“The brain has to talk to the spinal cord in order to make any kind of movement,” says Jack Martin, medical professor at the CUNY School of Medicine at The City College of New York, “so after a spinal-cord injury, those connections become impaired. That results in a reduced ability to make the kinds of movements we are accustomed to,” says Martin. To help change that, the New York State Department of Health awarded Martin a $4.27 million grant to look into brain development and the recovery of movement function after brain or spinal injury. The grant brings his research awards since October 2013 to $7.97 million. “Normally nerve cells communicate with one another by way of what are similar to little electrical impulses,” Martin says. “We found out that if you increase the number of those impulses you can get the nerve cells to make new connections,” he says. Martin and his colleagues have been experimenting with neuromodulation to activate nerve cells. “The reason we’re excited with this neuromodulatory approach is that it can be noninvasive,” Martin says. “I see our work as a piece to a larger puzzle, which is to try to repair neural circuits.”
May 4, 2017 | City College, Science Briefs
April 20, 2017 | City College, Science Briefs
“I personally am very excited about this idea of brain decoding, this idea that we can measure brain activity and figure out where your thoughts are,” says Lucas Parra, professor of biomedical engineering at CCNY. “I work in the lab with electroencephalography. It records electric brain signals … how we perceive sound, images … speech. We’re looking at what happens when you’re watching movies or when you’re playing video games,” Parra says. “We get a sense of are people engaged, are they paying attention, will they remember what they saw weeks later. … Different modalities allow you to analyze different kinds of neuro processes associated with decision-making and things that are maybe more downstream from the initial perception.”
February 16, 2017 | Book Beat, City College
We are a nation of immigrants, but also of immigration laws rooted in nativism and far less welcoming than Lady Liberty’s plea to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” In his revealing and relevant book, Expelling the Poor, City College historian Hidetaka Hirota traces the nation’s deportation laws and connects them to the emerging policies of the Trump administration.
December 28, 2016 | City College, Science Briefs
“There’s a big movement … to change what people do in their yards,” says Peter Groffman, ecosystems professor at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, referring to the use of lawn fertilizer. Fertilizer contains nutrients like nitrogen which washes into waterways, hurting aquatic life. Flower-growing homeowners’ habits may change, Groffman says, if they can keep “the benefits” of having a lawn.
November 22, 2016 | City College, Science Briefs
Materials science research needs more minority students and teachers, says City College Chemistry Professor Maria Tamargo, who with colleagues won a $5 million, five-year National Science Foundation grant to create a center to diversify the field of discovering and designing new materials. Recruiting and preparing diverse students and creating a master’s program are part of the strategy to bring more minority students to CUNY’s Ph.D. programs.
October 21, 2016 | City College, Science Briefs
Shining a certain kind of light on body tissue produces a glow that shows changes in the tissue, including cancer. The use of such biomedical optics will some day be able “to detect disease directly without taking tissue from the body,” says Robert R. Alfano, a distinguished professor of science and engineering at City College. “It’s sort of like ‘Star Trek,’ ” he says. “They scan your body, and you can get information directly.”
July 23, 2015 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series
In his 2015 commencement address to City College grads, Nobel Laureate Dr. John O’Keefe fondly recalled his college years when he first began exploring connections between philosophy and neuroscience. “I don’t think my story is unique. I’m just a good example of City College’s gift to youth and to the nation,” O’Keefe said.
June 12, 2015 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series
Nobel Laureate and City College alum John O’Keefe traces historic findings on the hippocampus and human memory to his recent research on the brain’s cognitive map. O’Keefe, along with two other scientists, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering an inner GPS in the brain that helps navigate surroundings. His engaging, and often humorous, discussion marked the inaugural Professor Sharon Cosloy-Edward Blank Family Distinguished Scientist Lecture at City College.
May 29, 2015 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told grads of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership that immigration reform should be “an essential feature” of the upcoming political season. He also urged graduates to get involved in their communities, saying, “If you want to save the world, just start by saving one kid.”
April 7, 2015 | Book Beat, City College
City College political science professor Daniel DiSalvo tackles the contentious issue of public unions, pensions, and political influence in his new book, “Government Against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences.”