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See the light. Physics Assistant Professor Wei Chen believes photodynamic therapy can be an effective treatment for breast cancer. Successful in treating skin cancers, the therapy’s potential use for other cancers has been thwarted by the difficulty of light penetration into deep tissue. Dr. Chen thinks he knows how to overcome that. Aided by a Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs grant, he proposes to develop a photodynamic therapy system with light generated by long-lasting afterglow nanoparticles with attached photosensitizers. When the nanoparticle-photosensitizer conjugates are targeted to tumors, the light from afterglow nanoparticles will activate the photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy. No external light is required. The therapy can be used to treat deep tumors like those associated with breast cancer because the light source is attached to the photosensitizers and delivered to the tumor cells together.


No school spirit. School has become a job and childhood merely preparation for busy adulthood. So say the authors of I Hate School: Why American Kids Are Turned Off Learning. Sociology Professors Ben Agger and Beth Anne Shelton contend that by the time American students are in junior high and high school, they can’t wait to finish an acceptable level of education and establish careers and families, mimicking the suburban lifestyles of their parents. The book examines why children reject intellectual and cultural pursuits. “They are anti-intellectual,” Dr. Agger says. “Instead of reading, they are passive consumers of electronic entertainment.” Dr. Shelton says backpacks stuffed with homework certainly teach students the Puritan virtue of diligence, but it also diverts them from intellectual and physical play. Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield, is publishing the book, with a release date to be announced.


Relax, boss. Managing Executive Health prescribes real-world answers for stress at top-level positions. Co-written by management Professor James Campbell Quick, the book argues that executives often get sandwiched between shareholders’ expectations and the critical eyes of employees. The authors recommend that executives use “physical vigor, psychological well-being, spiritual vitality and ethical integrity” to cope. Dr. Quick, the John and Judy Goolsby Distinguished Professor and founding director of the Goolsby Leadership Academy, collaborated with his brother, Jonathan Quick, a family physician and public health management specialist; Cary Cooper at Lancaster University; and Joanne Gavin at Marist College. Jim Loehr, CEO at the Human Performance Institute and best-selling author of The Power of Full Engagement, says such a book is long overdue. “Managing Executive Health convincingly builds a well-documented case for the authors’ contention that physical health and psychological well-being form the necessary base from which sustained high performance can be successfully realized.” Published by Cambridge University Press, the book is available in bookstores.


Frozen assets. Mechanical engineering Assistant Professor Bumsoo Han and his associates recently received a four-year, $1.26 million National Institutes of Health grant to study the effects of long-term storage of engineered human tissue. The researchers are especially interested in cryopreservation, where engineered tissues are stored in a frozen state and thawed prior to use. At extremely low temperatures, biological activity that would lead to cell death is effectively stopped. Unfortunately, freezing and thawing also induce complex biophysical changes, often damaging the tissue’s microstructure and impairing its functionality. The team will investigate these changes and develop improved methods for functionally engineered tissues. “Our goal is to make tissue-engineered products affordable and easy to transport,” Dr. Han said, “providing ‘off-the-shelf’ availability of functional tissue to surgeons for implantation surgery.”

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(Winter 2004 to present)

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