Unraveling Cell Communications is Goal for Mathematical Biologist

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Trillions of living cells in the human body are constantly communicating with each other through an exchange of chemical signals. Peter Thomas, assistant professor of mathematics, biology and cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University, is on a quest to find out how "cells make sense of the barrages of signaling molecules they encounter every day."

He has a received a three-year, $120,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation to employ the mathematical theory of communication, known as information theory, that is used in communications engineering and apply it to cell communications called signal transduction.

Claude Shannon at Bell Laboratories pioneered information theory in the 1940s. It provided the technical foundation for modern communications devices ranging from computers to cell phones, Thomas said.

"Specifically, the question I'm asking is how much information can a cell obtain about chemical gradients and other signals released from the cells around it," he said. Read more.

Cross Country Team Makes Nationals

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Junior runner Dominic Smith and Esther Erb a senior, will be among the students competing this weekend as the Case Western Reserve University men's and women's cross country teams head to Northfield, Minnesota, for the 2007 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. The women's team is coming off a second-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional Championship on November 10 at Calvin College and is currently ranked seventh in the nation by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. They are second in the Great Lakes Region behind only Calvin. Smith is the lone runner from the men's team who will be competing this weekend. Read more.

Campus News

Women in Leadership Week continues through November 18. Women faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in interactive workshops and hear from professional leaders about the importance of developing leadership skills. Barbara Danforth, president and CEO of the Cleveland YWCA, will present "Gender and Communication," from 7-8:30 tonight in Thwing Center, Spartan Room. Free. Get more details online about upcoming events.

The Case Students for Organ Donation Awareness organization is sponsoring a donor sabbath ceremony at 6 p.m., Thursday, November 15 in Nord Hall, Room 310. All are invited. Event features food, a guest speaker and a reading of testimonials from organ donors and organ recipients. Free.

Ever wonder about the buzz or opinions on campus? Take part in the Share the Vision poll and learn the pulse of the campus. The results are not scientific but offer a general sampling of campus opinion on a key topic of interest.

For Faculty & Staff

Faculty are invited to the next session sponsored by the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE), "Teaching Students to Give Presentations," set for noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, November 15 in the Herrick Room of the Allen Memorial Medical Library. Discussion will look at ways for instructors to both help coach their students on how to give good presentations and to devise better means of assessing student presentations. RSVP to UCITE or register online.

Oak Hall is sponsoring its annual custom regalia sale now through November 30. Faculty who place orders during this period will receive a 10 percent discount. Details: Contact Lisa Albers, general merchandise manager, 368-1660.

The Center for the Advancement of Research Methods and Analysis (CARMA) Consortium Webcast Program will have a webcast on November 16: "Nonlinear Dynamic Models" and "Advanced Panel Methods for Strategy Research" from noon to 3 p.m., in the Mandel School, Room 320B/C. CARMA was established by Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business to provide university faculty and graduate students with advanced training in research methods and data analysis. Register online to attend the webcast at Case.

For Students

Resident Assistant (RA) applications are now available online. Stop by the Residential Area Showcase from 5:30-7 tonight, November 14 in the Wade Fireside Lounge. Meet current staff and learn more about the different residential areas where RAs live. For more questions, send e-mail to the housing office. Applications are due by December 20.

Interested in finding out first hand what being a medical student is like? Come and enjoy a viewing of a current, popular medical show during the Premed-Medical Student Mixer, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Thursday, November 15 in the Village at 115 House 2, Great Room. After the show, attendees can pair up with a medical student to accompany them to class and other events in a medical student's day. Refreshments will be provided.

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women is holding its 5th Annual Project on Men and Gender on Monday, November 19. This year Men Can Stop Rape will be on campus to hold two workshops: "Men's Role in Gender-Violence Prevention" and "Language and the Culture of Rape." RSVP to the Center for Women or call 368-0985.

Events

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Michael Fisher (photo, left), history professor at Oberlin College and a leading expert in India and South Asian studies, will give a free public lecture at 4:30 p.m., today in the School of Law, Moot Courtroom, A59. Sponsored by the law school's Institute for Global Security Law and Policy. Read more.

The Case Concert Choir will present its free fall concert at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 17 in Harkness Chapel. Led by founder and director Rob Dunn, the choir will present works by Whitacre, Clausen, Brahms and more.

The Weatherhead School of Management will host its first schoolwide open house 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 in the Peter B. Lewis Building. The event is for prospective students interested in learning about the graduate degree and executive education programs. Contact Kevin Malecek, 368-3315 for details about the open house.

Refer to the Web event calendar for a list of events and activities on campus and in the community today and in the days ahead.

November 14, 2007

A daily newsletter published by the Office of Marketing & Communications, Case Western Reserve University. Submit items for inclusion to: case-daily@case.edu.

Case in the News

NorTech reveals Innovation Award winners

Crain's Cleveland Business November 13, 2007
TeamCase, a partnership among Case Western Reserve University engineering students, faculty and corporate sponsors, produced a self-driving vehicle called Dexter. TeamCase, along with six companies, received an Innovation Award from NorTech, a company that promotes technology-based economic development in Northeast Ohio.

Spinal study advances

The Star Bulletin November 13, 2007
Profile on the research of Chester Ho, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, who works with a team at the Cleveland FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) Center to help patients regain mobility.

ADHD medication may stop by 6 p.m.

EarthTimes.org November 12, 2007
Robert Findling, professor of psychiatry and director, child and adolescent psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, lead author in a study on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, offers comments about his findings.

Higher Ed News

Professors and politics (again)

Inside Higher Ed, November 14, 2007
A month after the release of a study hailed by many as a definitive examination of faculty members' political views, a slew of new research on the topic—some of it updated versions of previous research—will be released today finding that professors lean to the left.

Increased competition puts more college presidents in the million-dollar club

The New York Times, November 12, 2007
Soaring compensation of university presidents, once limited to a few wealthy institutions, is becoming increasingly common, with the number of million-dollar pay packages at private institutions nearly doubling last year, and compensation at many public universities not far behind.

Researchers urge colleges to promote political participation and suggest neutral ways of doing so

The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2007 (subscription required)
Community service attracts record numbers of college students, but not so for politics. Researchers at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching have been exploring how to change that.

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