- His team of BU researchers has figured out how to make nanoparticles kill from the inside out.
- Finely adjustable mirrors let astronomers filter out distortions to better study the stars.
- See what it takes to interpret Hedda Gabler for a deaf audience.
- Lowell boxer “Irish” Micky Ward pledges his brain to BU.
- She can tell you all about the ruthless Queen Njinga (see picture above).
- BU researchers regenerate dental pulp and dentin using stem cells from baby teeth.
- Can antiseizure drugs really help curb cravings for alcohol?
- Two exhibits at BU celebrate the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s Caversham Press.
- A team of BU student researchers has been uncovering the secrets of a 19th-century Boston brothel.
So this is the section where A LOT of things happened at BU over the past year. In fact, so much research and learning occur here every day that we could devote an entire publication just to that. (Actually, we do.)
But it’s imperative that the Annual Report recount some of the incredible work that happened here this year. Not to do so would be to give you an incomplete picture of the University.
A Commitment to Computational Research
“Supporting great research universities is an act of faith and a resilient commitment to contribute positively to the well-being of societies,” says Bahaa Hariri, an alumnus of the School of Management and a Trustee since 2004.
The son of assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik B. Hariri (Hon.’86), who was a BU Trustee from 1990 to 2003, Hariri (SMG’90) this year pledged $15 million for an institute that will support teams of University and outside experts pursuing what the institute’s director calls important, transformative interdisciplinary research.
The Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering will not only propel discovery and innovation through the use of state-of-the-art computational approaches, but will also catalyze advances in the science of computing inspired by challenges from a multitude of disciplines, says Founding Director Azer Bestavros, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of computer science. The institute’s affiliated faculty will collaborate on research and educational initiatives targeting four broad application-based “clusters”: biology and medicine; physical science and engineering; social and management sciences; and the arts, communication, and education.
“They say that when you get dazed, that’s a minor concussion. I used to get those all the time.”Micky Ward, retired professional boxer
The Next Generation of Cancer Research
The story of BU’s cross-campus medical collaboration began in fall 2008, when the Center for Nanoscience & Nanobiotechnology, the Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, the BU Cancer Center, and the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine saw an opportunity for the University and began pursuing a new program in nanomedicine. At the heart of the mission: launching a training center to help grow the next generation of cancer research.
Funding requests led to initial seed projects, which led to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) application. The result? This year the University was awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. The grant, distributed under the umbrella of the NIH, will allow graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at BU to train in research labs focused on developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools for various types of cancer, from purification of micro RNAs—molecules that play an important role in gene regulation—to the development of noninvasive imaging and detection of cancer cells. The center will be called the Boston University Center for Cross-Disciplinary Training in Nanotechnology for Cancer.
Other research you need to know about:
- In what’s thought to be a first-of-its-kind study, BU School of Medicine researchers have found that female soldiers may be no more vulnerable than men to the stresses of war. Study lead author Dawne Vogt, a School of Medicine associate professor of psychiatry and a researcher at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the VA Boston Healthcare System, says, “there’s kind of this consistent finding that women are worse off” than men. Yet her study found no such disparity in trauma from combat.
- Swathi Kiran, a College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College associate professor of speech, language & hearing sciences, is one of the few researchers in the country confronting what she calls a pervasive problem: since most speech therapists are not bilingual, they may be reluctant or unable to treat bilingual patients because they do not know the patient’s primary language. With funding from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Kiran has launched a study giving bilingual aphasic patients 10 weeks of free speech therapy in their weaker language.
- During the Big Dig highway/tunnel project, construction crews excavated a site called Mill Pond, which by 1828 had been filled in when the city needed more space to expand. Big Dig workers found a sealed, wood-lined privy (the under portion of an outhouse) filled with items like hairbrushes, medicines, and vaginal syringes. At first, little was known about the artifacts or the people they once belonged to. But eventually, researchers determined that the site was once a house of prostitution. Mary Beaudry, a College of Arts & Sciences professor and a team of archaeology students from BU have been studying the artifacts to find out what they reveal about how the residents of one Boston brothel lived.
That’s only a few of the stories about some of the innovative and noteworthy investigations that happened here last year—a very, very small drop in the bucket for a major research university like BU. To learn much more about how BU is quite literally changing the world, we encourage you to explore Research and BU Today on a regular basis.