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Breakthroughs

Research Roundup

Center Dedicated to the Search for Life in the Universe

With a $7.5 million grant from NASA, Rensselaer in December launched the New York Center for Astrobiology, which will be part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The center is devoted to investigating the origins of life on Earth and the conditions that lead to the formation of habitable planets in our own and other solar systems. The center, led by Douglas Whittet, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy, includes researchers and students from a variety of research backgrounds and universities, including the University at Albany, Syracuse University, the University of South Dakota, and the University of Arizona. Researchers and students within the center will seek to understand the chemical, physical, and geological conditions of early Earth that set the stage for life on our planet.

NIH Grant Supports Research Into Mapping the Brain

A multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Badri Roysam, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, has secured a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new, open source software toolkit for analyzing 3-D multichannel brain images—a critical step toward the development of a viable brain implant. The multiyear project aims to arm biologists and other brain experts with the ability to better map, understand, and quantify the complex interactions between the components of brain tissue and their different functions.

Con Edison Joins LRC Partners Program

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) has welcomed Con Edison as the newest member of the LRC Partners Program, which is designed to coordinate the efforts of public and private organizations to advance lighting research, education, and technology. Con Edison, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, has served metropolitan New York for more than 180 years. Con Edison will enhance customer offerings through new, sustainable lighting technologies and applications developed and demonstrated through its LRC Partnership. The company has a long history with the LRC that includes funding specific lighting and energy projects, education seminars and demonstrations.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.