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University of Havana

The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba. Founded on January 5, 1728, the university is the oldest in Cuba, but not one of the first to be founded in the Americas. A religious institution, today the University of Havana has 15 faculties at its Havana campus and distance learning centers throughout Cuba, it was first called Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo de la Habana. During those times, universities needed a royal or papal authorization in order to be created and thus the names Real y Pontificia; the two men who gave that authorization to the university were Pope Innocent XIII and King Philip V of Spain. In 1842, the university changed its status to become a secular and literary institution, its name became Real y Literaria Universidad de La Habana and when Cuba was a free republic, the name was changed to Universidad Nacional. The university had first been established in San Juan de Letrán before it was transferred on May 1, 1902, to a hill in the Vedado area of Havana.

The interiors of the building were decorated by Armando Menocal y Menocal. The seven frescos represent Medicine, Art, Liberal Arts and Law. At the main university entrance there is a bronze statue of Alma Mater, created in 1919 by artist Mario Korbel; the model for the statue's face was lovely 16-year-old Feliciana "Chana" Villalón, the daughter of José Ramón Villalón y Sánchez, a professor of analytical mathematics at the University. Chana married Juan Manuel Menocal, who went on to become the Dean of the Business School. Juan Manuel Menocal was a professor at the law school when Fidel Castro was a student there in the 1940s. Maria Rosa Menocal, former Director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, was the granddaughter of Chana and Juan Manuel Menocal.. The main library "Rubén Martínez Villena" was established in 1936. After the government was taken over by Fulgencio Batista in 1952, the University became a center of anti-government protests. Batista closed the University in 1956. From January 1, 1959, the date on which Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, until January 1, 1962, the University went through a period of reformation to eliminate "anti-revolutionary ideas".

In 2002, Rutgers University–Camden and the University of Havana signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize research and exchange opportunities for students and faculty. The MOU was re-signed in October 2016 with the addition of encompassing all of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the University of Havana is made up of 16 faculties and 14 research centers in a variety of fields, including economics, social science and humanities. In total, up to 25 specialties are taught at the university. Now, it has about 60,000 degree students in regular classes. There are 16 faculties into which the university is divided: Natural Sciences Faculty of Biology Faculty of Pharmacy and Foods Faculty of Physics Faculty of Geography Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty of Psychology Faculty of Chemistry Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty of Arts and Letters Faculty of Communication Faculty of Law Faculty of Philosophy and History Faculty of Foreign Languages Economic Sciences Faculty of Accounting and Finance Faculty of Economics Faculty of Tourism Distance Education Before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, students joined different organizations, aligning themselves directly or indirectly with some political party.

The strongest of all these organisations was the FEU created by Julio Antonio Mella, a co-founder of the Cuban Communist Party in the 1920s. The European revolutionary tradition of college-based political activism, practiced in Cuba and in many other Latin American countries and the alleged corruption of Cuban political parties at the time turned the FEU, a stronghold of communist ideology, into the most influential of Cuban political organizations before 1959, it was a major participant in the overthrowing of Cuban President Gerardo Machado. The FEU initiated the national general strike of 1933, resulting in the imprisonment of many of its members. Founder Julio Antonio Mella, himself had been killed at the hands of two assassins sent by Machado while exiled in Mexico in 1929 After the coup d'état by Fulgencio Batista in 1952, when free and democratic elections were suspended, the violent clashes between university students and Cuban police reached its extremes. Students known to be members of the FEU were violently tortured and killed in the streets of Havana, the organization reacted with an irregular war in the city, aiming to assassinate police officers of high rank, like the chief of the police in Havana, Blanco Rico, killed by 4 FEU members.

After the assault on the Moncada barracks by Fidel Castro, an attorney who graduated from Havana University School of Law, who had contacts in the FEU, the FEU became an ally of Castro's new July 26th Movement, though there were discrepancies between the leaders in the form that the forthcoming revolution should be carried out. While Fidel Castro was hiding in the Sierra Maestra mountains, the FEU, led by Jose Antonio Echeverria, attempted to kill Fulgencio Batista in an armed assault at the Cuban P

Allele-specific oligonucleotide

An allele-specific oligonucleotide is a short piece of synthetic DNA complementary to the sequence of a variable target DNA. It acts as a probe for the presence of the target in a Southern blot assay or, more in the simpler Dot blot assay, it is a common tool used in genetic testing and Molecular Biology research. An ASO is an oligonucleotide of 15–21 nucleotide bases in length, it is designed in a way that makes it specific for only one version, or allele, of the DNA being tested. The length of the ASO, which strand it is chosen from, the conditions by which it is bound to the target DNA all play a role in its specificity; these probes can be designed to detect a difference of as little as 1 base in the target's genetic sequence, a basic ability in the assay of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, important in genotype analysis and the Human Genome Project. To be detected after it has bound to its target, the ASO must be labeled with a radioactive, enzymatic, or fluorescent tag; the Illumina Methylation Assay technology takes advantage of ASO to detect one base pair difference to measure methylation at a specific CpG site.

The human disease sickle cell anemia is caused by a genetic mutation in the codon for the sixth amino acid of the blood protein beta-hemoglobin. The normal DNA sequence G-A-G codes for the amino acid glutamate, while the mutation changes the middle adenine to a thymine, leading to the sequence G-T-G; this altered sequence substitutes a valine into the final protein. To test for the presence of the mutation in a DNA sample, an ASO probe would be synthesized to be complementary to the altered sequence, here labeled as "S"; as a control, another ASO would be synthesized for the normal sequence "A". Each ASO is complementary to its target sequence, but has a single mismatch against its non-target allele; the first diagram shows how the "S" probe is complementary to the "S" target, but is mismatched against the "A" target. A segment of the beta-hemoglobin genes in the sample DNA would be amplified by PCR, the resulting products applied to duplicate support membranes as Dot blots; the sample's DNA strands are separated with alkali, each ASO probe is applied to a different blot.

After hybridization, a washing protocol is used which can discriminate between the complementary and the mismatched hybrids. The mismatched ASOs are washed off of the blots. In the second diagram, six samples of amplified DNA have been applied to each of the two blots. Detection of the ASO label that remains after washing allows a direct reading of the genotype of the samples, each with two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene. Samples 1 and 4 only have the normal "A" allele, while samples 3 and 5 have both the "A" and "S" alleles. Samples 2 and 6 have only the "S" allele, would be affected by the disease; the small amount of'cross hybridization' shown is typical, is considered in the process of interpreting the final results. ASO analysis is only one of the methods used to detect genetic polymorphisms. Direct DNA sequencing is used to characterize the mutation, but is too laborious for routine screening. An earlier method, Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism didn't need to know the sequence change beforehand, but required that the mutation affect the cleavage site of a Restriction Enzyme.

The RFLP assay was adapted to the use of oligonucleotide probes, but this technique was supplanted by ASO analysis of polymerase chain reaction amplified DNA. The PCR technique itself has been adapted to detect polymorphisms, as allele-specific PCR. However, the simplicity and versatility of the combined PCR/ASO method has led to its continued use, including with non-radioactive labels, in a "reverse dot blot" format where the ASO probes are bound to the membrane and the amplified sample DNA is used for hybridization; the use of synthetic oligonucleotides as specific probes for genetic sequence variations was pioneered by R. Bruce Wallace, working at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. In 1979 Wallace and his coworkers reported the use of ASO probes to detect variations in a single-stranded bacterial virus, applied the technique to cloned human genes. In 1983 and 1985 Wallace's lab reported the detection of the mutation for sickle cell anemia in samples of whole genomic DNA, although this application was hampered by the small amount of label that could be carried by the ASO.

PCR, a method to amplify a specific segment of DNA, was reported in 1985. In less than a year PCR had been paired with ASO analysis; this combination solved the problem of ASO labeling, since the amount of target DNA could be amplified over a million-fold. The specificity of the PCR process itself could be added to that of the ASO probes reducing the problem of spurious binding of the ASO to non-target sequences; the combination was specific enough that it could be used in a simple Dot blot, avoiding the laborious and inefficient Southern blot method. ASO-PCR may be used to detect minimal residual disease in blood cancers such as multiple myeloma. Image of ASO autoradiogram

Charles Vallancey

General Charles Vallancey FRS was a British military surveyor sent to Ireland. He became an authority on Irish antiquities; some of his theories would be rejected today, but his drawings, for example, were pain-stakingly accurate compared to existent artefacts. Other drawings, such as his diagram of the banquet hall at Tara, the lost crown of the High King of Ireland, are unverifiable, as the manuscripts and material he used, no longer exist, he was born Charles Vallancé in Westminster in 1731 to parents Francis Mary Preston. Francis and Mary were married at the chapel of Greenwich Hospital on 21 June 1724. Vallancey attended Eton and the Royal Military Academy, before being commissioned in the 10th regiment of foot in 1747, he was attached to the Royal Engineers, became a lieutenant-general in 1798, a general in 1803. Vallancey came to Ireland before 1770 to assist in a military survey of the island, made the country his adopted home, his attention was drawn towards the history and antiquities of Ireland at a time when they were entirely ignored, he published the following, among other works: Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, 6 vols. between 1770 and 1804.

He was a member of many learned societies, was created an honorary LL. D. and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1784. During the Insurrection of 1798 he furnished the Government with plans for the defence of Dublin. Queen's-bridge, was built from his designs, he died 8 August 1812, aged 81. He at one stage possessed The Great Book of Lecan which he passed on to the Royal Irish Academy ‘there was only one road between Cork and Bantry; the face of the country now wears a different aspect: the sides of the hill are under the plough, the verges of the bogs are reclaimed and the southern coast from Skibbereen to Bandon is one continued garden of grain and potatoes except the barren pinnacles of some hills and the boggy hollows between which are preserved for fuel’ In the mid to late nineteenth century, there were portraits of him in the Royal Irish Academy and in the board-room of the Royal Dublin Society. At that same time, research showed that his theories and conclusions—a fanciful compound of crude deductions from imperfect knowledge—were shown to be without value.

George Petrie said: "It is a difficult and rather unpleasant task to follow a writer so rambling in his reasonings and so obscure in his style. The Quarterly Review declared that: "General Vallancey, though a man of learning, wrote more nonsense than any man of his time, has been the occasion of much more than he wrote." The Edinburgh Review says: "To expose the continual error of his theory will not cure his inveterate disease. It can only excite hopes of preventing infection by showing that he has reduced that kind of writing to absurdity, raised a warning monument to all antiquaries and philologians that may succeed him." Works by Charles Vallancey at Open Library