CNS Women in Science Initiative

The CNS Women in Science Initiative (WISI) focuses on increasing the success of women scientists at all stages of their academic careers. WISI offers special programs and events, and connects women scientists through campus organizations and community outreach, and provides helpful off-campus resources for women scientists.

Haiying Gao, Geosciences, was guest editor of a special focus section in the September-October 2015 issue of Seismological Research Letters on the Cascadia Initiative, a four-year deployment of seismometers onshore and offshore in the Pacific Northwest. She says the initiative's preliminary report helps scientists understand what is happening with the two tectonic plates that are colliding in that region and that the new information probably won’t help predict the next big earthquake in the region but it will be helpful in assessing and mitigating tsunamic hazards. Phys.org

Sandra Petersen, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, has received a two-year, $419,000 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study the CUG binding protein 2 gene, which may provide new insights into the effects estrogens and dioxin during fetal development can have on such endpoints as early ovarian failure and neurodegenerative diseases that may appear decades later. Republican, News release

Susan Kraus Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, says professional football fans in New England may be the only people in the country who think New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady played no role in using slightly deflated footballs in a playoff game. She says sports fans develop an in-group bias in favor of their local team that helps them overlook any shortcomings. International Business Times

Rebecca Spencer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the researchers in her Cognition and Action lab investigate the function of sleep as it relates to cognitive performance in memory, decision-making, emotion processing, and learning. Spencer says to think twice before cutting ourselves short on sleep, as it can have serious implications for learning, decision-making, and other cognitive functions, as featured in Research Next.

Anne G. Stengle, a doctoral student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, was interviewed about a mysterious fungus that is killing snakes in at least nine eastern states that has been found in all five rattlesnake populations in Massachusetts, but it doesn’t appear to be causing the high mortality rates reported elsewhere. She is overseeing a federal grant that funds research into the phenomenon. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Spokane Spokesman-Review, WBUR, WBZ-TV 4, Yahoo.com, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Republican