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The Brain’s Cartographer
Neuroscience research has made great strides because of advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Now, thanks to a $1.8 million award from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers–Newark will house the Siemens Trio 3T MRI scanner, which will be available to researchers on all three campuses, as well as nearby institutions, beginning this month.

The fMRI technology allows scientists to get precise measurements of major neural pathways and reveals what parts of the brain are used to undertake tasks, process information, or recall events or emotions. “An fMRI will allow the university to contribute to the scientific community on a level equal to other prestigious research institutions,” says Stephen J. Hanson, professor in the Department of Psychology in Newark and principal investigator of the grant proposal.

Highly Mobile
The National Science Foundation again turned to Rutgers when it awarded a three-year, $7.5 million grant to a Rutgers-led research team to develop an internet design that optimizes mobile networking and communication. MobilityFirst reflects the internet’s movement away from wired connections to wireless data services on mobile platforms.

“The mobile internet will do much more than support today’s impressive lineup of smart cellular phones,” says Dipankar Raychaudhuri, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Rutgers’ Wireless Information Network Laboratory. “It will simplify people’s interactions with their physical world.” The MobilityFirst team is one of four selected by the National Science Foundation to participate in its Future Internet Architecture program.

The Race for Another Cure
The National Institutes of Health gave a $3.3 million grant to a research team that includes Rutgers to improve prostate cancer imaging. The goal is to develop technology to pinpoint suspected cancerous tissue by means of magnetic resonance images, used before a biopsy or treatment, and ultrasound images, used during the procedure.

Urologists currently rely on ultrasound imagery as a guide to look at the prostate in order to sample tissue. However, ultrasound cannot reveal the presence or location of suspicious tissue inside the gland. If biopsy samples don’t reveal cancerous tissue, cancer may nonetheless still be present. “As a result, urologists aren’t always confident about ruling out cancer after a negative biopsy guided by conventional ultrasound,” says Anant Madabhushi, an associate professor in the Depart­ment of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering and coinvestigator of the grant.

A Clear View of Progress
A project between Rutgers and a Seattle-based firm to develop one of the most advanced electron microscopes in the world was one of 100 projects cited by the Obama administration as an example of the best of the American Recovery and Reinvest­ment Act of 2009. The project, funded through a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and Rutgers, will lead to the development of a microscope with many applications, from helping to design more efficient batteries to fostering chemical reactions to produce hydrogen while preparing the next generation of scientists.

“This instrument will let us look at how the atoms affect the operation of the things we make at the nanoscale,” says Philip E. Batson, the principal investigator who is affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices, and Nanotechnology and a research professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering. The project is expected to be completed in 2012.