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  • Study shows how bacteria guide electron flow for efficient energy generation

    Biochemists at the University of Illinois have isolated a protein supercomplex from a bacterial membrane that, like a battery, generates a voltage across the bacterial membrane. The voltage is used to make ATP, a key energy currency of life. The new findings, reported in the journal Nature, will inform future efforts to obtain the atomic structures of large membrane protein supercomplexes.

  • Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

    A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.

  • New CRISPR technology ‘knocks out’ yeast genes with single-point precision

    The CRISPR-Cas9 system has given researchers the power to precisely edit selected genes. Now, researchers have used it to develop a technology that can target any gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and turn it off by deleting single letters from its DNA sequence.

  • Russian cuckoo invasion spells trouble for Alaskan birds, study finds

    Common cuckoos and oriental cuckoos in eastern Russia appear to be expanding their breeding range into western Alaska, where songbirds are naive to the cuckoos’ wily ways, researchers report. A new study suggests the North American birds could suffer significant losses if cuckoos become established in Alaska.

  • Study adds new evidence that infants track others’ mental states

    A brain-imaging study offers new support for the idea that infants can accurately track other people’s beliefs. When 7-month-old infants in the study viewed videos of an actor who saw – or failed to see – an object being moved to a new location, activity in a brain region known to play a role in processing others’ beliefs changed in the infants, just as it did in adults watching the same videos.

  • Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds

    Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. 

  • Respect Indigenous ancestors: Scholars urge community engagement before research

    A new article in the journal Science provides guidance for those intending to study ancient human remains in the Americas. The paper, written by Indigenous scholars and scientists and those who collaborate with Indigenous communities on studies of ancient DNA, offers a clear directive to others contemplating such research: First, do no harm.

  • Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence genomes of 1.5 million species

    An international consortium of scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all known eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth. Of those, the team proposes sequencing 1.5 million.

  • Study: Judges as susceptible to gender bias as laypeople – and sometimes more so

    A new study of trial court judges suggests these arbiters of the law sometimes let their personal ideas about gender roles influence their decision-making.

  • Is autism a disorder, an identity or both?

    Speech and hearing science professor Laura DeThorne and doctoral students Henry Angulo and Veronica Vidal discuss how the neurodiversity movement recognizes autistic individuals’ unique experiences, skills and strengths, and resists the medicalization of autism.

  • New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer

    Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.

  • Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigation

    The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is designed to see the world through the eyes of many of the animals that inhabit the water. 

  • Federal officials urged to increase perinatal depression treatment in minority women

    Federal funding is needed to improve diagnosis and treatment of perinatal depression in Latina and black women, according to University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo. 

  • Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systems

    Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn’t used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week’s vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires’ disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildings

  • Team brings subatomic resolution to computational microscope

    Scientists have built a “computational microscope” that can simulate the atomic and subatomic forces that drive molecular interactions. This tool will streamline efforts to understand the chemistry of life, model large molecular systems and develop new pharmaceutical and industrial agents, the researchers say.

  • Decision-making is shaped by individual differences in the functional brain connectome

    Each day brings with it a host of decisions to be made, and each person approaches those decisions differently. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that these individual differences are associated with variation in specific brain networks – particularly those related to executive, social and perceptual processes.

  • Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events

    By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories. They hope the findings will lead to new methods to combat depression.

  • Study yields more than a million new cyclic compounds, some with pharmaceutical potential

    Researchers say they can now produce a vast library of unique cyclic compounds, some with the capacity to interrupt specific protein-protein interactions that play a role in disease. The new compounds have cyclic structures that give them stability and enhance their ability to bind to their targets.  

  • Virtual predator is self-aware, behaves like living counterpart

    Scientists report in the journal eNeuro that they’ve built an artificially intelligent ocean predator that behaves a lot like the original flesh-and-blood organism on which it was modeled. The virtual creature, “Cyberslug,” reacts to food and responds to members of its own kind much like the actual animal, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica, does.

  • Paper: Videos help medical students master physiology concepts

    Researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Carle Illinois College of Medicine have found that creating short videos that explain information presented during physiology lectures makes teaching easier for medical educators and learning easier for their students.

  • Scientists seeking rare river crayfish aren't just kicking rocks

    As far as anyone can tell, the cold-water crayfish Faxonius eupunctus makes its home in a 30-mile stretch of the Eleven Point River and nowhere else in the world. According to a new study, the animal is most abundant in the middle part its range, a rocky expanse in southern Missouri – with up to 35,000 cubic feet of chilly Ozark river water flowing by each second.

  • Study links responsible behavior in high school to life success 50 years later

    A new study links doing one’s homework, being interested and behaving responsibly in high school to better academic and career success as many as 50 years later. This effect, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, holds true even after accounting for parental income, IQ and other factors known to influence achievement, researchers report.

  • Neuroimaging reveals lasting brain deficits in iron-deficient piglets

    Iron deficiency in the first four weeks of a piglet’s life – equivalent to roughly four months in a human infant – impairs the development of key brain structures, scientists report. The abnormalities remain even after weeks of iron supplementation begun later in life, the researchers found.

  • Sleep problems in menopause linked to hot flashes, depression - and may not last

    A new study of middle-aged women found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, yet are consistently correlated with hot flashes and depression.

  • Social media as good a barometer of public health attitudes as traditional phone polling

    Social media data can be used as an additional source of information to gauge public opinion about health issues alongside traditional data sources like phone-based polling, says new research co-written by U. of I. psychology professor Dolores Albarracin.

  • Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows

    Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research.

  • Study links fox domestication to gene activity in the pituitary gland

    A study of foxes offers new insights into the brain changes that occur in wild canids as they become more tame, researchers report. The study links fox domestication to changes in gene activity in the pituitary gland, a brain center that kicks out hormones to regulate various bodily functions, including the stress response.

  • Bloodsucking, disease-spreading ticks on screen at 2018 Insect Fear Film Festival

    The 35th Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois will focus on ticks, which are not insects but arachnids and are important for humans to understand as they are vectors for Lyme disease.

  • Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells for diabetics

    A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.

  • How do sexual assault survivors fare?

    Whether or not survivors share their stories publicly, they often carry lifelong scars associated with being sexually traumatized

  • Lessons in nature boost classroom engagement afterward, researchers report

    Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.

  • Preterm babies may suffer setbacks in auditory brain development, speech

    Preterm babies born early in the third trimester of pregnancy are likely to experience delays in the development of the auditory cortex, a brain region essential to hearing and understanding sound, a new study reveals. Such delays are associated with speech and language impairments at age 2, the researchers found.

  • Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees, study finds

    When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.

  • Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vines

    Gardeners hoping to celebrate the beauty of American bittersweet – a native vine that produces orange berries in the fall and is used for wreaths – may be unwittingly buying an invasive bittersweet instead. That’s because many Midwestern retailers are selling oriental bittersweet with labels misidentifying it as the native plant, researchers report. These sales are occurring in stores and online.

  • Hormone therapy combination may benefit health without increasing cancer risk

    Treating ovariectomized mice with a combination of conjugated estrogens and the drug bazedoxifene triggers the expression of genes that improve metabolism and prevent weight gain – without stimulating the uterus and increasing risks of reproductive cancer, a new study at the University of Illinois suggests.

  • Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find

    People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found.

  • Molecular beacon signals low oxygen with ultrasound

    Researchers have developed a way to find hypoxia, or low oxygen in tissue, noninvasively in real time with light and ultrasound.

  • Study: Viruses share genes with organisms across the tree of life

    A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with organisms that are not their hosts. The study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, adds to the evidence that viruses are agents of diversity, researchers say.

  • Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports

    Two studies – one in mice and the other in human subjects – offer the first definitive evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of microbes in the gut. The studies were designed to isolate exercise-induced changes from other factors – such as diet or antibiotic use – that might alter the intestinal microbiota.

  • Drug-delivering nanoparticles seek and destroy elusive cancer stem cells

    Researchers are sending tiny drug-laden nanoparticles on a mission to seek and destroy cancer stem cells.

  • 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.

  • Two Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows

    Two faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2017 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen for their outstanding contributions to their field of study.

  • Theory: Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligence

    Centuries of study have yielded many theories about how the brain gives rise to human intelligence. A new theory makes the case that the brain’s dynamic properties – how it is wired but also how that wiring shifts in response to changing intellectual demands – are the best predictors of intelligence in the human brain.

  • 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.

  • Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world."

  • Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

    A genomic study of Puerto Rico’s Africanized honey bees – which are more docile than other so-called “killer bees” – reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees’ rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.

  • Study in mice finds dietary levels of genistein may adversely affect female fertility

    Exposure to the phytoestrogen genistein prior to conception may adversely affect female fertility and pregnancy outcomes, depending on the dosage and duration of exposure, a new study in mice by scientists at the University of Illinois suggests.

  • Shape-shifting agent targets harmful bacteria in the stomach

    A new shape-shifting polymer can target and kill Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach without killing helpful bacteria in the gut.

  • Team finds first wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois since 1984

    Researchers report the first sighting in 30 years of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois. The discovery may be a sign of hope for this state-endangered species, or the animal could be the last of its kind to have survived in Illinois without human intervention, the researchers say.

  • Study: Serving water with school lunches could prevent child, adult obesity

    Encouraging children to drink water with their school lunches could prevent more than half a million cases of child obesity and overweight -- and trim the medical and societal costs by more than $13 billion, a new study suggests.