Fisk University and Vanderbilt University are planning a bridge program focused on courses in natural science, mathematics or computer science.
The program would include a Fisk undergraduate degree — weighted toward courses in natural science, mathematics or computer science — obtained within three years. The degree would be followed by a master's degree in computer science from Fisk, bridging to a biomedical informatics Ph.D. from Vanderbilt.
The proposed program, which would begin enrolling students in fall 2015 at the earliest, would expand the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program established in 2004 and currently bridging Fisk masters programs to Vanderbilt doctoral programs in astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and materials science.
“Perhaps because of the relative newness and interdisciplinary character of biomedical informatics, most entering undergraduates aren’t aware of the role that this field has in advancing health care and biomedical science, nor of this growing field’s tremendous need for experts and leaders,” said Dr. Lee Limbird, dean of the Fisk School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Business and interim dean for graduate studies.
“With this proposed training program, we want to begin addressing that deficit of awareness and help fill the pipeline with talented students of color,” Limbird added.
Paul Govern and vanderbilt.edu have more here.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $3.6 grant to a team of scientists and engineers that includes Nabil Simaan, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University.
The grant will cover work on the five-year project, called Complementary Situational Awareness for Human-Robot Partnerships. The effort will involve a close collaboration among research teams directed by Simaan; Howie Choset, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University; and Russell Taylor, the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University.
Providing surgical robots with a new kind of machine intelligence that significantly extends their capabilities and makes them much easier and more intuitive for surgeons to operate is the goal of the team, the grant awarded to which is part of the National Robotics Initiative.
“Our goal is to establish a new concept called complementary situational awareness,” Simaan (pictured) said in a release. “Complementary situational awareness refers to the robot’s ability to gather sensory information as it works and to use this information to guide its actions.”
One of the project’s objectives, according to Vanderbilt, is to restore the type of awareness surgeons have during open surgery – where they can directly see and touch internal organs and tissue – which they have lost with the advent of minimally invasive surgery because they must work through small incisions in a patient’s skin. Minimally invasive surgery has become increasingly common because patients experience less pain, blood loss and trauma, recover more quickly and get fewer infections, and is less expensive than open surgery.
Surgeons have attempted to compensate for the loss of direct sensory feedback through pre-operative imaging, where they use techniques like MRI, X-ray imaging and ultrasound to map the internal structure of the body before they operate, VU reports. They have employed miniaturized lights and cameras to provide them with visual images of the tissue immediately in front of surgical probes. They have also developed methods that track the position of the probe as they operate and plot its position on pre-operative maps.
Simaan, Choset and Taylor intend to take these efforts to the next level, creating a system that acquires data from a number of different types of sensors as an operation is underway and integrates them with pre-operative information to produce dynamic, real time maps that precisely track the position of the robot probe and show how the tissue in its vicinity responds to its movements, VU reports.
For example, adding pressure sensors to robot probes will provide real time information on how much force the probe is exerting against the tissue surrounding it, VU reports. Not only does this make it easier to work without injuring the tissue but it can also be used to “palpate” tissue to search for hidden tumor edges, arteries and aneurisms. Such sensor data can also feed into computer simulations that predict how various body parts shift in response to the probe’s movements.
Vanderbilt University's endowment posted a gain of more than 9 percent in the year ended June 30, thanks in good part to growth in its international stock portfolio. Rob Kozlowski of Pensions & Investments writes that the university's investment managers want to further grow their exposure to global markets.
Vanderbilt University has seen the overall green house gas emissions from the campus and medical center decrease by 19 percent from an all-time high reached in 2008.
In addition, GHC emission on the campus dropped by 14 percent from 2005 to 2012, even though Vanderbilt has seen significant growth in square footage, staff, students and research dollars since 2008. When growth is taken into account, GHG reductions are down more than 25 percent.
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Popular Mechanics has named Vanderbilt University's Michael Goldfarb, the H. Fort Flowers professor of mechanical engineering, one of its “Ten Innovators Who Changed The World” for 2013. Read more here.
Analysts at Fitch Ratings have affirmed their top-shelf rating on the commercial paper portfolio of Vanderbilt University, saying the university — where the flagship medical complex has had a rough year — remains on a sound financial footing overall.
To supplement internal liquidity sources, the university maintains the ability to draw on dedicated hybrid lines of credit in the aggregate amount of $400 million. Of Vanderbilt's substantial cash and investments, approximately $832.6 million, [...] was available on a same- or next-day basis as of Sept. 30, 2013.
Two of the four former Vanderbilt football players charged in the alleged rape of a female student have a trial date.
Brandon Vandenburg and Corey Batey will stand trial on aggravated rape charges on Aug. 11. But co-defendants Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks have had their cases severed and are now expected to testify against Vandenburg and Batey.
All four are free on bond.
Before charges were even brought, Vanderbilt removed the four players from the football squad. A fifth player, starting wide receiver Chris Boyd, was also dismissed after he pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact.