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David Mooney receives grant to develop animal contraceptive vaccine

first_img Read Full Story The Gary Michelson Found Animals Foundation has awarded Harvard bioengineer David Mooney a three-year grant totaling more than $700,000 to pursue development of a vaccine technology that would provide a nonsurgical method for spaying and neutering dogs and cats.Mooney is the Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.Mooney’s team will use the grant award to adapt its existing work in implantable and injectable vaccines that activate the body’s immune system to attack cancer or infectious disease. This time, the team hopes to tune the technology towards targeting and disrupting a hormone crucial to reproduction in mammals.Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is produced in the brain, regulates the release of hormones from the pituitary gland that control reproduction in both male and female animals. Mooney and his team will explore how their various vaccine immunotherapies, which work by recruiting and activating the body’s immune cells to attack specific agents, could be used to target GnRH and produce antibodies against it, halting the reproductive process.“As a pet owner myself, I’m excited to receive this grant award to help develop technology that could provide nonsurgical spay and neutering methods for dogs and cats,” Mooney said. “An accessible and affordable way to sterilize pets would reduce the number of animals in shelters and prevent a vast number of euthanizations.”last_img read more

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Amy Coney Barrett speaks on originalism, constitutional interpretations

first_imgDoes an originalist interpretation of the Constitution require judges to ask what James Madison would do in a given situation?Judge Amy Coney Barrett (’97 J.D.) answered this question with a resounding “no” in a lecture hosted Wednesday night by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.“Many people think an originalist approach requires us to ask, ‘What would James Madison do?’ if we were confronted with some type of constitutional problem. … That’s not what originalism means,” she said.Barrett, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, distinguished between two types of originalism: original intent originalism and original public meaning originalism.The former emerged during the 1980s under Justice Earl Warren’s and Justice Warren Burger’s Supreme Courts, Barrett said. It arose as a response to living constitutionalism, a way of interpreting the Constitution that defended controversial decisions such as Miranda vs. Arizona and Roe vs. Wade.“Everyone agreed at the time that decisions like this aren’t textually compelled,” Barrett said. “There’s nothing in the text of the Constitution itself. … At the time, living constitutionalism was a sophisticated justification. Courts ought to interpret with an eye towards current norms, push the country forward with an evolving idea of norms.”Meanwhile, original intent originalism suggested that the Constitution should be interpreted in exactly the same manner as its framers, Barrett said.“Original intent originalism was really an [exercise] of trying to think your way into the minds of the framers and say ‘How would James Madison approach this problem?’ or ‘How would Thomas Jefferson approach this problem?’” she said.However, Barrett said, there are several objections to this framework — there were several framers of the Constitution, and it is not possible to ever fully guess at their thoughts. Furthermore, Barrett said, one might object to this form of originalism on the grounds that the Constitution should not be bound by the “private intentions” of the framers.Original public meaning originalism counters some of these issues by interpreting the Constitution according to what its framers said, rather than thought, Barrett said.“The text of the Constitution controls, so the meaning of the words at the time they were ratified is the same as their meaning today,” she said.This form of originalism distinguishes between interpretation of the Constitution — looking at the meaning of the Constitution — and construction, or putting the Constitution into practice, Barrett said.“Making this distinction between interpretation and construction has had the effect of making originalism a pretty wide tent,” she said. “Now, in its most recent and modern iteration, originalism has attracted people of all different political stripes.”While some might criticize originalism by saying it allows “the dead hand of the past” to influence current interpretations, Barrett said striking down judicial decisions for this reason would be analogous to reversing laws once the people who enacted them died.“Nobody would say that for example, Miranda vs. Arizona is no longer good law simply because the justices who participated in that decision are dead,” she said.Additionally, Barrett said, judges retain the power to reverse decisions when needed.“What makes [judicial decisions] democratically legitimate is … we always have the power to amend the Constitution,” she said. “Judges have the power to reverse judicial decisions when they have the need to.”Barrett also addressed the criticism that originalism created an inflexible interpretation of the Constitution, saying originalism often offered guiding principles, rather than direct answers to individual judicial questions.“In some respects we should look at that [inflexibility] as a good thing. … It’s a floor, we don’t want to go below this,” she said. “We don’t want an entirely flexible Constitution because then we would have no constitutional protection at all.”Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, originalism, The Constitution, U.S. constitutionlast_img read more

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Bawaslu recommends postponing elections in areas affected by COVID-19

first_imgThe Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has recommended that the General Elections Commission (KPU) prepare for delays to the 2020 regional elections in areas where people have tested positive for COVID-19.Bawaslu head Abhan said Tuesday that the agency had sent a recommendation letter to the KPU on Monday, asking the commission to identify areas where “vote postponements” and “restaged votes” might take place.The terms pemilihan lanjutan (vote postponement) and pemilihan susulan (restaged vote), Abhan said, were stipulated in Law No. 10/2016 on regional elections. With a vote postponement, an ongoing election is scheduled for a later date after election organizers agree to halt it due to force majeure.With a restaged vote, the entire election process is redone from the start, also for reasons of force majeure.“The law doesn’t recognize a vote delay. Therefore, it’s important for the KPU to immediately map the areas where some election stages would still be feasible and the areas that would completely be unable to hold elections,” he said.Read also: Provinces, regencies holding elections in 2020 ‘highly vulnerable’ to disruption Areas the agency has identified as COVID-19 red zones are Bekasi, Depok, Cirebon and Purwakarta in West Java; Tangerang and South Tangerang in Banten; Surakarta in Central Java; Pontianak in West Kalimantan; Manado in North Sulawesi; Bali; and Yogyakarta.“The KPU should hold discussions with the relevant ministries on responding to the effects of the coronavirus, as well as issue a legal product as a guideline for us [Bawaslu] and the election participants,” Abhan said.He added that Bawaslu also recommended that the KPU implement a technical guideline for the mechanisms for each election stage with intensive communication between officials and voters.Bawaslu member M. Afifuddin said that Bawaslu, the KPU and the Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP) would hold a joint meeting with the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister and home minister on Wednesday to discuss the matter.Arwani Thomafi, the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Commission II overseeing home affairs, agreed with Bawaslu’s recommendation, saying the KPU should immediately identify areas affected by the disease by coordinating with the relevant authorities.“A decision for a vote postponement or restaged vote in some regions should be based on objective conditions in the field; in this case, the mapping of areas exposed to the coronavirus,” the United Development Party (PPP) politician said.Read also: COVID-19: House, watchdog call for delay of regional electionsHouse Commission II deputy chairman Arif Wibowo said the 2020 regional elections should not be postponed entirely in all regions but only in the areas that were seriously affected.“We must see it case by case and measure it with accountable reasons. For example, we can look at an area’s election vulnerability index to mitigate conflict. There’s no need to delay an election in areas with good indexes,” said Arif, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician.Commission II chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia of the Golkar Party urged the KPU not to be quick to delay a vote: “For the time being, just continue the stages of the elections that have been taking place. However, the KPU should limit activities involving large groups of people.”As of Tuesday, Indonesia had 172 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including in regions slated to hold the 2020 regional elections in September, such as Surakarta and Semarang in Central Java and Denpasar in Bali. At least five have died from the disease, while nine have recovered.Topics :last_img read more