AAAS Provides Showcase For Northwestern Faculty

Faculty to present on discoveries from Picasso’s creative process to soft electronic wearables for stroke patients

February 13, 2018

Showcasing a broad spectrum of cutting-edge research and scientific advances, 10 Northwestern University faculty members will present their work at the upcoming 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The diverse body of research ranges from breakthrough inventions in the field of soft electronic wearables for the human body to technology-enabled insights into the composition of Picasso paintings and sculptures. The presentations examine the intersection between art and science, research and discovery, and, in many cases, challenge conventional wisdom.

Presentations also will shed light on nanotechnology, the relationship between music and the brain, the tradeoffs of high-yield crops in west Africa, why “SuperAgers” maintain strong cognitive abilities much longer than their peers and the potential benefits when universities collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense.

In addition to presentations at individual sessions, Marc Walton, John Rogers and Emily Rogalski will participate in press briefings. 

The AAAS meeting, with dozens of sessions exploring recent developments in science and technology, draws thousands of researchers, educators, journalists and science enthusiasts from around the world. This year’s meeting will be held in Austin, Texas, from Feb. 15 to 19. AAAS is said to be the largest general scientific society in the world.

Northwestern research to be presented at AAAS includes:

  • Mohammad Ahmadpoor, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kellogg School of Management, will examine data from 4.8 million U.S. patents and 32 million research articles to help determine the relationship between patents and citation linkages – and the distance between the two. Ahmadpoor will present “The Distance Between Patents and Prior Scientific Advances” from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in Room 19B of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Aggelos Katsaggelos is the Joseph Cummings Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Working with Northwestern colleague Marc Walton and others, Katsaggelos used new technologies to visualize the hidden paintings beneath some of Picasso’s works. Katsaggelos, who works in the McCormick School of Engineering, will discuss “Hidden Intentions: Hyperspectral Data Fusion of Picasso’s Blue Period Paintings” from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in Room 17B of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Neil Kelleher, the Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences and Medicine, will talk about how analysis of whole protein molecules provides the ability to examine protein sequences, mutations and modifications in unprecedented detail. Kelleher will present “Top Down Proteomics and Precise Description of Human Proteins in Health and Disease” from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in Room 17B of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor in Northwestern’s School of Communication, will discuss her groundbreaking research on the relationship between music and a healthy brain. She’ll talk about how music strengthens sound processing, while concussions disrupt this delicate brain circuitry. Her topical presentation, an invited lecture, “Music for Brain Health” will run from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Ballroom F of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Amanda Logan, an assistant professor of anthropology, will discuss the short- and long-term tradeoffs of adopting high-yield crops in Ghana. Her case study in Ghana’s Banda region shows yield is only a short-term benefit and there can be unintended costs. Her presentation, “Short- and Long-Term Tradeoffs of Adopting High-Yield Crops in Ghana” will be from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Ballroom F of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Chad Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will discuss potential synergies that arise when universities collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense. He’ll talk about how such partnerships can help science address society’s greatest challenges. Mirkin, director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, will present “Synergistic Defense-Academic Collaborations: Moving Ideas from the Lab to Application” from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Room 17A of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Julio Ottino. Using examples from Galileo and Picasso, Ottino, dean of Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, will show how artistic creativity reveals processes that hold lessons for scientific and technological creativity. Ottino, who hold the titles of Distinguished Robert R. McCormick Professor and Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, will present “Creative Processes in Science and Technology: Insights From Visual Arts” from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in Room 17B of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Emily Rogalski, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, will discuss her research into “SuperAgers,” individuals who are seemingly resistant to the deleterious changes in memory associated with typical cognitive aging. She’ll examine factors that could contribute to the SuperAgers phenomenon. Rogalski will present “SuperAgers: Neurocognitive Underpinnings of Elite Elderly” from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, in Ballroom F of the Austin Convention Center.
  • John Rogers, the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery, will discuss how new classes of materials and approaches are transforming silicon-based devices, creating exciting new applications. He will showcase new wearables his lab developed that can aid stroke patients in their rehab. His presentation, “Soft Electronics for the Human Body,” will be from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in Ballroom E of the Austin Convention Center.
  • Marc Walton and Francesca Casadio. Working with Northwestern colleague Aggelos Katsaggelos and others, Walton, Casadio and the team used new technology to visualize the hidden paintings beneath some of Picasso’s works, and analyze the composition of Picasso bronzes. Walton is a research professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, and Casadio, the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at The Art Insitute of Chicago. Walton and Casadio are co-directors of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). They are organizers of the scientific session “Analyzing Picasso: Scientific Innovation, Instrumentation and Education” to be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in Room 17B of the Austin Convention Center.