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  • Photo of elephant shrew

    Study explores coevolution of mammals and their lice

    According to a new study, the first louse to take up residence on a mammalian host likely started out as a parasite of birds. That host-jumping event tens of millions of years ago began the long association between mammals and lice, setting the stage for their coevolution and offering more opportunities for the lice to spread to other mammals.

  • Young whip-poor-will on the ground blends in with the leaf litter

    Waiting for the sun to set to find a rare bird

    When most people are just getting home from their workdays, I’m about to start mine. I am a researcher studying the breeding behavior of the Eastern whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus), a cryptic bird that is primarily active after sunset as it forages on the wing for moths. So – for the summer, at least – I also am nocturnal.

  • Photo of the researcher

    Will renaming carp help control them?

    Illinois officials this month announced that Asian carp would now be called “copi” in an attempt to make the fish more desirable for eating. Joe Parkos, the director of the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Kaskaskia, Ridge Lake and Sam Parr biological stations in Illinois, spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about scientific initiatives to study and control carp/copi fish populations and the potential for rebranding to aid those efforts.

     

  • Martin Burke stands behind a seated Stella Ekaputri

    Small molecule transports iron in mice, human cells to treat some forms of anemia

    A natural small molecule derived from a cypress tree can transport iron in live mice and human cells lacking the protein that normally does the job, easing a buildup of iron in the liver and restoring hemoglobin and red blood cell production, a new study found.

  • Dressed in graduation regalia, the Alma Mater statue welcomes people to campus

    New program to support U of I freshmen with autism

    The Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative, a pilot program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will provide autism-specific support to freshmen with autism.

  • Photo of the researcher seated on a bluff overlooking former jungle and farmlands in Belize.

    Rescuing ancient Maya history from the plow

    Things have changed since I was last in Belize in 2018, when I excavated the ancestral Maya pilgrimage site Cara Blanca. Thousands of acres of jungle are gone, replaced by fields of corn and sugarcane. Hundreds of ancestral Maya mounds are now exposed in the treeless landscape, covered by soil that is currently plowed several times a year.

    Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant to conduct a salvage archaeology project here in Belize. The goal is to collect as much information as possible before the mounds are plowed away.

  • Recreation, sport and tourism professors Jon Welty Peachey, Jules Woolf and Mikihiro Sato and  standing in front of a brick building with trees in the background

    Study examined COVID-19 policies' effects on people with disabilities

    The closures of gyms and other facilities to contain COVID-19 negatively affected the mental and physical health of some people with disabilities, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found.

  • Photo of Brian Gaines, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a senior scholar at the U. of I. System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

    Will the Jan. 6 committee hearings affect public opinion?

    It’s unlikely that the ongoing Jan. 6 committee hearings will resonate with the public as much as the Watergate hearings did 50 years ago, says University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign political science professor Brian Gaines.

  • Photo of Edward A. Kolodziej is an emeritus research professor of political science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the founder and director of the Center for Global Studies and the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at Illinois.

    What are the global security implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine directly challenges the security order established by the Western democracies after World War II, said Edward A. Kolodziej, Emeritus Research Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an expert in international relations and global politics.

  • Photo of Toby Beauchamp speaking at a podium.

    Why are so many states trying to limit transgender rights?

    The increasing number of bills aimed at limiting transgender rights is part of the rise in authoritarianism in the U.S., said Toby Beauchamp, a professor of gender and women’s studies.

  • Photo montage of the researcher’s face reflected in a chat screen with several other people onscreen.

    Staring at yourself during virtual chats may worsen your mood, research finds

    A new study finds that the more a person stares at themself while talking with a partner in an online chat, the more their mood degrades over the course of the conversation. Alcohol use appears to worsen the problem, the researchers found.

    Reported in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, the findings point to a potentially problematic role of online meeting platforms in exacerbating psychological problems like anxiety and depression, the researchers said.

  • Photo of professor Susan Aguinaga

    Latin dance may be a step toward better working memory for older Latinos

    Latin dance lessons may boost the working memory of Latino older adults and help prevent age-related cognitive decline, says new research by kinesiology and community health professor Susan Aguiñaga.

  • A masked student holds a saliva collection test tube

    SHIELD program a model for effective pandemic management, data show

    In the fall of 2020, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign welcomed students back for in-person instruction amid the powerful first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university successfully maintained operations throughout the semester – with zero COVID-19-related deaths or hospitalizations in the campus community – thanks to its “SHIELD: Target, Test, Tell” program. In a sweeping report, the team behind the campuswide collaboration details the innovations in modeling, saliva testing and results reporting that helped mitigate the spread of the virus, and shares the data collected and lessons learned through the process.

  • Photo of Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Will looming labor dispute justify Biden invoking national emergency powers?

    An expiring labor agreement between dockworkers and West Coast port operators could further snarl U.S. supply chains if a strike or lockout occurs. The Biden administration should prepare to act because presidents have unique powers to temporarily halt these types of work stoppages, says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Portrait of Illinois research team

    Great timing, supercomputer upgrade lead to successful forecast of volcanic eruption

    In the fall of 2017, geology professor Patricia Gregg and her team had just set up a new volcanic forecasting modeling program on the Blue Waters and iForge supercomputers. Simultaneously, another team was monitoring activity at the Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. One of the scientists on the Ecuador project, Dennis Geist of Colgate University, contacted Gregg, and what happened next was the fortuitous forecast of the June 2018 Sierra Negra eruption five months before it occurred.

  • The donkey named Sourbette stretches out her neck for a bite of grass. Sophie grazes near her in the background.

    Saving an endangered breed of donkey

    Nothing I’ve read about the Baudet du Poitou donkeys prepares me for my first sight of them. They are girthy, with massive round bellies and oversized ears that swoop forward and back, sometimes independently of one another. They are covered in thick hair that hangs in shaggy tufts, “like mammoth fur,” says my companion on this adventure in equine medicine, Public Affairs senior photographer Michelle Hassel.

    We’re here today with veterinarian and Ph.D. student Dr. Giorgia Podico to observe these exotic animals and check on their reproductive status. Podico is part of a team that is trying to impregnate these donkeys, which are endangered and in need of conservation.

  • A photo of the Chicago skyline, looking north with Lake Michigan in the foreground

    Lake Michigan water-level rise affects inland waterways, study finds

    2020 marked Lake Michigan’s highest water level in 120 years, experts said, and climate variance makes future water levels challenging to predict. Coastal impacts are well-documented, but the effect of lake level rise on the area’s inland waterways is poorly understood. A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study examined how Lake Michigan’s rising levels affect water quality, flood control and invasive species management within the Chicago-area waterway system that connects the lake to Illinois, Indiana and the Mississippi River basin.  

  • Spangler, wearing an orange U. of I. sweatshirt, smiles as she grasps a pork loin with tongs over a hot grill.

    Making meat much more than a meal

    The grills are already fired up as I approach the Meat Science Laboratory on the U. of I. campus. It’s midmorning on a spring day that’s chillier than it should be.

    Well-worn charcoal and gas grills are stationed in a wide arc on a lawn flecked with violets. In front of each grill stand three students for whom eating burgers for breakfast is now commonplace.

  • Researchers Jennifer Delaney and Bradley Hemenway standing outside a building on the U. of I.'s Urbana campus

    Student expenditures decrease at some colleges that receive promise scholarship funds

    Revenue from promise scholarships may not be used to support student-related programs and services, U. of I. education scholars found when they analyzed the spending patterns of colleges that received the funding.

  • An image of the first direct visual evidence of Sagittarius A star, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

    Illinois astronomers help capture first image of Milky Way's black hole

    A team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers led by physics and astronomy professor Charles Gammie is part of a large international collaboration that unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This result provides evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which researchers think reside at the center of most galaxies.

  • Photo of Richard L. Kaplan, an internationally recognized expert on U.S. tax policy and the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois.

    Expert: Secure Act regulations seek to dispel 'illusion of wealth' for older adults

    New disclosures on quarterly retirement account statements may alarm some workers, says Richard L. Kaplan, the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois and an expert on U.S. tax policy and retirement issues.

  • Headshot of Eugene Avrutin

    History professor's book examines racism in Russia

    History professor Eugene Avrutin explores the history of racism in Russia over the past 150 years, from a society that was relatively free of racial violence to the elevation of whiteness under President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

  • Lilian Lucus, left, and geology professor Patrica Gregg

    Ice-capped volcanoes slower to erupt, study finds

    The Westdahl Peak volcano in Alaska last erupted in 1992, and continued expansion hints at another eruption soon. Experts previously forecasted the next blast to occur by 2010, but the volcano – located under about 1 kilometer of glacial ice – has yet to erupt again. Using the Westdahl Peak volcano as inspiration, a new volcanic modeling study examined how glaciers affect the stability and short-term eruption cycles of high-latitude volcanic systems – some of which exist along major air transportation routes.

  • Headshot of Carol Symes

    How does history suggest that work will change following the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Following a pandemic, workers historically have recognized the value of their labor and become unwilling to accept poor wages and working conditions, said Carol Symes, a history professor who specializes in medieval studies.

  • Photo of two people, with only their hands visible, dressed in a large, soft sculpture garment made from pom poms and quilted fabric.

    Art and Design seniors' work featured in Krannert Art Museum exhibition

    The annual exhibition includes work from a variety of disciplines and allows students to highlight their senior projects.

  • Portrait of Nancy Sotttos

    Engineering professor Nancy Sottos elected to National Academy of Sciences

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. She is among 120 members and 30 international members elected this year to recognize their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

  • Research Team

    Corn genetic heritage the strongest driver of chemical defenses against munching bugs

    Plants release chemical distress signals when under attack from chewing insects. These “911 calls" alert other bugs that dinner or a nice place to lay their eggs is available nearby. If predatory or parasitic insects detect the right signal, they swoop in like saviors to make a meal out of – or lay their eggs in – the bodies of the herbivore insects.

    A new study explores the factors that contribute to corn plants’ chemical signaling capacity, comparing how different corn varieties respond to herbivory in the presence or absence of a soil bacterium known to promote plant health.

  • Photo of Scott Irwin, the Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing in the department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

    Will Russian invasion of Ukraine spark a global food crisis?

    The U.S. isn’t on the verge of a food crisis but is experiencing rampant food price inflation, says Scott Irwin, professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Portrait of researcher Angad Mehta in his laboratory

    Scientists create viable, reproducing yeast-cyanobacterial hybrids

    Every plant, animal or other nucleus-containing cell also harbors an array of miniature “organs” that perform essential functions for the cell. In plants, for example, organelles called chloroplasts photosynthesize to generate energy for the organism. Because some organelles contain their own DNA and resemble single-celled organisms, scientists have long theorized that the evolution of complex life forms got its start when one cell engulfed another and the two learned to live in harmony – eventually forming, and belonging to, a single entity.

  • Portraits of professors Nancy Sottos, left, and Maria Todorova.

    Two Illinois faculty members elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos and history professor Maria Todorova have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation.  They are among 261 new members elected to the academy this year in recognition of their accomplishments and leadership in academia, the arts, industry, public policy and research.

  • Photo of an orchestra on stage, with choirs to the back of the stage.

    School of Music celebrating its 125th anniversary with weekend concerts

    The concerts will show the breadth of the school’s music programs, with performances by jazz ensembles, choirs, orchestras and others.

  • Photo of social work professor Lissette Piedra

    Older Latinos redefine family to include friends, neighbors, other community members

    Latinos view the support of friends and neighbors as so vital to their well-being in later life that they redefine these relationships as family, researchers say in a new study that explored older Latinos’ perspectives on positive aging.

  • Photo of researchers

    Study tracks COVID-19 infection dynamics in adults

    A team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tracked the rise and fall of SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva and nasal cavities of people newly infected with the virus. The study was the first to follow acute COVID-19 infections over time through repeated sampling and to compare results from different testing methodologies.

  • Screenshot of the website of the Hutsul Museum in Ukraine, showing a photo of folk objects.

    Illinois information sciences alumnae, professor preserving Ukrainian cultural heritage online

    The Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online project aims to preserve digital records when web servers and physical records and objects are at risk of being destroyed by Russian attacks on Ukraine.

  • Photo of the Alma Mater statue with outstretched arms, framed against campus buildings and a clear blue sky

    Registration deadline extended for I-Ready online camp for high school students with autism

    I-Ready, a virtual summer camp for college-bound high school students on the autism spectrum, is being offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Deadline to register has been extended to May 16.

  • Photo of psychology professor Eva Pomerantz and graduate student Jiawen Wu

    Parents' reactions while helping with math shape young children's achievement

    Cultivating a love of math – and inspiring the next generation of numbers-oriented professionals – may start with activities that promote enjoyable parent-child experiences, say U. of I. researchers.

  • Graphic illustration of antibodies attacking the SARS-CoV-2 virus

    Machine-learning model can distinguish antibody targets

    A new study shows that it is possible to use the genetic sequences of a person’s antibodies to predict what pathogens those antibodies will target. Reported in the journal Immunity, the new approach successfully differentiates between antibodies against influenza and those attacking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Photo of Taisa Markus, an expert in securities law, cross-border capital markets and corporate finance transactions.

    How effective have economic sanctions been against Russia?

    Sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus may only have meaningful consequences in the longer term, says Taisa Markus, an expert in securities law.

  • Portrait of coauthor Rashid Bashir

    Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test discerns alpha variant from earlier strains

    A point-of-care COVID-19 test developed by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can now detect and differentiate the alpha variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from earlier strains in saliva samples.

  • Headshot of Brett Ashley Kaplan, outdoors with plants behind her.

    Professor's novel weaves clues to a mysterious disappearance with whales trying to save the planet

    “Rare Stuff,” the debut novel of comparative and world literature professor Brett Ashely Kaplan, features themes of Jewish identity and loss.

  • Photo of Wendy K. Tam Cho, a professor of political science, statistics, math, computer science, Asian American studies and law at Illinois.

    Paper: COVID-19 outcomes not consistently explained by race, social vulnerability

    The racial health disparities experienced by minority populations in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be concerning for everyone, said Wendy K. Tam Cho, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign political scientist who’s an expert in data-driven social research.

  • Photo of researchers

    New approach enhances muscle recovery in aged mice

    Scientists have developed a promising new method to combat the age-related losses in muscle mass that often accompany immobility after injury or illness. Their technique, demonstrated in mice, arrests the process by which muscles begin to deteriorate at the onset of exercise after a period of inactivity.

  • Triptych photo with headshots of So Hirata, Prashant Jain and Cynthia Oliver.

    Three Illinois professors awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

    Illinois chemistry professors So Hirata and Prashant Jain and dance professor Cynthia Oliver received 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships.

  • Photo of actors on stage with a woodland set and one character suspended above the others.

    Theatre department premiering reimagined 'Peter Pan' centered on Indigenous identity

    Mohegan playwright Madeline Sayet’s adaptation is a work of Indigenous futurism about building a world where all people and cultures are valued.

  • Photo of social work professor Ted Cross

    Study examines impact of DNA evidence in sexual assault prosecutions

    DNA evidence has a dramatic relationship with sexual assault prosecutions and convictions, says a new study of one city's data co-written by U. of I. senior research specialist and social work professor Ted Cross.

  • Photo of seven people in bright blue happi coats in a long, low Japanese riverboat on a pond.

    Building a traditional Japanese boat

    Japan House offered a Japanese boatbuilding apprenticeship, where students worked with boatbuilding expert Douglas Brooks to build a traditional riverboat in six days.

  • Photo of Neal Davis and Ryan Shosted sitting at a table and holding an open Book of Mormon written in the Deseret Alphabet.

    Illinois researchers make Deseret Alphabet texts available for study

    Linguistics professor Ryan Shosted and computer science professor Neal Davis are providing resources that they hope can shed light on the dialect and culture of late 19th-century Utah, as well as help answer other research questions.

  • Photo of the Varsity Men's Glee Club on stage.

    New Awakenings concert series reflects on civil rights issues, aims to provide healing and hope

    Barrington Coleman, the director of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club and a professor of vocal jazz studies, initiated the New Awakenings concert series. It will include a work that was commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Coleman’s directorship of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club.

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looks increasingly like a clear-cut violation of the U.N. charter and a crime of aggression, which is illegal under international law, says Illinois law professor Patrick Keenan, an expert in human rights, counterterrorism law and international criminal law.

    Will anyone be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine?

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looks increasingly like a clear-cut violation of the U.N. charter and a crime of aggression, which is illegal under international law, says Illinois law professor Patrick Keenan.

  • Image of artwork featuring fragments of debris that are painted and fastened to an armature in a circle.

    Krannert Art Museum exhibition showcases Art and Design graduate student work

    The School of Art and Design Master of Fine Arts Exhibition opens April 2 and runs through April 23. It will be the first in-person MFA exhibition since 2019.