Stony Brook University

Coach Ashley Langford. Photo from SBU

Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron has announced that women’s basketball head coach Ashley Langford has signed a contract extension through 2028.

Ashley Langford

“Our women’s basketball program is thriving under Ashley’s leadership, and I am very excited to extend our partnership together. Ashley is a tremendous competitor and a caring mentor who invests so much of herself in our student-athletes on and off of the court. I look forward to celebrating many successes for our women’s basketball team this year and into the future.”
Over her two seasons on Long Island, Langford has guided the Seawolves to a stellar 41-19 record, including a 23-5 mark at Island Federal Arena. Coach Langford has posted the highest winning percentage (.683) of any head coach in program history and the team has averaged 20 wins per season under her watch.
“I’d like to thank President McInnis and Shawn Heilbron for their continued belief in me and our program. I’d also like to thank my staff – you continuously pour into our women, and each of you has a tremendous, positive impact on the program. I love this University, the players, staff, and our community. I’m elated to serve as your head coach through 2028, as I know our future will be full of many wins on and off the court,” said coach Langford.
In her second year at the helm in 2022-23, Langford guided the program into a new era as the team embarked on its first season in the CAA. The Seawolves finished the year 18-13, 11-7 CAA, earning the No. 6 seed in the CAA Tournament where they defeated Elon in the first round to pick up their first-ever win in the tournament.
Langford’s offensive style proved to be pivotal in the CAA as the team finished the season second in the conference in scoring average with 67.9 points per game.  
Under coach Langford’s tutelage, three student-athletes were tabbed to the All-CAA Team and helped them have career seasons on the Island. Anastasia Warren was named to the All-Conference First Team, forward Sherese Pittman claimed All-Conference Second Team honors, and guard Gigi Gonzalez was selected to the Third Team.
The trio of Warren, Pittman, and Gonzalez all upped their scoring outputs from the season prior under coach Langford. Warren averaged 12.0 points per game in 2021-22 and finished at 16.4 points per game, the fourth-most in the CAA. Pittman averaged 0.5 points per game in 2021-22 at JMU and finished the 2022-23 season averaging 13.7 points per game at Stony Brook. Lastly, Gonzalez went from 9.6 points per game to 12.5 points per game last season.
In her first season at Stony Brook in 2021-22, Langford had an immediate impact as Stony Brook’s offensive output increased by nearly nine points per game and seven student-athletes increased their scoring from the season prior.
The squad finished with a 23-6, 14-4 record and earned an at-large berth into the WNIT, which marked its sixth appearance in a national postseason tournament and third in the WNIT. The 23 wins in 2021-22 were tied for the fourth-most in a season in program history and were the most by a first-year head coach in program history.
Stony Brook received votes in the WBCA Top 25 and were ranked as high as No. 7 in the Mid-Major Top 25 during their stellar 2021-22 campaign. The Seawolves also picked up marquee wins over two Power Five opponents in Washington State (69-62) and Rutgers (53-44). The wins were the third and fourth over Power Five opponents in program history. India Pagan and Warren both claimed All-Conference honors. 

Under coach Langford, the Seawolves have maintained a 3.14 GPA or better over her two seasons and the team earned WBCA Academic Top 25 Special Mention following the 2021-22 season. 
Langford has been named to the Advancement of Blacks In Sports (ABIS) Mid-Major Head Coaches Watch List in back-to-back seasons and this summer she was invited to the inaugural Women’s Coaching Development Seminar hosted by the WNBA, NBA, and G League.
Over the course of her coaching career, she has coached two WNBA Draft picks, 11 players playing professionally overseas, one Olympian, and four players competing for the Puerto Rican National Team. She has also recruited and coached 19 All-Conference selections, one Player of the Year, two Rookies of the Year, one two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Before Stony Brook, Langford spent four seasons at James Madison. Prior to the 2020-21 season at JMU, Langford was elevated from assistant coach to associate head coach. While at JMU, Langford helped lead a team that produced a 91-31 overall and 58-11 conference record as well as three CAA regular season titles.
During her playing days, Langford was a standout point guard at Tulane from 2005-09. She is the Green Wave’s career leader in assists (722) and assists per game (6.0). She graduated as the program’s leader in games started (119) and minutes played (4,162) as well. Langford scored 1,047 points during her collegiate career and was inducted into the school’s athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

A new big data study shows retweeting negative tweets may spread voter fraud conspiracies.Getty Images
Details of the study using a big data model are published in the Nature journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

A team of behavioral scientists using big data and a simulation-based model to analyze social media “tweets” around the 2020 presidential election found that the spread of voter fraud conspiracy theories on Twitter (now called X) was boosted by a negativity bias. Led by Mason Youngblood, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Advanced Computational Science at Stony Brook University, the findings are published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

The researchers simulated the behavior of around 350,000 real Twitter users. They found that the sharing patterns of some 4 million tweets about voter fraud are consistent with people being much more likely to retweet social posts that contain stronger negative emotion.

The data for their study came from the VoterFraud2020 dataset, collected between October 23 and December 16, 2020. This dataset includes 7.6 million tweets and 25.6 million retweets that were collected in real-time using X’s streaming Application Program Interface, under the established guidelines for ethical and social media data use.

“Conspiracy theories about large-scale voter fraud spread widely and rapidly on Twitter during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but it is unclear what processes are responsible for their amplification,” says Youngblood.

Given that, the team ran simulations of individual users tweeting and retweeting one another under different levels and forms of cognitive bias and compared the output to real patterns of retweet behavior among proponents of voter fraud conspiracy theories during and around the election.

“Our results suggest that the spread of voter fraud messages on Twitter was driven by a bias for tweets with more negative emotion, and this has important implications for current debates on how to counter the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation on social media,” Youngblood adds.

Through their simulations and numerical analysis, Youngblood and colleagues found that their results are consistent with previous research by others suggesting that emotionally negative content has an advantage on social media across a variety of domains, including news coverage and political discourse.

The model also showed that even though negative tweets were more likely to be retweeted, quote tweets tended to be more moderate than the original ones, as people tended not to amplify negativity when commenting on something.

Youngblood says that because the team’s simulation-based model recreates the patterns in the actual data quite well, it may potentially be useful for simulating interventions against misinformation in the future. For example, the model could be easily modified to reflect the ways that social media companies or policy makers might try to curb the spread of information, such as reducing the rate at which tweets hit people’s timelines.


Bill Herrmann

Stony Brook University has announced the appointment of William Herrmann as Vice President for the Facilities & Services Division. Formerly serving as the Associate Vice President for Campus Planning, Design, and Construction (CPDC), he brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to this pivotal role. 

In his new capacity, Herrmann will be responsible for overseeing the Division and spearheading the development of an encompassing Campus Master Plan. This plan will serve as a blueprint for guiding future development projects within the university’s expansive and continuously growing network of facilities. This initiative aligns seamlessly with President Maurie McInnis’ Strategic Plan for the University. Herrmann will report directly to Jed Shivers, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

“Bill brings his extensive experience and skills to the versatile leadership team and support staff at Facilities & Services, including CPDC and Campus Operations & Maintenance (COM). It’s been a pleasure working with him since I arrived at Stony Brook. I look forward to collaborating with Bill as he works to chart the Division’s course,” said Shivers.

Since joining the Stony Brook University team in 2020, Herrmann has played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and negotiating SBU’s successful bid for the New York Climate Exchange facility on Governors Island. Under his stewardship, state allocations for critical maintenance of academic buildings increased significantly, rising from an average of $37 million per year (FY17 — FY20) to $122 million per year (FY21 — FY23).

A scene from 'Oppenheimer'

By Daniel Dunaief

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University joined the chorus of moviegoers who enjoyed and appreciated the Universal film Oppenheimer.

“I thought the movie was excellent,” said Leemor Joshua-Tor, Professor and HHMI Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. “It made me think, which is always a good sign.”

Yusuf Hannun, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine at Stony Brook University, thought the movie was “terrific” and had anticipated the film would be a “simpler” movie.

Jeff Keister, leader of the Detector and Research Equipment Pool at NSLS-II at Brookhaven National Laboratory, described the movie as “interesting” and “well acted.”

Joshua-Tor indicated she didn’t know anything about Robert Oppenheimer, the title character and leader of the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. She “learned lots of new things” about him, she wrote. “I knew he was targeted by McCarthy-ism, but didn’t realize how that came about and the details.”

Keister also didn’t know much about Oppenheimer, who was played by actor Cillian Murphy in the film. “Oppenheimer seemed to quietly struggle with finding his role in the story of the development of the atomic bomb,” Keister said. “At times, he wore the uniform, then later seemed to express regret.”

Like other researchers, particularly those involved in large projects that bring together people with different skills and from various cultural backgrounds, Oppenheimer led a diverse team of scientists amid the heightened tension of World War II.

Oppenheimer was “shown to have been granted an extremely powerful position and was able to form a relatively diverse team, although he was not able to win over all the brightest minds,” Keister wrote.

Joshua-Tor suggested Oppenheimer “charmed” the other scientists, who were so driven by the science and the goal that they “accepted him. The leader of the team should be a great scientist, but doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest genius. There is a genius in being able to herd the cats in the right way.”

Joel Hurowitz, Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University, “loved” the movie. Hurowitz has worked with large projects with NASA teams as a part of his research effort.

Hurowitz suggested that the work that goes into coordinating these large projects is “huge” and it requires “a well laid out organizational structure, effective leadership, and a team that is happy working hard towards a common goal.”

‘Stunning’ first bomb test

Keister described the first nuclear bomb test as “stunning” in the movie. “I have to wonder how the environmental and health impacts of such a test came to be judged as inconsequential.”

Some local scientists would have appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to see more of the science that led to the creation of the bomb.

Science is the “only place the movie fell short,” Hannun said. “They could have spent a bit more time to indicate the basic science behind the project and maybe a bit more about the scientific accomplishments of the various participants.”

Given the focus of the movie on Oppenheimer and his leadership and ultimate ambivalence about the creation of the atomic bomb, Keister suggested that scientists “could be better encouraged to understand the impacts of applied uses of new discoveries. Scientists can learn to broaden their view to include means of mitigating potential negative impacts.”

Research sponsors, including taxpayers and their representatives, have an “ethical responsibility to incorporate scientists’ views of the full impacts into their decisions regarding applications and deployment of new technology,” Keister said.

Joshua-Tor thinks there “always has to be an ongoing conversation between scientists and the citizenry” which has to be an “informed, somewhat dispassionate conversation.”

Recommended movies about scientists

Local researchers also shared some of their film recommendations about scientists.

Hurowitz wrote that his favorite these days is Arrival, a science fiction film starring Amy Adams. If Hurowitz is looking for more lighthearted fare, he writes that “you can’t go wrong with Ghostbusters,” although he’s not sure the main characters Egon, Ray and Peter could be called scientists.

Keister also enjoys science fiction, as it “often challenges us with ethical dilemmas which need to be addressed.” While he isn’t sure he has a favorite, he recommended the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina starring Alicia Vikander as a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence,.

Joshua-Tor recalls liking the film A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly as John and Alicia Nash. She also loved the film Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.

#38 Anthony Johnson at last Saturday's game. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Stony Brook football fell behind early and was unable to recover as the Seawolves fell to FBS foe Arkansas State 31-7 at Centennial Bank Stadium on Sept. 16. The team fell to 0-3 on the season while the Red Wolves picked up their first win, improving to 1-2. A-State enjoyed a big advantage on the ground, holding a 345-90 advantage in the rushing game.

 Redshirt freshman Anthony Johnson had a big day in the receiving game, catching nine passes for 127 yards. Graduate student Rahmon Hart Jr. hauled in two catches for 23 yards and a score. Quarterback Casey Case passed for 221 yards, while completing 21-of-33 (63.6%) passes with the touchdown to Hart. Stony Brook finished with a 221-140 advantage in receiving yards.

 Redshirt sophomore Shakhi Carson and redshirt junior Ross Tallarico split the majority of the carries, with Carson gaining 45 yards on 12 carries while Tallarico gained 42 on six attempts on the ground.

 On defense, graduate student Aidan Kaler finished with 10 tackles, seven of them solo, adding 1.0 sack. Redshirt junior Brandon Higgs added seven tackles, four of them solo. On special teams, Clayton Taylor hit five punts for 223 yards, averaging 44.6 yards per kick and putting one punt inside the 20.

For Arkansas State, Ja’Quez Cross rushed for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 66-yard score. Jeff Foreman led the Red Wolves in receiving with 42 yards, all on one reception. The quarterback tandem of Jaxon Dailey and Jalen Raynor combined for 140 yards, with Raynor adding a passing touchdown.

“After we struggled to execute on the first couple drives, we punched back from the end of the first quarter through the end of the quarter and could have cut into the lead or even tied the game, we’ve just got to figure out how to capitalize. I think we figured out the speed of the game defensively and executed some of the things we practiced in that stretch, credit to the kids there,” said Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore.

Stony Brook returns home and to CAA play, taking on Richmond at LaValle Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. Streaming for the Week 4 matchup returns to FloSports.

The team celebrates after Saturday's game. Photo fron SBU Athletics

Stony Brook men’s soccer rallied from down a goal to defeat Delaware 3-2 on Sept. 16 at LaValle Stadium. Trevor Harrison netted the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute, heading home a cross from Moses Bakabulindi on a corner.

The Seawolves kicked things off less than five minutes into the contest when Jonas Bickus notched his third goal of the season, heading home a beauty of a cross from Olsen Aluc. Delaware evened the game three minutes later after Lorenzo Selini was called for a foul in the box, leading to a penalty-kick goal that Sam Donnellan buried.

Stony Brook was whistled for a handball in the box in the 37th minute, leading to a second Blue Hens’ goal from the penalty spot. This time it was Delaware’s leading scorer Carlos Fernandez, who beat Kaiser to the lower-left corner for the go-ahead tally.

After a scoreless finish to the rest of the first half, Stony Brook found the equalizer in the 47th minute. Bickus found the back of the net, his second of the match and his third goal of the season, scoring from the ground after playing the ball to himself on the pass from Bakabulindi.

 Stony Brook would break the tie in the 83rd minute when Harrison headed home a Bakabulindi feed off a set-piece from the near corner. Harrison’s first goal of the season held as the game-winner, helping Stony Brook remain unbeaten in CAA play and grab sole possession of first place in the league’s table.

“Obviously a great win and good to get three points at home. Overall I thought we played pretty well,” head coach Ryan Anatol noted postgame. “We did a good job of winning the ball and looking to play forward. I still think we’ve got to defend a little better in and around the box, but overall it was a good performance.”

The team  returns to action a week from today, traveling to face Northeastern on Sept. 26 in Boston. 

The team celebrates their win after Saturday's game. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook volleyball team concluded their weekend in Queens with a straight-set victory on Sept. 9 over Siena inside the Carnesecca Arena. 

#4 Abby Stanwood during last Saturday’s game. Photo fron SBU Athletics

The Seawolves came out firing from the offensive side in the first set as the squad put together a .348 attack percentage with 11 kills in the opening set victory. Also, Stony Brook  supplemented their offense with six aces in the set, including three straight by Madison Cigna to give the Seawolves the 16-12 lead in the set. 

Stony Brook ended the first set on a strong note, stretching their lead to its largest point in the set to complete the 25-17 victory.

The squad was victorious in set two by taking the 25-22 win to promptly take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Seawolves outlasted the Saints in a back-and-forth set to win in a stanza that featured five lead changes and was tied eight times. Neither team led by more than four points along the way. The squad racked up 19 kills over the course of the set, including two by Abby Stanwood in the final five points to secure the second frame.

Stony Brook did not allow Siena to make any comeback as the squad took the third set, 25-15. The squad led from the first point and never looked back by tallying 15 kills in the set on .344 attack percentage. Kali Moore and Leoni Kunz both tallied two kills in the final five points to take the set and ultimately the three-set sweep.

Moore finished with 16 kills on the day to lead the Seawolves attack while finishing with a hitting percentage of .323. Defensively, Stony Brook had two players reach double figures in digs as Torri Henry had 16 and Julia Patsos had 10. Also, Henry led the way with 32 assists for the Seawolves.

“It was great to end the weekend with a win and I thought we approached this match with maturity. We managed rallies until we had opportunities and ultimately found a way to score. I was excited to see our crew gut out a win, especially in the second set when it got tight. We are very excited to open CAA play next weekend at home,” said head coach Kristin Belzung.

The team returns to the court next weekend when the squad hosts Northeastern University at Pritchard Gymnasium for their first CAA action of the season. 

From left, #12 Reilly Rich, #10 Linn Beck and #21 Gabrielle Côté celebrate last Sunday's win. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook women’s soccer team earned their first CAA victory of the season on Sept. 10 after defeating Hampton University, 6-1. 

The Seawolves wasted no time putting the pressure on the Lady Pirates defense as the squad tallied two goals in the first 16 minutes. Ashley Manor captured the first goal of the night for Stony Brook in the 10th minute, followed by a penalty-kick goal by Reilly Rich in the 16th minute to give the squad an early 2-0 advantage. 

Stony Brook was in control of the possession for most of the first half by tallying 12 shots in the frame compared to the four by Hampton. However, the Lady Pirates would cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the break following a goal in the 41st minute. 

Similarly to the beginning of the match, Stony Brook came out storming again by scoring a goal in the first 30 seconds and then followed with another score 10 minutes later. Linn Beck made the most of a pass from Allie Palangi to score in the 45th minute and Gabby Daniels scored her first goal of the season in the 54th minute to allow Stony Brook to take a 4-1 advantage. 

This is all the Stony Brook offense would need in the second half. Nicolette Pasquarella was stellar in net in the final 45 minutes by not allowing a goal on the four shots she faced. 

The offense for the Seawolves would tally two more goals in the 61st and 88th minute after Rich captured another penalty-kick goal and Hannah Maracina scoring her first goal of the season to conclude the 6-1 victory, respectively. 

“I’m very proud of our team and our coaching staff for their performance today. It was a quick turnaround after Thursday’s game traveling to Hampton but we accomplished our goal and are very pleased with bringing 3 points back to Stony Brook,” said head coach Tobias Bischof. 


September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection is key to long-term survival rates of prostate cancer, which is why Stony Brook Medicine’s Department of Urology and Stony Brook Cancer Center offers free Prostate Cancer Screenings throughout the year. 

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men. Approximately 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1 in 41 men will die of the disease. As you get older, your risk increases.

Men aged 45-75 years, African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer may benefit from early screenings. In most cases, prostate cancer has no symptoms and is usually detected through a screening.

This month, free screenings will be held at Stony Brook Medicine’s Advanced Specialty Care, 500 Commack Road, Suite 201B, Commack on Sept. 19 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and at Stony Brook Urology, 24 Research Way, Suite 500, East Setauket on Sept. 20 from 2 to 5 p.m. 

Appointments are strongly recommended. Insurance is not required. To make an appointment, call 631-216-9181.

Some WTC 911 responders are suffering from PTSD and cognitive disorders many years after 911. Researchers are trying to determine why as they continue monitoring patients. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program

Twenty-two years after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, responders who have suffered physical and cognitive illnesses resulting from exposures continue to be monitored by healthcare providers. Ongoing studies by investigators at the Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program reveal that assessments of this patient population’s mental health and cognitive status remain on the forefront of research as we move further away from that fateful day of 9/11.

Benjamin Luft, MD, Director and Principal Investigator of the Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program, and the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, and his colleagues study all aspects of responders’ health status. The program monitors approximately 13,000 WTC responders.

Previous research has shown that some responders may be experiencing cognitive difficulties earlier in life than the general population, and that PTSD, which remains one of their most common ailments, may be associated with cognitive problems and/or physical illnesses.

A compilation of new research published over the past year  suggests  the need to delve further into investigating the brain status of responders and their cognitive problems.

A study in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology assessed more than 700 responders, many with chronic PTSD, and the relationship between having cortical atrophy and behavioral impairments. They found that individuals with PTSD start to experience more mental health symptoms as a secondary symptom to cognitive impairments. Specifically, responders with an increased risk of cortical atrophy showed behavioral impairment in motivation, mood, disinhibition, empathy and psychosis.

Published in Molecular Neurobiology, another study revealed that there are associations between WTC exposure duration and inflammation in the brains of responders among 99 responders who participated from 2017 to 2019, with the average age being only 56 years. Neuroinflammation was evident both in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that helps to regulate emotions and memory, and throughout much of the cerebral white matter.

A paper published in Psychological Medicine highlights research that may reveal a better way to  understand responders’ PTSD symptoms, as opposed to self-reporting or screening. This work found that by using an AI program that reads the words of responders can predict their current PTSD and even the future trajectory of the illness.

Moreover, WTC investigators are developing AI programs to identify and predict psychological symptoms from facial expressions and tone of voice. AI analyzes video recordings of WTC responders. Importantly, when these methods are fully developed, they may be able to offer objective diagnostic tests for PTSD and other mental disorders.

Many responders to date have experienced mild cognitive impairment in comparison to non-responders their age.

A study that measured a key aspect of brain chemistry — proteins or biomarkers often associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease — may provide specific evidence that responders need to be monitored for earlier onset dementia.

Published in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring, this study illustrates that among approximately 1,000 responders —  average age at 56.6 years, and some who have dementia — associations exist between WTC exposures and the prevalence of neurodegenerative proteins in their brains.

Lead author Sean Clouston, PhD, Professor in the Program of Public Health, and the Department of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine, and colleagues found that 58 percent of responders with dementia had at least one elevated biomarker and nearly 3.5 percent had elevations in all biomarkers. The overall cohort had an increased risk of dementia associated with plasma biomarkers indicative of neurodegenerative disease.

Another core member of the Stony Brook research team, Pei-Fen Kean, PhD, Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, is involved in several ongoing multi-omics research projects to help explicate pathophysiology of these disorders on molecular level and identify novel blood-based biomarkers. For example, a study in the Translational Psychiatry identified the metabolomic-proteomic signatures associated with PTSD to enhance understanding of the biological pathways implicated in PTSD.

As the collaborative work of the research teams affiliated with the Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program moves forward, they will use previous findings and new methods to build their work to best assess the mental and physical health conditions of responders.