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Top five things you need to know this week: Feb. 19 edition

Researchers make new discoveries in climate change research

A recent research study by a Clemson economics professor found that a higher minimum wage and earned income tax credits (EITCs) reduces the rate of recidivism for recently released convicts.

Michael Makowsky, assistant professor in the John E. Walker Department of Economics, along with Amanda Agan, an assistant professor of economics at Rutgers University, examined records from nearly 6 million offenders, accounting for more than 200 federal and state minimum wage increases and earned income tax credits in 21 states between 2000 and 2014.

The research observed this decrease in recidivism mainly in property or drug-related crimes. Violent crime was largely unaffected.

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Club and Intramural sports await Snow Center additions

Over the last two years, students have been waitlisted for both intramural and club sports at Clemson.

This is related to the wear and tear found on the department’s primary grass fields, deeming them unplayable. These issues, in part due to weather, often lead to overcrowding on the useable fields.

Soon, new spaces devoted to Campus Recreation’s inventory will be found in the form of the LoConte Family Field at the Snow Complex, in addition to the most recently added grass field adjacent to the Lightsey Bridge Apartments. 

The field, gifted by the family of a former alum, also has the opportunity to be expanded upon. The family has issued a challenge, stating that any donations made by the Clemson community will be matched for up to $1 million.

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Clemson trustees approve facility renovation construction plans

During the most recent quarterly meeting for the board of the trustees, the trustees approved an approximately $8 million budget for renovations and construction plans across campus.

Among those approvals include a $5 million approval for a childcare facility, $1 million towards the expansion and renovation of Daniel Hall, $2.2 million towards maintenance in the Advanced Materials Science Lab and $175,000 for a non-denominational, on-campus chapel.

The planned completion time for these approvals will be between 2020 and 2021.

CU student makes groundbreaking discovery in cancer research

Clemson University student Leland Dunwoodie, a senior biochemistry major, has uncovered genes associated with an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

“I definitely didn’t come to Clemson thinking about brain cancer research,” Dunwoodie said in a press released issued by Clemson. “I was working on a project with grapes and other plants. I told Dr. (Alex) Feltus that I wanted to do some human stuff, and he said, ‘That’s cool – pick an organ.’” 

Dunwoodie ended up choosing to conduct research on the brain. He organized 2,000-plus datasets, each showing approximately 75,000 genes, into a gene expression matrix, a table that quantifies the expression level of each gene across every sample. 

Dunwoodie and Will Poehlman, a graduate student in the Systems Genetics Lab, created a separate gene expression matrix, encompassing 210,000 genes from 204 datasets from the NCBI database — including normal brain samples, glioblastoma brain samples and brain samples from patients with Parkinson’s disease — for comparison.

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Clemson opens new automotive research facility in Greenville

Clemson University officials and students, automotive researchers and manufacturers gathered in Greenville on Feb. 15 for the unveiling of the Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center.

Located in the Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation and part of CU-ICAR, the center will provide space for researchers to come up with innovative manufacturing solutions. The Vehicle Assembly Center will tackle some of the industry’s most compelling challenges, such as the manufacturing skills gap and effective integration of automation with humans. 

A large portion of the research will be done by faculty and students in Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. Greenville Technical College students will be enrolled in manufacturing training programs.

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