Campus News in Brief

Barth wins research award

Alison Barth, associate professor of biological sciences, has received a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. The award is presented by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award is given to internationally renowned scientists and scholars who completed their doctorates within the last 12 years. Applicants are expected to continue to produce cutting-edge achievements that will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work.

The Bessel Research Award will allow Barth to spend seven months in Germany working on research projects with Michael Brecht at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin.

While at the Bernstein Center, Barth will share techniques currently used in her lab to isolate neural responses from individual, live cells. This will allow her to learn about whole-cell recordings obtained from neurons in the intact brain. Brecht uses this method extensively, and it allows researchers to measure currents across ion channels in the cellular membrane.

Barth studies plasticity in neurons, specifically how experience transforms the properties of neurons to encode memory. She developed and patented the first tool to locate and characterize neurons activated by experience in a living animal.

Schmidt appointed as the vice-chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board

Howard Schmidt, a distinguished adjunct fellow with Carnegie Mellon CyLab, has been chosen to serve as national cybersecurity coordinator by President Barack Obama. During the Bush administration, Schmidt was appointed as the vice-chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and as the special adviser for cyberspace security for the White House in December 2001. Schmidt became chair of the board in January 2003 and served until his retirement in May 2003.

Now serving the Obama administration, Schmidt will be a member of the National Security Council and will report to the national security adviser. He will be responsible for coordinating federal government cybersecurity policy for both military and civilian agencies. Schmidt will serve as a member of the President’s security staff.

Schmidt is president of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit consortium of 300 large corporations and public sector organizations working on cybersecurity issues. He recently served as chief security strategist for the U.S. CERT Partners Program for the National Cyber Security Division in the Department of Homeland Security.

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