July 13, 2021 Newsletter

July 13, 2021 Newsletter

Take a look at our July 13, 2021 Newsletter with updates from the Ken Kennedy Institute.

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In This Issue

  • New Faculty Advisor: Ashutosh Sabharwal
  • Overleaf Group License Survey
  • News Highlight: Robinson Receives Keck Foundation Grant
  • Community Highlights

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New Faculty Advisor for the Ken Kennedy Institute: Ashutosh Sabharwal

We are excited to announce that Dr. Ashutosh Sabharwal has joined the Ken Kennedy Institute Faculty Advisory Committee. He will be contributing his expertise to the current and future goals of the Ken Kennedy Institute and Rice University. Dr. Sabharwal is the department chair and Earnest Dell Butcher Professor for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He currently works in two research areas - his first area of research is wireless, where his research spans fundamental theory and experimental systems; his second area of research focuses on health, at the intersection of engineering, behavioral sciences and medicine, and established Scalable Health Labs.

Dr. Sabharwal will be joining Rich Baraniuk, Lydia Beaudrot, Farès el-Dahdah, Chris Tunnel, Chris Jermaine, Kirsten Siebach, and Moshe Vardi as members of the Ken Kennedy Institute Faculty Advisory Committee.
Read More

Overleaf Group License Survey

We are writing to survey Rice user interest in a discounted group license for Overleaf. If you don’t know what Overleaf is, it’s pretty much “Google Docs” for LaTeX manuscripts (https://www.overleaf.com). It has a free version, but the paid version ($180/year/individual) has tracked changes and commenting options that are invaluable for writing manuscripts with the students. If we get multiple Rice users, we will look into getting a discounted site-license of $123/individual for 5+ users, $69.50/individual for 10+ users, and $64.75/individual for 20+ users.

Currently, we have received 43 survey responses with 13 Rice faculty members already having an Overleaf license and 30 interested in getting a license.

Please take our survey to indicate your interest!
Take Survey

News Highlight

Electrical and Computer Engineer Jacob Robinson and Celina Juliano from the University of California have received a $1 million Keck Foundation grant

Ken Kennedy Institute member, Jacob Robinson of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and Celina Juliano of the University of California Davis, have won a $1 million Keck Foundation grant. Robinson and his colleagues are putting their faith in a very small animal, the freshwater cnidarian Hydra vulgaris, a tiny tentacled creature that has long been a focus of study in the Robinson and Juliano labs. Because they are small, squishy and transparent, they’re easy to manipulate and measure through Robinson’s custom microfluidic platforms.

“We’ve built a lot of the infrastructure to work with the animals in the lab to measure their neural activity and their behaviors,” Robinson said. “We also use computational techniques to automate the process, which allows us to look at many animals in parallel and get large quantities of data.”

“The next big leap will be to edit the animal’s nervous systems, and that’s what this award will help support,” he said. “For example, if we want to create a synthetic connection between two neurons, we could make specific neurons in the animal express a neuropeptide signaling molecule. We could then engineer another group of neurons, or even the muscle cells, to express the receptor for that signaling molecule.

“Then we’ll have made a new organism with a connection between two cells that don’t normally connect,” he said. “In principal, we can build on this concept to make more complicated networks and designer neural circuits. As an engineer, I like to think of these connections between neurons like electronic circuits. If we can wire them up by design we should be able to program behaviors from scratch.”

Read More

Lilie Lab Grad Students Future Founders Summit (Free!)

Incoming and Current Grad & MBA Students, Apply by: July 14, 2021
Date: August 7-8 at 8:30-7 PM CST

Meet your entrepreneurial community: meet the other grad students looking to make a career out of solving problems and meet Rice faculty and partners who want to support you throughout your Rice journey. No cost to participate.
Click here for more info.

7th SCI Summer Research Colloquium

Date: August 13, 2021

The purpose of the Smalley-Curl Institute Summer Research Colloquium is to provide undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers working at Rice with an opportunity to present their most recent work.
Click here for more info.

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