Burglars raid three colleges

first_imgThree colleges have fallen victim to thieves in a spate of burglaries this week, including the loss of a widescreen television from St Anne’s JCR.Students were astonished as they entered the common room to discover that the enormous TV had vanished.JCR President George Kynaston informed the college by email and offered a day of amnesty on Monday to anyone returning the TV.He said, “I’m hoping this was someone in the JCR just being stupid and that we can get the TV back without any trouble.”No information has been forthcoming, but he dismissed the idea that it may have been an outside theft, saying, “it would be pretty tricky to smuggle that TV past theporters lodge.”College authorities are currently studying CCTV footage and police may get involved.An intruder, believed to be from outside of college, also broke into a student’s room in St Peter’s college.The incident took place on the 8th of October between 6.00 pm and 2.30 am, while the student was out. The burglar was caught on CCTV scaling a wall. Investigations are ongoing.St. Peter’s JCR president Sanjay Nanwani maintains that the college has “acted promptly” and that members of the JCR have been kept “regularly informed of developments”.He confirmed that he is certain that “the necessary steps will be taken to ensure the integrity and security of [their] premises.”Jessica Davies, a second year who lived last year on the staircase where the theft took place, said, “I never had any concerns about security at St. Peter’s and I’m confident it was only a one-off.”Theft also hit LHM, with the loss of a laptop at around 8pm on the 7th of October. This follows a series of burglaries in the Jericho area over the previous few days.Five of the incidents resulted from students not locking their doors properly or in some cases leaving them open. Thames Valley Police are currently investigating whether this incident is linked with several other thefts of jewellery, iPods, laptops, digital cameras, cash and even champagne.Deputy Sergeant Marc Tarbit, who leads the Oxford Burglary team, issued the following statement, “we seem to have at least one person targeting properties in the Jericho area and some Jericho residents have made the burglar’s job far easier for them.”The police have urged all students to make sure that their doors and windows are secure before they leave the house.last_img read more

Biology without borders

first_imgFor centuries, people have looked at living things and wondered how they work, why they look the way they do, and how they adapt to changing environments.Yet despite the enormous strides made in understanding such developments with the advent of such aids as single-cell sequencing, whole-brain imaging, and connectomics, there is still much that biologists do not understand about the systems they study.To address that gap, Harvard is launching an interdisciplinary research effort called the Quantitative Biology Initiative, with support from University President Drew Faust and Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Michael D. Smith.“Harvard has long been a place of cutting-edge scientific research, especially across disciplinary boundaries,” Smith said. “By bringing together faculty working on biological problems with statisticians, mathematicians, and engineers who elicit patterns from the enormous data sets that are now available, this initiative will enable researchers to not only find new ways to take up some of the most fundamental questions in the sciences today, but also to ask completely new questions with the potential to impact the daily lives of people around the globe.”“The Quantitative Biology Initiative represents an extraordinary opportunity to gain a much deeper understanding of some of the most fundamental problems in the life sciences, problems for which new understanding will only come through collaborations between life scientists and physicists, mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, and engineers,” added FAS Dean of Science and Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics Jeremy Bloxham.Among the faculty of the new initiative is Frank Doyle, the John A. Paulson Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences.“As both the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a faculty member in bioengineering with a lab that does computational systems biology, I am doubly excited about this new initiative,” Doyle said. “It builds on the remarkable strengths at Harvard that span and connect engineering, physics, life sciences, and medicine.”The initiative will tackle fundamental biology questions ranging from how living systems grow, divide, and pattern themselves to how they process information about their surroundings, store information they have learned, and make decisions to thrive and reproduce.The leaders of the initiative are Vinothan Manoharan, the Wagner Family Professor of Chemical Engineering and professor of physics, and Sharad Ramanathan, the Llura and Gordon Gund Professor of Neurosciences and of Molecular and Cellular Biology and professor of applied physics and stem cell and regenerative biology.According to Manoharan, the key to answering those questions involves integrating mathematical, statistical, and engineering approaches with biology. For researchers hoping to develop models that can accurately predict the behavior of biological systems, he said, it is imperative that mathematicians and statisticians not only have a seat at the table, but are involved from the beginning.“New measurement techniques have made it possible for us to see these systems in a way that’s not been possible before,” Manoharan explained. “In the last century, it was possible to measure only a few things at a time, but suddenly we have techniques that allow us to measure tens of thousands.”“But the challenge now is to make sense of that data,” Ramanathan said. “The complexity of biological systems is enormous. There are tens of thousands of gene expressions, and they change from cell to cell … yet we want to make predictions about how they work, both so we can understand the systems, but also so we can learn how these systems can go awry, giving us a new perspective on disease.”“We want to approach that complexity head-on,” Manoharan added.  “All the pieces are here at Harvard.”The new initiative will be built around four pillars. The first will bring together biologists and mathematicians to study how cells make decisions, organize themselves to form tissues and organs, and adapt and evolve in response to their environment. The second is fostering collaborations between biologists and engineers from SEAS to develop new tools and technologies that will allow researchers to make more precise measurements and gather more data on biological systems.“One challenge that faces the field is that engineers are developing spectacular techniques, but applying them to biology often takes a lot of effort,” Ramanathan said. “What we want to do is work with engineers to develop techniques from the ground up, but also to work with a core set of trained staff members who can translate these techniques and make them into something that is applicable for biology.”Ramanathan said the initiative will work to develop a set of standards for how data is gathered as a way to ensure that it remains useful for future research. “If the techniques keep changing … it’s hard to have a standardized pipeline,” he said.To deal with the vast and ever-growing amounts of information generated by increasingly sophisticated techniques and tools, the initiative’s third focus will be on big data analysis, in particular on developing statistical and computational methods to identify the most important information and make inferences based on it.The initiative’s fourth pillar will focus intensely on training and mentoring the next generation of scientists, who will use the principles of quantitative biology to make fresh and exciting discoveries.“There is already a nucleus of courses here at Harvard,” Ramanathan said. “We want to organize them and set up a track so they build on one another. We also want to help develop courses and launch new ones at the interface, so the quantitative students can learn the biology and the biology students can learn the required mathematics.”Already, he said, students and postdoctoral fellows are coming together to build a community of cross-disciplinary researchers, and recently launched a series of “chalk talks” in which faculty members discuss their work while students ask questions.“It’s a way to foster collaboration,” Ramanathan said. “Many faculty believe the next century belongs to the scientists who will not just gather all this data, but can extract principles from it and make predictions.”“I think we are seeing a natural convergence,” Manoharan said. “Harvard has always been good at working across disciplines, and our biology departments have been exceptional at embracing the physical sciences and the quantitative viewpoint. I see this initiative as building on that and taking it to the next level … where we are all working together from the very beginning.”In addition to Manoharan and Ramanathan, the Quantitative Biology Executive Council includes Paola Arlotta, professor of stem cell and regenerative biology; Victoria D’Souza, professor of molecular and cellular biology; Mark Fishman, professor of stem cell and regenerative biology; Jeff Lichtman, Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and director of the Harvard Center for Biological Imaging; Xiao-Li Meng, Whipple V.N. Jones Professor of Statistics; and Andrew Murray, Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics.last_img read more

Assaidi blow for Potters

first_img Press Association “He’s progressed quicker in the last couple of days when people have been saying that he’s had a setback so I don’t really know where that story’s come from. “He probably needs game time now. If we can get him playing then obviously that’s the next step for him. “We have games organised that he could play a part in so, as long as he’s dealing with the training load that we’re giving him, which he seems to be, then we’ll look to get him game time next week and the week after.” Hughes also confirmed that goalkeeper Jack Butland is in talks with Leeds over a loan move. The 20-year-old played four games for the Potters in January after number one Asmir Begovic broke a finger but has been back on the sidelines since the Bosnian’s return. Butland spent three months on loan at Leeds’ Yorkshire Championship rivals Barnsley earlier this season. Hughes said: “I think there’s been further contact (with Leeds) since we came back. We’re hopeful that might be concluded. If he can go there and get games then obviously that will help his development. “He’s had a good year up to this point, he’s been out on loan already, was able to get games in the first team here, so he’s progressing really well. “Leeds is a big club with big expectations, a good fan base, and with the pressures that brings – he needs to play under that type of pressure to enable him to continue to progress.” Butland had hoped a run of games for Stoke might help him force his way into Roy Hodgson’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup finals. Hughes believes that is now unlikely but does not think it is beyond the realms of possibility. “It’s difficult but if he’s playing regularly then he’ll have an opportunity,” said the Stoke boss. “Certainly he’s well regarded by everybody in the England set-up. If he has a run of games and a run of form, then who knows, because his ability is there for everybody to see. “He’s played at Premier League level, which before could have been levelled against him. He’s acquitted himself really well so we’ll have to wait and see. “Our motivation is to keep him progressing, and he’s going to be an outstanding keeper for Stoke City.” Stoke have been dealt a blow in their fight against relegation from the Barclays Premier League with the news winger Oussama Assaidi will be missing for up to six weeks. He will stay with Stoke for treatment instead of returning to Liverpool, and manager Mark Hughes said: “It was our only negative from the trip away. “Unfortunately he’s torn his knee ligament and he’s going to be out, so they tell me, for between four and six weeks. “That’s a real blow because he was looking really sharp and having a real effect on games for us. But given the medical cover that we have here and the quality of the staff, I’m sure he’ll be back sooner rather than later.” Hughes, though, denied rumours that Robert Huth has suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery. The key defender went under the knife at the end of November and it had initially been hoped he would only be missing for around three to four weeks. Huth has made slow progress, but Hughes said: “He’s doing very well. “He’s trained again with the group on Thursday. He’s completed two full training sessions with the squad now. “We’re able to manage the injury and it seems to be reacting well to work so that’s encouraging for him and for us. The on-loan Liverpool player tore a medial knee ligament in training during Stoke’s warm weather break in Dubai this week. Morocco international Assaidi has impressed for the Potters this season, scoring four goals, including the winner against Chelsea in December. last_img read more