Planting a research center in the arboretum

first_imgAs blossoms unfurl at the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard’s plant scientists are welcoming the opening of more than just flowers this spring, as the Arboretum’s new Weld Hill Research Building fills with staff, scientists, and sophisticated equipment.The 44,000-square-foot building received final approvals from Boston in December, and since then has been awash in moving boxes and crates. One of the first occupants was the arboretum’s new director, William “Ned” Friedman, the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.Friedman, an esteemed botanist who came to Harvard from the University of Colorado, took over the arboretum’s leadership in January, his start dovetailing nicely with that of the building that will be his new home.During a walk through the building shortly after his arrival, Friedman enthusiastically showed the new labs and equipment, and spoke of the community he hopes will grow among scientists who work in the open, shared laboratory spaces.“By getting the walls out of here, there’s a social component. The goal is to have people mixing,” Friedman said. “If you’re in your own office and the door is closed, you can’t have a conversation with someone else.”The building allows the arboretum’s researchers, who moved from offices at the Cambridge campus, to share space with those in charge of managing the collections, who had been based at the arboretum.  Researchers and graduate students began moving to their new offices in January, even as the new laboratory equipment was arriving.“The most joyful thing in the world is having a new microscope,” Friedman said. “My postdoc is a microscopist; he’s just about passing out with all the new equipment.”The new building has enough extra room, Friedman said, that there is space for visiting scholars from other institutions and for undergraduates pursuing plant science research.In order to bridge the physical distance between the arboretum, which is in Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods, and the Cambridge campus, a shuttle van will be used to ferry students or entire classes for lessons that draw on the arboretum’s resources.“Without students here, this wouldn’t be a University,” Friedman said. “There are chances to do undergraduate honors theses based on these resources. My goal is that every undergraduate honors project should be publishable and should lead to a next step.”An advantage of the new building is its proximity to the arboretum’s living collection, Friedman said. While the arboretum doubles as a city park and an important part of Boston’s string of parks called the Emerald Necklace, it also is one of the world’s pre-eminent collections of woody plants. As a living collection, the arboretum also includes other forms of life, such as fungi and insects, that can be studied by researchers at Weld Hill.“Out there are not just lots of plants, but incredible numbers of insect, fungal, and microbial species. We have 275 acres of biodiversity,” Friedman said.The building also has a dozen greenhouses where some specimens can be grown and others collected from the field can be raised, including for Friedman’s own research into the origin of flowering plants, collected in New Caledonia.Doctoral student Becky Povilus and postdoctoral fellow Julien Bachelier moved to Harvard from the University of Colorado to continue their work with Friedman and were among the first to settle into the new building. Bachelier said it was “everything we heard, but better,” while Povilus said having the arboretum nearby was a plus, as it is a place to both collect samples and to walk around and get ideas for new avenues of research.For the next few months, Friedman said, the staff will focus on getting researchers situated and their work under way. A major emphasis, Friedman said, is to further develop relationships with the community through activities such as open houses and the new director’s lecture series.last_img read more

Nobel Peace Prize laureate joins IGLP Honorary Council at HLS

first_imgThe Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School recently welcomed Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste José Manuel Ramos-Horta to the IGLP Honorary Council.As a member of the honorary council, Ramos-Horta will advise the IGLP, strengthen its ability to mentor young scholars, and join in discussions with doctoral and graduate students working in the fields of economic development, social justice and global political economy.Said HLS Professor and IGLP Faculty Director David Kennedy: “Ramos-Horta’s appointment is representative of the Institute’s strong commitment to engage leading public officials and policy practitioners thinking about global governance, social justice and economic policy in new ways. His expertise in the areas of diplomacy, democracy, human rights, mediation, and peace initiatives will enhance the institute’s research into the ways in which injustice can be reproduced and what can be done in response.”last_img read more

Are you HARPing?

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) expires at the end of 2015. It’s been a great opportunity for millions of Americans to refinance to lower rates even when they owed more than the value of the home. But some estimates indicate there are still millions of eligible borrowers who have not taken advantage of it. Is this an opportunity for Credit Unions to be memberlicious?I think so………….HARP is truly a great program for borrowers. It can save them hundreds of dollars on a monthly payment or reduce the term of their loan. There are criteria to qualify for HARP, but the main points are below:A borrower eligible for HARP if they meet all of the following criteria:The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80%.The borrower must be current on the mortgage at the time of the refinance, with a good payment history in the past 12 months. continue reading »last_img read more

Beware of dangerous Jaguars, Hope warns

first_imgPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Newly appointed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain Kyle Hope says last weekend’s comprehensive win in the Regional four-day championship has lifted the confidence levels of his side but has warned them to beware of the dangerous Guyana Jaguars whom they clash with starting here today.Red Force trounced a hapless Windward Islands Volcanoes by 172 runs to break a run of poor form and haul themselves off the bottom of the standings into fourth spot.But Hope, who led Red Force for the first time last weekend, said he was under no illusions about the size of the task coming up against Jaguars.“The team is in high spirits after the win against the Windward Islands Volcanoes, but we understand that the Guyana Jaguars will be a completely different challenge,” the Barbadian pointed out.He added: “I am expecting another competitive game. Guyana are currently on a high and have been playing good cricket in the Four-Day format for quite some time.“However, a few of our guys have been coming into form with the bat and ball and once we execute on the field we will give ourselves the best chance of winning.”Not only did Hope make a winning start to his captaincy tenure but the victory also coincided with the right-hander’s maiden first class hundred.The innings – an unbeaten 105 in the second innings – helped Red Force set Volcanoes a massive 375 to win.Hope said the handsome victory spoke volumes about how the squad had embraced him as the new captain.“The team has been responding well to me being named skipper. I think the game against the Windward Islands is a good indication of the team’s response to my elevation as captain as well as the unity of our squad,” he noted.“Coming from the position we were in at the beginning of that game and to pull off such a victory speaks well for our dressing room.“After not having the best first half to the season, getting a win under our belt was a great confidence-booster. All praises must go to the team.”Two-time defending champions Jaguars, who trounced Jamaica Scorpions in Kingston, top the standings with 84.8 points with Scorpions second on 73 points.Barbados Pride’s win over Leeward Islands Hurricanes in Bridgetown left them third on 68 points with Red Force fourth on 53.6 points.last_img read more

Ravens’ Suggs thrives on being “bad guy” in Pittsburgh

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — You get the sense Terrell Suggs would have made one heck of a professional wrestler in another life, walking to the ring while playing to the crowd — the man everybody loves to hate.That hatred pulsates nowhere quite like it does at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where the Ravens linebacker’s impact is very real, unlike the heel wrestler cutting a scripted promo or using a steel folding chair when the referee isn’t looking.Suggs is perfectly fine with the hostility and the crude gestures. In fact, he loves it all.“This is my Madison Square Garden,” Suggs said. “I love playing in this stadium. I love the way the people treat me, the welcoming they give me with the [No. 1 fingers] — think of it. I love it. We’re going on the road in probably the toughest stadium to play in in the NFL. We’re expecting a physical football game, and this is football. I guarantee you the NFL, the world will stop for this game, and everybody wants to see it.”Though not quite the Super Bowl — or Wrestlemania, for that matter — all eyes will be glued to the Ravens’ second meeting with the Steelers on Sunday night with Suggs figuring to play a prominent role as he always does against Pittsburgh. Past characters such as Shannon Sharpe, Tony Siragusa, and Chris McAlister have long moved on, but Suggs still carries the torch as the loudest talker on the Baltimore side of the biggest rivalry going in the NFL.And the 28-year-old linebacker expects an angry Pittsburgh team with the bad taste of a 35-7 beating the Ravens gave them in Baltimore less than two months ago still lingering in the Steelers’ mouths.“They’ve already declared war on us,” Suggs said. “We’re taking 53 men to the apocalypse and we ain’t bringing flowers. We’re going to make it as hard as we can for them to get organized.”If anybody can say whatever he wants to Pittsburgh, it’s the one-man wrecking crew Suggs has been against Ben Roethlisberger. Including the playoffs, Suggs has sacked the Steelers quarterback 15 1/2 times, the most any NFL defender has gotten to the two-time Super Bowl winner.Suggs has accumulated 13 1/2 sacks in 17 regular-season games against Pittsburgh, the most he has against any opponent and the most any active player has collected against the Steelers. The trend continued in Week 1 as the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker compiled three sacks and forced two fumbles to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in the dominating victory in Baltimore.His six sacks has led a renaissance in the Baltimore pass rush in which the Ravens have collected 25 sacks through their first seven games, the best start in franchise history and two fewer sacks than the defense had all of last season. While Suggs has likely benefited from improved outputs by other veterans and contributions from young players, there’s no doubt the Ravens’ leading pass rusher makes the job of everyone else far easier.“We’ve had more one-on-one wins,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Our pass rushers have done a better job of winning some one-on-one battles. That’s all those guys. You look at the young guys along with Terrell Suggs, all those guys have done a good job in one-on-one situations of beating the man over them.”In his last trip to Heinz Field, the Ravens’ 31-24 divisional playoff loss last January, Suggs tallied a playoff career-high three sacks, which trumped his previous two-sack performance in the 2008 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh.Even with tremendous individual success against Pittsburgh, the hunger is visible in Suggs’ eyes as he talks about the Ravens’ aspirations to reach the Super Bowl, acknowledging the team standing in their way nearly every season. Metaphors and WWE promos aside, the facts are very real when it comes to the Ravens’ past failures against Pittsburgh when it matters most.Continue >>>last_img read more