New Developments in Development Studies at KU

My opening lecture to KU Masters of Development students

My opening lecture to KU Masters of Development students


Namascar,
My first two weeks at KU School of Arts gave me cause for excitement. While GIS had fallen out of use at the campus months previously, a number of people had continued to think of ways to apply geospatial methods to their work. One PHD candidate wanted to digitize a map of internal migration between various Village Development Communities (VDC’s) in rural Nepal. A different graduate student approached me about monitoring land use change to predict future resource constraints. These are encouraging signs that KU remains a potential incubator for social science GIS research in Nepal. Another such organization is Young Innovations (YI), the technical arm of the Open Nepal Movement, which aims to increase transparency and access to information to improve foreign aid and government finance planning. The parallels between Young Innovations and AidData are striking, so I was extremely pleased to meet a member of YI on my second day at the university.

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Results: Algae Craft

The whirlwind of summer research has come to a close and I can talk about some of the progress we have made. Right up until the last day of research we were adding adjustments to the craft and fixing everything to get it ready to go out onto the York River. The last we week we completed installing the rest of our craft with the substantial supports and safety chains to make sure if the cross pieces came off the poles they would still be fastened to the craft. We implemented a much simpler yet still secure design where we could take the screens off by just unscrewing one screw. Once we finished the adjustments we took out our screens so that we could tow the craft into the river without tearing the screens. We were able to clearly see all the algae that we had grown and note the growth. We were not as concerned about how much algae was growing or what type of algae it was, which would be more of the focus when we started to harvest the algae. We cleared the screens of the algae and secured them to the craft.

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Introduction to Kathmandu University School of Arts

Fine Arts building (with sculptures) at left, Development Studies Department at center.

Fine Arts building (note sculptures) at left, Development Studies Department at center.

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Almost done!

I am excited to be wrapping up my summer research at Dana Farber next week. My results thus far have thoroughly helped to answer the question that I began the summer interested in.  I have extensively been studying the TNFa receptor that mediates extrinsic apoptosis (cell death) and have found that when blocking the receptor in breast cancer cells, apoptosis is prevented, but when you solely add the receptor to a negative control, apoptosis is not induced, indicating that TNFa is necessary for cell death to occur, but is not sufficient.  I will continue studying the receptor throughout my last week here as well as begin looking into other proteins and post translational modifications that when coupled with TNFa will induce apoptosis.

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