daily herald

the Brown
vol. cxxii, no. 65
Wednesday, september 12, 2012

since 1891


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Snack break
MunchCard on hiatus this semester due to new owner Page 2

rep. Cicilline ’83 wins congressional primary
By ElizabEth Carr and adam toobin
City & State editor and Senior Staff Writer

Goldin defeats Butke, while Lombardi bests Kimzey, tarro for nominations in General Assembly races
Gemma and serial candidate for local office Christopher Young, received 30.2 and 7.6 percent of the vote, respectively. Cicilline’s victory ends a heated campaign during which he faced accusations of voter fraud and attacks on his record during his two terms as Providence mayor from 2002 to 2010. “The fact that he was able to defeat Anthony Gemma decisively ... means that while he still has a difficult task ahead of him, his job is a little easier today than it was yesterday,” said tony Affigne, professor of political science at Providence College and visiting professor of ethnic studies at Brown. when Cicilline received a 14.8 percent approval rating in a poll conducted by the taubman Center for Public Policy in February, many questioned whether he would be able to win the primary. A May poll from wPrI put Gemma, Cicilline’s primary challenger, less than five percentage points behind / / Cicilline page 5 him. As re-

Virus I.D. card
New biochip “rapidly and reliably” identifies the flu

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Eat and greet
Mike’s Calzones joins Thayer family food business
today tomorrow

rhode Island voters cast their ballots yesterday in the state primaries to determine the nominees for the nov. 6 general elections. Given the state’s leftward leaning, most of the hotly-contested races were between Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. In some cases, Democrats selected in yesterday’s election will run unopposed in november.

city & state

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U.S. House of representatives Incumbent rep. David Cicilline ’83, D-r.I., won the Democratic nomination for rhode Island’s first congressional district with 62.2 percent of the vote in yesterday’s primary, with 398 of 400 precincts reporting at press time. his challengers, businessman Anthony

herald file Photo

democrats nominated incumbent rep. david Cicilline ’83, d-r.i., to defend his seat against republican brendan doherty in november’s election.

Genetics influences political views, prof reports Foreign
By PhoEbE draPEr
Senior Staff Writer

when deciding whether to vote red or blue, genetics is probably the last thing on your mind. But genes play a role in dictating broad political preferences, according to a recent study co-authored by rose McDermott, professor of political science, and Peter hatemi, associate professor of political science, microbiology and biochemistry at Pennsylvania State University. The study, published in the journal trends in Genetics, reviews the recent body of research relating to genetic in-

science & ReseaRch

fluences on political behavior — some performed by McDermott herself — to back its claims. It is the first systematic, cohesive examination of the impact genes have on broad political dispositions, McDermott said. “It’s not as simple as saying if you have gene ‘x,’ you are going to be a republican,” McDermott said. rather, “thousands of genes” interact with environmental triggers to dictate broad predispositions that inform political tendencies. These political tendencies, which determine our opinions about complex and divisive social and political issues, may have their roots in our geneticsguided survival traits — like reproduc-

tion and finding food. Political leanings and human survival, the study concluded, are both affected by the same genetically dictated interpersonal traits. Modern welfare issues can be viewed as an argument over how to best share limited resources, and immigration issues are similar to primal concerns regarding the threat of outgroups, according to the study. And the question of sexual freedom is related to finding a mate and producing offspring, McDermott and hatemi claimed in the study. In short, genetic variance may be part of what makes people hold such divergent opinions regarding modern political issues. This theory essentially negates the idea of the same policy being best for

everyone, because it recognizes that individual genetics may alter how people both frame and ultimately make political decisions, McDermott said. The study avoids naming genetics as the sole determinant of political outlook. Its conclusions take into account social and environmental influences on political views. For example, during childhood and adolescence, the political views of a child’s parents play a much larger role than genetics in dictating political views, according to the study. Genetic influences on political views remain muted and do not reach full expression until a child leaves home, “at around 18 to 22 years of age,” McDermott said. research / / Genes page 3

graduates compete for work visas
By alison silvEr
Senior Staff Writer

JCB director reflects on Clinton speechwriting
By mathias hEllEr
Senior Staff Writer

ted widmer, director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, has worked in the world of academia as a lifelong historian. But unlike many of his colleagues, widmer took a break from university life for a rare public service opportunity — writing speeches for the president of the United States. From 1997 to the end of the Clinton administration in 2001, widmer specialized in drafting foreign policy speeches and providing historical analysis for the white house. then an American history lecturer at harvard in 1997, widmer, who was only 34 at the time, heard from a friend working in the white house that a job had opened up on then-President Bill Clinton’s speechwriting team. he said the prospect of such a high-profile public service role


convinced him to forward his resume for the job and to temporarily leave academia once he was hired. the recruitment process was rigorous, with multiple personal interviews, a background check and a series of test speech assignments. “I had to try to do them quickly and well with short deadlines,” widmer said, comparing the process to writing a paper under deadline for a class. once hired, widmer joined three other staffers in the foreign policy division of the white house speechwriting office in September 1997. he reported directly to the white house national Security Advisor Sandy Berger and to President Clinton himself, writing many speeches the president used on global trips, at state dinners for foreign leaders and in outlining U.S. foreign policy. “the whole thing was exhilarating,” widmer said, adding that he / / Clinton page 4 especially en-

courtesy of ted widmer

For four years of the Clinton administration, brown librarian ted Widmer served as one of the president’s top speech-writers.

International students seeking employment in the U.S. after graduation must wait until April 2013 to receive an h-1B visa after the cap on visas was reached in June this year, the earliest that limit has been met in four years, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. This means Brown graduates who hail from outside the U.S. and did not receive visas in the most recent application pool cannot begin working until october 2013 at the earliest. The h-1B visa is for skilled nonimmigrant foreign workers and international students educated in the United States hoping to work in specialized fields, particularly the SteM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. American companies must petition for the employment of foreign workers through the visa program, as workers are unable to apply for the visa as individuals. The government only issues a limited number of h-1B visas each year, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. The cap was increased by 20,000 in FY 2006 to 85,000 visas — 65,000 of which are issued to foreign workers in specialty occupations and 20,000 of which are reserved for people with advanced degrees who are exempt from the regular cap, according to h1base. com. when there are more petitions than available visas, the government holds a lottery. The speed with which the cap was / / visas page 3 reached this

2 campus news
C alendar
TODAY 11:30 A.m. Get the Scoop on Study Abroad J. Walter Wilson Lobby 7:30 p .m. Entrepreneurship at Brown Kickoff Petteruti Lounge SEpT. 12 TOmORROW 5p .m. Julie Gearan Gallery Reception Sarah Doyle Women’s Center 5:30 p .m. Community Pilates Class Hillel, Winnick Chapel SEpT. 13 By kathErinE CUsUmano
Senior Staff Writer

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

munchCard suspended, under new ownership
MunchCard, a discount payment method for College hill restaurants that swept across campus last year, has been acquired by another company, and the service will be suspended for at least the duration of this semester. Though the exact timeline is unclear, a Sept. 4 email to MunchCard users informed them of the service’s temporary suspension while it is being acquired. The card team is in the process of refunding existing card balances to its users, according to the email. MunchCard founder Benjamin Vishny ’14 said he was not authorized to speak directly to reporters about the details of the acquisition since it has not yet been completed. But since the organization guarantees its customers full disclosure, The herald was able to obtain details about it from a cardholder. MunchCard was bought by a mobile payments company from Chicago, wrote raquel Bryant ’15, a MunchCard customer, in an email to The herald. The card will not be back online this semester, because it will take at least four months to complete changes that are currently underway. After a friend recommended the service, Bryant looked into MunchCard last spring, she said. having chosen a lower meal plan this semester, she planned to use the card to supplement University dining options. Justina Lee ’15, who signed up for the service last semester, said she was “somewhat counting on it” because she went off meal plan this semester. “I’m a poor college student,” she said, citing the discounts MunchCard holders received at restaurants such as Meeting Street Cafe as a motivator to use the card. She said she used her card “at least once a week, if not more.” Ideally, MunchCard would not have suspended its service during the acquisition, Vishny told The herald. Some vendors who partner with the service expressed concerns about the transfer


Chicken Artichoke Pasta Medley, Hot Roast Beef on French Bread, Sweet and Sour Tofu, Sunny Sprouts Italian Beef Noodle Casserole, Mushroom Quiche, Mediterranian Eggplant Saute, Glazed Carrots

Curried Tofu with Coconut, Black Forbidden Rice, Orange Teriyaki Salmon, Vegan Chana Masala Turkey Cutlet, Egg Noodles with Olive Oil, Roasted Vegetable Melange, Caesar Salad, Peach Cobbler

dave deckey / herald

many munchCard users and its thayer street partners are disappointed that the business will be inactive as its ownership transitions this semester. and a desire to “get to know” the new owners before dedicating themselves to a new program, he said. Meeting Street Cafe owner David McAllister said he was “incredibly disappointed” to learn of MunchCard’s suspension. he was “sold on the program” after just a few meetings with Vishny, he said. Some cardholders expressed qualms regarding the status of their personal information, but the organization cleared its database of “personally identifiable information” before passing it to the acquiring company, Vishny wrote in an email to The herald. The acquiring company, whose name remains undisclosed, had approached the MunchCard team multiple times since April. the MunchCard team unanimously decided it was in their business’ best interest to accept the acquiring company’s offer. Though Vishny and his team will remain a part of the organization to focus on “creative vision,” he said they will no longer make final decisions for the company. From the outset, it was always clear to the MunchCard team that they would eventually need to look to outside resources to keep the program alive, Vishny wrote. he said he hopes the transfer will incorporate new technology to allow MunchCard to grow to other locations and campuses and make purchases more efficient. “we’ve always wanted to make MunchCard the best,” Vishny said. The acquisition has been rife with rumors. Vishny said he has been approached asking if he had received $10 million for the company. “Definitely much less,” he said he responded. Vishny said MunchCard considered handing over operations to the University, but added that the “University is very wary of maintaining student projects after graduation.” “we were aware that Dining Services felt somewhat threatened by MunchCard,” he wrote, adding that his team never saw itself as a competitor with Dining Services. he added that the University had “tacitly supported” the venture. when the cards come back online, new features will include “peer-to-peer transfers,” an integrated system that will allow card swipes in existing restaurant machines, as well as new mobile apps.


RELEASE DATE– Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
ACROSS 1 “Rumble in the Jungle” champ 4 Hanging on every word 8 Crumb bum 14 Actor Chaney 15 Dot on a map 16 Delphi’s claim to fame 17 Perspectivebending artist 19 “Beau Geste” novelist 20 Grade for a tween 21 Scottish hillside 23 Convent residents 24 Runner Sebastian et al. 26 Second and third in a sequence 28 Port relative 30 Sears rival 34 Subdue with a stun gun 35 Final Four initials 37 “Mercy!” 38 Penn Sta. users 39 Blues standard first recorded by Ma Rainey 41 KGB counterpart 42 Prettify 44 “Roots” author Haley 45 Game with a 32card deck 46 “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” star 48 How some beer is sold 50 Mil. plane for small runways 51 Civil wrong 52 Barbershop member 55 CNBC interviewees 58 Reverend’s residence 61 Pepsi alternative 63 Justice League publisher 65 Charm 66 Entry point 67 Kite on the links 68 “Who wants ice cream?” reply 69 Lid malady 70 Lamb mom

Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
DOWN 1 Poor box donations 2 Focal points 3 More than 4 Having deeper pockets 5 Hibachi residue 6 Roman commoner 7 Okla. or Dak., once 8 Inept sheep keeper 9 Circle part 10 Beginning 11 Color of raw silk 12 Narrow valley 13 Mil. bigwigs 18 Five-and-dime, e.g. 22 Game player’s haunts 25 iPad-to-iMac activity 27 Fourth prime minister of Israel 28 It may be bendy 29 One of three in Coca-Cola 30 Locks up 31 Cable venue for vintage sitcoms 32 Poland Spring competitor 33 Dublin-born poet 36 Pacifier site 39 Online tech news site 40 Parkway offramp 43 Meat- or fishfilled pastry 45 “Vamoose!” 47 Pin down 49 “Mercy!”


52 “Dracula” novelist Stoker 53 Peak 54 Fountain buildup 56 Track numbers 57 St. Andrew’s Day celebrant 59 Garbage barge 60 Salinger heroine 62 Apollo lander, briefly 64 Affectedly shy


professor honored by chemical society
By marina hErnandEz
ContribUting Writer



Joseph Calo, adjunct professor of chemical engineering, was recently distinguished as a fellow of the American Chemical Society for his research in the field of energy, fuels and the environment. he was one of 96 members welcomed as an ACS Fellow this past

August at the Society’s convention in Philadelphia. “Members are selected based on two requirements: their accomplishments in research and service to society,” Calo said. The society bestowed the honor on Calo in recognition of his overall research contributions to the field, but the award does not reflect any one of his specific projects. his contributions

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Claire Peracchio, President rebecca Ballhaus, Vice President Danielle Marshak, treasurer Siena DeLisser, Secretary The Brown Daily herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement and once during orientation by The Brown Daily herald, Inc. Single copy free for each member of the community. PoStMASter please send corrections to P.o. Box 2538, Providence, rI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, r.I. Subscription prices: $280 one year daily, $140 one semester daily. Copyright 2011 by The Brown Daily herald, Inc. All rights reserved.
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include research in chemical kinetics, environmental remediation and energy conversion, according to the ACS website. Most professors in the engineering department are involved in a professional society of some sort, said Lawrence Larson, dean of the school of engineering. “These societies are absolutely key vehicles in international research and collaboration,” he added. “It’s definitely not the nobel Peace Prize — all you get is a pin and a certificate,” Calo said. The Fellows Program was created in 2008 “to recognize members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and the society,” according to the ACS website. Fellows must first be nominated and then chosen by the ACS selection committee. The award also recognizes Calo for being among the founders of Brown’s Chemical engineering Program. “Professor Calo has been incredibly productive,” Larson said, “and greatly valuable to our engineering department at Brown.”

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

campus news 3
consider when hiring international graduates is the cost of an h-1B visa. each visa costs $5,000, and the company petitioning on behalf of the student is responsible for paying this fee. “For a company, $5,000 might not be such a big price, so it’s never been a show-stopper or a deal breaker,” Goss said, though this amount can be greater if there are legal fees involved. “I’m really nervous,” Sim said of applying for an h-1B, because “it costs a lot of money, so most of (the) companies don’t want to give working visas that easily.” The cost is one of numerous considerations in the visa application process, though Goss said students should not assume that companies will be unwilling to petition for their visas just because of the cost. Sim said it may be easier to get a working visa in certain fields of study like computer science, though she does not anticipate the visa process will affect her choice of concentration. “I want to do what I want to do,” she said. working in the U.S. is not the only choice to make after graduating from Brown, as there are numerous international employers who hire students to work outside of the U.S, said elke Breker, directer of the oISSS. “It’s not just the U.S. or nothing else,” she added. filling the employment gap In light of the limited number of h-1B visas available each year, students can also make use of alternative options that will allow them to stay in the U.S. until the next visas are available. The majority of international students at Brown take advantage of an optional Practical training program after receiving their degrees from Brown, Breker said. This program allows students to work for a company and receive training in a specific field, while filling the time between their graduation and when they can reapply for the h-1B visas. The training is a one-year employment authorization that students can receive after completion of their academic degrees. Students who study in the SteM fields who are in the training program can often get an additional 17 months of experience on top of the one-year employment option. Among students who graduate from Brown in SteM fields, “the additional 17 months are being utilized more than in the past,” Breker said. This increase in training for SteM students could be a sign that students want to preserve their flexibility to change employers or work for multiple employers while remaining on their F-1 student visas — the visas they have while attending Brown — or because their employer is unable to petition for an h-1B visa at that time, Breker said. Students who begin the training are not required to complete it before they can change to another visa such as the h-1B. Students will typically begin working for a company through the training, and the employer will then offer to apply for an h-1B visa so that they may stay at the company for up to six years. Some students are able to find employers outside of the optional practical training who “want to hire them under the h-1B visa as soon as possible, so (the students) will likely skip the optional practical training,” Breker said.

/ / visas page 1
year is mainly a result of economic improvement, said elizabeth Goss, an immigration attorney at a firm in Boston. Goss, who gave a workshop on employment and visa options at Brown last spring, said the dip in visa applications in the last few years began at the start of the economic downturn in 2008 when “we had pretty bad hiring across the nation, and the numbers (of visa applications) were reflective of that time period.” More people are seeking to hire new employees this year, and she predicts that the government will need to hold a lottery again for the next round of h-1B applications, she said. Given the high demand to work in the U.S., students must compete for a limited number of visas following college. applying for a work visa to obtain an h-1B visa, students must first find employers willing to hire them and apply for a visa on their behalf. Since Brown students are “highly

motivated and very smart folks,” they are “already very likely to succeed” in academics and in procuring a job after college, Goss said. At the community college level, foreign students are more likely to struggle, though “it depends on the person,” she said. Immigrants are “much more willing to take risks sometimes, (and) it’s hard to compare them with the average American student because they’re not the average student in their own countries,” Goss said. The process often comes down to “who has the gumption to make it and who doesn’t.” to work in the United States calls for a certain amount of networking in order to find employers who will be willing to petition for visas on behalf of students. “when I consider working in the States, I think I try to get involved more in the community because I will work with them,” Sang won Sim ’14.5 said. Compared to the U.S., networking in her homeland of Korea is less critical, she said. Sim said she will most likely return to Korea for graduate school but eventually wants to apply for a visa to work in the U.S. Another factor for employers to

/ / Genes page 1
in the genetics-politics field has generated much debate among social and biological scientists. The idea that genetics affects political views has been met with “an enormous amount of resistance,” McDermott said. “An attitude of open-minded skepticism is probably in order,” wrote Charles Cameron, professor of politics

and public affairs at Princeton, who was not involved in the study, in an email to The herald. “I see ‘bio-politics’ as a growth area in the future of political science, though likely it will remain a niche area and a very controversial one at that.” traditionally, the biological and social sciences have been “locked into their paradigms,” McDermott noted.

“early on, a lot of people working in behavior genetics didn’t think about how genes could inform complex social attitudes like politics ... and most social scientists didn’t believe that biological sciences mattered at all — they thought we had overcome our evolutionary tendencies,” she said. “It’s hard to get people to admit that they’re animals.” The disconnect between the fields of

biology and political science, though, has begun to close over the course of the past decade, said John hibbing, a professor of political science at the University of nebraska at Lincoln, who was also not involved in the study. McDermott is “leading the charge” in looking at genetic influences on political behavior in systematic ways, hibbing said. “She’s illustrating to political

scientists what advantages there are to using biology-informed techniques in our studies,” he said. McDermott noted that she and hatemi have a “huge research agenda.” McDermott plans to continue to study the role of genetics on social behavior, particularly how biological underpinnings relate to individual expressions of aggression.

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4 feature
/ / Clinton page 1
joyed joining Clinton on trips abroad, including what at the time was the longest tour of Africa a U.S. president had ever undertaken. with the Cold war over and the U.S. redefining its global role, widmer was at the center of foreign policy action in the late 1990s. “everything felt really new in the world,” he said. Crafting Clinton’s voice widmer said jumping from harvard to the fast-paced life of the white house was initially challenging. “we weren’t coddled if we screwed up a speech,” widmer said, recalling the experience of being yelled at when he erred on a speech. In academia, his more reserved colleagues usually relied on euphemisms to express disagreement or disappointment. “In the white house, it was much more brutally honest and direct.” But widmer noted that working for a national cause was a welcome change. “I felt deeply the patriotism that attaches itself to service of that kind,” he said. “I do love university life, but it’s honorable to serve one’s country and the cause of democracy.” Michael waldman, head white house speechwriter from 1995 to 1999, said the speechwriting team benefited from widmer’s experience as a gifted historian and researcher. “President Clinton came to see the extra value that ted brought,” waldman said, adding that widmer helped Clinton with the process of archiving historical records of his presidency and collecting research for Clinton’s memoir. “the president came to rely on ted a great deal.” widmer often played a key role in drafting longer speeches like the annual State of the Union address, which required extensive historical research. “ted was not someone you’d go to for a two-minute video,” waldman said. the speechwriting process often required collaboration and speed. widmer said that a couple of weeks before Clinton would deliver an address, the speechwriting team assigned it to a certain writer who would then send a first draft around to the other writers for input. Since the Internet was not yet a widely trusted and reliable source, widmer said he often relied on his academic training as he sifted through the contents of the white house library for research. on the night before the president delivered the speech, the team would settle on a final copy. widmer noted that Clinton always made small impromptu changes and added off-thescript remarks. the president drew inspiration from the speeches of John F. Kennedy and both theodore and Franklin

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

roosevelt, widmer said. But Clinton developed his own distinct voice that broke with the past. “his speeches were less rhetorical than past presidential speeches and more conversational,” widmer said. the power of rhetoric After Clinton left the white house in 2001, widmer returned to academia, heading washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American experience. he joined Brown in 2006 as the director and librarian at the John Carter Brown Library. But widmer’s days in politics are not over — he provides advice as a historian to the U.S. State Department and looks over speeches for friends who are still running for public office or working on campaigns. widmer also writes occasional pieces for the new York times on subjects as varied as the Civil war and republican vice

presidential nominee rep. Paul ryan. As a historian and former presidential aide, widmer has much to say on the 2012 presidential election, including on the speechmaking strengths of the leading contenders. “I think it’s an unfair competition,” widmer said, labeling President Barack obama one of the best orators of the last century. “even though it’s not quite as new as it felt in 2008, he’s still a gifted speaker who reaches people in ways few can.” widmer is less sanguine about the rhetorical abilities of republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt romney. “romney has many strengths, but speaking isn’t one of them,” he said, adding that he thought the Democrats’ speeches at their convention were more effective than those offered by republicans at their convention. But the historian sees large challenges on the horizon for the election’s winner, with economic recovery as the chief domestic priority. “Speeches help, but you can’t just be optimistic about recovery,” widmer said. “You have to show results at some point.” with his own area of white house expertise — foreign policy — widmer sees more of an opening for speeches to make a difference. he said he believes many Americans have lost interest in foreign policy issues, but that the president must work to project U.S. values to the world. “talking about our values is a very effective counterstrike in promoting democracy, participation and economic opportunity — including for people usually shut out of it,” widmer said. “to talk well about these things would reassert American exceptionalism but ... in words that aren’t just about military strength.” widmer said he was glad to return to university life, especially since he grew up on Brown’s campus when his father held various posts at the University, including stints as a professor of Chinese history, dean of student life and dean of admission. “It’s nice after a few years of frantic activity to gather your thoughts,” widmer said. he added that his white house years of writing memos under inflexible deadlines changed his outlook on academia, leading him to work at a faster pace and communicate more efficiently. “Academics … have a lot of trouble expressing what they’re meaning to say,” widmer said. nevertheless, politicians are wellserved by consulting professors for lessons of the past. “It’s great when those running for office ask academics for their expertise,” widmer said, stressing the mutual benefits of these interactions. “I think we still have a lot to learn.”

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the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

city & state 5
registrar makes online transcripts available
By ClairE sChlEssinGEr
Staff Writer

/ /Cicilline page 1
cently as August, Cicilline led Gemma by 12.3 percent, wPrI reported, with a 5.7 percent margin of error. “Gemma did not run an effective campaign,” said Maureen Moakley, professor of political science at the University of rhode Island. “he was relying on accusations of voter fraud.” Cicilline has denied all accusations, and no evidence was ever released to the public. In his acceptance speech last night, Cicilline focused on his general election opponent Brendan Doherty, the republican former superintendent of the rhode Island state police. “Doherty will move this country backwards,” he said at Blaze restaurant on Providence’s east Side. Cicilline criticized Doherty’s support for the republican Party’s position on issues like tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate campaign contributions. “(Doherty) says Paul ryan has some great ideas. I don’t know what those ideas are, but I know Paul ryan’s values are not rhode Island values,” Cicilline said in his speech. At a rally last night, Doherty criticized Cicilline’s campaign for focusing on other politicians. “You’re not running against them — you’re running against me,” he said. The Doherty campaign could not be reached for comment. Cicilline’s strategy of painting Doherty as a member of the republican establishment “is pretty smart,” said wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science. In response to this campaign strategy, “Doherty has to define himself in a way that will tell voters … these are my policy positions, this is what I would fight for,” she added. “My advice to Doherty would be to stick to the issues and not risk his whole election on a line of attack which was not successful for Gemma,” Affigne said. “Voters in the first district are more concerned about Social Security, war in Afghanistan, student loans, student debt and home foreclosures ... than they are about unproven ethics accusations.” But Affigne noted that Cicilline’s positions on many issues are more in line with those held by voters in the first district than Doherty’s. Doherty may benefit from attacking Cicilline’s record as mayor, Moakley said. “he’s going to have to campaign aggressively, try to continue to underscore Cicilline’s past performance and hope that he can in some ways connect with the general republican message.” In an interview with wPrI last night, Gemma said he expects 52 percent of his supporters to vote for Doherty in the general election instead of Cicilline and that he “cannot, in good conscience” support Cicilline in the general election. Gemma added that he will continue to pursue his voter fraud investigation. r.i. Senate, district 3 In rhode Island’s third district, which includes the University, women’s policy advocate Gayle Goldin defeated education reformer Maryellen Butke in yesterday’s Democratic primary. Goldin, who will run unopposed, is the presumptive replacement for Sen. rhoda Perry P’91, D-Providence, the more than two-decades long State house veteran who has championed progressive causes. Goldin, a former leader in the women’s Fund of rhode

Democratic Congressional Primary District 1 80

Percentage of vote









David N. Cicilline

Anthony P. Gemma

Christopher F. Young
kyle mcNamara / herald

incumbent Cicilline won the democratic nomination decisively over challenger Gemma, with 398 of 400 precincts reporting at press time. Island and advocate for health care reform, won 57.3 percent of the ballots cast compared to 42.7 percent for Butke, former executive director of the education reform nonprofit rhode Island Campaign for Achievement now. Seventy-seven of 78 precincts were reporting at press time. Goldin was the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, and she also received support from Providence Mayor Angel taveras and the national education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the country. Goldin focused her campaign on her support for increasing state funding to rhode Island public schools, promoting marriage equality and protecting abortion rights. Since the candidates agreed on most major issues, subtle differences in their preferred education policies took center stage. Goldin has expressed reluctance to expand support for charter schools and use students’ testing data to evaluate teachers — policies for which Butke advocated through the nonprofit she directed. Perry announced that she was retiring in August and immediately endorsed Goldin as her successor. over Perry’s 22 years in the state Senate, she developed a reputation as a strong liberal voice, serving as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on health and human Services and as a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Both Goldin and Butke were unavailable for comment. r.i. House of representatives, district 8 Libby Kimzey, former member of the class of 2009, was unsuccessful in her bid to represent rhode Island’s eighth district in the house of representatives. John Lombardi, former city councilman and one-time acting mayor of Providence, defeated both Kimzey and freshman incumbent state rep. Michael tarro, D-Federal hill, olneyville and Valley, with 52.4 percent of the vote. Kimzey, who was endorsed by Providence Mayor Angel taveras, received 35.4 percent of the vote, while tarro received 12.2 percent of the vote, with 77 of 78 precincts reporting at press time. r.i. House of representatives, district 1 rep. edith Ajello, D-Providence, who has represented the district that includes Brown in the General Assembly since 1993, picked up the Democratic nomination without opposition. She will run against Independent Francisco Gonzalez, advocate for the homeless, in the general election nov. 6. — With contributing reporting from Amy Rasmussen, Morgan Johnson and Sona Mkrttchian.

official electronic transcripts are now available through the office of the registrar’s website. A development initially slated for last spring, the electronic option did not become available until Aug. 1 due to a number of other Bannerrelated projects the registrar was working on, said Lisa Mather, associate registrar for operations management, though she declined to comment on what specifically those projects entailed. She also cited the logistics of orchestrating the “technological setup” between the University and the vendor, national Student Clearinghouse, for the holdup. The Clearinghouse also handles the paper transcript option, which is still available. “(The electronic transcript option) has been a student request for a very long time,” Mather said, adding that the option has allowed Brown to “catch up” to peer institutions, such as Duke University and other Ivy League schools. Mather said the University did not notify students through advertising because the option is listed clearly when students go to order transcripts through the registrar’s website. The electronic option accounted for 30 percent of transcript orders in the first month it was available, wrote robert Fitzgerald, University registrar, in an email to The herald. Students have made most of the orders so far, sending the documents to themselves or to other universities. The base price of a paper transcript is $4 , and there is a processing charge of $2.25 per recipient. The electronic transcripts cost an additional $1.75. The surcharge is for the additional protection that must be put in place

campus news

to ensure the authenticity and security of official digital documents, Mather said. The security measures include a 30-day limitation for accessing the transcript, which must be done by entering a recipient-specific username and password, Mather said. Designated recipients are sent reminder emails to retrieve the transcript before the access expires. Blue ribbon security signifies that a transcript is unadulterated, she said. The service is working out well so far, Mather said, though some students have ordered their electronic transcript only to find out that their intended recipient does not accept them. “turnaround for the (electronic) service is much faster,” Mather said, taking one day as compared to three days for paper transcripts. The expedience of electronic transcripts makes the service “quite a bargain,” she added. Shivang Desai ’14, who ordered a paper transcript for a summer internship when he was a first-year, said he had not heard of the electronic alternative, but that the offering would assuage concerns about the transcript getting lost in the mail. The electronic option will make applying for opportunities with tight deadlines more feasible, he said, adding that if he did not have time constraints for applications, he would forgo the additional cost of the electronic version. rob rozansky ’14 ordered a paper transcript online and picked it up in person last year. Though he was not aware of the new offering, he said he would be interesting in using it. “An extra $2 wouldn’t really deter me,” he said, adding that his previous experience of getting the transcript in person was “a little bit of a hassle.” This option sounds “a lot easier and more convenient,” he said.

Join the Club | simon henriques


6 editorial & letter
editorial righting the writing requirement
As shopping period enters its final days, we have begun to hear rumbles of discontent from our peers about Brown’s “writing requirement” — a much-contested addition to the new Curriculum that raises questions about the nature of Brown’s approach to liberal education and creates a divide between humanities and science concentrators. Brown’s policy mandates that students must take at least two classes designated as wrIt or one wrIt class and proven significant evidence of writing skill later on. the goal is to demonstrate improvement in students’ writing skills during their time at Brown. we stand behind the philosophy that writing is a vital part of liberal education and higher thinking, but believe there are several drawbacks to the requirement that should be addressed. Good academic writing denotes an ability to critically analyze a situation and formulate a reasoned, appropriate and persuasive response. our words reflect the framework of our thoughts, and learning to write well helps us to break down, rebuild and otherwise engage with ideas and arguments on a detailed, logical level. All of this comes without mentioning the fact that writing well is a skill applicable to almost every aspect of life, including both the career and personal sphere. But we cannot ignore the fact that the writing requirement can and regularly does put a large group of students — namely, those heavily involved in mathematics, computer science and the hard sciences — at odds with the values of the new Curriculum so espoused and valued by the Brown establishment. there is only one wrIt-designated computer science course in the whole concentration, and this trend continues through most of the science and mathematics departments. this would force many students, particularly underclassmen who wish to use the freedom and flexibility of the new Curriculum to focus on their respective disciplines, to take classes with which they may not fully engage. Moreover, it seems that the wrIt classification is often given arbitrarily. Some classes that require a significant amount of writing are not writing-designated, while others requiring less writing are considered wrIt. the Dean of the College’s website also states that “writing-designated courses provide students with feedback about their writing,” but it is difficult to see where this distinction is drawn, considering that many professors and teaching assistants give feedback about papers even if the class does not fulfill the writing requirement. Given these concerns, we advocate adjusting the approach to the writing requirement at Brown. In addition to revisiting the criteria necessary for a class to fit the bill, it is important to restructure the requirement in departments like the sciences. we support the creation of more and better opportunities in science classes that allows science-oriented students to practice more analytical writing, and not just catalogical writing. this will provide students who wish to remain focused in scientific areas with the necessary structures to gain the writing experience they need. the writing requirement in no way needs to compromise the new Curriculum. It just needs to take into account the wide spectrum encapsulated by a “liberal education.”

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

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le t ter to the editor
Column ignores campus bipartisanship
to the Editor: I write to contest the misguided assumptions found in Ben resnik’s ’15 column (“Starting the conversation — a manifesto,” Sept. 11). whereas I agree with his opening contention that “Brown students are capable of anything,” I disagree with his assumption that a bitter political divide exists between left and right on campus. As president of the republican Club (which was established in 1888, and not by Bobby Jindal ’91.5, as resnik claims), I can attest to the many formal events and projects we have organized with Democrats since I joined in 2009. we have debated the Brown Democrats as part of the Janus Political Union, worked with them to plan lectures for the Janus Forum and lent our support to the University’s push to register freshmen to vote. These events were only the tip of the iceberg, with newer organizations like the Brown Political review and the Alexander hamilton Society facilitating student and expert debate across the political spectrum. Despite the importance of these groups and their formal events, they pale in comparison to the many informal contacts between left and right at Brown. United by a common zeal for politics and passion for a stronger America, members of the Brown republicans and Democrats frequently meet to discuss issues, come up with solutions or just have fun. Be it in a kitchen in new Dorm, or over Cajun pasta in the ratty, bipartisan discussion at Brown has given way to bipartisan friendship. whereas friendships between republicans and Democrats may not have the formality of a “Brown Political Forum,” they are every bit as genuine and twice as meaningful. when it comes to the divide between left and right, friendships are the relationships that matter — the relationships that will last and continue to inform our politics for a lifetime. terrence George ’13 President, republican club of Brown university

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

correc tioN
An article in Monday’s herald (“new gender studies center expands U.’s China footprint,” Sept. 10) incorrectly stated that Chengzhou he is a distinguished visiting fellow. In fact, he is a professor of english and Drama and the associate director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in humanities and Social Sciences at nanjing University. he was a distinguished visiting fellow in 2009. The herald regrets the error.

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CorreCtIonS PoLICY The Brown Daily herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C o M M e n tA r Y P o L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. LetterS to the eDItor PoLICY Send letters to letters@browndailyherald.com. Include a telephone number with all letters. The herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. ADVertISInG PoLICY The Brown Daily herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.

POST- MAGAzINE Clay aldern Jenny Carr Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief

BLOG DAILY HERALD matt klimerman meredith bilski Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

opinions 7
As of this writing, it seems likely that the students have won real concessions. The party that just won the most votes in the recent election, the Parti Québécois, has publicly declared that it will repeal both the tuition hike and Law 12. But many, including CLASSe — the student union that organized the protests — say they will fight for higher education to be a free public good. Such a stunning show of force from students that are closer to us geographiauto loans. So I’m sure most of us balked at the seemingly small tuition increase that the Quebec students are fighting against. After all, what is $1,600 next to the more than $40,000 of tuition we have to pay per year? And even with that increase, students in Quebec will still only have to pay about $3,800 annually. why are they the ones in the streets, and not us? Maybe we feel we’re getting our money’s worth? And yet, McGill University education. So how did they do it? In an interview with Socialist worker newspaper two of the leaders of CLASSe, Guillaume Legault — who will come to speak at Brown Sept. 25 — and Guillaume Vézina, noted two keys to their success. The first was the international context, as the Arab Spring and our very own occupy movement inspired them and showed them that such mass protest is possible. The second was that they “built a huge national team of volunteers, organized the campuses, laid the groundwork and built general assemblies to prepare for the strike.” In other words, they built crosscampus connections, and they built highly democratic decision-making bodies in which students could collectively decide to strike. we in the United States have much more to fight back against. tuition is increasing steadily and will continue to increase until few but the wealthy will be able to become educated without taking on crippling debt. In fact, we are arguably already at this point. As the Quebec students drew inspiration from the occupy movement, we should draw inspiration from them, taking home the lesson that students can and should have the power to fight for changes in higher education. luke lattanzi-silveus ’14 is a proud member of the international socialist organization and can be reached at luke_lattanzi-silveus@brown.edu.

The Quebec student strike: Why not here?
By luke lattaNzi-silveus
opinions Columnist

Last spring, the Canadian province of Quebec erupted in a wave of mass protests and the largest student strike in Quebec’s history. The cause: a tuition hike of about $1,600 called for by the government. on its largest day of protest, between 300,000 and 400,000 people marched in actions led by the student unions. Three-quarters of Quebec’s student population refused to go to class. Classes and exams were canceled, the entire education system in Quebec came grinding to a halt. The government, for its part, responded by attempting to repress the students. Aside from the usual tactic of unleashing the police to round up, beat up or brutalize the protesters, legislators also enacted the draconian Law 12, formerly known as Bill 78. This law slaps a fine of up to $5,000 on people participating in any demonstration not pre-approved by the government, which also reserves the right to change the place of the protest in the interest of “public security.” And the fine for any participating student organization is up to $125,000. Fortunately, the law has had the opposite of its desired effect — students and unions have continued to demonstrate in numbers so high that Law 12 has been impossible to enforce.

such a stunning show of force from students that are closer to us geographically than washington, d.c. begs the question of whether the same pushback might be possible in the u.s.
cally than washington, D.C. begs the question of whether the same pushback might be possible in the U.S. After all, we have more cause to be frustrated with our system of higher education than Canadian students do. we have to deal with a lack of transparency at many institutions, including our own, a decrease in faculty tenure, low numbers of students and faculty of color, the inaccessibility of good higher education and, of course, skyrocketing tuition and student debt. In fact, student debt in the U.S. is now more than $1 trillion, surpassing both credit card debt and in Quebec is ranked 17th in the world by U.S. news and world report, whereas Brown comes in 39th. or maybe it’s that we’re at a private institution rather than a public one like McGill? But even public tuition in the U.S. far outpaces Quebec’s — the average cost is more than $8,000 for in-state tuition and more than $20,000 for out of state. So again — why are they in the streets, and not us? The real difference between here and there is the existence in Quebec of strong student unions, such as CLASSe, that are able to organize and mobilize quickly in response to an attack on

desegregating brown
By heath mayo
opinions Columnist
involve ourselves in other extracurricular activities, the scope of our social interactions begins to narrow. Suddenly, our social groups within the Brown community begin to resemble those we grew up in, and we surround ourselves with those with whom we feel most comfortable. Athletes roll with athletes, the “theater kids” stick with their crowd and so on down the line until the Brown community that was once vibrantly diverse and intertwined is broken down into a clumpy mass of smaller, more homogeneous circles that are content in their comfortable state of detachment. This detachment limits our exposure to This advice is probably easiest to heed for first-years. If you have just arrived on campus and are contemplating which groups to join, try not to flock with your established social group into similar activities. Branch out. Find something that you are interested in, but maybe never had the chance to do at your high school. Don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to debate or orchestra just because you were a state champion or first chair back home. If you are an athlete, try to take classes or find another group on campus that will expand your social circle and experiences beyond the field with your teammates. at Brown. For example, if our eCon 1720: “Corporate Finance” course is full of only aspiring wall Street bankers or the enVS 0510: “International environmental Law and Policy” class is simply a group of students who spent their summer interning at the environmental Protection Agency or Greenpeace, our academic discourse is less likely to question assumptions or challenge widely held narratives. By isolating ourselves from ideologies that challenge our own, we essentially admit the weakness of our own views while simultaneously forfeiting an opportunity to strengthen them. My suggestion: Actively seek out those who disagree with you, enroll in courses whose titles seem to challenge your view of the world and then give the other side a chance to make its case. The diverse Brown community is only an asset if we each make the conscious choice to engage it on both a social and academic level. while my words might not be enough to convince you to take the leap, I’ll leave you with the following from the Ducasse report of 1945 delivered by a committee charged with assessing the purpose of a Brown education: “The freedom (perspective) brings is freedom of choice and judgment, which consists in having a choice — in being aware of alternatives. The man who knows but one course, or sees but one aspect of things, or the compass of whose appreciation embraces but a limited range of values, has no choice or little choice as to the direction he takes. Unaware of his own blind spots and prejudices, he is held by them in an invisible jail.” heath mayo ’13 can be reached at james_ mayo@brown.edu.

For a school that prides itself on maintaining rich diversity among its student body and places at the core of its educational philosophy a belief that exposure to such diversity enriches the student experience, Brown continues to fall far short of its stated ideals in practice. to be clear, this is not a failure of the Admission office. Brown’s student body each year continues to reflect the administration’s concerted effort to construct a fair representation of the global community. But once at Brown, the student body seems to diminish the value in their composition and forfeit one of the chief benefits of our community by coalescing into groups based on the very categories that Brown’s philosophy seeks to deconstruct. This phenomenon will be more readily accepted by upperclassmen who have likely experienced this in their own interactions or who have had the time to notice its numerous manifestations on campus. As a senior on the varsity baseball team, I recognize it most prevalently in the divide between the athlete population and the rest of the student body. But for first-years, an explanation might be in order. when each class arrives at Brown, it arrives as one collective: a group united in its common fear and excitement for the impending college experience. Yet, as we begin to select our friendships and join sports teams, sing in the chorus or

our social groups within the Brown community begin to resemble those we grew up in, and we surround ourselves with those with whom we feel most comfortable.

people whose backgrounds and interests are different from our own, thereby diminishing the number of perspectives that we confront and consider during our time at Brown. But is this something that we can consciously correct? or is it simply an inevitable result of the proximity of crowds with like interests? I believe that we ought to confront this segregationist tendency on campus and make conscious individual efforts to reach out into new social circles and interest groups that are beyond our comfort zones.

Stake out in a new direction and interact with people who harbor different passions. This is a foundational concept of the Brown experience, but must be met with effort and willingness from each of us if it is to be realized. Another problem that seems to arise is the grouping of those with similar beliefs or political persuasions into certain concentrations or courses that limit the amount of discussion between those at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. This clumping directly threatens the quality of academic life

daily herald features
the Brown
By Jordan hEndriCks
featUreS editor

weDneSDAY, SePteMBer 12, 2012

Family business adds calzones to Thayer’s international menu
when Thayer Street patrons first enter Mike’s Calzones, they are greeted by a familiar face — one that has been recognized by members of the Brown community for his culinary contributions to College hill for almost a decade. Michel “Mike” Boutros, founder, manager and chef at the recently opened restaurant next to Bagel Gourmet ole on the northeast end of campus, has worked for years in restaurants offering food inspired by cuisine from all over the world. But his journey has never taken him farther than Thayer Street, where he has served in the restaurant business for nearly ten years. his work at east Side Pockets and Shanghai — both restaurants founded by members of Boutros’ family — provided him with an opportunity to build a rapport with the community, Boutros said. “A lot of the Brown students and a lot of the local people know my name and ... recognize my face,” Boutros said. “I’m just ‘Mike.’” So when he decided to open a new restaurant on Thayer this spring, he named the establishment Mike’s Calzones. a family affair Boutros, 33, said he cannot remember a time in his life when he wasn’t working with food. “Since I was young, I was helping my father and my mother in the restaurant business,” he said. his first job was as the designated “wrap-maker” in his family’s falafel eatery in their home country of Syria, he added. Boutros, along with his parents, two brothers and two sisters, emigrated from Syria to the United States in the early to mid-1990s. Shortly after the entire family arrived, they opened their first restaurant in 1997. That year, east Side Pockets began serving Middle eastern-style falafel, gyros and beef kafka on Thayer. It is one of the few businesses on the street that has survived this long, said Paul Boutros, 37, Mike’s brother and current manager of east Side Pockets. east Side Pockets served as a launching point for Boutros to expand the family business — eventually leading Mike to open Shanghai, a Chinese restaurant, and now, the calzone establishment. on the street each new restaurant opened by the Boutros family addresses a specific type of food missing from Thayer, Mike said. “every time I try to bring something to Thayer Street, I look at what Thayer Street is missing,” Mike said. “Like when I opened the Chinese restaurant — Shanghai — there was no Chinese.” Shanghai, which opened in 2005, remains open today, though Boutros said he sold his share of its ownership in 2007. Afterward, he noticed that there were a variety of pizza options, but no calzones, which led to the idea of Mike’s. Paul Boutros said successful businesses occupy a special niche, noting that new ventures that try to copy existing Thayer business models often fail. “when you come to the street, you’ve got to do something unique,” Paul Boutros said. “You’ve got to do something different.” while the calzone restaurant is still young, Mike Boutros said, he hopes to someday own a part of either east Side Pockets or Mike’s Calzones as a franchise. But though he grew up in the restaurant business, he would not

sam kase / herald

inspired by thayer street’s dearth of calzones, mike boutros opened mike’s Calzones last spring. over the years, he has been associated with other popular thayer street eateries, such as East side Pockets and shanghai. necessarily want that life for his future children, he said. “It’s a lot of work.” the choice calzone As diners enter Mike’s Calzones, they are welcomed by warm greetings from Boutros and his wife, nancy Mersho, who is also a full-time employee of the restaurant. Behind the counter rests a chicken shawarma, a machine similar to a rotisserie that cooks meat in a traditional Arab preparation — by roasting it slowly. The shawarma was added about a month ago, Boutros said. It is not officially on the menu yet. The menu features a variety of preset options, including calzones, wraps and salads. There is also the option to make one’s own calzone by selecting meat and toppings. All calzones are made to order. Customer favorites are the buffalo chicken, chicken parmesan and chicken bacon ranch. But Boutros often recommends certain combinations, he said. his all-time favorite is a grilled chicken, spinach, tomatoes, olives, pesto and feta cheese calzone — a combination that customers always come back to try again, he said. Anne Sholar ’14 tried Mike’s Calzones shortly after it opened in the spring. Initially “puzzled” by Mike’s suggestions of what toppings to put on her calzone, the combination of toppings he suggested “worked out well,” she said. “he knew what he was doing.” The restaurant seems to have gotten positive reviews — it has a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Yelp, a website that allows users to review and rate local businesses. the falafel guys Both Paul and Mike Boutros said restaurants have always been an important part of their lives. “we grew up in it,” Paul said. “we worked almost every day,” sometimes even working 20-hour days in the first years after east Side Pockets opened, he said. whether traveling in the United States or internationally, Brown and rISD students and alums have recognized both Boutros and his brother Paul for their service, Paul said. They say, “hey, you’re the falafel guy!” he said. Mike was once recognized by two rISD students in a German airport, Paul said. while Mike said he has enjoyed his time at the calzone restaurant so far, he has not forgotten his time at east Side Pockets. working at east Side Pockets was “a lot of fun back in the day,” he said, recalling after-parties that were held at the restaurant before Providence began requiring all businesses to close by 2 a.m. restaurant workers would play a drum during parties, he added. “I try to experience new adventures,” Mike said.

u. engineers accurately detect flu virus with biochip prototype
By alyssa sElF
ContribUting Writer

Detection of the influenza virus — more widely known as the flu — has been a slow and laborious process to date. But biomedical engineers at Brown recently developed a prototype for a biochip that can rapidly and reliably detect influenza in patients. This chip would allow scientists to track the spread of the flu, ideally preventing outbreaks through early diagnosis, the researchers reported in the June issue of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. The chip, the size of a credit card, quickly isolates and amplifies viral rnA — the blueprint for constructing proteins. Anubhav tripathi, associate professor of engineering and corresponding author of the study, named the technique SMArt, an acronym for a “simple method of amplifying rnA targets.” The prototype chip can detect very small quantities of virus in patient samples, making it a great alternative to conventional methods that require higher viral loads for strain detection. Currently, the chip can be used to de-

science & ReseaRch

tect the h3, h1 seasonal and h1 swine strains of the virus, according to the article. The biochip would allow physicians to overcome many of the obstacles associated with traditional genetic amplification methods such as polymerase chain reaction, which is less efficient and more costly. on the chips, viral rnA is mixed with probes, which bind to known target sequences on the rnA. The probes contain magnetic beads that pull target sequences through a channel on the chip upon application of a magnet, thereby causing separation from unprobed strands. After the sorting, only the target strands are amplified, rather than the entire sample. This accelerates the process and allows it to occur in a handheld device, making it possible to use this approach in a remote clinic. tripathi said the probe is “very accurate and highly sensitive” with approximately 90 percent accuracy. while the accuracy already exceeds that of conventional methods, the ultimate goal is to achieve greater than 99 percent accuracy. The chip has been successful with patient samples collected from Memorial hospital of rhode Island, but tripathi said the next step will

be to test the chip with actual patients. “we need to prove that it performs better than what already exists,” said Andrew Artenstein, professor of medicine. The prototype chip could also be used to detect diseases, such as hIV and tuberculosis. tripathi hopes to apply the SMArt technique to hIV patient samples collected from Kenya. Artenstein said the “same concept could be applied to anything, even non-infectious diseases like cancer.” Victor Ugaz, associate professor of chemical engineering at texas A&M University, who was not involved in the study, said the test “has a lot of potential to improve the current state of surveillance and diagnostics.” “Being able to make these kinds of low-cost diagnostic tools more widely available will have (a) large impact on how medicine is practiced,” Ugaz added. Though the biochip is still in the prototype phase, researchers are already improving the current model. Maswazi Sihlabela GS is tweaking the prototype so that it can be used in resource-limited settings, such as small clinics and is compatible with devices such as laptops or iPhones for data analysis.

alyssa self / herald

Jingjing Wang Gs and maswazi sihlabela Gs are working to develop a biochip that can detect influenza even in resource-limited communities.

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