Posted on Leave a comment

Hack for Health connects across disciplines

first_imgSix months ago, Thuy Truong was diagnosed with cancer. Two months after her diagnosis, Truong, a USC alumna, met Peter Kuhn, a founding faculty member of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. By applying her 10-year background in computer science, Truong began working on projects aimed at raising the quality of life for cancer patients.“We had two projects, and we were working on them for two years,” Truong said. “Now, we thought, ‘Let’s have 20 projects happen in one weekend.”That was the inspiration behind Hack for Health, a hackathon designed to foster innovation in cancer treatments.Truong worked with Jorge Nieva, her physician and an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, to design the event.“I convinced [Nieva] to do a hackathon together,” Truong said. “This is because I want to find some way to improve the quality of life. I want to have more people pay attention to cancer and I want to cure the disease a lot faster.”The weekend-long hackathon from April 7 to 9 connected physicians, cancer survivors and coders to students from diverse disciplines. In teams of five people or fewer, the students were challenged to create projects aimed at solving a problem that cancer patients face through technology and programming.Each student from the top three teams was awarded a prize of $3,000 and automatic acceptance to the program hosted by the Bridge Institute, a summer-intensive program hosted by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences that provides students with mentorship and support to develop the final project produced at Hack for Health.The interdisciplinary approach to solving cancer is not far-fetched. According to Nieva, cancer is just as much of a data problem as it is a biological problem. “You can imagine that if you are a cancer patient trying to figure out your own stage, it’s kind of hard,” Nieva said, addressing the students at the opening ceremony. “So, [for] someone who isn’t good at looking at data, that can be a hard thing to actually do.”The high demand for streamlined technology working to solve cancer, Nieva said, is due to the infinite different forms of the disease, which scientists in different fields must work together to solve.“[Biology is] not important to you,” Nieva said. “What’s important to you is that this is all a data problem. I need you people to solve the data problem because frankly, I don’t know how to do it.”Although the ultimate goal is to find a cure for cancer, most students looked to simplify the treatment process. After speaking to a mentor, who was also a cancer survivor at the event, one team decided to build a prediction tool and a timeline that tracks the effectiveness of drug therapy.“We had a cancer patient tell us that she took so many drugs that when the doctor asked her what kind of drugs she took and when she took them, she couldn’t remember,” said Edward Hu, a sophomore majoring in computer science. “We’re building a timeline, a nice way for the doctor or you to see where you started your drug and where you ended your drug.”Other teams’ creations included a chemotherapy calendar for patients, a match program for clinical trials and tools aiming to strengthen mental health of cancer patients. Another problem cancer patients face, Nieva added, is their aspiration to preserve their legacies. People want to tell their stories, and they want to tell things to their children and grandchildren.“Few of them know the elements of storytelling,” Nieva said. “And I know people here at USC know the elements of storytelling. That has nothing to do with curing cancer, but it has everything to do with life.”Through collaboration with cancer survivors during meal breaks and Saturday’s Yoga with Cancer Patients module, students were able to apply real-life circumstances to their coding projects.Apoorva Dhakras, a master’s student studying computer science, believes the impact of the event stems from its real-world application.“We have done a lot of theoretical stuff in the master’s,” Dhakras said. “We have learned how things work, but this would be a good platform to actually implement things and build something that will make a difference.”Dhakras’ teammate, Disha Parek, also a master’s student studying computer science, chose to participate in Hack for Health for its narrow focus and mission.“It’s about someone’s life,” Parek said. “Technology can help in some way or the other. I’m working on technology, but something where I can touch lives and make something out of it.”last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

‘We were all in a fog’: Syracuse beat Western Michigan hours after Pan Am Flight 103 tragedy

first_imgThe details of the night may fade, but what will stay with players is the silence. It was a deafening silence, a kind of silence that belied the cavernous Carrier Dome packed with 25,746 people. The facility carried a distressing tone. There were anguished sobs throughout the night. People had gathered to watch a Syracuse men’s basketball game on a cold day, Dec. 21, 1988. But it was almost an afterthought. About six hours before tip-0ff, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in the air over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist attack resulted in the deaths of all 259 people aboard, including 35 SU students returning from study abroad trips and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie. More United States civilians died in the bombing than in any other terrorist attack before 9/11. Thirty years ago Friday, Syracuse, then No. 3 in the country, beat Western Michigan, 94-71. Only a couple of hundred feet away was a packed Hendricks Chapel mourning the deaths of SU students. Members of both teams recalled this month the confusion pregame, a mute crowd and the ensuing days full of sorrow. “The whole community was grieving,” said Vernon Payne, Western Michigan’s head coach. “Students were in tears during the moment of silence. I think it was a moment the community, the cheerleaders and all players had a moment of realization of how tragic that loss was. We didn’t have a ‘let’s go play’ attitude. It was more of a, ‘We’ll have to play through this, guys.’”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWestern Michigan’s 1988-89 team poses for a team photo. Courtesy of WMU AthleticsThe decision to even play the game was met with criticism. A university vice president, Ron Cavanagh, received a phone call around 3 p.m. from a travel agent. He was told a plane had gone missing with Syracuse students on board. Cavanagh walked from one end of Tolley Hall to the other to meet with then-Chancellor Melvin Eggers. Their discussion centered on a decision: Should the game go on as scheduled? Payne said his team would’ve been OK canceling the game. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said he would’ve “thought long and hard about” whether to cancel, though the decision wasn’t up to him. Eggers decided to play the game because fans were driving from hours away and rapidly notifying people in the 1980s was a challenge in itself. It wasn’t clear what had happened to the plane yet. Eggers later said he regretted the decision. A couple of hours before tip, Payne met with Boeheim and an SU Athletics representative and they discussed what had happened, what was known hours afterward and the possibility of canceling the game.Meanwhile, Syracuse players arrived to the Carrier Dome around 6 p.m.  Players said they entered individually and in small groups, and they asked one another: “What do you know? Did you have friends on the plane? Are we going to have a game?” They flipped channels on a TV outside the locker room to a local news station. Todd Blumen, then a student manager and current SU video coordinator, panicked. He thought his friend was on the plane. (He later learned his friend was not on the plane.) Boeheim met with the team, but players said he didn’t address the tragedy. Everybody knew. He urged them to stay focused on the game so “we could get to our families for the holiday,” said Scott Goldman, a former student manager. “It was pretty much chaos in the locker room,” Goldman said. “I would have desperately preferred to be at Hendricks with the rest of the community, grieving … During the game, I think everybody’s mind was someplace else.”Catherine Hauschild hugs a fellow cheerleader and cries the day of the Pan Am tragedy. Courtesy of SU ArchivesWestern Michigan guard Mark Brown remembered the Broncos were excited to visit the Carrier Dome, which was eight years old at the time. They didn’t frequently play in large arenas. From watching SU games on TV, they knew how loud the place could get. And yet all Brown remembers is a noiseless place. When players jogged to the court for warm-ups, the Dome began to fill. It wasn’t a sellout, but it was well attended. There were few students in attendance, players said, since many had either gone home for Winter Break or attended the vigil in Hendricks Chapel. There was a commotion in the Dome during warmups, said Western Michigan guard Jerry Overstreet. Afterward, he saw people hugging and crying near the court. A coach had told WMU a tragic event impacted Syracuse, but the details were unknown. His mind raced during the game: “What happened?”“During the game I thought, ‘Am I really here in this moment?’” Overstreet said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable.  It was quiet, it was almost numbing.”The game began at 8 p.m. Minutes before, Michael Rothermel, a Lutheran minister, held a microphone and told the crowd what was known. Spectators who weren’t previously aware of the news gasped. Rothermel said a prayer and called for a moment of silence. The Dome remained subdued the rest of the evening, with some fans leaving early. Student workers at concession stands considered leaving, too.“There was panic pre-game,” said Syracuse starting guard Matt Roe. “It was an eerie environment. You began to question as a player, ‘Should we be playing this game?’ We were all in a fog.”After the game, Marshall Street was quiet. Players from both teams prepared to go home for the holiday break. The game ended shortly before the vigil in Hendricks Chapel. People gathered and held burning candles on campus.Payne, the WMU head coach, stayed a few days in Syracuse, where his wife’s uncle lived. They remained in Syracuse to grieve, and to heal, together.“That never leaves you,” Payne said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 21, 2018 at 10:42 am Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

How injuries shaped Gabriela Knutson’s backhand, her ‘best shot’

first_img Comments Published on April 22, 2019 at 8:44 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew Gabriela Knutson shook her right hand repeatedly and sat down. At the end of her last two rallies in a March 31 singles match, two forehand shots had sailed into the net. During the changeover, Knutson went to her bench and mouthed “Ow.” She had cocked her racket back and stepped forward to meet the balls in front of her, but never finished her arm’s rotation. Knutson’s right arm ached after the repeated stresses of one-handed forehands, and she needed her backhand to save the match. “My backhand was always my shot, always will be,” Knutson said. “That’s the thing I go to.”Despite Knutson’s loss, her backhand shot helped mitigate her right arm pain. As a child, Knutson immediately favored the backhand and it soon became her “best shot,” she said. When injuries arose from a new forehand technique Knutson learned as a teenager, her backhand became a specialty. As Knutson’s final season with No. 30 Syracuse (13-12, 5-9 Atlantic Coast) winds down, Knutson has used the shot to not only rejuvenate a tennis career that almost ended before college, but also become the top tennis player for SU. “It’s not like someday I’m going to wake up and my forehand is going to be better than my backhand,” Knutson said. “No matter how much I practice, that’s never going to happen.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe first time Knutson felt initial pain in her right arm was two days after she returned to the Czech Republic. She was 16 and for the previous month, Knutson worked on her forehand in Miami with one of her mother’s friends, her mother, Ilona Knutson, said. As her tennis career progressed, Ilona changed Knutson’s forehand grip and motion. While in Miami, Knutson used more wrist motion and exaggerated the finishing turn.Her first day home, Knutson was ecstatic. “My forehand is much better,” she told her mother. Ilona agreed. But that next day, Knutson complained about right wrist pain. On the third day, it throbbed again and got even worse as the days went by. Knutson “couldn’t even lift a cup of tea,” Ilona said.Knutson’s muscles hadn’t developed enough for her new form. She quit for a brief time to let her arm heal and became out of shape, Ilona said. It wasn’t the first time — or the last — that an arm injury hindered Knutson. When she was eight, she had her first. Last semester was her third.“If you see a tennis player’s back, it’s always a little lopsided,” Knutson said, slanting her right shoulder up. “(Tennis players) are very prone to right-hand injuries, especially me. I don’t know why.”Susie Teuscher | Digital Design EditorWhen she resumed play, Knutson relied almost exclusively on her backhand for six months. Occasionally, she mixed in a left-handed forehand shot, but it felt unnatural. If Knutson wanted a chance at college and professional tennis, her forehand form was key, and she would have to use the motion more.That pain didn’t return during her first three years at SU, at least not to a comparable level, Knutson said. Her forehand shot improved and she began to mix it in more, but Knutson always set up her backhand when possible. That combination helped her rise to No. 4 in the nation as a junior. Now, Knutson takes an extra step to drop back and execute fading backhand defensive lobs, net-grazing crosscourt winners and short-hopping service returns that help earn points. “She does take the ball very early, and she’s strong too,” Limam said, “so she generates a lot of pace and power of her backhand shot.”One week after Knutson resorted to her backhand against NC State, she followed Miami’s Estela Perez-Somarriba’s shot into the left corner. Knutson fired a crosscourt backhand while facing match point. The deep ball was returned high in the air by Perez-Somarriba, and this time, Knutson waited patiently at the net and volleyed a winner. The SU senior turned and strolled back to the service line, and grimaced as she awaited her next shot. The pain in her forearm forced her to repeatedly shake her hand, but her favorite shot again kept her in it.“If she gets to a backhand rally,” Ilona said, “I know it’s going to be good.”center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Posted on Leave a comment

AFC beat Sharks to lift 2017 GOtv Shield title

first_imgIt was a sweet ending to the season for Leopards who have struggled to knit results in the league this season and the title breaks a trophy drought that dates back to 2013, when they won the same crown with a 1-0 result over rivals Gor Mahia.The way head coach Robert Matano raced from his technical area to go and lambast Oburu with endless hugs on the right corner showed just how much the title meant to Ingwe and more specifically the experienced tactician who lost the final last year to Tusker FC while with Ulinzi.Sharks had brought in much pressure in the second half and looked likely to get an equalizer, but once Oburu slammed the ball into the net with eight minutes left under the drenching rain at Kasarani, the job was done for Ingwe’s.AFC’s trophy hunger was evident from the first whistle as they were relentless, in attack throwing pace and bodies upfront. They had a superb opportunity in the fourth minute when Ray Omondi was put through by Whyvonne Isuza one on one with keeper John Oyemba, but the forward missed.Models carrying the GOtv Shield before the final between AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks started.Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYAHanded a rare starting opportunity by Matano, Omondi had just that one opportunity to prove his coach was right, but he took too much time with the ball, Geoffrey Shiveka racing back to make a superb tackle and knock the ball away.Another opportunity presented itself four minutes later when Oyemba made a weak punch in an attempt to clear an Isuza cross the ball landing on Musa Mudde who however lobbed the ball over with a gaping goalmouth.Aziz Okaka also had an opportunity in the 14th minute when he was accorded with some shooting space at the edge of the box, but the effort went just over with Oyemba well beaten.Ingwe’s early pressure finally bore fruit in the 18th minute when Abdallah rose high to thump in a header at the backpost from a Duncan Otieno corner.AFC Leopards players celebrating as AFC Leopards beat Kariobangi Sharks 1-0 to lift the 2017 GOtv Shield title. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYAAfter conceding, Sharks rose back into the match putting pressure on AFC. Mathew Tayo came inches close in the 25th minute when he curled a shot just wide from inside the box after being set up by Elli Asieche.Five minutes later, Sharks thought they had a penalty shout after Massoud Juma was hacked inside the box by keeper Gabriel Andika after lobbying the ball over him but referee Peter Waweru waved play on.Juma had been shushed all through the game with goalscorer Abdallah being tasked with man-marking him, trailing his shadow toe to toe any slight move he made.-Black margic-The second half started on a wrong footing with a six minute stoppage after a scuffle ensued between AFC Leopards stewards and a Kariobangi Sharks technical bench official behind the AFC goal over claims of black magic.Football Kenya Federation match stewards joined the brawl and it almost turned ugly but things were quickly normalized and the contest switched back to the pitch.Sharks coach William Muluya made a double switch, pulling out right-back Paul Kamau for winger Ovellah Ochieng while Duke Abuya came off for Ebrimah Sanneh, a clear attacking intent.The change meant Sharks played with a back three and a five man midfield with Sanneh pairing up with the tightly marked Masoud for a two man attack.AFC nearly doubled the lead in the 63rd minute when Oburu picked the ball unmarked on the left but with space and time on his hands, the youngster shot meekly straight at Oyemba in the Sharks goal.With the heavens opening up to a torrential pour, the game’s intensity did not die down with Sharks piling pressure to get an equalizer while Ingwe kept their shape to try and guard their slim advantage.Substitute Ovellah came close to drawing Sharks level in the 65th minute when he curled a freekick from the right but it came off the bar with Andika beaten.Matano seeing his side hugely pushed back pulled out Ray Omondi for Alex Kitenge in a bid to beef up the attack. AFC were defending heavily and relying on breaks. They had one such opportunity after defending a corner, but Kitenge took too much time with the ball allowing Sharks’ players back.Muluya’s men piled the pressure but they were undone eight minutes from time when Oburu slammed the ball into the net after Oyemba’s save from an Okaka shot from the right fell kindly on his path.With a two goal advantage and the clock against their favor, Sharks’ pressure was hugely deflated and AFC ensured they defended in numbers to guard their advantage. 0Shares0000AFC Leopards players celebrating after winning the 2017 GOtv Shield title. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20- Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah and Vincent Oburu were the real Shujaas for AFC Leopards, scoring a goal in either half as Ingwe clinched their 10th GOtv Shield title with a 2-0 win over Kariobangi Sharks at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani on Mashujaa Day.AFC Leopards who won Sh2m for the win will represent Kenya at 2018 CAF Confederations Cup. 0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more