blog posts 'Hunker down' stress genes boosted in women who live in violent neighborhoods Mar 11, 2021 9:00 am1110 views The chronic stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence and poverty alters gene activity in immune cells, according to a new study of low-income single Black mothers on the South Side of Chicago. The changes in stress-related gene expression reflect the body’s “hunker down” response to long-term threat. This has implications for health outcomes in communities of color and other marginalized populations, said researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators. Paper: Personal charitable donation budgets flexible in aftermath of deadly storms Mar 11, 2021 8:00 am395 views New research co-written by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professors Tatyana Deryugina and Benjamin M. Marx finds that people’s “altruism budget” for charitable giving is flexible and can expand. Study compares discrimination claims of younger and older Americans with cancer Mar 10, 2021 8:00 am536 views Researchers assessed the employment discrimination claims made by younger and older American adults with cancer and found substantial differences in the nature – and outcomes – of their claims. 'Whiteness' undermines efforts to address systemic racism in public education Mar 9, 2021 3:15 pm2256 views Few educational leaders emerge from college and professional development programs fully prepared to address the systemic racism they encounter in public education, according to a study by U. of I. scholar Nathan Tanner. Veterans see positive changes in emotional resilience after intervention Mar 8, 2021 11:00 pm467 views A six-week training program designed to strengthen resilience against emotional distress in military veterans was associated with positive changes in brain function and increased confidence in their ability to regulate emotions, researchers report. Cheap, nontoxic carbon nanodots poised to be quantum dots of the future Mar 8, 2021 2:00 pm972 views Tiny fluorescent semiconductor dots, called quantum dots, are useful in a variety of health and electronic technologies but are made of toxic, expensive metals. Nontoxic and economic carbon-based dots are easy to produce, but they emit less light. A new study that uses ultrafast nanometric imaging found good and bad emitters among populations of carbon dots. This observation suggests that by selecting only super-emitters, carbon nanodots can be purified to replace toxic metal quantum dots in many applications, the researchers said. Illinois music student part of Grammy-nominated ensemble Mar 5, 2021 8:45 am2455 views Sophia Byrd, a University of Illinois senior studying lyric theatre, performed in the oratorio “Place,” nominated for two Grammy Awards. Mobile app helps young adults talk with friends about risky drug, alcohol use Mar 3, 2021 2:00 pm827 views A smartphone app called Harbor, created by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, teaches young adults how to talk to a peer if they are concerned about that other person’s drinking or drug use. Author looks at portrayals of slavery beyond questions of freedom Mar 2, 2021 9:30 am482 views Scholars should look at the complexity of slaves’ relationships and the meaning they created through artistic expression, rather than just their acts of political resistance. Division of labor within regenerating liver maintains metabolism, mouse study finds Mar 1, 2021 2:00 pm653 views The liver has a rare superpower among body organs – the ability to regenerate, even if 70% of its mass is removed. It also keeps up its metabolic and toxin-removing work during the process of regeneration, thanks to a subset of cells that expand their workload while the rest focus on multiplication, a new study in mice found. Do labor laws need to be modernized with rise of gig economy? Mar 1, 2021 8:00 am1621 views The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most significant revision of U.S. labor law since 1947, says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Short-term climate modeling forecasts drought for Southeast US Feb 25, 2021 7:45 am1377 views Many climate models focus on scenarios decades into the future, making their outcomes seem unreliable and problematic for decision-making in the immediate future. In a proactive move, researchers are using short-term forecasts to stress the urgency of drought risk in the United States and inform policymakers’ actions now. Krannert Art Museum acquisitions showcase Native American artists Feb 24, 2021 12:15 pm1202 views Krannert Art Museum has acquired work by celebrated Native American artists – a painter, a glass artist and Pueblo potters – that will help present the history of contemporary Native American art. Virtual reality program lessens physical side effects of hemodialysis Feb 24, 2021 12:00 pm968 views A virtual reality program on mindfulness/meditation helped hemodialysis patients alleviate the physical side effects and tedium of their treatments in a new research project led by social work professor Rosalba Hernandez. Rediscovered journal brings unique perspective on Atlantic slave trade Feb 24, 2021 11:00 am647 views The trade that brought enslaved Africans to the New World was not just a story of slave ship captains and their human cargo. Many others were part of the machinery, among them a young German barber-surgeon who kept a journal. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor Craig Koslofsky and co-author Roberto Zaugg of the University of Zurich translated his account and put it in context. Carle Illinois College of Medicine granted provisional accreditation Feb 22, 2021 9:00 am3725 views The Carle Illinois College of Medicine, a partnership between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carle Health, has been granted provisional accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Provisional accreditation affirms that a medical school meets nationally accepted standards of educational quality and can move forward with plans to build a sustainable medical education program. Online edition of Insect Fear Film Festival to feature pandemic vectors: fleas Feb 19, 2021 11:45 am806 views The Insect Fear Film Festival Featuring Fleas will look at the insects as entertainment in the form of flea circuses, as pests and as vectors of disease. Study: Preschoolers with higher cardiorespiratory fitness do better on cognitive tests Feb 18, 2021 8:15 am1627 views Researchers report that 4-6-year-old children who walk further than their peers during a timed test – a method used to estimate cardiorespiratory health – also do better on cognitive tests and other measures of brain function. Published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the study suggests that the link between cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive health is evident even earlier in life than previously appreciated. Paper: STEM skills gap modest among IT help desk workers Feb 18, 2021 8:00 am675 views The incidence of prolonged hiring difficulties for workers with science and technology backgrounds is consistent with persistent hiring frictions and not a “skills gap” in the labor market for information technology help desk workers, one of the largest computer occupations in the U.S., says new research by U. of I. labor professor Andrew Weaver. 3D microscopy clarifies understanding of body's immune response to obesity Feb 17, 2021 1:00 pm1124 views Researchers who focus on fat know that some adipose tissue is more prone to inflammation-related comorbidities than others, but the reasons why are not well understood. Thanks to a new analytical technique, scientists are getting a clearer view of the microenvironments found within adipose tissue associated with obesity. This advance may illuminate why some adipose tissues are more prone to inflammation – leading to diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disorders – and help direct future drug therapies to treat obesity. Study links prolonged sedentary time to distractibility in adults with obesity or overweight Feb 17, 2021 8:15 am574 views Scientists used accelerometers to track daily activity levels for a week in 89 adults with obesity or overweight and, in a series of tests, measured their ability to multitask and maintain their attention despite distractions. The study revealed that individuals who spent more sedentary time in bouts lasting 20 minutes or more were less able to overcome distractions. Are science laboratories truly inclusive if not accessible to service-dog handlers? Feb 16, 2021 8:15 am2726 views According to a new commentary in Disability and Health Journal, people with disabilities who rely on service dogs often are prohibited from bringing their working dogs into teaching and research laboratories. This one barrier can stop them from pursuing careers in science, says Joey Ramp, a researcher in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and lead author of the commentary. Ramp spoke about the issue with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates. Can Biden pass comprehensive immigration reform? Feb 15, 2021 8:00 am9862 views One of the Biden administration’s first acts was to send Congress the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a long-promised immigration reform bill. But any legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform will face significant headwinds in the Senate, says Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Law. Patient education program with mental health component reduces cardiovascular disease risks Feb 11, 2021 9:45 am526 views Participants in a health education program that included both mental and physical health information significantly reduced their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and maintained most of those improvements six months later. How will imprisonment of Russian dissident Alexsei Navalny affect opposition to Putin? Feb 10, 2021 8:45 am461 views Aleksei Navalny likely will be able to maintain his public profile from prison, but his agenda needs to include economic issues to mobilize mass public support, said Illinois professor of Slavic languages and literatures Richard Tempest. Lipid epoxides target pain, inflammatory pathways in neurons Feb 10, 2021 4:00 am1752 views A process known as epoxidation converts two naturally occurring lipids into potent agents that target multiple cannabinoid receptors in neurons, interrupting pathways that promote pain and inflammation, researchers report in a new study. The findings open a new avenue of research in the effort to find alternatives to potentially addictive opioid pain killers. New history of photography focuses on presidents Feb 9, 2021 12:00 pm484 views From the advent of photography to the age of social media, U.S. presidents have been among the most common subjects for the camera. So what better way to tell a story of the medium’s evolution than through those historical figures. Cara Finnegan, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign communication professor, does just that in “Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital,” publishing this spring. Children's literature scholar examines how 'production stories' minimized slave labor Feb 8, 2021 8:45 am1057 views Information sciences professor Elizabeth Hoiem created a digital resource to evaluate 19th-century children’s stories that taught about how commodities such as sugar were made. Mysterious organic scum boosts chemical reaction efficiency, may reduce chemical waste Feb 4, 2021 1:00 pm1486 views Chemical manufacturers frequently use toxic solvents such as alcohols and benzene to make products like pharmaceuticals and plastics. Researchers are examining a previously overlooked and misunderstood phenomenon in the chemical reactions used to make these products. This discovery brings a new fundamental understanding of catalytic chemistry and a steppingstone to practical applications that could someday make chemical manufacturing less wasteful and more environmentally sound. Ngumbi receives AAAS award for public engagement with science Feb 4, 2021 9:00 am1815 views University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign entomology professor Esther Ngumbi is the 2021 recipient of the Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science, an annual award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented to scientists and engineers in recognition of their contributions to public engagement with science. What does poet's Super Bowl performance mean for poetry? Feb 3, 2021 10:45 am1192 views Amanda Gorman’s performance at the Super Bowl will give poetry an enormous audience – one that is “unfathomable” for most poets, said poet and Illinois English professor Ángel García. Illinois dance professor awarded United States Artists Fellowship Feb 3, 2021 9:00 am2596 views Dance professor Cynthia Oliver has been selected as a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, awarded Queen Elizabeth Prize Feb 2, 2021 8:00 am5383 views Nick Holonyak Jr., a renowned innovator of illumination, has been awarded the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering “for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid-state lighting technology.” Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, now commonly used in light bulbs, device displays and lasers worldwide. From A to Z: New volume examines animals' role in the British Empire, racial politics Feb 1, 2021 8:00 am692 views “Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times,” co-edited by Illinois history professor Antoinette Burton, examines the roles that animals played in the British Empire – both in advancing and in disrupting British imperial power. Childhood trauma could affect development, treatment of multiple sclerosis, mouse study finds Jan 29, 2021 8:30 am2942 views Childhood trauma could affect the trajectory of multiple sclerosis development and response to treatment in adulthood, a new study in mice found. Mice that had experienced stress when young were more likely to develop the autoimmune disorder and less likely to respond to a common treatment, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found. However, treatment that activated an immune-cell receptor mitigated the effects of childhood stress in the mice. How might Freedom Schools promote educational equity in Illinois? Jan 27, 2021 10:30 am1452 views Educational history professor Jon Hale discusses how Freedom Schools promote civil rights and educational equity and the implications for Illinois in funding these schools as part of the state's education reform initiative. Culture shapes willingness to share personal data to reduce COVID-19 spread Jan 27, 2021 8:00 am1042 views Culture, civic-mindedness and privacy concerns influence how willing people are to share personal location information to help stem the transmission of COVID-19 in their communities, a new study finds. Such sharing includes giving public health authorities access to their geographic information via data gathered from phone calls, mobile apps, credit card purchases, wristband trackers or other technologies. Genome-editing tool TALEN outperforms CRISPR-Cas9 in tightly packed DNA Jan 27, 2021 4:00 am1968 views Researchers used single-molecule imaging to compare the genome-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN. Their experiments revealed that TALEN is up to five times more efficient than CRISPR-Cas9 in parts of the genome, called heterochromatin, that are densely packed. Fragile X syndrome, sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia and other diseases are the result of genetic defects in the heterochromatin. Medicaid expansion helps uncover undiagnosed HIV infections Jan 26, 2021 8:00 am696 views The Medicaid expansion facilitated by the Affordable Care Act led to a 13.9% increase in the identification of undiagnosed HIV infections, says research co-written by a team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign experts who study health care and public policy. Online smell, taste challenge offered as early detection tool for COVID-19 Jan 25, 2021 3:00 pm2659 views The smell and taste challenge, developed by the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research, is a web-based tool people can use to easily monitor changes in these senses using their favorite morning beverage. COVID-19 cases, deaths in U.S. increase with higher income inequality Jan 25, 2021 9:45 am1249 views U.S. counties with higher income inequality faced higher rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the earlier months of the pandemic, according to a new study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign sociology professor Tim Liao. Counties with higher proportions of Black or Hispanic residents also had higher rates, the study found, reinforcing earlier research showing the disparate effects of the virus on those communities. Study: Negative mental health effects of pandemic lockdowns spike, then fade Jan 25, 2021 8:00 am1663 views Social distancing policies correlated with immediate increases in interest in information about “isolation” and “worry” – but those effects tapered off two to four weeks after their respective peaks, says new research co-written by Dolores Albarracín, a professor of psychology and of business administration at Illinois, and Bita Fayaz Farkhad, an economist and a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Illinois. Gut bacteria help digest dietary fiber, release important antioxidant Jan 19, 2021 11:00 am1223 views Dietary fiber found in grains is a large component of many diets, but little is understood about how we digest the fiber, as humans lack enzymes to break down the complex molecules. Some species of gut bacteria break down the fiber in such a way that it not only becomes digestible, but releases ferulic acid, an important antioxidant with multiple health benefits, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 50 million-year-old fossil assassin bug has unusually well-preserved genitalia Jan 19, 2021 8:30 am1257 views The fossilized insect is tiny and its genital capsule, called a pygophore, is roughly the length of a grain of rice. It is remarkable, scientists say, because the bug’s physical characteristics – from the bold banding pattern on its legs to the internal features of its genitalia – are clearly visible and well-preserved. Recovered from the Green River Formation in present-day Colorado, the fossil represents a new genus and species of predatory insects known as assassin bugs. Latch, load and release: Elastic motion makes click beetles click, study finds Jan 18, 2021 2:00 pm1565 views Click beetles can propel themselves more than 20 body lengths into the air, and they do so without using their legs. While the jump’s motion has been studied in depth, the physical mechanisms that enable the beetles’ signature clicking maneuver have not. A new study examines the forces behind this super-fast energy release and provides guidelines for studying extreme motion, energy storage and energy release in other small animals like trap-jaw ants and mantis shrimps. Paper: Underemployment pervasive for part-time workers in Illinois Jan 14, 2021 8:00 am2296 views As many as 61% of hourly workers in Illinois are underemployed, underscoring the need for the state to adopt a fair-workweek law, says Alison Dickson, a senior instructor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Pollinators not getting the 'buzz' they need in news coverage Jan 13, 2021 8:45 am861 views A dramatic decline in bees and other pollinating insects presents a threat to the global food supply, yet it’s getting little attention in mainstream news, says a new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study. The research is based on a search of millions of news items in the university’s Global News Index, a unique database that draws from thousands of global news sources and decades of their publications. New process more efficiently recycles excess CO2 into fuel, study finds Jan 11, 2021 8:00 am870 views For years, researchers have worked to repurpose excess atmospheric carbon dioxide into new chemicals, fuels and other products traditionally made from hydrocarbons harvested from fossil fuels. The recent push to mitigate the climactic effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has chemists on their toes to find the most efficient means possible. A new study introduces an electrochemical reaction, enhanced by polymers, to improve CO2-to-ethylene conversion efficiency over previous attempts. Study: Religion, psychology share methods for reducing distress Jan 8, 2021 9:00 am1816 views Religious people facing life crises rely on emotion-regulation strategies that psychologists also use, a new study finds. They look for positive ways of thinking about hardship, a practice known to psychologists as “cognitive reappraisal.” They also tend to have confidence in their ability to cope with difficulty, a trait called “coping self-efficacy.” Both have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Paper: Emotionally appealing ads may not always help consumer memory Jan 7, 2021 8:15 am567 views Emotional appeals in advertisements may not always help improve consumers’ immediate recall of a product, says a new paper co-written by Hayden Noel, a clinical associate professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business at Illinois.