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ASU In the News

Continuing the search for alien life


ASU astronomer Evgenya Shkolnik, of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, is leading an effort to use the Hubble Space Telescope to observe small, cool M Dwarf stars to understand effects that could hide life on their planets or give a signal that looks like life, but isn’t.

A recent article in New Scientist, featuring Shkolnik and other astronomers, highlights the latest efforts to search for habitable worlds using the Hubble Space Telescope and to set the stage for the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018. Hubble Space Telescope A recent article in New Scientist, featuring ASU’s Evgenya Shkolnik and other astronomers, highlights the latest efforts to search for habitable worlds using the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo by NASA
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Hubble’s upcoming itinerary will also include Proxima b, our closest (and possibly habitable) exoplanet. Proxima b is the subject of an upcoming Dean of Science Public Lecture hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — which will feature Shkolnik as one of the panelists — on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. on the Tempe campus. Find more information on ASU Events.

Article Source: New Scientist
Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration

480-965-9345

ASU In the News

Studying a metal asteroid for insights into planet formation


An ASU-led proposed mission to the asteroid Psyche was featured in Sunday’s London Times. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, School of Earth and Space Exploration director and principal investigator of the proposed mission, is leading a national and international team of scientists and engineers who propose to travel to the metal asteroid to map it and study its properties.

As a metal asteroid, Psyche differs from the ice and/or rock worlds explored so far by humans. Deep within the terrestrial planets, including Earth, scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planets' rocky mantles and crusts. Psyche, located between Mars and Jupiter, is most likely the survivor of violent hit-and-run collisions, common when the solar system was forming. As such, it may be able to tell us how Earth’s core and the cores of the other terrestrial planets came to be. Psyche asteroid An artist's concept of a spacecraft studying the huge metal asteroid Psyche from orbit. NASA has selected this mission concept, proposed by a team at ASU, as a finalist for a Discovery mission. Photo by JPL/Corby Waste
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Article Source: London Times
Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration

480-965-9345

ASU In the News

Finding words to bridge scientific divides


To explain why our planet is habitable, various different types of geoscientists studying Earth’s surface and its interior must work with each other and with communications scholars, say Arizona State University's Ariel Anbar, Christy Till, and Mark Hannah, in a new Comment article published in Nature, Nov. 3.

The article reflects on the progress and challenges faced by the authors and nearly 30 other geoscientists who are part of a multi-million dollar, NSF-funded project, “Dynamics of Earth System Oxygenation,” led by Anbar. Molten rock from Earth's interior emerges from one geochemical environment into a significantly different one, as Hawaiian volcano Kilauea spills lava into the sea. Image from U.S. Geological Survey
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The problem, said Anbar, is that scientists in closely related fields often find it hard to talk with each other.

"Astronomers, biologists, and geoscientists are willing to ask each other ‘dumb’ questions that expose shared and divergent understanding," he said. "But geobiologists who work with geophysicists tend to assume a shared understanding that may not exist."

Anbar is a President's Professor in ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), Till is an assistant professor in SESE, and Hannah is an assistant professor in ASU's Department of English. Both SESE and the English department are units within ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

As an example of flawed communication, the authors point out the difficulties faced by scientists trying to understand how Earth developed an oxygen-rich atmosphere, a key step in the evolution of complex life today. This question involves both deep-earth processes and surface ones.

Said Anbar, "Solid-Earth scientists and geobiologists share the word oxygenation, but in fact they lack a common language to describe the amount of oxygen that's available to react." 

Geobiologists, he explains, are used to high atmospheric levels and they think in terms of oxygen partial pressures and molarities when dissolved in solution. This led them to develop a specialized vocabulary to describe environments with different amounts of free oxygen, such as oxic, anoxic, suboxic, and euxinic. 

"On the other hand," said Till, "solid-Earth scientists use the physio-chemical term oxygen fugacity to reflect the fact that oxygen in the deep Earth is mainly locked in minerals and not in the form of an ideal gas."

To develop a more complete theory of Earth evolution, say Anbar and his co-authors, three divides need to be bridged. "First, geoscientists studying the surface history of oxygen — typically geobiologists and low-temperature geochemists — need to understand how the gas is influenced by what goes on below.

"Second, geoscientists studying Earth’s interior — geophysicists and high-temperature geochemists — must realize that such questions are also germane to some of their most vexing challenges.

"Third, geoscientists of all stripes should improve their conversations by integrating methods from communications disciplines."

Scholars who study how people share ideas can help, the team suggests. As Hannah explains, "These scholars have analytical skills and methods that can address this challenge." Tools include surveys and interviews, and visualizations to demonstrate differences in use of language and its impacts.

Because scientists are attuned mainly to their own group’s language, the Anbar team notes, each group needs to appreciate how their own concepts relate to those of others. If scientists can gain such awareness, they will work more effectively to build a better understanding of how Earth became oxygen-rich.

But the question goes much farther than just this planet, Anbar said. "A better understanding of the history of Earth’s habitability will help us search for life on worlds beyond our own."

Article Source: Nature

Reporter, ASU Now

ASU In the News

ASU President Michael Crow speaks in Australia on the many types of intelligence


Last week Dr. Crow spoke at the University of NSW during his visit to Australia.  Arizona State University, Kings College London, and University of NSW recently established the "PLuS" teaching and research alliance.  Dr. Crow outlined his vision for the "complex adaptive university", highlighting the importance of inclusion and limitless scale among his chief concerns.  

“Are we designing a university for everyone to get a degree? No. Are we designing a university where many people can get degrees? Yes. Are we designing a university where anyone who wants to connect in some way can benefit from learning? The answer is yes,” said Crow. Download Full Image

Australia is in the midst of a debate regarding university entry standards.  While Dr. Crow did not get into specifics regarding the debate, he did express disagreement with the assumption that some people just aren't cut out for college.  “I’m not suggesting there aren’t ranges of ability (but we've adopted) too narrow a model. The model is not reflective of humanity, it's reflective of what we think of as academic learning."

Crow also touched on our notion of learning and academic success being too antiquated.  He told the symposium that people learn in different ways.  These ways of learning can be shaped by culture, upbrining, or types--not levels--of intelligence.  “We have found the way to take a broad crosssection of society, using technology as our special friend, and alter the process by which learning is carried out and assessed.

“Once we figured all this out, a lot of things we thought of as facts turned out to be illusions — that one person is smarter than another person because they pick up linear algebra quicker. We’ve had faculty members share with us the deep emotional impact when they realised that for years and years they were teaching students they thought of as dumb.”
Article Source: The Australian (sub. required)
ASU In the News

Evaluating the power of Pokémon Go


James Gee of Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College tells Education Week the handheld phenomenon may be a Poké Ball to play and a way to "enchant the environment," but design flaws and the "freemium" profit model keep it from being truly great.

Read full article below. 

Article Source: Education Week

Copy writer, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

602-543-6309

ASU In the News

ASU professor, guest speaker featured on Al Jazeera debate


Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University physics professor and creator of ASU's Origins Project, was recently featured on the Al Jazeera news network as part of their Upfront episode, “Is religion to blame for violence?”

The program, hosted by Mehdi Hasan, also featured author Karen Armstrong as well as Harvard University’s humanist chaplain Greg Epstein. Armstrong spoke at ASU last October at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict to discuss her most recent book, “Fields of Blood: The Religion and History of Violence.” Her lecture was part of the center’s speaker series "Alternative Visions: Religion and Conflict.” ASU professor and Origins Project founder Lawrence Krauss (left) was featured on an Al Jazeera debate on religion with Harvard University humanist chaplain Greg Epstein (right), hosted by journalist Mehdi Hasan.
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Armstrong was first to speak on the program via satellite after Hasan asked for a response to the sentiment that religion has been behind many of the wars and violent conflicts of past and present.

“We never go to war for a single reason,” Armstrong said. “Military historians tell us there are always multiple factors involved.”

Following the Q&A with Hassan, the show turned to a 20-minute debate between Epstein and Krauss.

Article Source: Al Jazeera
Press Releases

ASU Selects Grantees to Support Safety Net Health Care Reform Projects


Tempe, Arizona – June 27, 2016 – The National Safety Net Advancement Center (SNAC) at Arizona State University recently announced six safety net organizations that will receive a total of $500,000 in funding to carry out health care payment and care delivery reform implementation projects. SNAC, which is based out of the College of Health Solutions’ School for the Science of Health Care Delivery and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also recently selected 56 organizations to receive scholarships to participate in six virtual learning collaboratives that aim to improve the ability of safety net organizations to adapt to a changing health care payment and care delivery environment.

Safety net experts at Starling Advisors and OptumInsight are leading these learning collaboratives and seek to create valuable shared learning environments that will allow safety net organizations to collectively learn how to provide high quality care to underserved populations. In less than a year, SNAC has partnered with organizations in 31 states and continues to grow its network. Download Full Image

Here’s an overview of the exciting organizations and projects SNAC is funding:

AltaPointe Health Systems (Mobile, AL)

“Using Risk Stratification to Offer Coordinated Care Management in a Behavioral Health Organization”

As a risk-bearing member of a regional care organization, AltaPointe manages behavioral health services for Medicaid patients and is also invested in managing overall medical spend. In preparation for a shift in payment from Fee-For-Service Medicaid to managed care in October 2016, AltaPointe is redesigning aspects of care delivery for some patients. The technical assistance provided through this funding will help AltaPointe to create a system for risk stratification to optimize utilization of targeted interventions. The identification of effective strategies for data-driven, acuity-based patient activation is anticipated to bolster the nascent evidence-base in this area.

Chickasaw Nation (Ada, OK)

“Transforming the Care Team in an Integrated Primary Care Clinic”

Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, a leading tribal health center, will be utilizing new software for service data capture, forecasting, and analytics in order to support care delivery reforms. The new software will centralize multiple data sources to enable quality reporting, tracking and outcome forecasting, and sharing of data across internal systems. Technical assistance provided in the project will facilitate quality improvement efforts related to care delivery reforms possible with the new data capacities.

Guadalupe County Hospital (Santa Rosa, NM)

“Preserving Access to Rural Care – Clinical Integration Initiative”

Guadalupe County Hospital and project team will work with to integrate health care services across frontier hospitals in six New Mexico counties. Using state-wide Medicaid claims data, the project will identify system utilization patterns to enable data-driven clinical service integration. Armed with claims and service utilization data and a large collaborative team of stakeholders, the project will retain technical assistance expertise to develop alternative payment model and gain-sharing methodologies.

Hudson River Healthcare (Tarrytown, NY)

“Advancing Value-Based Care in NY’s Hudson Valley”

Hudson River Health Care co-founded the first IPA of safety net primary care and behavioral health providers in New York State. The IPA is currently developing its first value-based payment arrangement with a managed care organization. The goal of this project is to help build capacity for Hudson River Health Care to 1) establish the ability to identify high-cost/high-risk patients; 2) define an approach for coordinating their care; and 3) agree upon a methodology for allocating potential revenues and losses.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (Des Plaines, IL)

“Moving toward Value – Financial and Data Infrastructures Improvements”

In previous experiences with value-based contracting, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) was asked to propose a rate structure early in contract negotiations. The organization lacked necessary data and expertise to produce solid contract rate proposals based on organizational costs. Through this project, LSSI will obtain technical assistance consultation to solidify a value-based rate structure. The barriers and facilitators to contract rate development identified in this setting is anticipated to inform others transitioning to value-based payments.

 Primary Health Inc. (Urbandale, IA)

“Risk Stratification and Care Coordination in a Health Center Network”

Eleven of Iowa’s FQHCs have joined together to form an integrated primary care network known as IowaHealth+ (IH+). The move towards value-based contracting and IH+’s network-based approach necessitate that health centers standardize risk stratification and associated care coordination strategies across organizations. Technical assistance will be provided to align risk stratification and prioritization of populations across Iowa’s health home programs and IH+’s value based purchasing contracts. This will inform the development of the model care coordination strategy and identify potential barriers to successful implementation.

 

Media Contact:  

Barb Millman
Phone: (602) 496-1934
Email: Barb.Millman@asu.edu

 

About Arizona State University

ASU is a New American University, promoting excellence in its research and among its students, faculty and staff, increasing access to its educational resources and working with communities to positively impact social and economic development. Find out more at asu.edu.

 

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care.  They are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

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Press Releases

Composer, Violinist and Artist-Entrepreneur Daniel Bernard Roumain joins ASU as Institute Professor


In joint appointment at Herberger Institute and ASU Gammage, Roumain will teach, practice and build cross-disciplinary artists’ lab with choreographer Liz Lerman and theatre director Michael Rohd

In 2005, Daniel Bernard Roumain joined Philip Glass in concert at Arizona State University’s performing arts venue ASU Gammage. Download Full Image

“Philip Glass and I will begin a conversation that I hope you might join,” he wrote, introducing their orchestral and cinematic collaboration that was produced in part during Roumain’s artist-in-residency at ASU that spring. “I wanted this concert to be about many things; film, the orchestra, etudes, hip-hop and dialogue. A town hall meeting for curiously strong mind and fresh, brave souls.”

That conversation will continue at ASU in the fall of 2016, when Roumain will join the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and ASU Gammage as Institute Professor, where he will act as a professor of practice.

He is the third Institute Professor to be named, along with dance legend and MacArthur “genius” Liz Lerman and founding director of the Sojourn Theatre and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice Michael Rohd. Together, the multi-disciplinary artists will grow ASU’s Ensemble Lab, a think tank for artistic experimentation and community interventions where Institute professors are encouraged to work together to advance national initiatives and collectively redesign arts and design education so it is at the center of public life. The lab was started in the spring of 2016 by Lerman with the support of Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper.

“Daniel is a national leader in the arts who is known for collaborating across art forms, connecting to new audiences and demonstrating how an enterprising musician works in the 21st century,” said Tepper. “He will be an incredible mentor to students, an ambassador in the community and a thought leader for the Herberger Institute, ASU Gammage and the university.”

Like Lerman and Rohd, Roumain’s work frequently extends beyond the limits of genre. Known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic and urban music influences, “DBR,” as he is often called, takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding musical composition for his work with ESPN, featured as keynote performer at technology conferences and has composed music for an array of solo performers, chamber ensembles, orchestras, dance works, television and film. 

Roumain made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestra performing his Harlem Essay for Orchestra. He went on to compose works for the Boston Pops Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the Stuttgart Symphony and myriad others. He holds a doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Michigan.

An avid arts industry leader, Roumain serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization and was co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP conferences.

Roumain is currently working on a new solo violin work for the acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine, and continues work on We Shall Not Be Moved, a chamber opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and co-produced by the Apollo Theater.

At ASU, Roumain will teach courses that focus on translating personal accounts into creative expression and on the complex artistic, social and cultural impact of artist/activists. His classes will be open to musicians, artists, designers and other interested students. In his joint appointment with ASU Gammage, he will develop artistic projects that extend and expand his creative work and its connections with the community. He will also serve as an advisor to the dean of the Herberger Institute, including developing the Projecting All Voices initiative on how to align the nation’s largest comprehensive arts and design college with the experiences, aspirations and values of a new generation of Latino/a, indigenous and African American artists.

“I have been performing, creating, and collaborating with the ASU and surrounding communities for over 15 years. The relationships here have always been collaborative, deeply profound, and speak to the need and vitality of our performing arts within our daily lives. I look forward to becoming part of the ASU family of thinkers, teachers, makers, and creators," said Roumain.

As with many artists at the Herberger Institute and ASU Gammage, Roumain’s work will be about many things; if past performance is any indication of the future, it will be an allegorical town hall meeting for which he hopes you might join.

 

Contact:
Beth Giudicessi
Elizabeth.giudicessi@asu.edu

Press Releases

ASU, White House to investigate mysteries of the microbiome


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced today a new National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) to foster the integrated study of microbiomes across different ecosystems.

Helping lead the initiative is Dr. Ferran Garcia-Pichel, dean of natural sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University and founding director of the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, which launched today in concert with OSTP’s new commitment. Download Full Image

The center will combine the expertise of researchers in computer science, life science, mathematical science, social science and other fields to identify the fundamental characterisics of microbiomes – that is, microbial communities numbering in the trillions that occupy virtually every ecologocial niche, including humans, animals, rivers, oceans, deserts and frozen tundras – and apply that knowledge to speed advances in how microorganisms affect health, the environment and food production.

“We have created a center that brings together some of the brightest minds in areas like big data, evolution and ecology – disciplines necessary for the Herculean task of understanding microbiomes, and the effect they have on concerns like antibiotic resistance and microbial degradation of soil,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost at ASU. “Until now, these experts didn’t have a place to come together to explore and advance this research, which has immediacy for everyday life. We are proud ASU has a leading role in this effort.”

It is becoming clear that microbiomes play a key role in human health and the health of the planet. However, so far there are more questions than answers.  

Researchers at ASU have been working in diverse areas such as fecal transplants as a way of easing digestive disorders and other symptoms for people with autism. Through a collaboration with Mayo Clinic researchers are exploring the role of microbiota in obesity Recently, researchers from the center discovered an answer to how a photosynthetic microbe is causing the erosion of coral reefs.

“This new center exemplifies ASU’s agility in addressing challenges through interdisciplinary inspirations, an entrepreneurial mindset and engaging with world-class strategic partners like the Mayo Clinic. Our researchers are uniquely positioned to create innovative solutions that require a deep understanding of the issues and to design new constructs like the microbiomics center,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president of the knowledge enterprise and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. 

The Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics resides in the Biodesign Institute at ASU but draws on strengths across the university, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and the College of Health Solutions, as well as organizations beyond ASU. 

The new center’s state-of-the-art facilities include the Microbiome Analysis Laboratory, which operates in conjunction with the Biodesign Institute’s formidable sequencing capabilities, which include the DNASU Sequencing Core Facility within the Center For Personalized Diagnostics, offering next generation sequencing services.


For a video of Garcia-Pichel explaining microbes and why the time to study them is now, please visit https://asunow.asu.edu/20160513-discoveries-next-big-thing-human-microbiome.

For media inquiries, please contact Richard Harth in Biodesign Communications at richard.harth@asu.edu or 480.727.0378.

 

About the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University works to improve human health and quality of life through its translational research mission in health care, energy and the environment, global health and national security. Grounded on the premise that scientists can best solve complex problems by emulating nature, Biodesign serves as an innovation hub that fuses previously separate areas of knowledge to serve as a model for 21st century academic research. By fusing bioscience/biotechnology, nanoscale engineering and advanced computing, Biodesign’s research scientists and students take an entrepreneurial team approach to accelerating discoveries to market. They also educate future generations of scientists by providing hands-on laboratory research training in state-of-the-art facilities for ASU. biodesign.asu.edu


About ASU

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASU In the News

FOX 10 Phoenix showcases ASU Ditch the Dumpster efforts


Local television news affiliate FOX 10 Phoenix visited the ASU Tempe campus this week to feature Ditch the Dumpster activities facilitated by the Zero Waste team and ASU Housing. The annual recycling and donation period for ASU students kicks off every Earth Day and continues through the first week of May. 

Zero Waste Assistant Director Alana Levine was interviewed on camera along with Meg Myers, an ASU freshman, who participated in this year’s Ditch the Dumpster efforts.  students donating dorm items Download Full Image

ASU this year partnered with local organizations and nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Epic Thrift and Goodwill. The groups distribute Ditch-the-Dumpster items to Arizona families in need.

Recyclable and reusable items collected last year during Ditch the Dumpster topped more than 157,580 pounds and included everything from hangers and lamps to electronics and unopened, nonperishable food.

Since Ditch the Dumpster began in 2009, ASU students have diverted nearly 942,100 pounds of landfill waste.

Article Source: Fox10 Phoenix
Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

480-965-9370

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