University of Rhode Island

file / URI

The days are getting shorter, our cobalt coastline is cooler. The rhythms of fall return. In our cozy corner of New England, a timeless harbinger of the season is students thronging college campuses.

Behind the teary parental goodbye hugs and lugging the laptops to the dorm looms an uneasiness in the realm of higher education these days. Students loaded down with mountains of debt graduate into an uncertain economy. ``Do you want fries with that diploma’’ is the gallows humor of our age.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Humans have been raiding nature’s drug store for millennia, coaxing everything from painkillers to beauty treatments from plants. But scientists believe there’s much more to discover. And those discoveries might be waiting closer to home than you think. Now, a University of Rhode Island researcher has found some promising properties in one of New Englanders’ favorite foods.

University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor Navindra Seeram meets me in the courtyard of his department’s sharp new building. He’s giving me a tour of a carefully manicured garden they’ve recently planted.

Rhode Island’s economy ended the second quarter on a positive note, according to the latest Current Conditions Index.  The index is a monthly rating of the state’s economy based on a dozen key indicators.


Senator Jack Reed said he’s confident that Rhode Island will receive federal money meant to boost the state’s manufacturing sector.

Reed and the three other members of the congressional delegation took part Monday in a manufacturing forum at URI’s Providence campus. About 100 people attended the discussion.

Reed said the outlook is good for Rhode Island to get a preliminary grant of up to 200-thousand dollars to foster a strategy for adding manufacturing jobs.

University of Rhode Island Research Professor Alan Rothman, a specialist on viral diseases, has received an $11.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his quest for a vaccine against dengue fever. URI officials say this is one of the largest grants ever received by a single URI researcher.

Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne illness, affects an estimated 100 million people around the globe each year, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Rothman has been studying the disease in his laboratory at URI’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics.

file / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island has embarked on an advertising campaign to raise our state’s flagging self-esteem. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for us to stop running down our tiny corner of New England.

Back in 1996, when Jack Reed was running his first U.S. Senate campaign, Texas Gov. Ann Richards came to Newport to speak at a Reed fund-raiser. The tart-tongued Texan introduced the vertically-challenged Rhode Island Democrat by saying to prolonged laughter that Reed is proof ``that size doesn’t matter.’’

A collaborative effort to research and treat autism is rolling out in Rhode Island. This new consortium includes universities, hospitals and state agencies.

The Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment, or RI-CART, brings doctors researchers and educators together to advance autism research and put a spotlight on the disorder. Dozens of organizations are involved, including Bradley Hospital, Brown University and the Rhode Island Department of Education.

The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence has named Carol Strohecker as the new Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Strohecker comes from a position as Director of the University of North Carolina’s multi-campus Center for Design Innovation, according to RISD officials.

Investigating Rhode Island's Tsunami

Jul 9, 2013
Bradley Campbell / RIPR

Scientists are still trying to understand what caused ocean levels across the state to fluctuate last month without warning. The event remains a relative mystery, but a group from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography believes it may have been a tsunami. 

The author H.P. Lovecraft wrote: "But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of the ocean." Such is the case in this story. It starts on June 13th, when Chuck Ebersole had a really unusual day. He's a Steward at the Wickford Yacht Club.

Tis the high season of summer in the Ocean State and the time of hijinks at the State House. As the hours dwindle towards adjournment, items big and small sometimes get lost in the last-minute shuffle as the competing egos in the House and Senate square off.

One very important economic development and education issue to watch: the fate of the resolution needed to move forward the plan to revive a gateway to the old Jewelry District in Providence by putting a nursing school in the old Dynamo Building, the onetime South Street power station.

URI Trip to Antarctica Yields Microscopic Finds

Jun 20, 2013
Caitlyn Lawrence / URI GSO

A professor at the University of Rhode Island just flew back from Antarctica with scientific cargo. Phytoplankton, will be used to study the plant’s resiliency to climate change.

Phytoplankton is microscopic plants that float in water near the surface of the Ocean. And a URI professor just hand-delivered fresh samples of the phytoplankton taken from the Southern Ocean to URI. Associate Professor of Oceanography, Tatiana Rynearson, said the samples will help scientists understand the different types of phytoplankton in the ocean.

Rhode Island has lifted a ban on armed police forces at state colleges, after a Board of Education vote last night. The board’s new policy allows each state institution to make the decision about whether campus police officers will carry guns.

Michael Donnermeyer / Wiki Commons

State colleges and universities in Rhode Island can now arm campus police after a vote Thursday night at the State Board of Education.  Critics said more guns on campus will not make students safer, but supporters, including University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, said campus police should carry guns to do their jobs more effectively.

Dooley said he believes arming police is logical decision for URI.

There’s a meaty agenda on tap this week at the State Board of Education. The group is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial proposal to allow police to carry guns on state college campuses. The board is also scheduled to vote on adopting new science standards and consider a contract extension for Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

How Frequent are Tornadoes in New England?

May 22, 2013

It’s hard not to be moved by the plight of Moore, Oklahoma which was hit by a catastrophic tornado Monday.  Hundreds of buildings were flattened and at least 24 people, including nine children, were killed.

Experts say New England is less likely to be hit by a tornado than anywhere else east of the Rocky Mountains.  New England averages eight tornadoes a year, but they tend to be weak events – on the scale of EF0 or EF1.  The storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma has been categorized an EF5.