blog navigation

Life Sciences

blog posts

  • By trying it all, predatory sea slug learns what not to eat

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have found that a type of predatory sea slug that usually isn't picky when it comes to what it eats has more complex cognitive abilities than previously thought, allowing it to learn the warning cues of dangerous prey and thereby avoid them in the future.

  • Cancer-associated long non-coding RNA regulates pre-mRNA splicing

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers report this month that MALAT1, a long non-coding RNA that is implicated in certain cancers, regulates pre-mRNA splicing - a critical step in the earliest stage of protein production. Their study appears in the journal Molecular Cell.

  • Cancer-causing bacterium targets tumor-suppressor protein

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers have discovered a mechanism by which Helicobacter pylori, the only known cancer-causing bacterium, disables a tumor suppressor protein in host cells.

  • Cancer drug first tested in pet dogs begins human trials

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans. The drug, called PAC-1, first showed promise in the treatment of pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers, and is still in clinical trials in dogs with osteosarcoma.

  • Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patients

    A drug that spurs cancer cells to self-destruct has been cleared for use in a clinical trial of patients with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor, and glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive late-stage cancer of the brain. This phase Ib trial will determine if the experimental drug PAC-1 can be used safely in combination with a standard brain-cancer chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

  • Cancer drug tested in pet dogs is now bound for human trials

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Thanks to a new $2 million investment, a drug that spurs cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is on the road to human clinical trials. The compound, known as PAC-1, has so far proven safe and has promising anti-cancer effects in cell culture, in mouse models of cancer and in pet dogs with spontaneously occurring lymphomas and osteosarcomas.

  • Cancer in childhood can have negative impact on career readiness

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Young adult survivors of childhood cancer often have problems maintaining jobs and relationships, researchers have found. A new study of childhood brain tumor survivors by disability researcher David Strauser, a professor of community health at the University of Illinois, suggests that a battle with cancer during a critical developmental period in middle childhood may negatively affect career readiness and achievement as an adult by compromising children's development of an effective work personality.

  • Can money buy happiness? Gallup poll asks, and the world answers

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A worldwide survey of more than 136,000 people in 132 countries included questions about happiness and income, and the results reveal that while life satisfaction usually rises with income, positive feelings don't necessarily follow, researchers report.

  • Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

    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.

  • Carl R. Woese, who discovered a new domain of life, dies at 84

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - University of Illinois microbiology and Institute for Genomic Biology professor Carl R. Woese, who adopted a molecular approach to classifying organisms and upended taxonomy with the discovery of a "third domain" of life, died Sunday (Dec. 30) at his home in Urbana, Ill. He was 84.

  • Carl Woese receives the Crafoord Prize

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Microbiologist Carl R. Woese formally accepted the $500,000 Crafoord Prize in Biosciences from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden. The king of Sweden presented the prize to Woese on Sept. 24.

  • Carl Woese wins the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, given by the Royal Academy

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Microbiologist Carl R. Woese today won the $500,000 Crafoord Prize in Biosciences given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The annual prize marks accomplishments in scientific fields not covered by the Nobel Prizes in science, which the academy also selects. The king of Sweden will present the prize to Woese Sept. 24 in Stockholm.

  • Carl Woese wins the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, given by the Royal Academy

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Microbiologist Carl R. Woese today won the $500,000 Crafoord Prize in Biosciences given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The annual prize marks accomplishments in scientific fields not covered by the Nobel Prizes in science, which the academy also selects. The king of Sweden will present the prize to Woese Sept. 24 in Stockholm.

  • Carver Trust grant to advance molecular studies at Illinois

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Rapidly advancing tools let researchers amass oceans of biological data - so much so that fishing out the meaning is as daunting as climbing a mountain without gear. A new $3.15 million, three-year grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, however, will make the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a national leader in its capability to analyze molecular information about cells, officials say.

  • Catalyst combining reactivity and selectivity could speed drug development

    Chemists have long believed that inserting nitrogen – a beneficial ingredient for making many pharmaceuticals and other biologically active molecules – into a carbon-hydrogen bond requires a trade-off between catalyst reactivity and selectivity. But a new manganese-based catalyst developed by University of Illinois chemists has given researchers both in one efficient, lower-cost package.

  • Caterpillar, fungus in cahoots to threaten fruit, nut crops, study finds

    New research reveals that Aspergillus flavus, a fungus that produces carcinogenic aflatoxins that can contaminate seeds and nuts, has a multilegged partner in crime: the navel orangeworm caterpillar, which targets some of the same nut and fruit orchards afflicted by the fungus. Scientists report in the Journal of Chemical Ecology that the two pests work in concert to overcome plant defenses and resist pesticides.

  • Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers tracking the spread of Toxoplasma gondii - a parasite that reproduces only in cats but sickens and kills many other animals - have found infected wildlife throughout a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural area in central Illinois.

  • Caught in the act: Team discovers microbes speciating

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Not that long ago in a hot spring in Kamchatka, Russia, two groups of genetically indistinguishable microbes parted ways. They began evolving into different species - despite the fact that they still encountered one another in their acidic, boiling habitat and even exchanged some genes from time to time, researchers report. This is the first example of what the researchers call sympatric speciation in a microorganism.

  • Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cancer cells that break away from tumors to go looking for a new home may prefer to settle into a soft bed, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • 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.

  • Census of protein architectures offers new view of history of life

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The present can tell you a lot about the past, but you need to know where to look. A new study appearing this month in Genome Research reveals that protein architectures - the three-dimensional structures of specific regions within proteins - provide an extraordinary window on the history of life.

  • Center integrates human, animal, environmental health

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The Center for One Health Illinois, established at the University of Illinois last year with a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will receive another $500,000 in grants over several years from the USDA to pursue its mission of fostering collaborations and the free flow of information among those in the fields of medicine, public health, the environment and agriculture.

  • Center to study effects of plastics chemicals on children's health

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new research center based at the University of Illinois will investigate whether regular exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates - chemicals widely used in plastics and other consumer products - can alter infant and adolescent development, cognition or behavior.

  • Chancellor, chemist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois, and Jeffrey Moore, the Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry at Illinois, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy announced today.

  • 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.

  • Chemical analysis of mushrooms shows their nutritional benefits

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An analysis of previously uncharted chemical contents, mostly carbohydrates, in U.S.-consumed mushrooms shows that these fruity edible bodies of fungi could be tailored into dietary plans to help fill various nutritional needs.

  • Chemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatment

    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.

  • Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause fouling

    Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors.  

  • Chemist, entomologist among new fellows of arts and sciences academy

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Chemist Peter Beak and entomologist Gene E. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are among the 202 newly elected fellows and foreign honorary members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • 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.

  • Chickens may help aid in early detection of ovarian cancer

    Understanding and treatment of human ovarian cancer, known as the silent killer, may be a step closer thanks to some chickens at the UI. Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and unlike other cancers, its rate of mortality has not been reduced.

  • Chief of Illinois State Water Survey to discuss drought assessment

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Despite recent rains over parts of Illinois, drought conditions have worsened in central and southwestern regions of the state, say officials of the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers have found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9- and 10-year-old children: Those who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.

  • Children with ADHD benefit from time outdoors enjoying nature

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kids with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) should spend some quality after-school hours and weekend time outdoors enjoying nature, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team finds

    U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips.

  • Chipmunks descended from ancestors that survived last ice age, scientists say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Well, nuts.

  • Cholesterol byproduct hijacks immune cells, lets breast cancer spread

    A cholesterol byproduct facilitates breast cancer’s spread by hijacking immune cells, a new University of Illinois study found.

  • Christmas week snowstorm in Ohio river valley broke all records

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Even though spring and warm-weather thoughts are here, a chilling, soon-to-be published report says that December's immense Midwest snowstorm was one to remember.

  • Chromosome breakpoints contribute to genetic variation

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study reveals that - contrary to decades of evolutionary thought - chromosome regions that are prone to breakage when new species are formed are a rich source of genetic variation.

  • Chronic exposure to estradiol impairs some cognitive functions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois researchers report this week that chronic exposure to estradiol, the main estrogen in the body, diminishes some cognitive functions. Rats exposed to a steady dose of estradiol were impaired on tasks involving working memory and response inhibition, the researchers found.

  • Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologies

    Researchers are looking to insects – specifically cicadas – for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities. 

  • Classic Maya history is embedded in commoners' homes

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - They were illiterate farmers, builders and servants, but Maya commoners found a way to record their own history - by burying it within their homes. A new study of the objects embedded in the floors of homes occupied more than 1,000 years ago in central Belize begins to decode their story.

  • Click beetles inspire design of self-righting robots

    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.

  • Climate change already is having an impact in the Midwest and across the U.S.

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Extreme weather, drought, heavy rainfall and increasing temperatures are a fact of life in many parts of the U.S. as a result of human-induced climate change, researchers report today in a new assessment. These and other changes will continue and likely increase in intensity into the future, the scientists found.

  • Climate change topic of annual Charles David Keeling lecture at U. of I.

    CHAMPAIGN,Ill. - Edward Maibach, a professor at George Mason University, will give a lecture in a series that honors Charles David Keeling, an analytical chemist at the University of Illinois and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Cloning techniques produce FDA-approved antibiotic

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The successful synthesis of an antibiotic in a non-native host has provided a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with the potential for developing new treatments for bacterial infections.

  • Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds

    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.

  • Cognitive test can differentiate between Alzheimer's and normal aging

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have developed a new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer's disease or the normal aging process.

  • Color-changing sensor detects signs of eye damage in tears

    A new point-of-care rapid-sensing device can detect a key marker of eye injury in minutes – a time frame crucial to treating eye trauma.  

    University of Illinois researchers developed a gel laden with gold nanoparticles that changes color when it reacts with a teardrop containing ascorbic acid, released from a wound to the eye. In a new study published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the researchers used the sensor, called OjoGel, to measure ascorbic acid levels in artificial tears and in clinical samples of fluid from patients’ eyes. 

  • 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.