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  • Carbon-coated iron catalyst structure could lead to more-active fuel cells

    Researchers at the University of Illinois and collaborators have identified the active form of an iron-containing catalyst for the trickiest part of the process: reducing oxygen gas. The finding could help researchers refine better catalysts, making fuel cells a more energy- and cost-efficient option for powering vehicles and other applications.

  • Illinois researcher looks at how software design controls our interactions with technology

    University of Illinois professor Ben Grosser says software design is directing the way all of us move as we use our technology, yet we pay little attention to these human-tech interactions. Grosser recently made a video supercut of scenes from the Netflix series “House of Cards” showing characters in the show using technology – the first in a series of three videos for his “Touching Software” project.

  • Why does atmospheric chemistry research matter?

    On Aug. 26, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on the future of atmospheric chemistry research in the U.S. Illinois civil and environmental engineering professor Tami Bond was among the contributors

  • Structural, regulatory and human error were factors in Washington highway bridge collapse

    When an important bridge collapsed on Interstate 5 near Mount Vernon, Washington, in 2013, questions were raised about how such a catastrophic failure could occur. A new analysis by a team of civil engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign outlines the many factors that led to the collapse, as well as steps that transportation departments can take to prevent such accidents on other bridges of similar design.

  • Force triggers gene expression by stretching chromatin

    A new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China has demonstrated that external mechanical force can directly regulate gene expression.

  • Genome-editing proteins ride a DNA zip line

    For gene-editing proteins to be useful in clinical applications, they need to be able to find the specific site they’re supposed to edit among billions of DNA sequences. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have found that one class of genome-editing proteins rapidly travels along a strand of DNA like a rider on a zip line – a unique behavior among documented DNA-binding proteins.

  • Method opens a window on how stress and strain affect battery performance

    Batteries that charge faster and have greater capacity could boost portable electronic devices and electric cars. A new method to simultaneously test stress and strain in battery electrodes gives researchers a window into the mechanical, electrical and chemical forces within lithium-ion batteries. The method revealed an unexpected point of stress in the charging cycle, which could guide development of better batteries.

  • Iron catalysts can modify amino acids, peptides to create new drug candidates

    For medicinal chemists, making tweaks to peptide structures is key to developing new drug candidates. Now, researchers have demonstrated that two iron-containing small-molecule catalysts can help turn certain types of amino acids – the building blocks of peptides and proteins – into an array of potential new forms, even when part of a larger peptide, while preserving a crucial aspect of their chemistry: chirality, or “handedness.”

  • Chemical etching method helps transistors stand tall

    University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor “fin” for the current to travel over.

  • Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agriculture

    University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.

  • What can be learned from 3-D mapping of groundwater?

    A Minute With...™ Illinois State Geological Survey director Richard Berg

  • What should be done about long delays for security checks at airports?

    A Minute With...™ Sheldon Jacobson, expert on aviation security

  • Reclaimed water could help power plants run more efficiently, study finds

    The water going down the drain could help keep the lights on, according to a new study showing that reclaimed water – municipal wastewater that has been treated or cleaned – could be more efficient for cooling power plants than water taken from the local environment.

  • Six Illinois professors named Guggenheim Fellows

    Six professors at the University of Illinois have been named 2016 Guggenheim Fellows, bringing to 13 the number of U. of I. faculty members who have been honored with the fellowship over the last three years. This year’s fellows are Dennis Baron, Karin A. Dahmen, Craig Koslofsky, Mei-Po Kwan, Ralph W. Mathisen and Rebecca Stumpf.

  • Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize

    Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.

  • U. of I. researchers help discover ‘dark galaxy’

    Researchers have uncovered the existence of a dwarf “dark galaxy” lurking nearly 4 billion light-years away from Earth. The discovery was made when a team of researchers, including astronomers at the University of Illinois, using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, noticed subtle distortions in the image of gravitational lens SDP.81. The discovery paves the way to spot many more such objects, which could help astronomers address important questions on the true nature of dark matter.

  • Interpreting the recent discovery of two massive near-Earth supernovas

    A Minute With...™ Brian Fields, expert on near-Earth supernovas

  • Researchers develop new method of trapping multiple particles using fluidics

    Precise control of an individual particle or molecule is a difficult task. Controlling multiple particles simultaneously is an even more challenging endeavor. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new method that relies on fluid flow to manipulate and assemble multiple particles. This new technique can trap a range of submicron- to micron-sized particles, including single DNA molecules, vesicles, drops or cells.

  • Structure of protein that forms fibrils in Parkinson's patients could lead to new diagnostic and treatment options

    Chemists have identified the complex chemical structure of the protein that stacks together to form fibrils in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. Armed with this knowledge, researchers can identify specific targets for diagnosis and treatment.

  • DNA molecules directly interact with each other based on sequence, study finds

    Proteins play a large role in DNA regulation, but a new study finds that DNA molecules directly interact with one another in a way that’s dependent on the sequence of the DNA and epigenetic factors. This could have implications for how DNA is organized in the cell and even how genes are regulated in different cell types, the researchers say.

  • Record-speed data transmission could make big data more accessible

    With record-breaking speeds for fiber-optic data transmission, University of Illinois engineers have paved a fast lane on the information superhighway – creating on-ramps for big data in the process.

  • Illinois scientists dig deeper to build a better permafrost model

    Scientists report they have found a way to improve predictions of permafrost area and stability in the northern high latitudes. Their improved model finds that the rate of permafrost decline in recent decades is slower than previously thought.

  • Light illuminates the way for bio-bots

    A new class of miniature biological robots, or bio-bots, has seen the light – and is following where the light shines.

  • How to improve your chances for a perfect March Madness bracket

    A Minute With...™ bracketology expert Sheldon Jacobson

  • Light helps the transistor laser switch faster

    Light and electrons interact in a complex dance within fiber optic devices. A new study by University of Illinois engineers found that in the transistor laser, a device for next-generation high-speed computing, the light and electrons spur one another on to faster switching speeds than any devices available.

  • Study offers clearest picture yet of how HIV defeats a cellular defender

    A new study offers the first atomic-scale view of an interaction between the HIV capsid - the protein coat that shepherds HIV into the nucleus of human cells - and a host protein known as cyclophilin A. This interaction is key to HIV infection, researchers say.

  • Can the FBI hack the iPhone?

    A Minute With...™ computer scientist Roy H. Campbell

  • Five Illinois faculty members named Sloan Research Fellows

    Five University of Illinois faculty members received the 2016 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

  • Hubble telescope's successor will look for dark energy, new planets

    A Minute With...™ Illinois astronomy professor Ryan Foley

  • Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation

    Understanding the complex geological processes that form supervolcanoes could ultimately help geologists determine what triggers their eruptions. A new study using an advanced computer model casts doubt on previously held theories about the Yellowstone supervolcano’s origins, adding to the mystery of Yellowstone’s formation.

  • Battery technology could charge up water desalination

    The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.

  • Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away

    A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage.

  • Making the invisible visible: Color-changing indicators highlight microscopic damage

    Damage developing in a material can be difficult to see until something breaks or fails. A new polymer damage indication system automatically highlights areas that are cracked, scratched or stressed, allowing engineers to address problem areas before they become more problematic.

  • Why you should factor driving into your weight loss plan

    A Minute With...™ Sheldon Jacobson, expert on data science

  • Geologic formation could hold clues to melting glacier floodwaters

    Geologists investigating an unusual landform in the Wabash River Valley in southern Illinois expected to find seismic origins, but instead found the aftermath of rushing floodwaters from melting Midwestern glaciers after the last ice age. The finding could give clues to how floodwaters may behave as glacier melt increases today in places like Greenland and Iceland.

  • Is fusion energy around the corner?

    A Minute With...™ U. of I. nuclear engineer Daniel Andruczyk

  • Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential

    Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters.

  • What's in the Paris climate agreement?

    A Minute With...™ Atul Jain, expert on atmospheric carbon and climate change

  • Researchers resolve structure of a key component of bacterial decision-making

    For bacteria that swim, determining whether to stay the course or head in a new direction is vital to survival. A new study offers atomic-level details of the molecular machinery that allows swimming bacteria to sense their environment and change direction when needed

  • Nanostructured metal coatings let the light through for electrical devices

    Light and electricity dance a complicated tango in devices like LEDs, solar cells and sensors. A new anti-reflection coating developed by engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, lets light through without hampering the flow of electricity, a step that could increase efficiency in such devices.

  • Portable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injury

    An engineer and an ophthalmologist are working together to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether an eye injury is mild or severe. The device, called OcuCheck, works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. The sensor could speed efforts to determine the extent of eye injuries at accident sites, in rural areas lacking ophthalmology specialists or on the battlefield, the researchers said.

  • 100 years of relativity: How has Einstein's theory shaped modern physics, astronomy?

    A Minute With...™ U. of I. physicist Stuart Shapiro

  • Illinois physics professor named national Professor of the Year

    Mats Selen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Machine learning could solve riddles of galaxy formation

    A new machine-learning simulation system developed at the University of Illinois promises cosmologists an expanded suite of galaxy models – a necessary first step to developing more accurate and relevant insights into the formation of the universe.

  • Nanopores could take the salt out of seawater

    University of Illinois engineers have found an energy-efficient material for removing salt from seawater that could provide a rebuttal to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lament, “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”

  • New life for EBICS project will create bio-machines to improve health

    By studying the behavior of living cells and combining them with synthetic tissue, researchers are creating “biological machines” to deliver drugs more effectively, function as internal diagnostic tools or serve as contaminant sensors in the field.

  • Supervolcanoes likely triggered externally, study finds

    Supervolcanoes, massive eruptions with potential global consequences, appear not to follow the conventional volcano mechanics of internal pressure building until the volcano blows. Instead, a new study finds, such massive magma chambers might erupt when the roof above them cracks or collapses.

  • Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic

    Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane.

  • Study: Alaskan boreal forest fires release more carbon than the trees can absorb

    A new analysis of fire activity in Alaska's Yukon Flats finds that so many forest fires are occurring there that the area has become a net exporter of carbon to the atmosphere. This is worrisome, the researchers say, because arctic and subarctic boreal forests like those of the Yukon Flats contain roughly one-third of the Earth's terrestrial carbon stores.

  • Jazz-playing robot will provide insight into how computers communicate with humans

    A University of Illinois researcher is designing a robot – actually a computer system – that will communicate with humans through jazz improvisation and provide insight into artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.