Biotechnology and Life Sciences

Earth First Origins Project Seeks To Replicate the Cradle of Life

NASA’s Astrobiology Program has awarded a $9 million grant to Earth First Origins project, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Assistant Professor Karyn Rogers, to uncover the conditions on early Earth that gave rise to life by identifying, replicating, and exploring how prebiotic molecules and chemical pathways could have formed under realistic early Earth conditions.

Interdisciplinary Team Developing Virtual Reality Technology for Training and Assessment of Colorectal Surgeons

Colorectal surgery is a hands-on activity, but in recent years the effectiveness of traditional assessment methods in evaluating surgeons’ technical skills has been called into question. A team of collaborators with ties to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is responding by pioneering the use of virtual reality technologies to train and objectively evaluate colorectal surgeons without putting any patients at risk.

Freshwater Is Getting Saltier, Threatening People and Wildlife

Salts that de-ice roads, parking lots and sidewalks keep people safe in winter. But new research shows they are contributing to a sharp and widely rising problem across the U.S. At least a third of the rivers and streams in the country have gotten saltier in the past 25 years. And by 2100, more than half of them may contain at least 50 percent more salt than they used to. Increasing salinity will not just affect freshwater plants and animals but human lives as well—notably, by affecting drinking water.

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.