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eLab grad takes company on venture trail

scanned Cornell snapshot

Members of the company AkibaH.Image: TriArctic. See larger image

A new company founded by Haroon Ismail '13 could make checking your blood sugar as easy as reaching for your smartphone.

Health app

Health app on smartphone .See larger image

Ismail's company, AkibaH, is a recent graduate of a highly selective boot camp for promising health care startups, sponsored by Sprint. He's also a graduate of Cornell's eLab, the accelerator for student businesses.

"We do more than just keep a running tally of readings and graphing them," Ismail says about his company. "Our product helps people be proactive rather than reactive, to meet their goals and stay on top of them."

Ismail lost a loved one to diabetes-related complications when he was 16. He entered Cornell as a pre-med major, but realized that by leveraging technology, he could have a bigger impact on care. After graduation, he turned down a Fulbright Fellowship to found AkibaH. Other partners in AkibaH include co-founder/COO Fathi Abdelsalam, MPA '13, and Paul Chang '14.

Turning teaching - and knowledge transfer - upside down

Classroom chair

Classroom chairs. Image: iStockphoto.

From teacher to student: for centuries, thats how knowledge has been transferred. But it turns out that's not always the best approach.

A pilot project in the College of Arts and Sciences is implementing the "flipped classroom" model advocated by Nobel laureate Carl Wieman, where basic knowledge is transferred outside the classroom, so that class time is focused on engaged learning via problem-solving and reasoning practice.

student teaching at chalkboard

Student teaching: Image: provided. See larger image

Although the curriculum is still under development for the pioneer departments (physics and biology), faculty aren't waiting. Students in last spring's team-taught Introduction to Neuroscience watched videos before class that were prepared by neurobiology and behavior professor Carl Hopkins. They then spent class time working with real-world problems and answering clicker questions. Susan Riha's Environmental Physics class also prepared ahead of time, then spent class time working on multipart environmental problems in groups of three.

Fortunately, the new Clark Hall Learning Suite is ready for flipped classroom use. The suite, made possible by a donation from Ruth Lasof, includes four classrooms, a new study area and a common area. The classrooms feature flexible seating and tables.

The flipped classroom pilot project is made possible by the generosity of Alex and Laura Hanson, Class of 1987; Alex Hanson says they "found the research on how it benefits students really compelling."

Weill Cornell brain image printed in 3-D for exhibit

printed 3-D brain image

Printed 3-D brain imageImage: American Precision Phototyping. See larger image

Weill Cornell Medical College physicist Henning U. Voss has collaborated with Philadelphia's Franklin Institute to transform a virtual 3-D brain image into a physical reproduction.

sketch of human head and brain

Sketch of human head and brainImage: iStockphoto. See larger image

The two-and-a-half-foot sculpture is the centerpiece of a new exhibit, "Your Brain," at the institute that lets visitors explore the brain in themed sections. Voss' 3-D-printed structure, based on imaging depicting the brain's white matter, shows how scientists visualize pathways that carry out brain functions.

"I hope that this piece will do its part to make young people interested in the brain as an object of scientific inquiry," says Voss, the Nancy M. and Samuel C. Fleming Research Scholar in Intercampus Collaborations and associate professor of physics in radiology.

Wanted: Cornell images, stories, memories (yours!)

scanned Cornell snapshot

Cornell snapshots. Images: provided. See larger image

All Cornellians - students, families, alumni, friends, faculty and staff – are encouraged to help energize the Big Red community as the university prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial. Visit to submit stories, images and events that have shaped your Cornell experience, whether recent or long ago. These memories will be gathered and shared on the Sesquicentennial website.

Stand up and be counted as a proud Cornellian. Show your Sesquicentennial spirit!

Rob Manfred and Gary Bettman

Rob Manfred '80, right, with Gary Bettman '74, National Hockey League commissioner, at a December 2013 event in New York City. Image: Jesse Winter Photography. See larger image

Almnus gets top MLB job

Rob Manfred (at right in photo), a 1980 ILR graduate and Major League Baseball's chief operating officer, has been named the sport's 10th commissioner; he will succeed Bud Selig in January.

At MLB, Manfred has played key roles in advancing drug testing and in steering contract negotiations away from a decades-long pattern of work stoppages. "The single biggest skill I gained at ILR is the ability to negotiate," Manfred said in 2013. "I was well trained in how to get ready to bargain."

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