News

Scientists generally think that reduced insulin production by the pancreas, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, is due to the death of the organ’s beta cells.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering have developed a new software that can simultaneously calculate the carbon footprints of thousands of products faster than ever before.

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford University’s School of Engineering today announced that Mark Hansen has been named East Coast director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Hansen will join Stanford engineering professor Bernd Girod, who was the founding director of the Institute and will now serve as West Coast director. Hansen's appointment is the latest in a series of moves on the part of Columbia Journalism School to expand its digital offerings.

Maria Hinojosa, a groundbreaking news anchor and reporter for NPR, PBS and CNN who has covered the marginalized and powerless in America and abroad for over 25 years, is the recipient of the 2012 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced today. Hinojosa, anchor for NPR’s \"Latino USA\" and PBS' \"Need to Know,\" was selected in recognition of the courage and independence she has shown over the course of her career reporting on those whose stories might not otherwise make it into the mainstream media. The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a reporter for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor. An eight-member committee selected Hinojosa for the award, which bestows a $25,000 prize for the winner. The award will be presented at a dinner at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York on Nov. 14, 2012. “From chronicling the Latino experience in America to investigating abuse in immigrant detention facilities and profiling child brides in India, Hinojosa has shown resilience and integrity by consistently covering critical issues that impact our society,” said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school and chair of the award’s selection committee. “Her work continues to be an example of the best of journalism. She embodies the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.” As the anchor and executive producer of her own long-running weekly NPR show, \"Latino USA,\" and anchor of the talk show \"Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One\" from WGBH/La Plaza, Hinojosa has informed millions of Americans about the growing ethnic diversity in the United States. In October 2011, she became the first Latina to anchor a FRONTLINE report on PBS. “Lost in Detention” explored the issue of deportation and immigrant detention and abuse, garnering attention from Capitol Hill to both the mainstream and Spanish-language media. Hinojosa launched the non-profit Futuro Media Group in April 2010 with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism focused on the complexity of diversity in the American experience. “America By the Numbers,” the first full length television program to be produced by the Futuro Media Group, premiers nationally on PBS on September 21, 2012 and examines how changing demographics are transforming the political landscape of our country. Previously a senior correspondent for \"NOW\" on PBS, and currently a rotating anchor for Need to Know, Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—from the immigrant work camps in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to rape in the military, to stories of the poor in Alabama. As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa was among the first to report on youth violence in urban neighborhoods. During her eight years as a CNN correspondent, Hinojosa took viewers into communities that had rarely been shown on television. “For decades Maria’s work has focused on people whose experiences and stories are not often told,” said Judy Woodruff, CoAnchor and Senior Correspondent at the PBS \"NewsHour.\" “She is an uncommon journalist who is now helping to train the next generation of journalists, in order to keep critical journalism and excellence alive in the news media.” Hinojosa has received numerous awards for her work including: three Emmys; the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged; the Studs Terkel Community Media Award; the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking “Child Brides: Stolen Lives”; and many more. She was born in Mexico City, raised in Chicago, and received her BA from Barnard College in 1984. She lives with her husband, artist German Perez, and their son and daughter in Harlem. The John Chancellor Award was established in 1995 by Ira A. Lipman, founder and chairman of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world's largest security service firms. In addition to Lipman and Dean Lemann, the selection panel includes journalists Steve Capus, John L. Dotson Jr., Hank Klibanoff, Michele Norris, and Lynn Sherr, as well as John Chancellor’s daughter Mary Chancellor. To learn more about the John Chancellor Award and this year’s awardee, Maria Hinojosa, please visit the John Chancellor Award website. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prizes, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for reporting on the Americas, and the National Magazine Awards. For nearly a century, the journalism school has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Mary Marshall Clark began noticing that a deep stillness had fallen over New York City. “It had never been so quiet,” the librarian recalls. “It was unnerving, and I wondered what lay beneath the silences.”

Michael Sheetz of Columbia University was named co-winner of this year’s Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discoveries related to cytoskeletal motor proteins, agents that move cargo within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements.

Two Columbia professors have won prestigious Lasker Foundation Awards for their work in biological sciences. 

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford University’s School of Engineering today announced that Mark Hansen has been named East Coast director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Hansen will join Stanford engineering professor Bernd Girod, who was the founding director of the Institute and will now serve as West Coast director. Hansen's appointment is the latest in a series of moves on the part of Columbia Journalism School to expand its digital offerings. “Mark Hansen has about as wide a range of interests, talents, and accomplishments as anybody I have ever met,” said Nicholas Lemann, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. “It is wonderful for the school, and for journalism, that he has decided to make the work he has been doing on the frontiers of the digital revolution in journalism into his life's work.\" Hansen joins Columbia from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he built a career working with data, including projects that ranged from formal statistical modeling and machine learning to more open-ended artistic representations. Hansen holds a PhD and MA in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis. He is a long-standing visiting researcher at The New York Times R&D Lab and in recent years he has been active as a consultant to other news organizations. He has also worked at Bell Labs, and is holder or co-holder of eight patents. “It is both humbling and thrilling to be invited here, to this historic institution, at a time when the practice of journalism is experiencing a radical reinvention,” said Hansen. “With their generous gift, David and Helen Gurley Brown challenge us to delight in these exciting times and to contribute passionately to this reinvention.” In his new role, Hansen will build a portfolio of long and short-term research projects exploring new forms of storytelling, and will award Brown Institute fellowships and grants. He will also teach courses that cast data, algorithms and computation as essential ingredients in a new journalistic practice. “Mark is one of those rare individuals who is accomplished both as scientist and an artist,” said Girod. “His work defies disciplinary boundaries and is intensely collaborative. I look forward to working together closely to realize David and Helen Gurley Brown's bold vision.” In addition to working closely with Girod, Hansen will work closely with Emily Bell, Director of Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Media. The Brown Institute was founded in January 2012, with a $30 million gift from the late Helen Gurley Brown, inspired by the memory of her late husband David Brown, a graduate of both Stanford University and the Columbia School of Journalism. The Institute’s mission is to support new endeavors to inform and entertain in transformative ways. “Mark is a fantastic choice to be the East Coast Director and will complement the great work that Bernd has started in establishing the Institute as a leading center for education, journalism and technology,” said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation. Eve Burton, Senior Vice President of Hearst Corporation and advisor to the Brown Institute who assisted in bringing the Institute to fruition, said: “David loved these institutions, and Helen celebrated great ideas and understood the power of community long before social media had a name. The Institute is the result of their shared passions.” The Institute has a distinguished board of advisors including Bennack; Burton; Bill Campbell, Columbia’s Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the Board at Intuit and an Apple Inc. board member; Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and filmmaker Stephen Spielberg. About the Graduate School of Journalism For a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists in a program that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry, and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers master of science, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees. For more information, visit www.journalism.columbia.edu About Stanford School of Engineering The Stanford School of Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century, creating pivotal technologies that have transformed the worlds of information technology, communications, medicine, energy, business and beyond. The faculty, students and alumni of Stanford Engineering have established thousands of companies and laid the technological and business foundations for Silicon Valley. Founded in 1925, the school has a tradition of pursuing multidisciplinary collaboration aimed at solving the most pressing global problems. For more information, visit http://engineering.stanford.edu/us View the press release here.

Earlier this summer, Islamic militants in the West African nation of Mali destroyed the tombs of Sufi Muslim saints in the fabled city of Timbuktu.

The Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have announced that the vast archives of Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867-1959) have been jointly acquired by the University and the Museum and will become part of their permanent collections. The Frank Lloyd Wright archives include some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale presentation models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents. Joint stewardship and preservation of the archives will provide new impetus for publications, exhibitions, and public programs on Wright’s work, allowing it to be displayed in the context of other great 20th century modernists. It will also maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public. The complete physical archives will be permanently transferred to the collections of Columbia and MoMA under a joint acquisition and stewardship agreement, with the Foundation retaining all copyright and intellectual property responsibility for Wright’s prolific body of work. The archives will be named “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).” “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring the best possible conservation, accessibility, and impact of one of the most important and meaningful archives in the world,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Given the individual strengths, resources and abilities of the Foundation, MoMA and Columbia, it became clear that this collaborative stewardship is far and away the best way to guarantee the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and the best public access.” Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will be the repository for all paper-based archival contents, including thousands of architectural drawings, the extensive personal and professional correspondence as well as personal and architectural photography of Wright’s works, interview tapes, transcripts and films. Avery will meet the needs of researchers and build curricular use of the collection. “At Avery, Wright’s rich legacy of archival materials joins the great historic architects whose works are preserved here — from Sebastiano Serlio to Piranesi, and to other key 20th century American figures,” said Carole Ann Fabian, director of Avery. “Wright’s archives will receive the fullest exposure for research-intensive interrogation as well as ongoing opportunities for students, scholars and the interested public to engage with these materials in exhibition, public programs and teaching experiences.” The Museum of Modern Art will house all three-dimensional works, including architectural models (many made for Wright’s exhibition at MoMA in 1940), architectural elements and design prototypes in the archives. It will work to develop regular displays and special exhibitions based on the drawings, photographs and models, integrating them with its own rich collections of modern architecture and design. “Bringing the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright to MoMA and Columbia University is extraordinary,” said Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art. “It places one of the most important bodies of work of a major architect in a central location in New York, and will be transformative for both institutions.” “At MoMA, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work will be in conversation with great modern artists and architects such as Picasso, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier,” said Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA and professor in the Art History and Archeology Department at Columbia. “This collaboration provides opportunities to reposition Wright as a key figure in the larger development of modern art and architecture, after decades of scholarship that have often emphasized his lone genius and his unique Americanness. A new chapter in appreciating Wright is opened by this new setting for his legacy.” As part of a three-institution “Archives Steering Committee,” the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will help guide development of the archives and provide interpretive insights on Wright’s work and life. It will continue to preserve and share Wright’s National Historic Landmarks at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, including the historic furnishings, memorabilia and artifacts used to interpret both sites, along with large and important collections of art, furniture and artifacts that Wright created and collected over his lifetime. Wright is considered by many to be one of the 20th century’s most influential architects, a figure whose iconic work helped define modernism. The American Institute of Architects, in a recent national survey, recognized him as “the greatest American architect of all time.” More than one-third of Wright’s buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District. Born in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright spent more than 70 years creating designs that helped revolutionize the art and architecture of the 20th century. In all he designed 1,141 architectural works—houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges, museums and many other building types. Of that total, 532 resulted in completed structures, 409 of which still stand. However, Wright’s pioneering creativity was not confined to architecture. He also designed furniture, fabrics, art glass, lamps, dinnerware, silver, linens and graphic arts. A prolific writer, educator and philosopher, Wright authored 20 books and countless articles and lectured throughout the United States and in Europe. “We are proud to join in a collaboration aimed at bringing new insight and experience to the works of one of the truly great creative minds of the 20th century,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. “MoMA and Columbia form a compelling partnership among essential intellectual and cultural institutions in New York City and, together, we look forward to working with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to preserve and enhance Wright’s extraordinary legacy for generations to come.” —by Columbia News staff

In her professional life, Adina Brooks helps oversee graduate admissions and student affairs at the Engineering School’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations.

Geraldine Downey has spent most of her life contending with rejection. Not her own, happily. As a professor and onetime chair of the psychology department, she studies the ramifications of rejection on individuals and members of various groups. Everyone experiences rejection, of course. But Downey was interested in a particular kind now known as “rejection sensitivity.” While an undergraduate at University College, Dublin, the Irish-born Downey was looking for what could be a predictor of interpersonal violence. “I was trying to use it as a way of explaining why people tended to be particularly violent to those that they loved,” she said recently. “People rejected by those close to them feel particularly threatened and can lash out.” She developed a model to explain why people who worry most about rejection from their loved ones act out in response to rejection cues, often to their own detriment. Applying it beyond personal relationships, she delved into the rejection sensitivities of undergraduates, minority groups and women, and found herself looking into the notion of diversity itself. From 2007 to 2009 she was the University’s vice provost for diversity initiatives, a post Columbia had created several years earlier to underscore its commitment to that goal. She has since served as vice dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and later as dean of social sciences. Downey returned to teaching full time in July. Q. How did you find your way into this line of research? When I finished my B.S. in Dublin I was working on a project involving kids on probation. I became interested in why some became violent as adolescents, which led me to look at family circumstances. There was a significant association between being abused or neglected and ending up a violent juvenile delinquent, and also an association with coming from a very disadvantaged area. When I did my dissertation, I looked into what it might be that abuse or neglect communicates to children. I studied in the very rural, poor areas around Cornell University, where there were very high rates of abuse and neglect. It turned out that many of the mothers had come from abusive situations themselves, so it was an intergenerational thing. They never expected or viewed themselves as getting into abusive relationships, or abusing or neglecting their own kids. I became interested in the idea that different forms of maltreament communicate a sense of rejection and sensitize people to rejection. Q. Where did that take you? I started working in prisons in Michigan with mothers who were incarcerated, and many expressed feeling a sense of rejection as a result of repeated exposure to family neglect and abuse, often in the context of poverty. In essence, they came from rejected groups and were rejected within their own families, which led me to the idea of rejection sensitivity. At first I studied it as a projector of interpersonal violence, trying to use it to explain why people were particularly violent to those that they loved. I was very interested in the idea that when people who are trying to get accepted are met with rejection, it really makes them feel violent. It’s not rejection by a stranger; it’s a threat to them as an individual. Feeling angry following rejection is typical. Violence is likely to occur in response to extreme rejection when that is how rejection has been communicated during childhood. Q. Does everybody have rejection sensitivity in some ways? As in many things, rejection sensitivity is good in moderation. It turns out that people who are very low in it miss important social cues. If you do have it, you can pick up whether you’ve done or said something that’s having a negative effect on another person and then you can adjust. It’s being able to pick up and respond to how other people are responding to you. It’s a good thing so long as you don’t see too much negativity in others’ responses. However, if you are going into a new situation, it’s much better to expect acceptance than to expect rejection; if you’re more confident, you end up getting accepted more. Q. Since everybody experiences rejection, have you identified those who cope well with it? What we’ve found is that people who are good at self-regulation—who can delay their response until they’ve processed something, and who can think about how there might be alternative explanations for how someone is reacting to them—can think about how there might be different ways to handle a potentially difficult situation or even be able to turn it around. So what we found is that people who are good at self-control, or good at delay of gratification, don’t show the negative effects of rejection sensitivity. Q. How did you go from studying groups that were disadvantaged within their families and communities to looking at the behavior of undergraduates? By the time I got to Columbia, I was interested in a more general question of why people stay in troubled romantic relationships. Undergraduates were a good way to look into that. They have a very advantaged education, yet some successful students here were getting into strained and troubled relationships. So I started to look at violence and hostility in dating relationships. I identified a particular kind of neglect that is conducive to feeling sensitive to rejection, not so much physical forms of neglect and abuse as emotional abuse. It starts with children who experience parental acceptance as long as they’re doing whatever the family wants them to do. But if they’re doing things that the parent doesn’t approve of, they get rejected. That sort of emotional neglect and abuse can create a lot of vulnerability for people when they get into romantic relationships because everybody wants to get accepted. But if they are in situations where being accepted becomes more important than being safe, they may put up with emotional or physical abuse in relationships even if they know that this is not how people should be treated. This type of sensitivity can also be biological in origin or can develop as a result of rejection outside the family. Q. Can rejection sensitivity be a positive thing? In any new situation you have to balance the motivation to be accepted with the risk of being rejected. People typically have two social goals: One is to avoid rejection and the other is to gain acceptance. Nobody likes rejection, but anybody who gets to advanced-level education or gets a job has to deal with rejection, and sometimes it’s going to be fair and sometimes it’s not. Being accepted in social relationships is not an entitlement, and there may be a kind of randomness to it. But there are also situations where people are systematically not treated as well as others. And I think that that poses a particularly difficult dilemma because it’s not anything about you as a person, it’s just because you’re a member of a particular group. You’re not even being seen as an individual. And how do you cope with that? I think that type of rejection can be particularly hurtful. Q. Is that what led to your interest in diversity in academia? I was very interested in families that are generally accepting and inclusive, but my students asked why we were not studying how institutions can make people feel rejected. This led us to do a small study in which we asked students to describe experiences they might have had at Columbia where they felt rejected because of membership in a particular group or category. We got into studying African Americans because that was the group that identified rejection most often as part of their experience at Columbia. I should emphasize that the overall number of racially discriminatory events was small. The pilot study in my lab focused on how students develop and cope with sensitivity to rejection because of a status characteristic, initially race and more recently gender. Q. Can you explain, perhaps to those who don’t see the value of diversity, what its advantages are? There’s evidence that more diverse groups solve problems better. Katherine Phillips in the Columbia Business School has done some of this research. When people are asked about their perceptions of working in a diverse group, they feel that it is less effective, and the experience may be uncomfortable. However, the results are better as measured by the outcome of particular tasks. It’s well established that even if everybody in a group is excellent at one thing, the group will be better as a whole by adding a new person who’s good at something else. Having different perspectives also allows for more flexibility. One of the things that’s very well known in work with children is that the more ways they can think of to solve the same problem, the better they relate to their peers, the better they function, the better they solve real problems. People get this important ability by being exposed to different solutions, different skill sets or different backgrounds. If you just hang around with the same people all the time, you won’t be as nimble a thinker. And then when you hit up against real problems you don’t have the kind of flexibility of thinking that helps you get through them. Q. Columbia has thousands of students starting here in a few days, many for the first time. What insights or advice do you have for them? We did a big study of about 600 incoming students over two years and followed them for their four years of college. When people come in, they’re more sensitive to rejection at the beginning than they are at the end of the first year. At these times of transitions where people are going into new social situations, where they’re going to be evaluated by teachers, peers and potential dating partners, sensitivity to rejection goes up. And then the average decreases for people over time. I also think people who have high rejection sensitivity have a harder time. For example, they’re less likely to get into romantic relationships than those who expect acceptance. But over time that difference goes away. And for some students who were sensitive to rejection from peers, or experienced peer rejection in high school, the move to college can be a good thing. They’re more likely to find people who share common and valued interests. And that’s always a good thing because there are opportunities to gain acceptance and break with their past reputations among their peers. —Interview by Bridget O'Brian

Columbia has been deeply involved in the ATLAS project since 1994, when it was first proposed. University researchers designed many of the electronic components in the detector, including the circuit boards, an example of which is on display in the lobby of Pupin Hall.

Sree Sreenivasan assumes his new job as Columbia’s first chief digital officer at a moment when online and distance learning are hot button issues in higher education. 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his economic development team and a host of local elected officials came to the Northwest Corner Building on July 30 to announce their support for Columbia's new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.