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Life Sciences

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  • Scientists issue warning about dangers beetle poses to Illinios ash trees

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Campers across Illinois are being asked to be firewood wary. There could be an unwanted pest hidden inside that could be devastating to the state's 118 million ash trees if it emerges later this summer from unburned wood.

  • By creating molecular 'bridge,' scientists change function of a protein

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By designing a molecular bridge, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have forged a successful pathway through a complex ocean of barriers: They've changed the function of a protein using a co-evolution approach.

  • Mount St. Helens: 25 years later

    Twenty-five years ago today Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington state, prompting U. of I. graduate David Johnston of the U.S. Geological Survey to report "Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it" from inside his monitoring-station trailer. Johnston's body and trailer were never found; he was among 57 fatalities that day.

  • Logging changed ecological balance for monkeys, damaged health

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Twenty-eight years after intense selective logging stopped in the region now known as Uganda's Kibale National Park, the red-tailed guenon (Cercophithecus ascanius) is a primate still in decline.

  • Chemist Kenneth L. Rinehart dies at 76

    CHAMPAIGN -Kenneth L. Rinehart, a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who was internationally known for his research on organic compounds involved in biological activity, died Monday at his Urbana home after a long illness. He was 76.

  • Technique provides new look on response of diseased canine heart

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Using newly available biological technology, researchers have developed the first molecular portrait of multiple gene activity in diseased heart tissue taken from dogs near death from a devastating disease. The discovery sheds new light on the heart's response to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of large-breed dogs.

  • Cultural mindset a factor in forming responses to challenges

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When faced with a challenging situation, a bicultural person may decide how to respond based on the cultural mindset that is active at the time, researchers have concluded.

  • Comparative chromosome study finds breakage trends, cancer ties

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Breakages in chromosomes in mammalian evolution have occurred at preferred rather than random sites as long thought, and many of the sites are involved in human cancers, an international team of 25 scientists has discovered.

  • Cells direct membrane traffic by channel width, scientists say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - For a glycerol molecule, a measly angstrom's difference in diameter is a road-closed sign: You can't squeeze through unless you are a sleek, water-molecule-sized sports car, say scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • When cave crickets go out for dinner, they really go, researchers say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cave crickets travel farther from their homes to forage - by about double - than their previously reported range, researchers have discovered. In Texas, that means protective buffer areas around caves may need to be extended to protect endangered invertebrate species that live inside and depend on the crickets.

  • Researchers zero in on estrogen's role in breast-cancer cell growth

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Why do estrogen dependent breast-cancer cells grow and spread rapidly? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign say it may be because estrogen virtually eliminates levels of a vitally important regulatory protein.

  • U. of I. researchers to play key roles in study of how life emerged on earth

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Three scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have leading roles in a multi-institution quest funded by the National Science Foundation to determine how life emerged on Earth.

  • Molecular research suggests shift needed in how drugs are created

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The first close-up look at a pro-inflammatory signaling molecule involved in immune response in mammals suggests that researchers "should rethink what they are doing" in creating drugs based on a fruit-fly model, scientists say.

  • Research advances understanding of how hydrogen fuel is made

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Oxygen may be necessary for life, but it sure gets in the way of making hydrogen fuel cheaply and abundantly from a family of enzymes present in many microorganisms. Blocking oxygen's path to an enzyme's production machinery could lead to a renewable energy source that would generate only water as its waste product.

  • Vanadium appears to play role in speeding recovery from infections

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Dietary supplements containing vanadium are used by body builders to help beef up muscles and by some diabetic people to control blood sugar. New research now suggests the naturally occurring but easily toxic element may help prepare the body to recover speedily from infections from gram-negative organisms such as E. coli.

  • Researchers seeking alternative to surgery for brain cancers

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - With a four-year, $450,000 grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are working to develop an immunotherapy that would be a safe alternative to surgery for brain cancers.

  • Study: 'Run-down' feeling with illness may last longer as people age

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Aging may intensify and prolong feeling run down when common infections like the flu occur, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Web page provides pet owners with information on dog flu

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine has established a Web page with information about canine influenza, which has spread to pet dogs in 10 states after first being diagnosed in January 2004 at a Florida greyhound track. No cases have been reported in Illinois.

  • To stem disease, keep cats indoors, stop feeding strays, scientist urges

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Keep pet cats inside, stop feeding strays, cook meat sufficiently and reconsider the way the veterinary profession and public health agencies think - and teach - about the zoonotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii.

  • NIH grant to fund Nanomedicine Development Center at Illinois

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A $6.2 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will fund the establishment of a Nanomedicine Development Center to be directed by Eric G. Jakobsson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Changes in brain, not age, determine one's ability to focus on task

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When it comes to focusing on a task amid distractions, some folks more than 60 years old are as mentally sharp as 22-year-olds. Others struggle. Researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shed some light on why that is.

  • Sisyphean movement of motor proteins may help preserve DNA integrity

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers studying how proteins called helicases travel along strands of DNA have found that when the proteins hit an obstacle they snap back to where they began, repeating the process over and over, possibly playing a preventative role in keeping the genome intact.

  • Give a visiting ant a nice place to stay and it might stick around

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Many insects enter the United States accidentally, as hitchhikers on various plants imported in commerce, but how many really stay?

  • Flatworm genes may provide insights into human diseases, researchers say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Could vital information about many human diseases be deciphered from genes inside freshwater flatworms?

  • New technique helps researchers determine amino-acid charge

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Measurements of the ion-current through the open state of a membrane-protein's ion channel have allowed scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to obtain a detailed picture of the effect of the protein microenvironment on the affinity of ionizable amino-acid residues for protons.

  • Membrane research opens window to benefits for plants, humans

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A wilting, water-starved houseplant and flood-covered crops have something in common. That knowledge, gleaned from spinach and researchers on two continents, potentially could open the gate to advances in both plant and human health.

  • Polymer aids in blood clotting, pointing way to new treatment

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A serendipitous comparison prompted by an old scientific image and involving an ancient but understudied molecule may lead to a new treatment strategy for injuries or illnesses in which blood clotting is paramount to survival.

  • Protein finding could lead to treatment for inflammatory diseases

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A protein that undesirably shields a skin poxvirus from the immune system may become the key ingredient in a new topical treatment for inflammatory diseases, say medical researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • U. of I. pig to make history - as source of first complete swine genome

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A pig used for research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a home in history. Its DNA will provide the first sequence of the swine genome to be completed with the help of a two-year $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

  • Absence of critical protein linked to infertility

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The absence of a key protein may lead to infertility.

  • Beckman researchers study communication part of language

    Researchers can get their inspiration from a mentor, or colleague, or perhaps even a lecture that strikes a chord. Psychology researcher Kara Federmeier got hers from her younger brother when she was still in high school.

  • Fitness counteracts cognitive decline from hormone-replacement therapy

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Women pondering hormone-replacement therapy also should consider regular exercise. A new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that being physically fit offsets cognitive declines attributed to long-term therapy.

  • Bird flu poses threat to international security, U. of I. scholar says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In the past, when government leaders, policymakers and scholars have turned their attention to peace and security issues, the talk invariably has focused on war, arms control or anti-terrorism strategies. But Julian Palmore believes it's time to expand the scope of the conversation.

  • Mantids - the good, the bad and the just plain wrong - on view at film fest

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kung Fu martial artists of the two-legged variety are coming to the 23rd annual Insect Fear Film Festival on Feb. 18, riding the coattails of this year's highlighted insect and kicking off - so to speak - an evening devoted to "Mantis Movies."

  • Thin skin, slow-growing gills protect larval stage of Antarctic fish

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Very thin but hardy, unblemished skin and slow developing gills appear to be keys to survival for newly hatched Antarctic notothenioids, a group of fish whose adults thrive in icy waters because of antifreeze proteins (AFPs) in their blood.

  • Training benefits brains in older people, counters aging factors

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --- Too old to learn new skills? By golly, think again. New research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that training re-ignites key areas of the brain, offsetting some age-related declines and boosting performance.

  • Approach to school affects how girls compare with boys in math

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - More women are pursuing higher education and doctoral degrees than ever before, but women still are rare in the math-oriented professions. Yet, researchers say, girls perform just as well as boys on achievement tests and tend to earn better grades in math than do boys during the earlier school years.

  • Creation of antibiotic in test tube holds promise for better antibiotics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists have made nisin, a natural antibiotic used for more than 40 years to preserve food, in a test tube using nature's toolbox. They also identified the structure of the enzyme that makes nisin and gives it its unique biological power.

  • Researchers simulate complete structure of virus-on computer

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Boeing and Airbus developed their latest aircraft, the companies' engineers designed and tested them on a computer long before the planes were built. Biologists are catching on. They've just completed the first computer simulation of an entire life form - a virus.

  • Rare Chinese frogs communicate by means of ultrasonic sound

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - First came word that a rare frog (Amolops tormotus) in China sings like a bird, then that the species produces very high-pitched ultrasonic sounds. Now scientists say that these concave-eared torrent frogs also hear and respond to the sounds.

  • Unique soybean lines hold promise for producing allergy-free soybeans

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have isolated two Chinese soybean lines that grow without the primary protein linked to soy allergies in children and adults. The two lines already are adapted to Illinois-like conditions and will be given away to breeders seeking to produce new varieties of allergy-free soybeans without genetic engineering.

  • Farm study raises doubts about new approach to swine-disease control

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sample sizes were small, but eyebrow-raising results from a study on a western Illinois farm have researchers and veterinarians taking a broader look at how swine producers battle an endemic viral disease that adds to their costs and threatens reproduction in their herds.

  • Monkey-dung study offers clues about land-use, wildlife ecology

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fecal matter of red colobus monkeys collected in western Uganda has yielded a wealth of knowledge about human land-use change and wildlife health and conservation. The main lesson, researchers say, is that the intensity of tree removal translates directly to parasite populations and the risk of infection of their hosts.

  • Computer animations used in court colored by bias, researchers say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A courtroom jury views a computer animation of a vehicle accident or heinous crime. Does it help bring a conviction or acquittal? With no clear standards for animations that re-create incidents, the verdict is still out, and, for now, it may depend on which side created the simulation, researchers say.

  • $1.5 billion needed to ensure 12-month stockpile of pediatric vaccines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A six-month stockpile of recommended pediatric vaccines would cost $1 billion and could cover more than 90 percent of U.S. children during a six-month interruption in production, say researchers at two Illinois universities.

  • U. of I. researcher named Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - William T. Greenough, a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, today was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Research involving adult stem cells receives state grants

    Two of 10 state grants announced April 24 bring more than $841,000 to two UI scientists – Matthew B. Wheeler and Stephen J. Kaufman – for research involving two forms of adult stem cells.

  • U. of I. microbiologist Carl Woese elected to Royal Society

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Microbiologist Carl Woese of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society, the world's oldest continuously active scientific academy in the world.

  • A shortage of livestock veterinarians and its potential effect on human health

     A Minute With™... John A. Herrmann, a professor of veterinary clinical medicine

  • Colorful, rare-patterned male guppies have survival advantage in the wild

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Any owner of a freshwater aquarium likely has had guppies (Poecilia reticulata), those small brightly colored fish with a propensity for breeding. Now guppy populations manipulated in natural habitats in Trinidad have taught researchers an evolutionary lesson on the survival of a rare genetic trait.