 and K12 HD055884 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development of the National Institutes of Health, the Medical Research Council UK Research Training Fellowship and the Wellcome Trust Project.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>

silver.jpgNate Silver’s improbably entertaining book on statistics and forecasting, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail -- but Some Don’t,” is Northwestern University’s One Book One Northwestern all-campus read for the 2016-17 academic year.


Nate Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of, will deliver a keynote address and sign books at Northwestern on Oct. 6, less than a month before the 2016 presidential election. “The Signal and the Noise” will be given to all incoming and first-year students at Northwestern and will anchor related films, lectures and other programming throughout the year.


“Nate Silver’s work bridges the universe of people who deal with quantitation and those who deal with life,” said One Book faculty chair Stephen Carr, professor of materials science and engineering and of chemical and biological engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering.


“He makes the world of data science accessible, but he won’t tell you how he does it. He leaves that to the mystique of his craft,” Carr said.


In “The Signal and the Noise” Silver breezily investigates how predictions are made in a wide range of fields, including chess, baseball, weather forecasting, politics and earthquake analysis. He offers hopeful examples (baseball and weather predictions), but weighs the progress against a series of catastrophes that no one saw coming, such as the September 11 attacks, the global financial crisis and the earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima.


“There are entire disciplines in which predictions have been failing, often at great cost to society,” Silver wrote.


Reviewers have called Silver everything from “the Kurt Cobain of statistics” to “a sort of Zen master to American election watchers.”


The Economist wrote: “In the spirit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s widely-read ‘The Black Swan,’ Mr. Silver asserts that humans are overconfident in their predictive abilities, that they struggle to think in probabilistic terms and build models that do not allow for uncertainty.”


The choice is a natural one for Northwestern given the school’s investments in interdisciplinary work, data science and quantitative analysis, said Eugene Lowe Jr., chair of the One Book selection committee. “As a community we’re trying to enhance understanding and appreciation for how one thinks about statistics and mathematics across different domains,” Lowe said. “Silver has helped a wide range of people understand difficult statistical material.”


Silver’s investigation into the noisy world of data began at his website FiveThirtyEight, which refers to the number of votes in the Electoral College. FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis -- hard numbers -- to help readers understand politics, polling, sports, science and culture.


In 2008, the FiveThirtyEight forecasts correctly predicted the winner of the presidential contests in 49 of 50 states as well as the winner of all 35 U.S. Senate races. In 2012, Silver called the correct winner in all 50 states, prompting The Daily Show’s former host, Jon Stewart, to call him the “lord and god of the algorithm.”


Silver called the outcome “a stroke of luck.” Though fortuitous, it “contributed to the perception that statisticians are soothsayers – only using computers rather than crystal balls,” he wrote. “This is a wrongheaded and rather dangerous idea. American presidential elections are an exception to the rule and far more often, we overrate our ability to predict the world around us.”


The book makes both philosophical and technical recommendations. “Once we’re getting the big stuff right -- coming to a better understanding of probability and uncertainty; learning to recognize our biases; appreciating the value of diversity, incentives and experimentation -- we’ll have the luxury of worrying about the finer points of technique,” he wrote.


Silver argues that we have more information than we know what to do with, but relatively little of it is useful. “We think we want information when we really want knowledge,” he wrote. “The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.”

The One Book One Northwestern Program is sponsored by the Office of the President. “The Signal and the Noise” was chosen from more than 70 nominations and chosen by the One Book selection committee.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>


Northwestern student Sabrina Fritz with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebeck.


EVANSTON, Ill. --- For 15 years, Sabrina Fritz had been preparing for her 15 minutes of “Jeopardy!” fame. On Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., surrounded by her friends at Northwestern University’s Norris University Center, the fifth-year biomedical engineering senior will be able to see her dream come true. That's when she'll be appearing on the famous quiz show.


“I was one of those kids who didn’t go outside much,” Fritz said. “I read all the time, and I loved fun facts and trivia.”


From the age of six, she would watch “Jeopardy!” every time she visited her grandma, who kept a handheld Hasbro “Jeopardy!” game around just for Fritz. In high school, she competed in numerous quiz bowl games and even played on Team Missouri at the National All-Star Academic Tournament her senior year.


As a joke in 2014, she convinced a few Ultimate Frisbee friends to take an online “Jeopardy!” test with her.


“We knew thousands and thousands would take it, but it was free, so we took it and promptly forget about it,” Fritz said with a laugh.


After another attempt in January 2015, her world changed.


“That was the time I struck gold,” she said, explaining that she received an e-mail invitation to attend an audition round with 40 other contestants in Kansas City.


“It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had,” Fritz said of the audition, which consisted of a 50-question written test and some mock “Jeopardy!” rounds in groups of three, followed by short interviews to make sure the contestants were “sociable and TV-ready.”


She passed the test and filmed her episode of “Jeopardy!” on Feb. 23 in Los Angeles, decked out in some “ridiculous red jeans” and a navy blue button-down shirt. Her parents, childhood friend and a former quiz bowl teammate watched from the audience.


Since geography is admittedly Fritz’s worst subject, she prepared by taking countless tests on maps and “would see bodies of water in my sleep,” she said. Her housemates in the Frisbee house even borrowed a “Jeopardy!” buzzer game from Northwestern to help her practice.


Still, Fritz was nervous to go on national TV. She said she used the walk from the pre-show makeup touch-up until she got behind the podium to calm down, take a breath and enjoy the moment.


"As soon as I got on stage and the lights came on, all the nerves went away,” Fritz said. “I had a lifetime of buzzer practice at that point, so I just needed to trust how I had been preparing my entire life for this and trust that that had been enough. It was indescribable.”


So, who is Alex Trebek?


“He has this very cool, super dry sense of humor,” Fritz said of “Jeopardy’s” host, who would chat with the contestants during commercial breaks. “You can tell if he were to go on the show, he would be incredible. He’s a very smart dude.”


After the taping, Fritz and her dad stayed in LA, then hit up Las Vegas for the weekend, and headed to Europe for a family vacation the following week.


“The last month of my life has been a little crazy,” Fritz said. “I’m still tired.”


She will soon head back home to St. Charles, Mo., where her days in quiz bowl competitions began, for her five-year high school reunion. She’ll be able to come full circle while rehashing her “Jeopardy!” experience with old teammates.


“I’m just really grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from my family and friends,” Fritz said. “Everyone here’s gotten really hyped about it. I think it’s going to be so cool to see myself on TV, and I’m really excited for the Northwestern party.”


Read more in Northwestern News. >>


Barbara Hague '70 '71 MA

Barbara Hague graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor's degree in 1970 and a master of arts in 1971. Since then, she has been very active in the Northwestern community, most recently serving on the board for A Day With Northwestern, the annual day of presentations and lectures from prominent Northwestern faculty and alumni. For more than 45 years, alumni, students, parents and friends have returned to campus for the conference. This year's A Day With Northwestern takes place April 9. Find out more here, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #ADayWithNU. Here, Hague shares why the day means so much to her.


How long have you been attending A Day With Northwestern?

On and off over the years since I graduated. I was an A Day With Northwestern executive board member from 2003 to 2015, as well as the board chair from 2010 to 2011 and board advisor from 2013 to 2015.

What do you love about A Day With Northwestern?

The variety of presentations. It's always about learning something new and keeping up with the research that goes on at NU. I particularly enjoy the sessions on medicine, literature, history and art.

Do you have any special A Day With Northwestern memories?

From my tenure on the board, I am most proud of the Victor Goines luncheon keynote in 2010 when I was chair, which was an amazing program that drew rave reviews from the attendees. As board advisor, I started a subcommittee on social media that was enthusiastically embraced by the board and resulted in hiring our first intern, an outstanding student who created several videos of last year's presenters. My aim was also to promote social interaction and friendships between the board members with optional activities such as a summer barbecue at our house, after-meeting gatherings at Prairie Moon, and one memorable (though sparsely attended) field trip to a company owned by one of our ADWN presenters. Other board members picked this up and carried it forward with a before-meeting dinner and social time before the meeting, and so forth. I saw myself as the unofficial Den Mother of the group and had so much fun with it!

What do you remember most about your time at Northwestern?

The late 60s were a time of many changes and led to questioning of so many assumptions my fellow students and I were raised with: protests against the Vietnam War, beginnings of the second wave of feminism, the sexual revolution, civil rights. It was a challenging and exciting time and place to be young. I was an English major and my favorite professors were Dean J. Lyndon Shanley (who remained a personal friend) and Jean Hagstrum, a brilliant man with many forward-thinking ideas about the university, such as interdisciplinary studies.

What have you been up to since you graduated?

I own an editorial services business, Barbara U. Hague Editing and Proofreading. My husband and I have lived in Des Plaines, Illinois since 1978, where we raised our children. Our older daughter, Sarah, got her degree in theatre at Northwestern in 2004. I am active in several women's organizations, and as an alumna served on the NU reunion committees in 2010 and 2015. We're big music and theatre fans and have enjoyed many of the offerings at NU over the years, including the Waa-Mu Show. When I'm not working, you can find me out walking in the city parks, or leaping out of my comfort zone at the Trapeze School New York — Chicago.

What are you most excited for this weekend?

It's always hard to choose which sessions to attend, but this year I am looking forward to hearing Brian Wesbury's latest take on the economy; he's a big hit with the audience and always has something interesting to say. Also Dr. Douglas Vaughan, who will discuss the latest findings on aging (now why would I be interested in that?), and the Block Museum session on avant garde art with Corinne Granof. This year's Board has lined up a couple of outstanding keynotes: jazz great Orbert Davis and Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871. I'm also looking forward to seeing my old board buddies and finding out what everybody's been up to. Helping to plan and work this event was a big part of my life for a dozen years; this year I'll be able to kick back, sit in the audience, and enjoy the show!

Water sustains all life on the planet, but the limited natural resource -- stretched and stressed by climate change, economic development and global population growth -- now is one of the world’s most critical challenges.


To catalyze research and education on complex water issues, Northwestern University has established the interdisciplinary Northwestern Center for Water Research. Northwestern also is contributing to a larger initiative called “Current,” launched by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to make the Chicago region a water hub for economic and technological innovation. (Current was announced March 22 at the White House Water Summit.)

“The Current public-private partnership will make Northwestern’s Water Center even stronger,” center director Aaron Packman said. “Working with strong industrial, governmental and community partners will help us achieve our goal of developing global solutions for regional problems.”

Northwestern is one of the founding partners of Current, which represents the Chicago region’s water industry, the fourth-largest in the nation. Development of both the Northwestern Water Center and Current has been linked since the beginning, Packman said.

The Northwestern Center for Water Research will integrate research efforts across the University and focus on long-term solutions to ensure water security and sustainability, both regionally and globally. Outside collaborations with research institutions and conservation organizations as well as educational initiatives and public outreach events will be critical to the center’s success.

“We have a tremendous capability at Northwestern to solve diverse problems related to the global water crisis as well as to advance Chicago’s water economy through technological innovation,” Packman said. “Water sustainability and security touch every area of Northwestern, including science, engineering, law and medicine, and I know people are eager to be involved. The center will bring experts together to contribute to solutions through science, technology and policy.”

Packman is a professor of civil and environmental engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

For the full story, click here.


The success of Northwestern University’s award-winning Science Club for underserved youth is featured in the recently published inaugural issue of “Connected Science Learning,” a journal dedicated to high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.


The issue profiles successful programs that bridge in-school and out-of-school settings through collaborative partnerships.

Science Club serves 100 middle school students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) through a long-term mentorship model. The program involves 50 scientist-mentors who are STEM graduate students at Northwestern and other Chicago-area universities. The mentors meet weekly with small groups of 5th- to 8th-graders after school.

The article by Science Club creator Michael Kennedy and colleagues cites a number of positive outcomes for students, according to an external review:

  • Participation in the club is equivalent in magnitude to shifting a student up one full aptitude level (e.g., low to middle, middle to high).
  • Club members associate science with their daily lives and believe science is important to their future career choice.
  • Science Club alumni, now in high school and college, are choosing postsecondary STEM careers at a rate 20 to 30 times higher than before Science Club was offered.
  • Two-thirds of Northwestern’s Science Club mentors (primarily graduate students) say the experience has influenced their career direction.


Science Club was founded in 2008 and continues to be run by Science in Society, Northwestern’s center for science education and public engagement. The federally funded program integrates community experts from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, dedicated CPS science teachers and enthusiastic scientist-mentors to form a powerful educational team.

Mentors now come from Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Clubs are held at two Boys & Girls Club locations in Chicago: one in the Uptown neighborhood, and the other in the Little Village neighborhood. The Uptown club features a dedicated science laboratory built by Northwestern; a similar lab is currently in development for the club in Little Village.

The program has grown to serve CPS students beyond the original clubs. Teachers at five schools have used Science Club curricula in their school-based programs. Science Club alumni now in high school have returned to serve as junior mentors. And both clubs have sprouted Jr. Science Clubs for eager elementary school youth.

View the original story here.


Northwestern University is solidifying its place in the exciting field of synthetic biology.


The new Center for Synthetic Biology, which launched March 22, will make Northwestern one of the top destinations in the field for research and education in the country.


“This Center will rapidly raise our leadership profile in the field,” said Milan Mrksich, director of the center. “It will create a community where the best faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows find an intellectual home with partners from diverse backgrounds, a suite of technologies that allow research to be performed at the highest level, and a vibrant program for visitors from both within and outside Northwestern. This will create an ecosystem for synthetic biology that is second to none.”


Synthetic biology uses tools and concepts from physics, engineering, and computer science to build new biological systems. Much of this research focuses on reprogramming cells by changing their DNA to take on new, specialized purposes, such as creating sustainable chemicals, next generation materials, or targeted therapies.


The Center for Synthetic Biology is led by Mrksich, Henry Wade Rogers Professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, and cell and molecular biology, and co-director Michael Jewett, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering.


“The Center will focus on research that lies at the intersection of science and technology, creating opportunities for technology transfer, clinical translation, and commercialization,” said Jewett. “Our educational priorities will help create a tightknit community that further enhances this field.”


The Center’s advisory board includes three internationally renowned scientists and engineers: Frances Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology; James J. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Bioengineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Wendell Lim, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California at San Francisco.


“This new Center will help us attract some of the best minds and researchers as we continue to grow in this field,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “With a strong core in chemical engineering and connections to many other disciplines, our faculty have already established themselves as an emerging area of strength.”


“Centers play an important catalytic role at Northwestern, providing an infrastructure for faculty to collaborate across disciplines,” said Jay Walsh, vice president for research at Northwestern. “Northwestern remains committed to investing in research that has far-reaching implications in fields like healthcare and sustainability. Our research in synthetic biology will continue to search for and develop new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.”


View the full story here.

Ampér's Carolyn Snider presents a prototype of the team's smart circuit breaker.

Ampér's Carolyn Snider presents a prototype of the team's smart circuit breaker.

For consumers motivated to curb their energy use, determining where to concentrate their efforts can be daunting. Utility bills offer only generalized data and month-to-month usage trends, offering few details and little context about one’s habits.

Fortunately, a Northwestern student team is helping bring clarity to home electricity usage with Ampér, a smart circuit breaker that allows consumers to monitor and reduce their energy use on a per-appliance basis. Ampér studies usage patterns and sends customized text messages or push notifications with recommendations on how to reduce usage, from turning off the air-conditioner before leaving the house to powering down an idle computer that’s not in use. In addition, the system pinpoints outdated home appliances that could present additional energy savings if replaced.

“Our connected world requires more electricity, and Ampér offers granularity to let consumers know where they are wasting the most energy, said Carolyn Snider, an MBA candidate in the Kellogg School of Management. “The savings earned from following these recommendations end up helping both our wallets and the environment.”

Ampér was one of 10 new sustainable energy startups introduced at the final presentations of NUvention: Energy, a winter-quarter course offered through the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). In the course, students work in interdisciplinary teams to develop a product or service in the clean tech industry. On Tuesday, March 8, members of the course “pitched” their startups to an audience of faculty, peers, and members of the NUvention: Energy board of advisers.

Another NUvention: Energy startup, called FerraPower, hopes to combat the reliance on coal-powered plants to provide electricity by developing a zero-carbon energy generation system that runs on metal-based fuels.

“Incumbent fuels like diesel and natural gas are cheap but leave a large carbon footprint, while fuel cells are cleaner but far more expensive,” said Nick Sather, a PhD candidate studying materials science. “Metal-based fuels, like those derived from iron or aluminum, burn just like fossil fuels but without the carbon emissions.”

FerraPower’s core technology is its metal fuel combustor. Sather explained the heat produced from the combusting metals can be collected and used to power an electric generator on demand, which he believes differentiates the technology from other green energy sources like wind and solar.

For the full story, click here.

Stephen-Persell.jpgTwo simple behavioral interventions decreased the rate of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for acute respiratory tract infections, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) co-authored by Northwestern Medicine investigator Stephen Persell, MD, MPH (right).

Acute respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and the common cold are usually caused by viruses – not bacteria – so antibiotics won’t treat them. Nonetheless, research suggests that about half of the millions of antibiotic prescriptions in the United States every year are written for infections they won’t improve.

“The reason doctors don’t follow guidelines about antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory infections is not because they don’t know the science,” said Dr. Persell, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. “There are other reasons: perceived patient demand, not knowing how to approach a patient with this expectation, overestimated fear of missing pneumonia and having a bad clinical outcome. Even fatigue may drive this to a degree.”

The repercussions of overusing antibiotics are significant. Patients are subjected to the adverse effects of the medicine with little chance of benefit, and overuse promotes spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that give rise to difficult-to-treat infections.

In the trial, 248 clinicians from 49 primary care practices in Boston and Los Angeles were randomized to receive interventions to change prescribing behavior. The study analyzed visits with patients diagnosed with antibiotic-inappropriate acute respiratory tract infections, but excluded patients who also had other chronic conditions.

“It’s the combination of a relatively healthy patient and a very benign diagnosis that suggests antibiotics are not needed,” explained Dr. Persell, who is also director of Northwestern’s Center for Primary Care Innovation.

The investigators tested three interventions: In one, clinicians received messages within patients’ electronic health records suggesting alternatives to antibiotics. In the second intervention, clinicians were required to enter justifications for prescribing antibiotics into patients’ records. In the third intervention, clinicians received emails comparing their antibiotic prescribing rates with those of “top performers,” who had the lowest rates of inappropriate prescribing.

“We tried to combat the non-rationale factors potentially making doctors do the wrong thing with nudges that encourage them to the do the right thing,” Dr. Persell said. “We relied on insights from social psychology.”

After a period of 18 months, two of the interventions – accountable justification and peer comparison – resulted in lower rates of unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. The third – suggested alternatives – did not result in a statistically significant change.

“Now we know what techniques work and that they’re relatively easy to implement,” Dr. Persell said. “Every quality improvement activity takes some resources and prioritization, but we’re very hopeful that these techniques will be adopted by health systems like Northwestern Medicine.”

Although Northwestern clinicians were not involved in this trial, Dr. Persell led a pilot study here in one large practice using the same methods.

This study was supported by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (RC4 AG039115) from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

View the original story here.

Medill officially opened its new downtown Chicago location at 303 E. Wacker Drive on March 29, the first step in a multi-project expansion initiative that also includes a new space in San Francisco that will open in early fall and upcoming renovations to Fisk Hall in Evanston.


“It’s unusual to take on so many projects at the same time, but our academic buildings need significant work,” said Dean Brad Hamm. “Plus, Northwestern is significantly upgrading the main Evanston campus and wants the teaching and research spaces to be top quality, reflective of a world-class university.”


With sweeping views of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and the Chicago River, this new modern workspace was designed to be both inspiring and reflective of the changes happening in today’s fast-paced, social and technology-driven climate, preparing students to take their careers in media into the future.


The new facility houses what Todd Heiser, partner and design principal at Gensler, who oversaw the design of the project, called “the next generation of learning spaces.” With open, heavily technology-enabled, multi-functional classrooms, open spaces and a state-of-the-art broadcast studio, the location will be ideal for visiting speakers and alumni events. There also is an onsite café that will encourage conversation and collaboration, and serve a dual purpose as an equipment checkout space. Students can come in, grab a coffee and pick up a camera or borrow a tripod from one location.


“We created this in one centralized hub to actually say, ‘Hey, these are both social things. They’re both opportunities to have social interchange,’” Heiser explained.


Medill’s open-style classrooms not only offer students the ability to see what other students are working on, but provides an opportunity for serendipitous moments to develop between journalism and IMC students, redefining what collaboration could look like between the two legs of Medill, said Leslie Taylor '12 MS. Taylor, a former director of marketing at Gensler and an alumna of Medill's graduate program in integrated marketing and communications, worked closely on the project.


“I think it will have an unbelievable impact on the students and what they do in the next stage of their careers," Taylor said.


Students arriving to the new facility for their first class on March 29 agreed.


“This new space shows that Medill is looking to be at the forefront and intersection of innovation, journalism and marketing communications,” said graduate journalism student Elizabeth Bacharach. “The communal and collaboration aspect excites me. I’m inspired by the location.”


“It’s awesome that we’re so close to the Chicago Tribune building, to NBC, to other top journalism newsrooms in the center of the city,” said graduate journalism student Danielle Prieur. “We have the best views – we have the best classrooms!”


Dean Brad Hamm and his team had a very clear vision for the space. They wanted to push the boundaries, giving faculty, students and staff the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone. The hope for new space is to bring them into a new world of what teaching, learning and operating in an urban environment could be like.


“When you walk in the space, you’re going to feel that you’re in the next iteration of something,” said Heiser. “It’s a very crisp space, but it feels high-tech. It feels like all of the things you might see in the worlds of integrated marketing communications and journalism. I think you are really going to feel like you’re in some place special.”


To read the original story and view additional photos of the new space, visit Medill's website.