blog postsTwo Illinois faculty members elected AAAS FellowsNov 20, 2017 9:15 am252 views Two faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2017 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen for their outstanding contributions to their field of study.Theory: Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligenceNov 20, 2017 8:30 am1820 views Centuries of study have yielded many theories about how the brain gives rise to human intelligence. A new theory makes the case that the brain’s dynamic properties – how it is wired but also how that wiring shifts in response to changing intellectual demands – are the best predictors of intelligence in the human brain.Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activityNov 17, 2017 9:45 am560 views Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 17, 2017 8:00 am1037 views Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world."Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto RicoNov 16, 2017 9:30 am388 views A genomic study of Puerto Rico’s Africanized honey bees – which are more docile than other so-called “killer bees” – reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees’ rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.Study in mice finds dietary levels of genistein may adversely affect female fertilityNov 14, 2017 8:30 am418 views Exposure to the phytoestrogen genistein prior to conception may adversely affect female fertility and pregnancy outcomes, depending on the dosage and duration of exposure, a new study in mice by scientists at the University of Illinois suggests.Shape-shifting agent targets harmful bacteria in the stomachNov 13, 2017 2:00 pm755 views A new shape-shifting polymer can target and kill Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach without killing helpful bacteria in the gut.Team finds first wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois since 1984Nov 13, 2017 8:15 am12967 views Researchers report the first sighting in 30 years of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois. The discovery may be a sign of hope for this state-endangered species, or the animal could be the last of its kind to have survived in Illinois without human intervention, the researchers say.Study: Serving water with school lunches could prevent child, adult obesityNov 7, 2017 8:00 am1992 views Encouraging children to drink water with their school lunches could prevent more than half a million cases of child obesity and overweight -- and trim the medical and societal costs by more than $13 billion, a new study suggests.Stem cells from muscle could address diabetes-related circulation problemsNov 6, 2017 10:45 am1314 views Stem cells taken from muscle tissue could promote better blood flow in patients with diabetes who develop peripheral artery disease, a painful complication that can require surgery or lead to amputation.Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymersNov 2, 2017 7:00 am816 views Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have taken the first steps toward gaining control over the self-assembly of synthetic materials in the same way that biology forms natural polymers. This advance could prove useful in designing new bioinspired, smart materials for applications ranging from drug delivery to sensing to remediation of environmental contaminants.Stemlike cells at tumor perimeter promote new blood vessels to feed tumor growthOct 25, 2017 1:00 pm609 views Stemlike cells at the edge of melanoma tumors secrete factors to promote blood-vessel growth, allowing the cancer to grow and spread.Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissionsOct 23, 2017 9:45 am1192 views Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.Illinois sportfish recovery a result of 1972 Clean Water Act, scientists reportOct 18, 2017 9:45 am1767 views Populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other sportfish are at the highest levels recorded in more than a century in the Illinois River, according to a new report. Their dramatic recovery, from populations close to zero near Chicago throughout much of the 20th century, began just after implementation of the Clean Water Act, the researchers say.Report identifies factors associated with harassment, abuse in academic fieldworkOct 16, 2017 8:30 am1808 views College students considering careers in fields like archaeology or geology that require extensive work at remote field sites might want to find out how potential supervisors and advisers conduct themselves in the field. Do they establish clear ground rules for the behavior of everyone on the team? Are the rules consistently enforced? According to a new report, such factors likely influence whether students will witness or experience harassment while working far from home.Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden worldOct 12, 2017 3:15 pm3420 views By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization. The bioinspired imager can potentially improve early cancer detection and help provide a new understanding of underwater phenomena, the researchers said.Cholesterol byproduct hijacks immune cells, lets breast cancer spreadOct 12, 2017 9:30 am859 views A cholesterol byproduct facilitates breast cancer’s spread by hijacking immune cells, a new University of Illinois study found.Some plants grow bigger – and meaner – when clipped, study findsOct 11, 2017 8:30 am3019 views Some plants behave like the mythical monster Hydra: Cut off their heads and they grow back, bigger and better than before. A new study finds that these “overcompensators,” as they are called, also augment their defensive chemistry – think plant venom – when they are clipped.No ‘narcissism epidemic’ among college students, study findsOct 9, 2017 8:30 am4427 views Today’s college students are slightly less narcissistic than their counterparts were in the 1990s, researchers report in a new study – not significantly more, as some have proposed. The study, reported in the journal Psychological Science, analyzed data from 1,166 students at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1990s, and from tens of thousands of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Davis in the 2000s and 2010s. All of the students completed the Narcissism Personal Inventory, the oldest and most widely used measure of narcissism.Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now?Oct 3, 2017 8:30 am1611 views Rates of antibiotic-resistant infections in companion animals are rising at an alarming rate. An Illinois veterinarian discusses what can be done about it.Large, crystalline lipid scaffolds bring new possibilities to protein, drug researchOct 2, 2017 8:00 am568 views Proteins and drugs are often attached to lipids to promote crystallization or ensure delivery to targeted tissues within the body, but only the smallest proteins and molecules fit within these fat structures. A new study reveals a lipid structure that can support much larger proteins and molecules than before, potentially increasing the variety of drugs that can be attached to these fat molecules.Paper: Don’t rely on mixed messages to change health behaviorsSep 27, 2017 9:00 am530 views Self-improvement messages to lose weight, quit smoking or eat more fruits and vegetables can fall on deaf ears if the intervention message is mixed, says new research from U. of I. psychology professor Dolores Albarracin.Click beetles inspire design of self-righting robotsSep 25, 2017 8:30 am2253 views Robots perform many tasks that humans can’t or don’t want to perform, getting around on intricately designed wheels and limbs. If they tip over, however, they are rendered almost useless. A team of University of Illinois mechanical engineers and entomologists are looking to click beetles, who can right themselves without the use of their legs, to solve this robotics challenge.Study: Biomarkers as predictive of sepsis as lengthy patient monitoringSep 7, 2017 8:15 am2272 views One measurement of key biomarkers in blood that characterize sepsis can give physicians as much information as hours of monitoring symptoms, a new study found.Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization, new research findsSep 7, 2017 8:00 am3928 views A new study found that monounsaturated fatty acids are linked to general intelligence and the organization of the brain’s attention network.Scientists discover spring-loaded mechanism in unusual species of trap-jaw antAug 30, 2017 5:00 pm847 views Research reveals how a group of trap-jaw ants can snap their jaws shut at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour – just fast enough to capture their elusive prey.Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study findsAug 24, 2017 11:15 am4575 views Tinnitus, a chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears, has eluded medical treatment and scientific understanding. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that chronic tinnitus is associated with changes in certain networks in the brain, and furthermore, those changes cause the brain to stay more at attention and less at rest.Study links fish stress hormones to whether they take the baitAug 22, 2017 10:00 am951 views Take a fish out of water and its stress hormones will go up. Adrenaline and noradrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormones, peak first, followed more gradually by cortisol. A new study finds that largemouth bass whose cortisol levels rise most after a brief bout of stress are inherently harder to catch by angling.Paper: Clinical signs best predictors of mortality in critically ill calvesAug 18, 2017 9:45 am957 views Clinical signs may be better predictors of mortality in neonatal calves with diarrhea than blood pH levels and other laboratory findings, suggests a new study co-written by University of Illinois researcher Peter D. Constable.Slowing dangerous bacteria may be more effective than killing them, researchers reportAug 17, 2017 9:45 am1101 views A new study suggests it may be possible to slow dangerous infections by manipulating the messages microbes send to one another, allowing the body to defeat an infection without causing the bacteria to develop resistance to the treatment.Increased risk of suicide, mental health conditions linked to sexual assault victimizationAug 8, 2017 4:00 pm785 views An analysis of nearly 200 independent studies involving more than 230,000 adult participants finds that having been sexually assaulted is associated with significantly increased risk of anxiety, depression, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.New microscope technique reveals internal structure of live embryosAug 8, 2017 7:00 am1646 views University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to produce 3-D images of live embryos in cattle that could help determine embryo viability before in vitro fertilization in humans.Lizard blizzard survivors tell story of natural selectionAug 3, 2017 1:00 pm655 views An unusually cold winter in the U.S. in 2014 took a toll on the green anole lizard, a tree-dwelling creature common to the southeastern United States. A new study offers a rare view of natural selection in this species, showing how the lizard survivors at the southernmost part of their range in Texas came to be more like their cold-adapted counterparts further north.Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologiesAug 2, 2017 8:00 am1564 views Researchers are looking to insects – specifically cicadas – for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities. Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humansJul 31, 2017 2:00 pm1480 views Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study findsJul 25, 2017 9:00 am1040 views Just as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills can benefit from multiple ways of exercising the brain, according to a comprehensive new study from University of Illinois researchers.Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivorsJul 25, 2017 8:00 am887 views A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and “chemo brain”: a brisk walk.Lutein may counter cognitive aging, study findsJul 24, 2017 12:45 pm3460 views Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study from University of Illinois researchers.Two undergrads improve plant carbon-cycle modelsJul 24, 2017 10:00 am675 views In the summer of 2012, two undergraduate students tackled a problem that plant ecology experts had overlooked for 30 years. The students demonstrated that different plant species vary in how they take in carbon dioxide and emit water through stomata, the pores in their leaves. The data boosted the accuracy of mathematical models of carbon and water fluxes through plant leaves by 30 to 60 percent.Massive simulation shows HIV capsid interacting with its environmentJul 19, 2017 8:30 am2517 views It took two years on a supercomputer to simulate 1.2 microseconds in the life of the HIV capsid, a protein cage that shuttles the HIV virus to the nucleus of a human cell. The 64-million-atom simulation offers new insights into how the virus senses its environment and completes its infective cycle.Study: Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoidsJul 18, 2017 10:00 am3131 views Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, THC, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high. Brief interactions spur lasting waves of gene activity in the brainJul 17, 2017 9:00 am182 views A five-minute encounter with an outsider spurs a cascade of changes in gene activity in the brain that can last for hours, researchers report in a study of stickleback fish.Survey reveals widespread bias in astronomy and planetary scienceJul 10, 2017 10:00 am786 views In an online survey about their workplace experiences, 88 percent of academics, students, postdoctoral researchers and administrators in astronomy and planetary science reported hearing, experiencing or witnessing negative language or harassment relating to race, gender or other physical characteristics at work within the last five years. Of the 423 respondents, 39 percent reported having been verbally harassed and 9 percent said they had suffered physical harassment at work.Study: Handshaking viewed more positively by Westerners than by East AsiansJul 5, 2017 10:15 am840 views Westerners view handshaking more positively than do East Asians, researchers report in a new study. Western men also rate handshakes initiated by men and women differently, the study found. University of Illinois hosting inaugural human-animal studies instituteJul 5, 2017 9:30 am464 views The University of Illinois is hosting a Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute -- the first of its kind in the emerging interdisciplinary field.Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of bloodJul 3, 2017 7:30 am4518 views A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood.Study identifies key player in heart enlargementJun 27, 2017 10:15 am1174 views The heart is a dynamic muscle that grows and shrinks in response to stressors such as exercise and disease. The secret to its malleability lies in individual cells, which get bigger or smaller depending on the heart’s needs. A new study of mouse hearts reveals a previously unknown mechanism by which heart cells control their size by ramping up or stopping the production of a key factor called PABPC1. The findings, reported in the journal eLife, could assist in the development of therapeutics that promote healthy heart growth and prevent disease.Studies link nutrient, academic achievement in pre-adolescent childrenJun 20, 2017 9:00 am2193 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.Corn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am3537 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.Researchers sample a DC swamp to study a spineless creatureJun 19, 2017 9:30 am1110 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.