blog postsLife SciencesHealthMassive simulation shows HIV capsid interacting with its environmentJul 19, 2017 8:30 am819 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.HealthLife SciencesStudy: Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoidsJul 18, 2017 10:00 am1703 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. Life SciencesBrief interactions spur lasting waves of gene activity in the brainJul 17, 2017 9:00 am81 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.Social SciencesLife SciencesPhysical SciencesSurvey reveals widespread bias in astronomy and planetary scienceJul 10, 2017 10:00 am708 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.Life SciencesSocial SciencesStudy: Handshaking viewed more positively by Westerners than by East AsiansJul 5, 2017 10:15 am641 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. CampusHumanitiesLife SciencesUniversity of Illinois hosting inaugural human-animal studies instituteJul 5, 2017 9:30 am350 views The University of Illinois is hosting a Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute -- the first of its kind in the emerging interdisciplinary field.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesQuick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of bloodJul 3, 2017 7:30 am2650 views A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood.HealthLife SciencesStudy identifies key player in heart enlargementJun 27, 2017 10:15 am1040 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.HealthLife SciencesStudies link nutrient, academic achievement in pre-adolescent childrenJun 20, 2017 9:00 am930 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 am2931 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 am861 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 pm2316 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 am2525 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 pm1091 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 am748 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 am361 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 am1745 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 am1948 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 pm1384 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 pm1508 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 am335 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 pm453 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 pm360 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 am1952 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 am1539 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 am1138 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 am1266 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 am980 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 am869 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 am1129 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 am1063 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 pm1608 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 pm847 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 am683 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 pm2560 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 am1830 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 am815 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 am711 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 am2982 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 am236 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 am1337 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 am2780 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 pm1103 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 pm542 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 am896 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 pm1424 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 am2372 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 am4392 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 am276 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.