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Dec. 13, 2012 (Vol. 32 No. 12)
A new analysis of pigs and their ancestor-like cousins, wild boars, reveals much about their evolutionary history, sensory perceptions and similarity to humans

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer


Campus holiday gift guide
If you’re still searching for a few last-minute holiday gifts, you don’t have to go to the mall – there’s an abundance of unique items available right here on campus, most produced by U. of I. faculty and staff members and not available in stores or the usual online marketplaces. Full story

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On the Job: Norris Purdy

The investment made when the university hired Norris Purdy 10 years ago is still paying dividends. Hired as an extra-help worker in the shipping and receiving division of the U. of I.’s library system, Purdy now is a distribution clerk and serves as the division’s fill-in manager.

Senate OKs creation of Center for a Sustainable Environment

The Urbana Academic Senate voted Dec. 3 to create the Center for a Sustainable Environment to help develop campus sustainability strategies and provide support for interdisciplinary education, research and engagement.

Public hearing to discuss proposed classification changes

The Council of Academic Professionals is urging campus leaders to speak against new rules being considered by the State Universities Civil Service System that would limit the U. of I.’s ability to classify its employees.

NEW FACES 2012

Among the newcomers to the Urbana campus are faculty members whose appointments began this summer or fall. Inside Illinois continues its tradition of introducing some of the new faculty members on campus and will feature at least two new colleagues in each fall issue.

  • Christopher Burns, an associate professor of medical microbiology in the College of Medicine
  • TIsha A.M. Harper, a clinical assistant professor of veterinary clinical medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine

GEO members ratify contract

Members of the Urbana campus Graduate Employees Organization voted by more than 95 percent to ratify a new contract.

Research »

Leisure activities cultivate hope, resilience in disaster survivors

As survivors of Hurricane Sandy are learning, the emotional toll of natural disasters is as profound as their physical devastation. However, a new study of people who survived Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami in 2011 suggests that leisure activities can play critical roles in victims’ psychological recovery from natural disasters.

The dark side of kerosene lamps: High black carbon emissions

The small kerosene lamps that light millions of homes in developing countries have a dark side: black carbon – fine particles of soot released into the atmosphere.

Name that ant! New online tool helps identify alien ant invaders

Researchers have created an interactive website, called Antkey, which includes more than 1,150 images and 70 video clips to help users determine an ant’s identity from more than 100 invasive and commonly introduced global species.

Proteins that work at the end of DNA could provide cancer insight

New insights into a protein complex that regulates the very tips of chromosomes could improve methods of screening anti-cancer drugs.

A better bet? Wagering on teams coming off a bye week

Think your simple wagering strategy for professional football – such as always picking the home team or the underdog – is going to pay off in the long run? Don’t bet on it, say sports economists Scott Tainsky and Yoon Tae Sung.

Agricultural, health education goes global via cellphone animations

They’re watching them in Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India and Niger. They’re learning how to stop the spread of dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and food-related illness. They’re learning how to protect their crops from insect damage or post-harvest losses. And they’re coming up with new ideas for similar lessons to share with their neighbors or others around the world.

A MINUTE WITH …™ »

A MINUTE WITH… ™ Jay P. Kesan, a professor of law, on cybersecurity

What should the United States do to increase cybersecurity?

BOOK CORNER »

Keyhole Factory: An end-of-days foray where Earth gets the final say

Anyone who subscribes to the science of popular culture has been led to believe any imaginable post-apocalyptic world will be overrun with plodding zombies intent on feasting on the brains of survivors. William Gillespie, an award-winning author and communications coordinator for the UI’s School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, posits a more scientifically likely and even scarier end-of-days scenario in his new book, “Keyhole Factory.”

HONORS »

Five named to Swanlund Chairs, campus's premier endowed recognition

Five professors at the U. of I. have been named Swanlund Chairs, the highest endowed titles on the Urbana campus. The new Swanlund Chairs are Eric Freyfogle, law; Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, chemistry; Thomas Huang, electrical and computer engineering; John Rogers, materials science and engineering; Stephen Sligar, biochemistry.

Six professors at Illinois named 2012 AAAS fellows

Six faculty members at the U. of I. have been named 2012 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: animal biology professor Chi-Hing Christina Cheng, electrical and computer engineering professor Kent Choquette, psychology professor Neal Cohen, chemistry professor So Hirata, anthropology professor Lisa Lucero and physics professor Philip Phillips.