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Rhode Island's junior senator took a break from the health care debate on Capitol Hill Friday to learn a little more about where future medical breakthroughs may come from.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat elected in 2006, visited campus for about two hours Friday afternoon to view research facilities hold closed-door meetings with deans and researchers.

His agenda included a tour of research facilities in the $100-million Sidney Frank Hall for Life Sciences, which opened in 2006, and a talk about climate change with two of the top climate researchers on Brown's faculty, according to an agenda released by the University.
He also met for about half an hour with Dean of Medicine Edward Wing, Vice President for Research Clyde Briant and Director of Governmental Relations Tim Leshan.

Whitehouse's visit also included a tour of Associate Professor of Medical Science Tricia Serio's lab.

Serio, who studies the prion proteins that are responsible for diseases like Mad Cow, planned to tell Whitehouse about the "difficulty of obtaining research funding," according to the agenda released by Brown.


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