blog postsLife SciencesHealthBrain tissue structure could explain link between fitness and memoryApr 28, 2017 9:15 am315 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 am1067 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 am1196 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 am892 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 am733 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 am1047 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 am626 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 pm1526 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 pm767 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 am666 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 pm2315 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 am1708 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 am787 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 am658 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 am2769 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 am229 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 am1278 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 am2694 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 pm1077 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 pm521 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 am857 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 pm1408 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 am2199 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 am4240 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 am270 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 pm793 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 am7118 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 pm486 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 am281 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 am794 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 am527 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 pm469 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 am6091 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 pm2343 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.Life SciencesFor First Nations peoples, effects of European contact are recorded in the genomeNov 15, 2016 10:00 am482 views A study of the genomes of 25 individuals who lived 1,000 to 6,000 years ago on the north coast of present-day British Columbia, and 25 of their descendants who still live in the region today, opens a new window on the catastrophic consequences of European colonization for indigenous peoples in that part of the world.Life SciencesHealthYoga practice linked to lower stress, better cognitive performance in older adultsNov 15, 2016 8:30 am430 views Older adults who practiced hatha yoga for 8 weeks were better able to manage stress and performed better on cognitive tests than peers in a stretching and weight-training program, researchers report.Life SciencesHealthLicorice compound interferes with sex hormones in mouse ovary, study findsNov 9, 2016 12:00 pm329 views A study of mouse reproductive tissues finds that exposure to isoliquiritigenin, a compound found in licorice, disrupts steroid sex hormone production in the ovary, researchers report.Life SciencesCampusCampus LifeDeathsPhysical SciencesKlaus Schulten, pioneer in biophysics and computational biology, has diedNov 4, 2016 8:30 am1388 views University of Illinois physics professor Klaus Schulten, an innovator in the use of computational methods to study the chemical and biological processes driving living cells, died Monday, Oct. 31, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 69.Life SciencesPhysical SciencesTime-lapse cell imaging reveals dynamic activityOct 26, 2016 12:30 pm1290 views Living cells are miniature worlds bustling with activity. A new advanced imaging method can track cells over long periods of time using only light – no dye or chemicals required – to reveal dynamics and provide insight into how cells function, develop and interact.Life SciencesSocial SciencesDistracted much? New research may help explain whyOct 5, 2016 8:15 am1742 views A new study offers evidence that one’s motivation is just as important for sustained attention to a task as is the ease with which the task is done.Life SciencesSocial SciencesReview finds little evidence that brain-training games yield real-world benefitsOct 3, 2016 12:15 am688 views A systematic review of the scientific studies cited by brain-training companies as evidence that their products improve cognition in daily life finds no convincing evidence to support those claims. While people tend to improve on the specific tasks they practice, the researchers report, the conclusion that computerized brain-training programs yield broader cognitive benefits or improve real-world outcomes for their users is premature at best.Life SciencesSocial SciencesStudy links nutrition to brain health and cognitive agingSep 28, 2016 9:00 am582 views A new study of older adults finds an association between higher blood levels of phosphatidylcholine, a source of the dietary nutrient choline, and the ability to regulate attention to manage competing tasks. The study also identified a brain structure that appears to play a role in this association.Expert ViewpointsEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesIs Academia Waking Up to the Problem of Sexual Harassment?Sep 19, 2016 2:15 pm3215 views U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy supports a federal legislative effort that would require universities to report – and federal funding agencies to consider – findings that any university professor engaged in discrimination on the basis of sex. AgricultureLife SciencesIllinois growers are running out of options in fight against waterhempSep 14, 2016 8:00 am833 views Resistance to multiple herbicides is the new norm for populations of waterhemp, a common agricultural weed. With their herbicide options dwindling and nothing new on the horizon, Illinois growers must be strategic in how they manage waterhemp-infested fields, says a University of Illinois expert on crop weed management.BusinessLife Sciences‘Sleeper effect’ accounts for durability of weak messages from credible sourcesSep 13, 2016 8:45 am948 views The least convincing arguments can reverberate in the public consciousness over time – provided they’re delivered by a credible source, says new research from U. of I. psychology professor Dolores Albarracin.HealthLife SciencesScientists identify genes that disrupt response to breast cancer treatmentSep 7, 2016 9:45 am1799 views Scientists at the University of Illinois may have unlocked the genetic code that determines why many patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer fail to respond to the widely used drug tamoxifen.AgricultureLife SciencesStudy: Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yieldsSep 5, 2016 10:00 am887 views An eight-year study of soybeans grown outdoors in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere like that expected by 2050 has yielded a new and worrisome finding: Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations will boost plant growth under ideal growing conditions, but drought – expected to worsen as the climate warms and rainfall patterns change – will outweigh those benefits and cause yield losses much sooner than anticipated.Life SciencesEngineeringPhysical SciencesForce triggers gene expression by stretching chromatinAug 22, 2016 10:00 am1153 views A new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China has demonstrated that external mechanical force can directly regulate gene expression.Life SciencesStudy confirms long-term effects of ‘chemobrain’ in miceAug 17, 2016 3:15 pm1191 views Women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer have long complained of lingering cognitive impairments after treatment. These effects are referred to as "chemobrain," a feeling of mental fogginess. A new study from the University of Illinois reports long-lasting cognitive impairments in mice when they are administered a chemotherapy regimen used to treat breast cancer in humans.Life SciencesEngineeringPhysical SciencesGenome-editing proteins ride a DNA zip lineAug 15, 2016 1:30 pm882 views 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.