Northeastern’s award-winning coastal research campus in Massachusetts faces public vote

The residents of Nahant, Mass. will vote this weekend on whether to seize part of the property where Northeastern’s Marine Science Center conducts vital, cutting-edge research to improve the sustainability of coastal communities facing the effects of climate change.

As coastal communities face increasingly complex threats, such as flooding due to storm surge and rising sea levels, deteriorating water quality, and over-fishing, the center has been an active partner in developing sustainable solutions.

Northeastern plans to expand the center, located at the tip of a small peninsula that juts into Massachusetts Bay, to provide researchers with state-of-the-art tools and facilities to enhance the impact of this critically important work.

Read the full story at [email protected].

Cross-COS Colloquium

Please join us for our monthly Cross-COS Colloquium on Thursday, May 20 at 3:00pm. This series features our world-class faculty showcasing their interdisciplinary research, and their professional journeys.

On Thursday, the College of Science will feature Dr. Steven Lopez, Assistant Professor of Chemistry as he discusses Sustainable Chemistry through Computations and Machine Learning and answers questions following his presentation.

Scialog’s Newest Bioimaging Fellow: Dr. Bryan Spring

Bryan Spring
Dr. Bryan Spring
Image Credit: Northeastern University College of Science

Northeastern’s Spring lab boasts the impressive goal of defeating drug resistance. Under the direction of Dr. Bryan Spring, the group uses optical image-guided photomedicine to target drug-resistant cancer cells. This research, along with Dr. Spring’s previous work at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has awarded him a Scialog fellowship. Scialog, short for science and dialog, was founded in 2010 by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) organization. The Scialog platform is a collection of early-career scholars from different disciplines and institutions across Canada and the United States.

Dr. Spring was chosen along 55 other researchers to participate in Scialog’s newest initiative: Advanced Bioimaging. The purpose of this program is to provide a space for collaboration to address challenges facing bioimaging in the medical sphere. A large part of the initiative is conferences. At these events, cross-disciplinary teams design research initiatives that they then present to committees of leading scientists which identify high-impact projects to receive funding. Dr. Springer sees this as a welcome challenge: “what draws me is the fun of it, to get people together with disparate perspectives and see what comes out of it.”

micro laser scanner
Micro Laser Scanner [“The Spring Lab uses optics in their research. Pictured here is their Micro Laser Scanner”/Image Credit: Spring Lab]

The contributions Dr. Spring’s research brings to the community are tremendous. Currently, the focus of the lab is creating a model that aids the development of novel photomedicine cancer treatments. Certain types of cancers are extremely difficult to detect and can persist in the area from which a tumor is removed. Cancer cells left behind from a tumor can become resistant to traditional chemotherapies and regrow. Dr. Spring’s approach is to figure out what phenotypes these cells are expressing and target them directly with new treatments. This approach is significantly healthier for the patient than traditional chemotherapy. Generally, chemotherapy consists of one drug; clinicians flood the body with as much drug as the body can take, and hope that this kills the cancer cells. This approach, however, has severely damaging effects and can significantly reduce the quality of life of the patient.

optics system
Optics System [“The Spring Lab uses an extensive optics system in their research. Pictured here is part of the setup ”/Image Credit: Spring Lab]

The Spring lab uses antibodies from the patient’s own immune system to target cells. These antibodies are loaded onto a molecule which migrates into the cancerous tissue, which can then be seen with their fluoroscopy imaging technology. If the researchers can see which kind of cells are present in the tumors, they can more directly target them with therapies. This targeted therapy can provide a much less harmful method of treating disease but nevertheless is “really complicated science, a lot of things have to come together for it to work,” according to Dr. Spring. His current work focuses on developing new models of chemo-resistant ovarian cancer.

Bringing this cutting-edge research to Scialog represents a new chapter of collaboration for Dr. Spring. His optimism is evident –“if we do a good job, the confusion will turn into creativity that no one could have thought of alone.” Congratulations to Dr. Bryan Springer and his team for this great achievement

The 2021 Huntington 100 class honors student leadership

A computer science major described by a dean as an “intellectually curious scholar” and a Russian-born business major who worked on global marketing campaigns for big companies while on co-op were among this year’s undergraduate and graduate students inducted into Northeastern’s exclusive Huntington 100 club at an in-person ceremony Thursday.

Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, called the honorees a community of the university’s “most influential leaders” in areas such as academics, research, and athletics. “You are models for the rest of the students, not only now, but in the future,” he said.

More than 800 students—the most ever in the 15-year history of the Huntington 100—were nominated by fellow students, faculty, staff, advisors, coaches, and employers. The 2021 class included inductees from 2020, whose ceremony was canceled because of the pandemic.

Congratulations to the following College of Science students:

  • Cassandra Barrett
  • Brian Best
  • Daem Celestin
  • Bradley Colarusso
  • Efosa Enoma
  • Tyreke Gaston
  • Rebecca Gluck
  • Jason Hirsch
  • Ishaan Lohia
  • John Mwangi
  • PhiYen Nguyen
  • Allison Noble
  • Morgan Pfaff
  • Victoria Shen
  • Mia Sherer

Read the full article at [email protected]

Seeing the Future: Microsoft Partnership allows Professor Jared Auclair to bring Mixed Reality to the Classroom

Jared auclair
Professor Jared Auclair wearing the HoloLens, putting together a presentation on pipetting in the lab.

The technology of the future is here—Microsoft’s new mixed reality device, the HoloLens, is in the palms of Northeastern’s hands and Professor Jared Auclair is testing its power in the classroom and beyond.

In 2015, Microsoft announced the advent of their mixed reality invention—a pair of goggles that put information and experience directly in front of the user. NASA and Lowe’s Home Improvement were some of Microsoft’s initial partners, showing the power of mixed reality in the realm of commercial business and scientific research.

Professor Auclair was well aware of this technology’s potential for innovation at Northeastern. As the Associate Dean of Professional Programs for Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Chemistry, and Chemical Biology, Auclair is always asking “What kind of cool opportunities are there in the research and education space and how can we leverage that kind of technology at Northeastern?”

Auclair came to Northeastern in 2013 as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Jeff Agar, extensively studying mass spectrometry. He then transitioned to the Director of Northeastern’s Biotechnology Professional Science Master’s and Biopharmaceutical Analytical Sciences Certificate Programs out of Northeastern’s campus in Burlington, MA. There, he works in the Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory (BATL), where the HoloLens has been an integral part of innovation in biotechnology education.

In a video for Northeastern, Auclair describes incorporating the HoloLens into teaching basic lab techniques, such as pipetting, a necessary skill in the biotech industry. In his course, he demonstrates pipetting to students through the HoloLens’s remote assist and guide programs.

In remote assist, Auclair can wear the mixed reality glasses and host a meeting where the participants can see everything in front of him and annotate the screen to ask questions. “What are these called?” a student might ask and circle a pipette tip box in front of Auclair. On the goggles, Auclair can see what the student has annotated and give an explanation in the meeting, as well as demonstrate how to attach a pipette tip to the end of a pipette.

This incredible technology was useful when virtual learning became common place over the last year. In this case, the HoloLens has been used to guide students through pipetting demonstrations without being in the lab. In a guide program, the HoloLens can walk the student through a series of prompts and indicate how to complete tasks in front of the student, such as using a pipette to dilute a solution accurately.

“I think there is an opportunity to leverage [the HoloLens] in some of the lab classes we do to enhance the experience, not to replace the lab experience,” Auclair said. While working in a lab is always the best learning experience, the HoloLens provides an individualized platform that makes an excellent substitute.

The applications of this tool are endless. On top of being an educational tool, Auclair discussed its usefulness in other areas as well.

“My instrumentation broke. I can call the engineer on my headset, and have them see what I’m seeing, and they can walk me through a repair,” Auclair said. This method would save money and time for labs relying on essential equipment, such as an immense, complex mass spectrometer, as Auclair has experienced in previous research.

Despite the new and exciting nature of the HoloLens, there are challenges and drawbacks. As Auclair mentioned, “the technology was not developed with education in mind, so we would love to have more analytics on the back end so we can learn about the way people are learning through the HoloLens.” Through their agreement, Northeastern and Auclair are working with Microsoft to provide feedback on the educational elements of the tool.

Alternatively, Microsoft has contracted its services to the U. S. Army (a deal that could be worth up to $21.9 billion dollars over the next 10 years), designing a version of the HoloLens specifically for field training. This was met with strong opposition by engineers and employees who worked with the device, claiming that they “have now lost their ability to make decisions about what they work on, instead finding themselves implicated as war profiteers.”

Technology is intensely complicated in nature and with a device as progressive in the mixed reality space as the HoloLens, there will be ways to apply it across many fields, the good, the bad, and the in-between alike.

For Professor Jared Auclair and his students, the HoloLens has made biotechnology training easier both before and after the pandemic, and it will continue to be influential across the university in building virtual education platforms.

“This is a huge benefit of what Northeastern is able to do and bring to their students.” Auclair said. “I think that we are just scratching the surface of what this technology can do educationally for us and research wise. I think it is an exciting opportunity and time to really see what we can do together.”

Joint Special Colloquium: The Weird World of Quantum Matter

Joint special colloquium by College of Science and College of Engineering featuring guest speaker Professor Prineha Narang, Harvard University.

Quantum materials host many spectacular functionalities enabled by their unusual excited-state and nonequilibrium quantum effects. Understanding these phenomena that involve a variety of time and length scales has remained elusive. My research focuses on addressing this grand challenge by developing next-generation, predictive theoretical and computational approaches at the frontiers of quantum science and engineering [1-3] and paves the way for technologies ranging from scalable quantum information processing and networks, to ultra-high efficiency optoelectronic and energy conversion systems. I will discuss how this research is helping unravel the microscopic dynamics, decoherence and optically excited collective phenomena in quantum matter. I will also present selected examples of our ab initio design and control of active defects in quantum materials and our predictions of linear and nonlinear dynamics and transport in topological semimetals. Finally, I will comment on driving quantum matter far out-of-equilibrium to control complex coupled degrees-of-freedom.

First-of-its-kind nanosensor could help diagnosis and treatment of neurological disease

Every movement in the human body—from lifting our arms to our beating hearts—is regulated in some way by signals from our brains. Until recently, scientists often tracked and understood that brain-body communication only after the fact, sort of like listening to a voicemail as opposed to being on a call.

But researchers at Northeastern have developed a new type of nanosensor that allows scientists to image communication between the brain and the body in real time. They now can listen in on the call.

Heather Clark, professor of bioengineering and chemistry at Northeastern, and James Monaghan, associate professor of biology, along with colleagues at Northeastern and researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, developed a DNA-based nanosensor that detects a specific neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, as it’s released and picked up by target cells in living animals. They published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month.

Read the full story at [email protected]

Huskies Wellness Week

Welcome to Huskies Wellness Week, a personal retreat that will leave you feeling refreshed and empowered from the comfort of your own home. Build some ‘you time’ into your days through a lineup of exclusive programming, hosted by the Northeastern Boston Community. Share your progress with our Instagram gameboard—designed for us to stay on track together—for the chance to win a prize.

The winner will be selected on Monday, May 17 by 12pm EST and contacted via email by Ilana Gensler, MA’19, Assistant Director, Affinity and Domestic Engagement.

Learn more about the event and register here:

Plant Shift Initiative

There is no debate that in order to combat climate change we need to think of creative solutions. Join us on Earth Day, April 22nd, to hear more about the Plant Shift Initiative which is dedicated to spark new “plant-based” ideas in all forms of productions and activities.

For decades, entrepreneurs and leaders have invented new systems to minimize the carbon footprint in every part of our lives. To kick off this series, we will hear from disrupters Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, PNT’23, Co-Founder and Director of Natural Order Acquisition Corp., Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, and Paul Watson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sea Shepherd. They will share with you how they engineered new designs and systems within their industries to be more plant-based.


Register for the event here:

COS Dean’s Graduate Student Awards Ceremony

College of Science Dean, Hazel Sive, invites you to an end of year graduate student virtual recognition ceremony. Join us in celebrating the end of the year and learning more about your fellow classmates accomplishments, while we honor the recipients of the Dean’s Awards for Graduate Student Excellence.

The Following Students will be Recognized for their Achievement:

Ivy Nguyen, Nanomedicine Certificate Candidate

Anindita Maiti, Physics PhD Candidate
Timothy Duerr, Biology PhD Candidate

Jessica Leffers, Psychology PhD Candidate

Meghana Bantwal, Biotechnology MS Candidate

Andrea Unzueta Martinez, Marine & Environmental Science
PhD Candidate

ADSE Trivia Night

Join ADSE for a graduate student virtual trivia night on April 15th from 6:00-8:00 pm and help us support a local Black-owned business! Form a team of up to 4 members and answer a total of 30 questions on variable topics.

1st place: $25 to each team member
2nd place: $20 to each team member
3rd place: $15 to each team member

The first 25 people to register that attend the event will also receive a $5 gift card from Delectable Desires, a highly acclaimed Black-Owned pastry shop in Roxbury.

Cross COS Colloquium: Not All Nitrogen is Created Equal

Not All Nitrogen is Created Equal: Nutrient Enrichment and the Biogeochemistry of Coastal Systems.

Featuring Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Bowen

Zoom Link:

A Conversation with Dr. Jared Auclair

In March of 2020 the University, like the rest of the world, had to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and closed her North American campuses. From that moment the University started to plan for the Fall 2020 semester. Come learn more about the process and how specifically the University spun up its own SARS-CoV-2 testing lab as part of the efforts to reopen campus and keep the community safe.

Northeastern University Virtual Graduate Open House

This year’s Virtual Graduate Open House is expanding to three informational and inspirational days. You’ll be able to meet and connect with faculty, staff, students, and admissions representatives to learn more about the university and how we can help your academic journey and career.