Why I’d follow Warren Buffett and buy cheap shares today

first_img Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares Enter Your Email Address Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Many of today’s cheap shares could hold appeal for investors such as Warren Buffett. His focus on achieving a discount to a company’s intrinsic value when purchasing shares could provide scope for capital appreciation over the long run.With many other mainstream assets such as bonds and cash offering low returns at the present time, undervalued stocks may prove to be a profitable long-term investment.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Weak investor sentiment towards today’s cheap sharesDespite the stock market’s rebound since its March lows, many cheap shares are currently available to buy. Investors have a downbeat view of a number of sectors that face challenging operating conditions in the short run.But search out companies within those sectors that have solid financial positions and competitive advantages. These may be likely to survive difficult current circumstances to benefit from a likely economic recovery.Warren Buffett has previously purchased cheap stocks to generate high returns in the long run. Buying a company for less than it’s worth may also reduce an investor’s overall risks. They’ll obtain a wider margin of safety in case its future performance is less positive than expected.Recovering share pricesOf course, there’s no guarantee that today’s cheap shares will recover from their current low prices. The economic outlook could worsen. Meanwhile, some companies may be unable to adapt their business models to changing operating conditions.However, the track record of investors such as Warren Buffett shows that a long-term recovery is likely. He has benefitted from the world economy’s persistent return to impressive levels of GDP growth following a variety of crises.For example, over the past 20 years, the early 2000s recession and the global financial crisis caused some stocks to trade at extremely low levels for a period of time. Following them, the world economy returned to positive growth over the long run. This prompted improving operating conditions and stronger investor sentiment towards previous cheap shares.A lack of relative appealCheap shares may also be appealing today because of a lack of opportunities available elsewhere. Low interest rates mean cash and bonds have disappointing returns. Therefore, they’re unlikely to make up the majority of an investor’s portfolio.Meanwhile, high house prices may mean returns on property investment may be less impressive than those made on undervalued shares.Of course, there may be further challenges ahead for the stock market. Risks such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Brexit may limit the scope for stock markets to rise in the short run.Therefore, diversifying across a range of cheap stocks could be a sound move. It may limit risk and allow an investor to follow in Warren Buffett’s footsteps to outperform the stock market. Certainly as it delivers likely further growth in the coming years. Image source: The Motley Fool I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! Why I’d follow Warren Buffett and buy cheap shares today Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Peter Stephens | Wednesday, 16th December, 2020 See all posts by Peter Stephenslast_img read more

Title IX: TCU coaches see growth in opportunities for female athletes

first_imgKayley Ryan Fort Worth recognized for growing music scene Linkedin TAGSin depthTitle IXWomen athletes Previous articleThe Skiff: November 9, 2017Next articleWomen’s basketball welcomes four in early signing period Kayley Ryan RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter printVolleyball director and coach Jill Kramer ‘99—who holds school records for kills and total career attacks—almost didn’t go to TCU.Jill Kramer (Photo by Jessica Smith, Courtesy of TCU Athletics)That’s because when she was looking at colleges, TCU was just starting its volleyball program, the 11th women’s sport the school has added since Title IX became law in 1972.Title IX, also known as the Education Amendment Act of 1972, mandates that universities that receive federal funds cannot exclude or discriminate against anyone in its university programs on the basis of sex. Otherwise, the law warns, they would have their funding revoked.Kramer received TCU’s first volleyball scholarship. By her senior year in 1999, the volleyball team had 12 women on scholarship.“Volleyball was created because of Title IX here,” she said.Volleyball wasn’t the only sport to benefit. TCU has added 11 women’s sports since Title IX, from tennis in 1972 to beach volleyball in 2015.And though women’s sports have grown significantly since Title IX was enacted, their struggle now is not getting administrative support but getting fans to come watch. Attendance is increasing, but coaches of the women’s teams say it will take time to build a fan base.TCU Associate Athletics Director Kim Johnson, who oversees Title IX compliance, said the law “has 100 percent aided women’s sports at TCU.”Title IX mandated several changes that ultimately changed the face of college athletics:Participation opportunities in sports should be equal to the proportion of male and female students.Scholarships awarded should be proportionate to participation.All athletes should have equal access to other services: facilities, equipment, food, housing, medical care, coaching, recruitment, publicity and support services.Participation – then and nowIn the 1998-9 academic year, TCU had the second worst participation proportion of female students among 114 schools, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education report obtained by The Skiff in 2000.Title IX: 1999-PresentVenngage InfographicsTCU was 28 percent below Title IX standards, but the government didn’t stop funding the university because the act allows for a transition period if the university is making progress toward the standards. By 1999, TCU had added nine sports.Then-Chancellor Michael Ferrari said the report was disappointing but that the situation had not reached a panic state, The Skiff reported.“Any institution with a football program and such a high percentage of female students will always produce an unfavorable profile,” Ferrari said. “We are making progress, and we know that. But we can always do more.”Today, TCU has the same ratio of undergraduates as in 1998-9: 60 percent female to 40 percent male, according to the TCU Factbook. But the participation rate of female athletes has increased by 11 percentage points.Scholarships phase inAs TCU added women’s sports and ramped up the participation rate of its female athletes, the school began to phase in scholarships for student-athletes like Kramer, Johnson said.Kramer said she and two other athletes received the first three volleyball scholarships, and three scholarships were phased in each year until TCU fully funded volleyball scholarships up to the maximum limits set by the NCAA. For volleyball in the NCAA Division I, that number is 12.TCU Scholarship BreakdownVenngage InfographicsBecause TCU has a football team which is allowed 85 scholarships by the NCAA, the university had to add women’s sports to follow another Title IX guideline: to have scholarship money that is representative of its participation rate of male and female athletes. TCU met that requirement for the 2015-16 academic year, according to Equity in Athletics data it is required to report under Title IX.Coaches talk scholarshipsKaren Monez (Courtesy of TCU Athletics)Karen Monez, coach of the women’s rifle team, said she would like to have more scholarships for her shooters. The NCAA allows rifle the fewest of any sport, 3.6 partial scholarships, which Monez can divvy out to her shooters as needed.This year, six of her 10 shooters have some of that athletic money, she said. Monez added that some of her shooters have academic scholarships.It’s a different story for Raegan Pebley, coach of the women’s basketball team, who said she has too many scholarships for her athletes. Women’s basketball receives 15 full scholarships for 15 athletes, which is two more than men’s basketball.Raegan Pebley (Courtesy of TCU Athletics)A female basketball player might forego playing at another university because TCU has more to offer, which she said makes competitions unequal.If NCAA limits could be changed, she said she’d like to see more scholarships allocated to other women’s sports at TCU.“If you took three scholarships away from women’s basketball and allocated them to another women’s sport,” Pebley said, “that will have a trickle-down effect that’s going to create more equality because those [basketball] players are going to go to some other school.”Coaches reflect on recruitment money availableAnother possible area for growth is recruitment dollars, which are disproportionately allocated to men’s sports, according to Equity in Athletics data.By the Numbers: TCU Equity in Athletics DataVenngage InfographicsUnlike scholarships, recruitment dollars do not have to be equally spread among men’s and women’s sports programs, said Patrick O’Rourke, a certified public accountant and analyst for ScholarshipStats.com.While recruitment dollars are disproportionately allotted to men’s teams including football and basketball, coaches of women’s programs said they had enough.Pebley said she is able to request what she needs from administrators and have it soon afterward.“Well, I don’t really care what the men need,” she said. “Because our recruiting’s different. I don’t feel like I’ve gone without here. We are given what we need.”Rachel Garner practices shooting at the TCU rifle range. (Photo by Kayley Ryan)For Monez, more scholarship money for her team–which can’t be raised by TCU but by the NCAA–could help make recruiting easier and make TCU more affordable, she said. But she said she’s still able to recruit top-level shooters.O’Rourke said there is no hard dollar amount for recruitment, but teams have to follow certain rules. For example, the school can’t pay a student-athlete beyond scholarship money to recruit him or her.After reviewing the Equity in Athletics data, O’Rourke said TCU has a pretty good track record.“[TCU is] doing pretty well, to be honest with you,” he said.Equal access to other servicesBeyond the hard numbers of participation and scholarships, Title IX requires student-athletes have equal access to housing, food, tutoring, facilities, medical services and publicity. Coaches praised the university for its allotment of these services.Kramer said she never felt discriminated against as a female athlete at TCU. But she does remember a time she wanted to attend summer school so she could study and train for the upcoming season.“They said, ‘No you can’t do that. Can’t pay for summer school,’” Kramer remembers. “Why not? All these other athletes (football, basketball) are going to summer school, I don’t get it.”Later, she called the athletic office and asked if she could go to summer school.Screens track shots to their targets. (Photo by Kayley Ryan)“I was just wondering why that wasn’t available for me,” she said. “And then it was available.”Monez praised the university’s growth in facility improvement.She said her rifle team once shared a facility with ROTC storage.Now the rifle team has upgraded equipment with a display screen that lets fans track the bullet to its destination.PublicityAnother of the myriad services Title IX requires equal access to is publicity.This means men’s and women’s teams should have equal access to publicity resources and services including the athletics communications staff and the press releases they publish, according to the Women’s Sport Foundation, established by tennis star Billie Jean King.But women’s coaches say they also have to work hard to get people to come to games. They said they can’t expect media personnel to do all the work for them.Building a fan baseCoaches Eric Bell of soccer, Pebley of women’s basketball and Kramer of volleyball all have summer camps they use to train up a younger generation of female athletes and to build their fan bases.[View the story “Fans at TCU volleyball game” on Storify]“Our girls work hard all summer with marketing,” Kramer said. “And they go out to camps all over the metroplex and meet these kids. I think they understand that they’re role models and that their time is valuable to those people.”Kramer has more fan-building tactics in mind: she said before the season starts, her athletes and staff personally deliver about 30 to 40 season tickets to fans who’ve purchased them.“That takes time and attention, but those people remember that, and our girls connect with them,” she said.She said she wants to engage the business community in Fort Worth as well.Eric Bell (Courtesy of TCU Athletics)Bell is hoping to get more students to come to soccer games but says he’s encouraged by the family-oriented crowds who come.“When I first got here we weren’t very good,” Bell said. “They came out and still supported us. They still continue to do that. I don’t know what it is about TCU and this facility, but the fan base has always been good.”Pebley also involves her athletes in advertising for their basketball games, from putting up posters to throwing homecoming parades.“Our girls are invested,” she said. “I make them get invested in growing the fan base as well.”Attendance by the numbers: Building a fan base at TCUVenngage InfographicsEfforts to grow the fan base in the past 16 years have shown some gradual increases in attendance for basketball, soccer and volleyball games in different years.What these season averages leave out are spikes in numbers at particular games. Recently, Kramer’s volleyball team saw its largest crowd of the season and the third largest in program history in its Oct. 18 game against Oklahoma, according to TCU Athletics. More than 2,200 attended.[<a href=”//storify.com/kdelise97/oct-18-game-against” target=”_blank”>View the story “Kramer praises turnout at Oct. 18 game against Oklahoma ” on Storify</a>]Hope for more fans in the futureWhen sports columnist Jen Engel wrote for the Star-Telegram, she said she chose to cover men’s sports.“I am not covering women’s basketball because I knew what that meant: that meant less bylines, less features,” Engel said. “I got more bylines by covering more men’s sports. I knew early on if I made that trade I would be in trouble. I knew if I covered women’s basketball, I wouldn’t get coverage as much.”But as more women don jerseys and more fans crowd bleachers to watch them, the perception of women in sports has changed, she said.In her generation, Engel said playing sports or covering sports wasn’t seen as “sexy [or] feminine,” but it’s a different story for her 8-year-old daughter.“My daughter’s generation grows up thinking everyone plays sports, sports are amazing,” she said.Mac Engel, a Star-Telegram columnist, formerly worked on the publicity team for women’s basketball at TCU.[View the story “Delivering season tickets to TCU women’s basketball” on Storify]He said for women’s sports to stand out, they need to be creative in how they market themselves—access to what the coach is telling players in the locker room, for example.“You have to sell stories,” he said. “You’ve got to be honest with me. You’ve got to give me something different.”Johnson said she’s seeing how valued women’s sports are on a professional and Olympic level because of their success and competitive nature.“So the U.S. open, I’ve had the pleasure of going a time or two,” she said. “And when Serena’s playing, it is as packed as when Roger Federer is playing. So I think men, like women. like anyone – they respect high-level competition.”For women’s basketball at TCU, Pebley isn’t asking for more scholarships or recruitment dollars.“I just want people to see these amazing women and what they do and how they do it and why we do it,” she said. “They play for each other and they play for that crowd. I’d love for them to experience those diehards in there.”For Kramer, she just wants her athletes to have the same community connection she felt.“I had that as a player here,” she said. “I try to create that for my players as well.” $800 million bond looks to expand JPS medical and behavioral health facilities City to approve Westcliff rezoning, tackle loopholes that allow “stealth dorms” 10th-annual Frogstock features student-led music Kayley Ryanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/kayley-ryan/ Welcome TCU Class of 2025 Kayley Ryanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/kayley-ryan/ Linkedin Facebook TCU places second in the National Student Advertising Competition, the highest in school history ReddIt Facebook ReddIt Kayley Ryanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/kayley-ryan/ TCU volleyball saw a crowd of 2,248 people, the third largest in program history, on Oct. 18 against Oklahoma. (Courtesy of TCU Athletics) Kayley Ryanhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/kayley-ryan/ World Oceans Day shines spotlight on marine plastic pollution + posts Twitterlast_img read more

Electrifying insights into how bodies form

first_imgAt first glance, Mike Levin’s lab looks like any standard biology lab with its shelves of petri dishes containing small, brown, semitransparent flatworms called planaria, one of the organisms his lab studies. Look more closely at the bodies of the tiny worms swimming and stretching under the plastic, however, and you might notice something strange — instead of a head and tail, each worm has two fully functional heads.Planaria are the champions of regeneration: Chop one into multiple pieces, and each fragment will regrow exactly the parts it needs to transform into a perfect tiny worm, no more, no less. How do the cells in each worm fragment know what’s missing, and how to rebuild the organs it needs, and when to stop growing? Levin’s group at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is trying to answer these questions, because he believes that doing so is the key to future advances in regenerative medicine and synthetic bioengineering. While biology has started to identify the genes and proteins involved in regeneration, how and when cells use those tools to build complex anatomical features remains unknown.Levin and his team are tackling this challenge by trying to figure out how cells within a worm fragment coordinate to create a specific structure, and then manipulating those cellular conversations to change how the fragments regenerate — with a head at each end, for example. Remarkably, their research has shown that just one brief, conversation-changing treatment is enough to make regenerating planaria continue to produce two-headed worms in subsequent rounds of regeneration, without any further manipulations. Surprisingly, this permanent change in anatomy is produced not by editing the worms’ genes but by targeting a different aspect of biology that is attracting renewed attention after being long ignored: bioelectricity.A normal planaria flatworm (top) chopped into pieces normally regenerates fully complete worms from each fragment, but delivering precise bioelectrical signals can make them grow two heads (middle) or two tails (bottom) instead. Credit: Mike Levin/Tufts UniversityAs far back as the 18th century, scientists realized that applying electrical currents to dead animals could make their muscles twitch, and the idea that electricity was the literal “spark of life” caught on. It was such a pervasive theory that it made its way into literature and the arts, exemplified by Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” in which a lightning storm inspires the young Dr. Frankenstein to bring the dead to life. But the actual scientific study of bioelectric signals proved to be extremely challenging, because the moment an organism is plucked, dried, fixed, or preserved, the electricity vanishes.“When cells and tissues are alive, there’s a bioelectric potential between the inside of a cell and the outside,” Levin said in a recent interview in his lab. “As soon as that potential collapses, the cell is dead. So, I think it’s fair to say that bioelectricity is the spark of life. But more importantly, the bioelectric potential is not just a byproduct of living; it is a medium that cells exploit to communicate with each other and to form networks that are much more than the sum of their parts.”Because bioelectrical studies can be performed only on living cells, other analytical methods that work in fixed tissues and fractionated cells surged ahead in popularity during the 20th century, as techniques like biochemistry and molecular genetics began to reveal the complex choreography of molecules that direct cellular behavior. Electricity remained a central focus in niche fields such as neuroscience and cardiology, as the transmission of electric impulses was known to be the signaling method of choice along neurons and in the heart’s “pacemaker” nodes, but the idea that cells outside the nervous system communicate and are regulated by electrical signals fell out of fashion.The body electricWhen Levin was growing up in the 1980s, the boom in digital technology was ushering in a resurgence of interest in electricity in the form of personal computers. Levin was fascinated by the physics of electricity, and how it could be so readily harnessed to build circuits that perform computational functions. “The more I studied the use of electric circuits to implement memory and perform computation aimed at creating artificial intelligence, the more I thought that surely evolution must have found a way to exploit electricity for its capabilities long before brains showed up; cells and tissues had to start making a lot of complex decisions all the way back at the beginning of multicellular life,” he said.The thought remained just an idea until a day in 1986 when Levin attended the Expo 86 World’s Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia. But the moment that came to define his career didn’t happen in one of the pavilions showcasing the world’s newest technologies — it happened in a used book shop, where Levin happened to pick up the “The Body Electric,” published the previous year by orthopedic surgeon Robert O. Becker.“What was remarkable about that book was that it cited all these older research papers in which people had actually found evidence of electrical signaling outside of the nervous system during embryogenesis and regeneration, not only in animals but also in plants and fungi and other organisms,” Levin recalled. “I had never seen it in any modern textbook, but the fact that these studies were out there suggested that evolution really did discover how good the biophysics of electricity is for computing and processing information in non-neural tissues, and that might be a very interesting direction for understanding how cells cooperate to make decisions about constructing and repairing complex body parts.”Levin has been moving in that direction ever since, earning dual B.S. degrees in computer science and biology at Tufts University and a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, followed by postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School, where he began to uncover a new bioelectric language by which cells coordinate their activity during embryogenesis. He has continued and expanded that work in his own lab, first at Harvard’s Forsyth Institute, and now at the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University and the Wyss Institute.“My lab is looking at not only the mechanisms by which cells receive and transmit electrical signals, but how groups of all kinds of cells form distributed electrical networks that implement information processing,” Levin explained. “We’re interested in how tissues and organs compute using electrical signals — storing pattern memories and regulating large-scale anatomical remodeling. You can think about these groups of cells doing all the same things as a neural network, but everything goes at a much slower pace and is aimed at controlling cell behavior and anatomy, not muscles and body movement.”Cracking the bioelectric codeRather than the rapid-fire signals that travel through neurons to convey information like “this stove is hot” or “step on the brake,” the types of cellular bioelectric networks Levin studies direct much more complex processes, like “create an eyeball here,” “this side is your left,” or “heal this wound.” Over the last few decades, neuroscientists have developed techniques for recording the electrical signals that propagate through individual cells, which is very useful for studying neurons in the brain, but not sufficient for analyzing electricity on the scale of tissues or organs. In the last 15 years, Levin’s lab has been studying bioelectricity in a veritable zoo of animal models, including bacteria, slime molds, algae, frogs, human cultured cells, and of course, the planaria, to address that need.“Understanding how tissues and organs encode and propagate anatomical information in electrical signals to fix or create very complex, specific structures is a fundamental challenge that we call ‘cracking the bioelectric code,’” said Levin. “It has the potential to advance not only biomedicine but multiple fields including robotics and AI, akin to how insights from neuroscience are being used to drive the development of neural nets and other computational tools, but in a much more general context.”The discipline that could see the biggest benefit from cracking that code is the still-fledgling field of regenerative medicine — if scientists can figure out what series of electrical signals carries the instructions “build a leg here,” it could one day be possible to direct a human body to regrow a limb just like the planaria can regrow heads. “The ability to build a specific anatomical structure from different starting conditions, and stop when precisely the right pattern is finished, is one of the big, unsolved problems of developmental biology and regenerative medicine today,” said Levin. “Salamanders can regrow eyes, jaws, limbs, ovaries, and portions of their heart and brain. Deer — a large, adult mammal — regenerate antlers made of bone, nerve, and skin every year at a rate of about 1 centimeter of new bone per day. I believe the capacity to create and repair specific structures is evolutionarily ancient and highly conserved across the tree of life, and that there is no reason it can’t someday be activated in human patients.”Levin’s lab has been able to cause limb regeneration in a variety of animals, including developing tadpoles. Credit: Mike Levin/Tufts UniversityTrue to his background in computer science, Levin is incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence into his lab’s efforts to uncover meaning in the vast amounts of functional data his research generates about anatomy and shape. His team builds AI-based tools that can mine those data to build models that help them understand how cells and tissues make decisions to repair and create specific structures, and to discover interventions that can manipulate that complex process. Recently, they created an AI system that analyzed hundreds of papers about planaria, digested information about the experiments that were performed on the worms, and discovered a novel way of thinking about the circuits that allow planaria to repair themselves, resulting in a new model of planarian regeneration — the first in this field that was not discovered by a human scientist.Reorganizing the “lightning” in our cellsNow that innovations in recording and writing bioelectric information into living cells are making it feasible to study how electrical signals function in living organisms, there is renewed interest across many disciplines in how electricity interacts with other biological phenomena, such as genetics, metabolism, mechanobiology, and immunology. Since joining the faculty of Tufts University in 2009 as the Vannevar Bush Professor, Levin’s expertise has been sought for a number of multidisciplinary projects. In 2016, he was tapped to become the director of the Allen Discovery Center, recruiting 12 other investigators around the world who are combining their disparate backgrounds to understand and ultimately rewrite the “morphogenetic code” by determining where bioelectric patterns originate, how they map the organization of cells, and how their code is interpreted by cells’ genetic and molecular machinery to build and maintain an organism’s anatomy.“We think that if we’re able to figure out these high-level controls of body plan and shape, we will be able to induce limb regeneration, birth defect repair, and tumor reprogramming, first in frogs and similar model systems, and later in mammals,” said Levin. “I would be incredibly excited if in the next decade we can move some of our discoveries toward the clinic, where they can actually help people.”While Levin has collaborated with faculty at the Wyss Institute for more than a decade, his path to official membership also began in 2016, when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded called Technologies for Host Resilience (THoR), a multicenter project led by Wyss Institute Director Donald Ingber to investigate why some organisms tolerate pathogenic infection, and to uncover which biological mechanisms are responsible for their resilience. The Wyss Institute was chosen to lead the interdisciplinary project, and Levin was invited to join as an associate faculty member in 2017. His role in this project was to investigate bioelectricity’s impact on immunity, collaborating with Ingber, core faculty member James Collins, and lead senior staff scientist Michael Super.Early results of his research revealed that administering drugs that target ion channel proteins to make cells’ interiors more negatively charged strengthened tadpoles’ innate immune response to E. coli infection and injury, suggesting that the immune system is regulated by non-neural bioelectricity. The change in voltage altered the expression of genes in the tadpoles that are also involved in human immune responses, indicating that modulating bioelectric charge could be a new clinical approach to reducing infections.Most recently, Levin has started working on the Wyss’ Biostasis Project, a similarly large, cross-functional and interdisciplinary effort also led by Ingber whose goal sounds like something out of science fiction: find a way to slow down biological time. “A lot of my lab’s prior work has focused on looking at how organisms arrange themselves in 3D space, but time is equally important to living creatures,” Levin said. “With this new project, we’re shifting to ask how the different physiological, genetic, and anatomical structures in an animal keep time, and how we might alter the rates of these various processes for improved survival, repair, and health.”,To answer those questions, his lab is developing new constructs that can report biological time, such as fluorescent molecules that indicate metabolic, proliferative, bioelectric, and circadian cycles during development and regenerative healing. The researchers are also testing candidate compounds that could potentially halt or slow biological time, and in the future they will be mining some of the novel model systems they have developed for new compounds that cells and organisms use to regulate their own and each other’s experience of time.Levin’s research has come a long way from his initial fascination with electrical circuits in computers, and the diversity of projects he’s involved in reflects how bioelectricity is reclaiming its place alongside genes, proteins, and mechanical forces as an important piece of the puzzle that is figuring out how life works.“I think all the different projects that my lab is working on link together in an effort to answer the question, ‘How do biological systems store and process spatial and temporal information to behave adaptively, build large functional structures, and resist challenge?’” said Levin.last_img read more

Vaalco begins Avouma workover program. Clears all debt

first_imgHouston-based Vaalco Energy has begun workover operations to restore production to two wells currently shut-in on the Avouma platform offshore Gabon.Vaalco said on Tuesday that the workover operations on the platform began on May 17, 2018.The company added that the work on the platform entailed replacing electric submersible pumps (ESPs) on the Avouma 2-H and South Tchibala 1-HB wells.The ESP on the Avouma 2-H well failed in November 2017 and the well was temporarily shut-in. Vaalco also experienced an ESP failure in a different well on the same platform, South Tchibala 1-HB, on December 24, 2017, resulting in that well also being temporarily shut-in.According to Vaalco, net production of approximately 750 net barrels of oil per day (bopd) may be restored if both workovers are successful.Cary Bounds, Vaalco CEO, said: “[…] our workover operations to restore production from two shut-in wells on the Avouma platform have commenced. We are hopeful that modifications to the design of the downhole ESP equipment, improvements in the installation procedures and upgrades to the surface control systems on the platform will result in improved operational reliability.“With the additional 750 net bopd of production that these wells could bring back online if the workover operations are successful, coupled with higher Brent pricing, we will continue to enhance our ability to generate cash in 2018.”Vaalco also said that its subsidiary paid off the outstanding balance on its amended term loan agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).On March 31, 2018, debt, net of deferred financing costs, totaled $7 million. The total payoff amount for the principal and accrued interest since March 31 was approximately $7.2 million.Vaalco now has no debt on the balance sheet for the first time since June 30, 2014. The company said that it saved over $0.3 million in interest over the next year.“We are realizing significant cash flow generation due to the strong improvement in Brent oil prices with no hedges currently in place. This is allowing us to eliminate all of our outstanding debt and strengthen our balance sheet. We are improving our financial position in anticipation of a development drilling campaign on our offshore Gabon asset in 2019,” Bounds said.last_img read more

Angels Notes: Six-man rotation could prompt search for defensive flexibility

first_imgLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — While the Angels are still debating whether to use a six-man rotation to accommodate Shohei Ohtani in 2018, they are also preparing for the ripple effect that could have on their position player roster.General Manager Billy Eppler said Monday at the Winter Meetings that the Angels are still planning to have seven relievers, which would mean a 13-man pitching staff if they have six starters. That is one more pitcher than normal, which means one fewer position player.“It’s made you kind of reorder the names of different positional categories,” Eppler said. “Which one of these names has more positional flexibility in their back pocket. The ones that do might stand out a little more.”Among the players the Angels still need to acquire are a backup shortstop, a fourth outfielder and a right-handed hitting corner infielder to share time with left-handed Luis Valbuena. The Angels have had discussions this winter with Mike Moustakas, who is the top third baseman on the market, according to a baseball source. The talks aren’t believed to have progressed to any advanced stage. While Moustakas is a natural fit for the Angels, there are few teams looking for an everyday third baseman, so it’s possible the Angels are just waiting for the price to drop. If the Angels could find one player who can fill two of those roles, that would obviously be attractive.“I always put a premium on flexibility, but it might be a little bit more now,” Eppler said.Free agent infielder Eduardo Nuñez or Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, who is on the trade block, could both be fits for the Angels. Nuñez is primarily a third baseman, but he can also back up at short. Galvis can play second or third, too.Eppler said the Angels will decide before the start of spring training if they are going to use a six-man rotation. He also said there’s a hybrid scenario in which one of the Angels relievers makes regular spot starts. That would seem to be a job for JC Ramirez.ALSOThe Angels signed outfielder Rymer Liriano to a minor league deal. Liriano was considered a top-100 prospect in 2012 and 2013, but he has not lived up to that promise so far. Liriano, 26, has hit .220 in 167 major league plate appearances, in 2014 with the Padres and 2017 with the Chicago White Sox. “He was a pretty notable prospect,” Eppler said. “We still feel there’s some ability to resuscitate that.” Liriano could make the team as a fourth outfielder. …center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more