blog postsHealthLife SciencesStudies link nutrient, academic achievement in pre-adolescent childrenJun 20, 2017 9:00 am370 views Researchers can look into your eyes to determine whether you’re getting your lutein, a pigment found in green leafy vegetables that is known to accumulate in the brain. Two new studies find that children with higher lutein levels in the eye tend to do better than others on tests of cognition and academic achievement, even after accounting for other factors known to influence academic performance such as IQ, gender, body composition and physical fitness.Physical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringLife SciencesCorn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am982 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.Life SciencesResearchers sample a DC swamp to study a spineless creatureJun 19, 2017 9:30 am674 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Its name is Stygobromus hayi, the Hay’s Spring amphipod. It is spineless. It lacks vision. It is an opportunistic feeder, consuming whatever resources are available – perhaps including the remains of its own kind. Now researchers report on a way to survey this aquatic, subterranean creature without threatening its existence, as other studies had done. Life SciencesScientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroomJun 7, 2017 1:00 pm2032 views Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE.Life SciencesAgricultureGenetic study shakes up the elephant family treeJun 6, 2017 3:00 am2348 views New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago – ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct – is more closely related to today’s African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant.HealthLife SciencesVeterinary MedicineFred A. Kummerow, successful crusader against trans fats, dies at 102Jun 1, 2017 2:45 pm876 views Fred A. Kummerow, a pioneer in the study of dietary contributors to heart disease who led a decades-long crusade to remove trans fats from the food supply, died Wednesday, May 31, at his home in Urbana, Illinois. He was 102.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesChemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatmentMay 26, 2017 11:00 am728 views Melanoma is a particularly difficult cancer to treat once it has metastasized, spreading throughout the body. University of Illinois researchers are using chemistry to find the deadly, elusive malignant cells within a melanoma tumor that hold the potential to spread.Life SciencesCowbird moms choosy when selecting foster parents for their youngMay 23, 2017 8:30 am341 views Despite their reputation as uncaring, absentee moms, cowbird mothers are capable of making sophisticated choices among potential nests in order to give their offspring a better chance of thriving, a new study shows.HealthLife SciencesPhysical SciencesSensors detect disease markers in breathMay 18, 2017 11:45 am1645 views A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building’s air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. By riddling the thin plastic films with pores, University of Illinois researchers made the devices sensitive enough to detect at levels that are far too low to smell, yet are important to human health.HealthLife SciencesStudies link healthy brain aging to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the bloodMay 18, 2017 8:30 am1859 views Two new studies link patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood to the integrity of brain structures and cognitive abilities that are known to decline early in aging.HealthLife SciencesPhysical Sciences‘Molecular prosthetics’ can replace missing proteins to treat diseaseMay 11, 2017 1:00 pm1280 views Researchers have demonstrated that a small molecule can transport iron in human cells and live animals when proteins that normally do the same job are missing, a condition that often causes severe anemia in patients. Such “molecular prosthetics” might treat a host of incurable diseases caused by protein deficiencies, such as anemias, cystic fibrosis or certain types of heart disease.Life SciencesHealthAntibiotic breakthrough: Team discovers how to overcome gram-negative bacterial defensesMay 10, 2017 12:00 pm1446 views Scientists report that they now know how to build a molecular Trojan horse that can penetrate gram-negative bacteria, solving a problem that for decades has stalled the development of effective new antibiotics against these increasingly drug-resistant microbes. The findings appear in the journal Nature.Life SciencesAnemonefish dads further fathering researchMay 3, 2017 8:30 am321 views Like the dad in “Finding Nemo,” anemonefish fathers will do almost anything to support their offspring. Their parenting instincts are so strong that if you give a bachelor anemonefish a scoop of anemonefish eggs from an unrelated nest, he will care for them – constantly nipping at them to remove debris and fanning them with oxygen-rich waters – as if they were his own. (Any other fish would eat them, researchers say.)Social SciencesLife SciencesReport: Even in death, indigenous border crossers marginalizedMay 2, 2017 4:30 pm438 views Of the hundreds of people who die trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico each year, those with indigenous backgrounds are less likely to be identified than those with more European ancestry, a new analysis reveals.HealthLife SciencesStudy offers new insight into powerful inflammatory regulatorMay 1, 2017 2:00 pm342 views A new study in mice reveals how a protein called Brd4 boosts the inflammatory response – for better and for worse, depending on the ailment. The study is the first to show that this protein, while problematic in some circumstances, also can protect the body from infection.Life SciencesTeam discovers a new invasive clam in the U.S.May 1, 2017 8:45 am1910 views A new invasive clam has made its official debut in North America.Life SciencesHealthBrain tissue structure could explain link between fitness and memoryApr 28, 2017 9:15 am1503 views Studies have suggested a link between fitness and memory, but researchers have struggled to find the mechanism that links them. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that the key may lie in the microstructure of the hippocampus, a region in the middle of the brain involved in memory processes.Life SciencesAgricultureEngineeringHealthPhysical SciencesSocial SciencesScience at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1112 views Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.HealthLife SciencesStudy links brain structure, anxiety and negative bias in healthy adultsApr 13, 2017 10:30 am1255 views Healthy college students who have a relatively small inferior frontal cortex – a brain region behind the temples that helps regulate thoughts and emotions – are more likely than others to suffer from anxiety, a new study finds. They also tend to view neutral or even positive events in a negative light, researchers report.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesNanopores could map small changes in DNA that signal big shifts in cancerApr 12, 2017 10:00 am971 views Detecting cancer early, just as changes are beginning in DNA, could enhance diagnosis and treatment as well as further our understanding of the disease. A new study by University of Illinois researchers describes a method to detect, count and map tiny additions to DNA called methylations, which can be a warning sign of cancer, with unprecedented resolution.HealthLife SciencesStudy of sleep apps finds room for improvementApr 12, 2017 8:30 am844 views An analysis of 35 popular phone-based sleep apps finds that while most help users set sleep-related goals and track and manage their sleep, few make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.Life SciencesIllinois team tackles mysterious disease afflicting wild and captive snakesApr 11, 2017 8:30 am1104 views Biologists and veterinarians across the central and eastern United States are calling on researchers at the University of Illinois to help them identify, understand and potentially treat snake fungal disease, a baffling affliction affecting more than a dozen species of wild and captive snakes in at least 15 states.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesCRISPR mines bacterial genome for hidden pharmaceutical treasureApr 10, 2017 10:00 am1041 views In the fight against disease, many weapons in the medicinal arsenal have been plundered from bacteria themselves. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, researchers have now uncovered even more potential treasure hidden in silent genes.Life SciencesStudy reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North AmericaApr 4, 2017 1:00 pm1593 views A study of the DNA in ancient skeletal remains adds to the evidence that indigenous groups living today in southern Alaska and the western coast of British Columbia are descendants of the first humans to make their home in northwest North America more than 10,000 years ago.Life SciencesAgricultureTeam nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expressionMar 17, 2017 2:45 pm823 views Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA to speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes.HealthLife SciencesStudy links sulfide-producing bacteria and colon cancer in African-AmericansMar 15, 2017 9:15 am680 views A new study reveals that African-Americans have measurable differences in the number and type of bacteria that live in the colon – and those differences are related to their higher-than-average colon cancer risk.Life SciencesAgricultureReport: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declinesMar 13, 2017 4:15 pm2510 views Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report.Life SciencesGreater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers reportFeb 27, 2017 6:00 am1792 views An iconic bird whose booming mating calls once reverberated across “the Prairie State” can survive in Illinois, but only with the help of periodic human interventions, researchers report.HealthLife SciencesPhysical SciencesStudy: Changing the environment within bone marrow alters blood cell developmentFeb 22, 2017 7:30 am814 views Researchers at the University of Illinois report they can alter blood cell development through the use of biomaterials designed to mimic characteristics of the bone marrow.CampusLife SciencesPhysical SciencesFour Illinois professors named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 21, 2017 9:00 am696 views Four Illinois researchers are recipients of 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders.” Awardees receive $60,000 to be used as they wish to further their research.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesTumor-targeting system uses cancer’s own mechanisms to betray its locationFeb 14, 2017 9:00 am2955 views By hijacking a cancer cell’s own metabolism, researchers have found a way to tag and target elusive cancers with small-molecule sugars. This opens treatment pathways for cancers that are not responsive to conventional targeted antibodies, such as triple-negative breast cancer.Life SciencesArtsIllinois alum and producer of creature films will be a special guest at this year’s Insect Fear Film FestivalFeb 14, 2017 8:45 am234 views The 2017 Insect Fear Film Festival will feature a return of lava-spewing killer tarantulas in “2 Lava 2 Lantula,” along with giant subterranean beetles in “Caved In” and special guest Paul Hertzberg, a U. of I. graduate who produced the films. Life SciencesAgricultureHumanitiesStudy rewrites early history of corn in corn countryFeb 14, 2017 8:15 am1312 views A new study contradicts decades of thought, research and teaching on the history of corn cultivation in the American Bottom, a floodplain of the Mississippi River in Illinois. The study refutes the notion that Indian corn, or maize, was cultivated in this region hundreds of years before its widespread adoption at about 1000 A.D.HealthLife SciencesStudy tallies extra calories Americans consume in their coffee, teaJan 30, 2017 9:15 am2747 views A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesTiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers findJan 25, 2017 1:30 pm1097 views Microscopic shifts in metabolism and increases in tiny transport vesicles out of tumor cells preface larger changes to the tumor environment and could prepare the way for cancerous cells to spread and metastasize, University of Illinois researchers report.Life SciencesTeam discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body’s armorJan 19, 2017 3:00 pm540 views Scientists have discovered how a unique bacterial enzyme evades the body’s key weapons in its fight against infection.Physical SciencesLife SciencesTool to map gene's ‘social network’ sheds light on function, interactions and drug efficacyJan 19, 2017 9:00 am871 views Although the human genome has been mapped, many questions remain about how genes are regulated, how they interact with one another, and what function some genes serve. A new tool developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology distills the huge amount of genomic data into gene networks that can point to the function of genes, highlighting relationships between genes and offering insights into disease, treatment and gene analogs across species.Life SciencesAgricultureSurvival of many of the world’s nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts reportJan 18, 2017 1:00 pm1420 views A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world – the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.Social SciencesLife SciencesCounseling, antidepressants change personality (for the better), team reportsJan 6, 2017 10:30 am2346 views A review of 207 studies involving more than 20,000 people found that those who engaged in therapeutic interventions were, on average, significantly less neurotic and a bit more extraverted after the interventions than they were beforehand.HealthLife SciencesStudy links nutrition to brain health and intelligence in older adultsDec 13, 2016 8:45 am4352 views A study of older adults offers insight into how a pigment found in leafy greens that tends to accumulate in brain tissue may contribute to the preservation of “crystallized intelligence,” the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.HumanitiesLife SciencesAn informatics approach helps better identify chemical combinations in consumer productsDec 12, 2016 9:15 am273 views An informatics approach can help prioritize chemical combinations for further testing by determining the prevalence of individual ingredients and their most likely combinations in consumer products.Physical SciencesLife SciencesReport proposes standards for sharing data and code used in computational studiesDec 8, 2016 1:00 pm797 views A new report by prominent leaders in computational methods and reproducibility lays out recommendations for ways researchers, institutions, agencies and journal publishers can work together to standardize sharing of data sets and software code.AgricultureLife SciencesPollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the goodDec 7, 2016 8:30 am7249 views Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest.HealthLife SciencesPaper: Enzyme that digests vitamin A also may regulate testosterone levelsDec 6, 2016 1:00 pm510 views An enzyme that converts the dietary carotenoid beta carotene into vitamin A in the body may also regulate testosterone levels and growth of the prostate, researchers at the University of Illinois found in a study. BusinessLife Sciences‘Nudges’ an inexpensive, effective way to increase completion of health promotion programsDec 1, 2016 9:15 am312 views Keeping your message brief and simple – on the level of a gentle reminder, as opposed to constant nagging – can produce gains when trying to increase engagement with health care programs, says new research from U. of I. professor and social psychology expert Dolores Albarracin.Life SciencesYoung toddlers can tell when others hold false beliefs, study findsNov 28, 2016 9:00 am808 views A new study finds that, under the right conditions, 2 1/2-year-old children can answer questions about people acting on false beliefs, an ability that most researchers believe does not develop until age 4.Life SciencesStudy in rats finds low blood alcohol levels have no effect on total calories consumedNov 23, 2016 8:15 am541 views Laboratory rats will drink alcohol if it’s available, and may even get a little tipsy, researchers report in a new study. But they won’t voluntarily drink until they’re drunk. And while ethanol is calorie-rich, rats that drink it eat less food and their total energy intake remains steady, the research team found.Life SciencesHealthTeam finds new way to attach lipids to proteins, streamlining drug developmentNov 21, 2016 2:00 pm475 views A new study reveals an efficient means of attaching lipids (fat molecules) to peptides (the building blocks of proteins). This can improve the molecules’ drug-delivery capabilities.HonorsAgricultureAnnouncementsEngineeringHealthLife SciencesPhysical SciencesEight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6193 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."AgricultureLife SciencesScientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yieldNov 17, 2016 1:00 pm2525 views Researchers report that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible.