blog postsCowbird moms choosy when selecting foster parents for their youngMay 23, 2017 8:30 am546 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.Sensors detect disease markers in breathMay 18, 2017 11:45 am2085 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.Studies link healthy brain aging to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the bloodMay 18, 2017 8:30 am3614 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.‘Molecular prosthetics’ can replace missing proteins to treat diseaseMay 11, 2017 1:00 pm2349 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.Antibiotic breakthrough: Team discovers how to overcome gram-negative bacterial defensesMay 10, 2017 12:00 pm3359 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.Anemonefish dads further fathering researchMay 3, 2017 8:30 am625 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.)Report: Even in death, indigenous border crossers marginalizedMay 2, 2017 4:30 pm545 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.Study offers new insight into powerful inflammatory regulatorMay 1, 2017 2:00 pm474 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.Team discovers a new invasive clam in the U.S.May 1, 2017 8:45 am2351 views A new invasive clam has made its official debut in North America.Brain tissue structure could explain link between fitness and memoryApr 28, 2017 9:15 am1844 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.Science at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1271 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.Study links brain structure, anxiety and negative bias in healthy adultsApr 13, 2017 10:30 am1511 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.Nanopores could map small changes in DNA that signal big shifts in cancerApr 12, 2017 10:00 am1263 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.Study of sleep apps finds room for improvementApr 12, 2017 8:30 am1227 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.Illinois team tackles mysterious disease afflicting wild and captive snakesApr 11, 2017 8:30 am1291 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.CRISPR mines bacterial genome for hidden pharmaceutical treasureApr 10, 2017 10:00 am1340 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.Study reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North AmericaApr 4, 2017 1:00 pm1745 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.Team nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expressionMar 17, 2017 2:45 pm957 views Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA to speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes.Study links sulfide-producing bacteria and colon cancer in African-AmericansMar 15, 2017 9:15 am762 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.Report: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declinesMar 13, 2017 4:15 pm3382 views Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report.Greater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers reportFeb 27, 2017 6:00 am3282 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.Study: Changing the environment within bone marrow alters blood cell developmentFeb 22, 2017 7:30 am923 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.Four Illinois professors named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 21, 2017 9:00 am849 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.Tumor-targeting system uses cancer’s own mechanisms to betray its locationFeb 14, 2017 9:00 am3239 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.Illinois alum and producer of creature films will be a special guest at this year’s Insect Fear Film FestivalFeb 14, 2017 8:45 am265 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. Study rewrites early history of corn in corn countryFeb 14, 2017 8:15 am1696 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.Study tallies extra calories Americans consume in their coffee, teaJan 30, 2017 9:15 am3301 views A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.Tiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers findJan 25, 2017 1:30 pm1244 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.Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body’s armorJan 19, 2017 3:00 pm628 views Scientists have discovered how a unique bacterial enzyme evades the body’s key weapons in its fight against infection.Tool to map gene's ‘social network’ sheds light on function, interactions and drug efficacyJan 19, 2017 9:00 am971 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.Survival of many of the world’s nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts reportJan 18, 2017 1:00 pm1556 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.Counseling, antidepressants change personality (for the better), team reportsJan 6, 2017 10:30 am2924 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.Study links nutrition to brain health and intelligence in older adultsDec 13, 2016 8:45 am5529 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.An informatics approach helps better identify chemical combinations in consumer productsDec 12, 2016 9:15 am303 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.Report proposes standards for sharing data and code used in computational studiesDec 8, 2016 1:00 pm827 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.Pollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the goodDec 7, 2016 8:30 am7928 views Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest.Paper: Enzyme that digests vitamin A also may regulate testosterone levelsDec 6, 2016 1:00 pm778 views An enzyme that converts the dietary carotenoid beta carotene into vitamin A in the body may also regulate testosterone levels and growth of the prostate, researchers at the University of Illinois found in a study. ‘Nudges’ an inexpensive, effective way to increase completion of health promotion programsDec 1, 2016 9:15 am420 views Keeping your message brief and simple – on the level of a gentle reminder, as opposed to constant nagging – can produce gains when trying to increase engagement with health care programs, says new research from U. of I. professor and social psychology expert Dolores Albarracin.Young toddlers can tell when others hold false beliefs, study findsNov 28, 2016 9:00 am1026 views A new study finds that, under the right conditions, 2 1/2-year-old children can answer questions about people acting on false beliefs, an ability that most researchers believe does not develop until age 4.Study in rats finds low blood alcohol levels have no effect on total calories consumedNov 23, 2016 8:15 am670 views Laboratory rats will drink alcohol if it’s available, and may even get a little tipsy, researchers report in a new study. But they won’t voluntarily drink until they’re drunk. And while ethanol is calorie-rich, rats that drink it eat less food and their total energy intake remains steady, the research team found.Team finds new way to attach lipids to proteins, streamlining drug developmentNov 21, 2016 2:00 pm547 views A new study reveals an efficient means of attaching lipids (fat molecules) to peptides (the building blocks of proteins). This can improve the molecules’ drug-delivery capabilities.Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6676 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yieldNov 17, 2016 1:00 pm3765 views Researchers report that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible.For First Nations peoples, effects of European contact are recorded in the genomeNov 15, 2016 10:00 am672 views A study of the genomes of 25 individuals who lived 1,000 to 6,000 years ago on the north coast of present-day British Columbia, and 25 of their descendants who still live in the region today, opens a new window on the catastrophic consequences of European colonization for indigenous peoples in that part of the world.Yoga practice linked to lower stress, better cognitive performance in older adultsNov 15, 2016 8:30 am639 views Older adults who practiced hatha yoga for 8 weeks were better able to manage stress and performed better on cognitive tests than peers in a stretching and weight-training program, researchers report.Licorice compound interferes with sex hormones in mouse ovary, study findsNov 9, 2016 12:00 pm400 views A study of mouse reproductive tissues finds that exposure to isoliquiritigenin, a compound found in licorice, disrupts steroid sex hormone production in the ovary, researchers report.Klaus Schulten, pioneer in biophysics and computational biology, has diedNov 4, 2016 8:30 am1807 views University of Illinois physics professor Klaus Schulten, an innovator in the use of computational methods to study the chemical and biological processes driving living cells, died Monday, Oct. 31, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 69.Time-lapse cell imaging reveals dynamic activityOct 26, 2016 12:30 pm1341 views Living cells are miniature worlds bustling with activity. A new advanced imaging method can track cells over long periods of time using only light – no dye or chemicals required – to reveal dynamics and provide insight into how cells function, develop and interact.Distracted much? New research may help explain whyOct 5, 2016 8:15 am2018 views A new study offers evidence that one’s motivation is just as important for sustained attention to a task as is the ease with which the task is done.Review finds little evidence that brain-training games yield real-world benefitsOct 3, 2016 12:15 am814 views A systematic review of the scientific studies cited by brain-training companies as evidence that their products improve cognition in daily life finds no convincing evidence to support those claims. While people tend to improve on the specific tasks they practice, the researchers report, the conclusion that computerized brain-training programs yield broader cognitive benefits or improve real-world outcomes for their users is premature at best.