Adam Cohen receives 2014 Blavatnik Award

first_imgAdam Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, has been named one of three winners of the 2014 Blavatnik National Awards, which honor young scientists and engineers who have demonstrated important insights in their respective fields and who show exceptional promise going forward.Cohen’s research is centered on developing new methods for investigating molecules and cells, and ranges across disciples from pure biology to quantum mechanics.Much of his current work uses microscopy and lasers to develop noninvasive methods of visualizing and studying neural circuits in the brain. This new technique will help answer questions about how electrical signals propagate and one day could lead to the design of individualized treatments for diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and bipolar disorders.Cohen is also responsible for the discovery of a new property of electromagnetic fields — optical chirality, which determines the degree of chiral selectivity in the interaction of light with chiral molecules — and the invention of a system capable of trapping and manipulating individual fluorescent molecules in solution at room temperature.Researchers in Cohen’s lab are now studying chemical reactions whose outcome is exquisitely sensitive to small magnetic fields, a consequence of quantum coherence in a room-temperature liquid.“Modern chemistry often demands scientists achieve technical specialization in a narrow field,” said Vern Schramm, Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and a member of the 2014 Blavatnik Awards National Jury. “In his laboratory at Harvard, Adam Cohen breaks this mold by achieving breakthroughs in cellular imaging of electrical currents, new optical properties of light, manipulation of single molecules, and control of chemical reactions with magnetic fields. He is recognized as one of the nation’s most promising young scientists.”“This is a huge surprise and a wonderful honor,” Cohen said last week, after learning of the award. “The prize really belongs to the many students and postdocs in my lab and in my collaborators’ labs. Their incredible creativity and hard work led to the discoveries that form the basis for the award.“This award will give my lab freedom to explore new ideas that might not otherwise attract funding,” he continued. “In a research lab, as in an orchestra, acclaim belongs more to the musicians than to the conductor. I am deeply indebted to the many scientific virtuosos who have worked and continue to work in my lab and in my many collaborators’ labs.”Cohen isn’t the only Harvard faculty member to receive the award — Rachel Wilson, professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, was also named as a recipient, as was Marin Soljačić, professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Cohen, Wilson, and Soljačić were selected from a pool of more than 300 nominations submitted by 162 of the nation’s most prominent universities and research institutions and the Blavatnik Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council. The winners were selected by a jury composed of some of the world’s most distinguished scientists and engineers.The award comes with a $250,000 prize, the largest unrestricted cash prize for early career scientists.“I’m still deciding how to spend the money,” Cohen said. “I’ll spend some of it to explore new directions where my lab has no track record — perhaps prospecting for new functional genes from exotic organisms.“I hope that the biggest impact of the award will be to inspire younger students,” he said. “The world is full of fascinating and important unsolved problems. I hope that students will see that there are still great opportunities for young people to make important discoveries.”last_img read more

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Public Urged to Adhere to Protocol for Feeding Homeless Persons in Kingston

first_img The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is urging members of the public to adhere to the protocol governing the distribution of food to homeless persons.Recently, the KSAMC published a notice in the press reminding the public that the feeding of individuals on the streets of Kingston and St. Andrew was strictly prohibited and must cease with immediate effect.Speaking at a monthly meeting of the Council on April 9, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said the policy has been in effect since September 28, 2014.He said the no-feeding policy for the homeless was prompted by the ad hoc manner in which they were being fed by members of the public.“The Council was concerned and remains concerned about both the way in which they are fed and the locations in which they are being fed and pointed to the danger, nuisance and unhygienic situations that have arisen out of the ad hoc feeding plan,” he said.Mayor Williams said during a meeting with stakeholders from various churches and voluntary organisations, all agreed that a schedule should be prepared to accommodate the feeding of as many homeless as possible each day.“What obtains now is that some persons will get up to five meals per day and some none. The KSAMC, in partnership with these stakeholders, has agreed to work out convenient places for the homeless to be fed instead of being fed on the streets,” he said.The KSAMC’s approved designated feeding areas include the Open Arms Drop-in Centre, the Marie Atkins Night Shelter, Webster Memorial United Church, Missionaries of the Poor, St. Stephen’s United Church, the Good Samaritan Inn, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, Bethel Baptist Church, East Queen Street Baptist Church and Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church.“These groups operate at specific times and days each week. The organised feeding schedule will be made available to all interested meal providers, groups, organisations or individuals. Copies have also being uploaded to all our social media platforms with email and WhatsApp blasts to the media, residents and other stakeholders as part of our public education strategy,” he said.He added that systematic coordination of charitable activities is crucial and encouraged persons to adhere to relevant guidelines. The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is urging members of the public to adhere to the protocol governing the distribution of food to homeless persons. Speaking at a monthly meeting of the Council on April 9, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said the policy has been in effect since September 28, 2014. Recently, the KSAMC published a notice in the press reminding the public that the feeding of individuals on the streets of Kingston and St. Andrew was strictly prohibited and must cease with immediate effect. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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