Oxford chancellor named Commencement speaker

first_imgTags: 2014 Commencement, Christopher Patten, Commencement Speaker, Hong Kong, Oxford University, United Kingdom Christopher Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, chancellor of the University of Oxford and chair of the BBC Trust, will be the 2014 Commencement speaker, according to a University press release. Patten will speak and receive an honorary degree on May 18 at the University’s 169th Commencement.“Chris Patten’s global experiences and expertise — from higher education, to government service to the broadcast media — are remarkable and sure to resonate with our graduates,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said. “We have had the honor of hosting him on our campus in the past, and we are so pleased that he has accepted our invitation to return and address the class of 2014.”Courtesy James Yuanxin Li Patten, who was bestowed the title of baron in 2005, was elected chancellor of Oxford in 2003, and previously served as chancellor of Newcastle University. Queen Elizabeth appointed Patten in 2011 as chair of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corp.Patten graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied history. He began his career in the Conservative Party’s research department, first as a desk officer and then as director. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Bath in 1979 and served for 27 years as minister for overseas development in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in the Cabinet as secretary of state for the environment.In July 2002, he was named the 28th and final governor of Hong Kong until its handover to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. In 1998 he chaired the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland for one year, set up under the Good Friday Peace Agreement, and from 1999 to 2004, was one of the United Kingdom’s two members to the European Commission.“One of Britain’s and world’s preeminent Catholics, Lord Patten was called upon by his government to help resolve some of the most daunting issues on the world stage, including his masterful governance of Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule, and his groundbreaking reforms of policing in Northern Ireland,” Jenkins said. “Many thought impossible the preservation of Hong Kong’s prosperity in the face of communism, just as others deemed unattainable police reform in a society so long divided by sectarian prejudice and violence.“Lord Patten proved the doubters wrong.”In 2010, the prime minister tapped Patten to direct the preparations for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom, the country’s first papal visit in almost 20 years. He has been recognized as one of Britain’s most influential Catholics.last_img read more

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Duterte appoints 2 new SC justices

first_imgPresident Rodrigo Duterte. PCOO MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte hasappointed two justices of the Court of Appeals (CA)to two vacancies in the Supreme Court. The two appointees were justices Mario Lopez andEdgardo Delos Santos. They will replace Lopez was a former prosecutor of theTanodbayan (Office of the Ombudsman) in 1985. He also served as executive judgeof Batangas City in 1997 before his appointment to the Court of Appeals. Lopez and Delos Santos were the seventhand eighth appointee of President Duterte to the high court giving him a clearmajority on pending crucial cases involving the administration./PN Prior to his SC appointment, DelosSantos served as a municipal trial court judge in Dumaguete and later becameregional trial court judge in Bacolod before his appointment to the appellatecourt. Meanwhile, Delos Santos is a Cebu-basedappellate court justice who earned his bachelor of laws degree from theUniversity of San Carlos in Cebu. Lopez, who is from La Union, took up hislaw degree at the San Beda University before taking up master of laws at theUniversity of Santo Tomas. AssociateJustice Francis Jardeleza and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, whoretired on Sept. 26 and Oct. 26 respectively.last_img read more

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Meet the Rosehip Cell a New Kind of Human Neuron

first_imgTamas Lab/University of SzegedThe discovery was a team effort. Lein’s group at the Allen harvested frozen tissue from two donated human brains and isolated individual neuronal nuclei onto a plate—one per well. Then they sequenced the RNA inside each one. If DNA is like the blueprint for a car, RNA is like the parts list. Using clustering algorithms, the researchers identified several unique gene expression patterns and matched them to 16 different cell types: 11 inhibitory neurons, one excitatory neuron, and four non-neural cells.While they were coaxing nuclei into 96-well plates, their partners in the Gábor Tamás lab at the University of Szeged in Hungary were analyzing live tissue samples from patients who had undergone brain surgery. By using traditional techniques like filling the cells with a special dye and then recording how they reacted to different electric stimuli, Tamás’s group spotted a group of hippy, well-connected neurons—whose molecular markers matched up almost perfectly with one of Lein’s cell types. When they went looking to see if a similar molecular profile existed for any cells in the mouse brain, they came up empty-handed.“It’s too early to say that this is a completely unique cell type because we haven’t looked in other species yet,” adds Lein. “But it really highlights the fact that we need to be careful about assuming that the human brain is just a scaled-up version of a mouse.”Because live human brain tissue is so difficult to get, the vast majority of work characterizing the electrophysiology and connectivity of neurons happens in mice. A transcriptomics approach, though, can be applied to frozen tissue. There’s plenty of that just sitting in biobanks all over the world. It’s been more than a century since Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal won the Nobel Prize for illustrating the way neurons allow you to walk, talk, think, and be. In the intervening hundred years, modern neuroscience hasn’t progressed that much in how it distinguishes one kind of neuron from another. Sure, the microscopes are better, but brain cells are still primarily defined by two labor-intensive characteristics: how they look and how they fire.Which is why neuroscientists around the world are rushing to adopt new, more nuanced ways to characterize neurons. Sequencing technologies, for one, can reveal how cells with the same exact DNA turn their genes on or off in unique ways—and these methods are beginning to reveal that the brain is a more diverse forest of bristling nodes and branching energies than even Ramón y Cajal could have imagined.On Monday, an international team of researchers introduced the world to a new kind of neuron, which, at this point, is believed to exist only in the human brain. The long nerve fibers known as axons of these densely bundled cells bulge in a way that reminded their discoverers of a rose without its petals—so much that they named them “rose hip cells.” Described in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience, these new neurons might use their specialized shape to control the flow of information from one region of the brain to another.“They can really act as a sort of brake on the system,” says Ed Lein, an investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science—home to several ambitious brain mapping projects—and one of the lead authors on the study. Neurons come in two basic flavors: Excitatory cells send information to the cells next to them, while inhibitory cells slow down or stop excitatory cells from firing. Rose hip cells belong to this latter type, and based on their physiology, seem to be a particularly potent current-curber. “What will happen over the next five to 10 years or so is that these transcriptomic methods are going to speed ahead, because they’re much more high throughput than traditional approaches,” says Richard Scheuermann, a director at the Craig J. Venter Institute and immunologist at the University of California at San Diego. “So we’ll get this atlas based on the parts lists that cells are expressing, then as we learn more about their functions we can link that information back in.”Scheuermann was one of the original architects of something called the Cell Ontology, a reference for how scientists represent different cell types. It’s more than just a common set of definitions. It also captures the relationships between cells—in time and space and function. Now that scientists are letting cells define themselves by the genes they turn on and off, he’s working to create a cell-ipedia for this new era.That movement extends beyond neuroscience. In October 2016, hundreds of scientists across the globe banded together to launch the Human Cell Atlas—a massive project to compile transcriptomic data on all the cells in the human body to understand how they organize into tissues, how they talk to each other, how they age, and how things can go wrong. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has been one of the primary funders of the project. Scheuermann snagged one of the organization’s grants to build software that can identify marker genes used to define different cell types. Another tool automatically translates the genes along with other data into a machine-readable classification system.Lein’s brain cell data was the tool’s first test case, which the two groups published in March in Human Molecular Genetics. But they’re just getting started. They’ve already submitted another paper to Nature that defines 75 cell types by their transcriptome alone. Neuroscientists don’t agree how many cell types they might find, but it’s likely to be in the thousands if not tens of thousands. Santiago Ramón y Cajal might have defined the field of neuroscience, but these days, it’s algorithms that are doing the defining, with a little help from the neurons themselves.last_img read more

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