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SUNY Albany and SUNY Downstate Medical to offer joint nanotech degrees

A new joint M.D./Ph.D. program could be more microscope than stethoscope.
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A new joint M.D./Ph.D. program could be more microscope than stethoscope.

SUNY Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Downstate Medical Center are coming together to create a joint M.D. and Ph.D., reports Larry Rulison at the Times Union.  The goal: to create doctors who can deliver solutions to medical problems at the nano level:

SUNY Downstate President Dr. John LaRosa, known for his research in heart disease, said that medical research into nanotechnology, which looks at medicine at the atomic level, offers the same promise as research into the human gene. "I put nanomedecine in that same category," LaRosa said. "The ability to work with molecules is something that we're only at the beginning of. ... I do think this is one of the two most important areas where progress is going to be made in the next generation." LaRosa said only a small percentage of medical students decide to tackle a grueling combined M.D./Ph.D. program at SUNY Downstate. But he said the school is one of the top medical colleges in the United States for producing medical professionals who hold academic appointments. And he said 80 percent of its graduates remain in New York state for the medical careers.

The Rochester Institute of Technology made the Princeton Review's top 10 list of video game development programs, reports the Albany Business Review.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute nabbed an honorable mention.

In other RIT news, the school's institute of sustainability is teaming up with Staples to challenge university students to an international competition, inspiring university students "to develop environmentally-preferable office products."  Top prize is $25,000.

University at Buffalo
Michael Johnson at State of Politics reports that the state senate will take up the University at Buffalo's UB2020 bill today, to which many downtown revitalization hopes have been pinned:

Unlike last year’s SUNY Empowerment bill, this bill only applies to the campus of the University of Buffalo. The bill would give the university the ability to set tuition and also let the school spend more money without legislative approval.

University of Rochester Medical Center docs have found a gene that might mark diabetes in some people of European origin, reports Amanda Gardner at HealthDay:

Although it's not yet clear how the gene works, it may prove a future target for treatments, among other benefits, say the authors of a study published March 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. As with so many gene studies, however, these findings aren't likely to translate into anything clinically meaningful soon. "This shows an association between this gene and an increased risk of diabetes compared to the general population," said Dr. Steven D. Wittlin, clinical director of the endocrine-metabolism division and director of the Diabetes Service at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Cornell researchers have found that people who spent some time using Facebook in a study had higher self-esteem than people who spent time looking in the mirror (Cornell University news release, via PhysOrg):

Lead author Amy Gonzales, Ph.D. '10, conceived the study as a way to test two conflicting communication theories: Objective Self-Awareness (OSA) and the Hyperpersonal Model. The traditional OSA theory suggests that focusing attention on ourselves can have negative effects on self-esteem because it makes us aware of our limitations and shortcomings, while the more modern Hyperpersonal Model posits that self-selection of the information we choose to represent ourselves can lead to positive effects on self-esteem. The study ended up supporting the latter theory, and contributed to a better understanding of how media can alter social processes, Gonzales said. "There are not a lot of theories that have been tested within the computer-mediated communications field compared to other communications subfields, so this was exciting from a theoretical perspective," said Gonzales, now a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

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