Announcements

Cancer cell lines evolve in ways that affect how they respond to drugs

August 8, 2018

Cell lines form the backbone of cancer research. These individual groups of cells, typically collected from patients’ tumor samples and cultured to grow indefinitely in the laboratory, enable everything from basic genetic research to drug discovery.

But while scientists have thought that individual cell lines remain genetically uniform even as they continue to grow and divide, they can in fact evolve in ways that dramatically change their responses to drugs, say researchers from the Broad Institute and collaborating institutions. This continuing evolution of cells within cell lines —...

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Tiny robots being designed for delicate procedures

Tiny robots being designed for delicate procedures

August 6, 2018

Roboticists are envisioning a future in which soft, animal-inspired robots could be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments, such as in delicate surgical procedures in the human body.

Although centimeter-sized soft robots have been created, thus far it has not been possible to fabricate multifunctional, flexible robots that can move and operate at smaller size scales.

A team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University now has overcome...

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Bharat Anand named vice provost for advances in learning

July 31, 2018

Harvard’s efforts to leverage technology to create more effective teaching tools, strategies, and resources will have a new leader this fall, with the appointment of Harvard Business School Professor Bharat Anand as the University’s new vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL).

Anand, the Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration, will take over in October from Peter Bol, the Charles H. Carswell...

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Viewing religion through a cultural lens

Viewing religion through a cultural lens

July 30, 2018

Prospect High School social studies teacher John Camardella is wading into the intellectual unknown, all for the benefit of his students.

The Illinois native and veteran educator recently threw out the playbook and completely redesigned the curriculum of the world religions elective he has taught to high school seniors for the past 15 years.

The impetus? A “life-changing” method of teaching religious studies he learned from Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project (RLP). Camardella, whose own parents are an ex-nun and ex-monk,...

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Masters of calculus come prepared, Harvard study shows

Masters of calculus come prepared, Harvard study shows

July 27, 2018

Calculus.

The word alone is enough strike terror into the hearts of even the most accomplished students, but for those who break out in cold sweats at the thought of differentiation rules and integral tables, researchers Philip Sadler and Gerhard Sonnert bring a message of hope.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, taking high school calculus isn’t necessary for success in college calculus. What’s more important is mastering the prerequisites — algebra, geometry, and trigonometry — that lead to calculus. That insight comes from a study of more than 6,000 college freshmen at 133...

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Harvard’s David Latham on the scope of TESS

Harvard’s David Latham on the scope of TESS

July 27, 2018

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched in April. After calibration and testing of instruments, the telescope will train its cameras on Earth’s stellar neighborhood and begin its primary task of scanning for Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars. As TESS science program director, David Latham, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, will oversee follow-up studies of planet candidates. We spoke to him about the science mission before its official start this month.

Q...

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Praise for Claudine Gay, next FAS dean, as a scholar, leader

Praise for Claudine Gay, next FAS dean, as a scholar, leader

July 24, 2018

Among the notes that poured into President Larry Bacow’s office on Monday after he appointed Claudine Gay the new Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) was an elated message from a member of the Harvard community.

“This is such a tremendous gift to the FAS,” it read. “I’m beside myself.”

Bacow read the warm wishes by way of introducing Gay to scholars and staff at a Faculty Room reception on Monday afternoon.

“I’m delighted not to be beside myself, but rather, for the foreseeable future, to be standing next to Claudine and working with her,” Bacow...

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Bulgarian-born computer science student considers her impact

July 24, 2018

Originally planning to study pre-med at Harvard College, Maria Zlatkova ’18 changed gears to computer science after taking CS50. Zlatkova discusses her time as an undergraduate at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Q&A

Maria Zlatkova

SEAS: What were some of the challenges of coming to Harvard from Bulgaria?

ZLATKOVA: Coming to Harvard from Bulgaria was a...

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Harvard ethicist Robert Truog on ambiguities of brain death

July 24, 2018

In August 1968, a committee at Harvard Medical School published a landmark document titled “A Definition of Irreversible Coma.” In addition to the traditional way of defining death, in terms of the loss of cardiorespiratory function, the committee suggested a new definition of death — brain death — that focused on the loss of neurological function. The report provided a foundation for the eventual adoption of legislation that established brain death as legal death in all 50 states.

The issue has come under increasing...

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