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Kindling the Kindlers

Carnegie Science Award Recognizes PSC STEM Education Programs

March 30, 2016

PSC has received the 2016 Carnegie Science Center Award for Leadership in STEM Education. The award recognized three PSC staff members: Pallavi Ishwad, Hugh Nicholas and Alexander Ropelewski.

The Science Center established its annual awards in 1997 to recognize individuals and organizations in western Pennsylvania that have made outstanding contributions in science and technology. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Award "recognizes an individual, team or organization that demonstrates leadership in building literacy in science, technology, engineering and math."

"We're thrilled to see Hugh, Alex and Pallavi's work recognized by the STEM Leadership award," says Cheryl Begandy, PSC's director of education, outreach and training. "Their work does more than educate students in bioinformatics; by increasing awareness of this discipline, it helps prepare young people—and our workforce—for the 21st Century."

PSC's Bioinformatics Education Team has developed and implemented bioinformatics curriculums at the graduate, undergraduate and high school levels.

Read more: PSC STEM Education Program Wins Carnegie Science Award

Stitching Thought Together

PSC Powers Harvard’s, Allen Institute’s 3D-Reconstruction of Excitatory Visual Neuron Wiring

March 28, 2016

Why It’s Important:

One of the mysteries of brain function is how we make sense of the jumble of images that confront our eyes. Neuroscientists have discovered that most individual nerve cells in the brain respond to specific elements in the visual environment. For example, a nerve cell may fire in response to vertical lines—another, in response to horizontal or slanted lines. Researchers suspected that the mammalian cortex amplifies this signal by having nerve cells that respond to similar elements excite each other. This mutual excitation may help those elements stand out and prime the network for their further processing. But scientists had no anatomical evidence that this actually happens.

Read more: PSC Helps Reconstruct Visual Connections in Brain