blog postsShould we worry about ticks this summer?Jun 27, 2018 9:30 am1522 views Editor’s note: The number of tick-borne illnesses diagnosed annually in the United States doubled between 2004 and 2016, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summer is prime tick season, and people spending time outdoors should be vigilant, says University of Illinois entomology professor Brian F. Allan. An expert in the spread of insect- and tick-borne diseases, Allan discussed ticks in Illinois, how to prevent bites and when to seek medical attention in an interview with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpartJun 21, 2018 4:00 am1825 views A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. It is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterparts.New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progressionJun 20, 2018 8:00 am3235 views A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois.Long-term estrogen therapy changes microbial activity in the gut, study findsJun 19, 2018 1:15 pm776 views Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene changes the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, University of Illinois researchers found in a new mouse study.When emotional memories intrude, focusing on context could help, study findsJun 14, 2018 12:15 pm1289 views When negative memories intrude, focusing on the contextual details of the incident rather than the emotional fallout could help minimize cognitive disruption and redirect the brain’s resources to the task at hand, suggests a new study by psychologists at the University of Illinois. “Everyone has encountered something distressing either in the recent past or the remote past. These memories can pop into our minds and distract from whatever we are doing,” said study leader Florin Dolcos, a professor of psychology at Illinois. “Instead of suppressing or stifling those emotional memories, we simply shift the focus and bring to life some other aspects of the same memory. That leads to a reduction in how much those memories interfere with whatever we’re doing.”Study: Larger sample sizes needed to increase reproducibility in neuroscience studiesJun 7, 2018 8:45 am803 views Small sample sizes in studies using functional MRI to investigate brain connectivity and function are common in neuroscience, despite years of warnings that such studies likely lack sufficient statistical power. A new analysis reveals that task-based fMRI experiments involving typical sample sizes of about 30 participants are only modestly replicable. This means that independent efforts to repeat the experiments are as likely to challenge as to confirm the original results.New algorithm fuses quality and quantity in satellite imageryJun 4, 2018 8:30 am2038 views Using a new algorithm, University of Illinois researchers may have found the solution to an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery – whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. The team’s new tool eliminates this trade-off by fusing high-resolution and high-frequency satellite data into one integrated product, and can generate 30-meter daily continuous images going back to the year 2000. Study links neighborhood factors, breast cancer rates in African-American womenJun 1, 2018 10:15 am1320 views Neighborhood characteristics are associated with late-stage diagnoses and higher mortality rates among urban African-American women, a new study shows.Study: Two ancient populations that diverged in the Americas later ‘reconverged’May 31, 2018 1:00 pm1000 views A new genetic study of ancient individuals in the Americas and their contemporary descendants finds that two populations that diverged from one another 18,000 to 15,000 years ago remained apart for millennia before mixing again. This historic “reconvergence” occurred before or during their expansion to the southern continent.Study: Disease-causing stomach bug attacks energy generation in host cellsMay 30, 2018 11:45 am649 views Researchers report in a new study that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori – a major contributor to gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer – resists the body’s immune defenses by shutting down energy production within the cells of the stomach lining that serve as a barrier to infection.3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturingMay 23, 2018 2:00 pm3922 views University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges. The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing.Study: Ancient mound builders carefully timed their occupation of coastal Louisiana siteMay 22, 2018 9:45 am2017 views A study of ancient mound builders who lived hundreds of years ago on the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers new insights into how Native peoples selected the landforms that supported their villages and earthen mounds – and why these sites were later abandoned.New technique can track drug and gene delivery to cellsMay 21, 2018 8:00 am1123 views University of Illinois researchers say they now know how to track and map drug and gene delivery vehicles to evaluate which are most effective at infiltrating cells and getting to their targets, insight that could guide development of new pharmaceutical agents. The researchers described their tracking system and their findings on the most effective delivery vehicles in the journal Nature Communications. Brazilians with less education more likely to report being in poor health, study findsMay 16, 2018 8:45 am420 views Brazilians with less education are more likely to self-report as being in poor health, according to a study using data from nationwide surveys distributed every five years from 1998 to 2013. The study also found that general subjective health did not improve over the study period, even though more people gained education throughout the study, indicating that other factors associated with poor education may need to be addressed to improve self-perceptions of health.Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, goldMay 15, 2018 8:30 am1021 views Scientists report they can now drive two-electron chemical reactions, bringing them one step closer to building a carbon-recycling system that can harvest solar energy to efficiently convert CO2 and water into liquid fuels.Study shows how bacteria guide electron flow for efficient energy generationMay 14, 2018 8:30 am595 views 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 cellsMay 14, 2018 6:00 am639 views 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 precisionMay 7, 2018 10:00 am1030 views 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 findsMay 7, 2018 8:30 am364 views 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 statesMay 7, 2018 7:00 am1279 views 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 findsApr 26, 2018 2:45 pm2516 views 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 researchApr 26, 2018 1:00 pm433 views 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 speciesApr 23, 2018 2:00 pm1107 views 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 soApr 19, 2018 8:30 am1148 views 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?Apr 19, 2018 8:00 am1006 views 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 cancerApr 5, 2018 9:00 am3102 views Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigationApr 4, 2018 1:00 pm1391 views 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 womenMar 30, 2018 10:15 am459 views 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 systemsMar 29, 2018 11:45 am1358 views 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 buildingsTeam brings subatomic resolution to computational microscopeMar 26, 2018 10:00 am2440 views 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 connectomeMar 16, 2018 10:15 am1523 views 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 eventsMar 13, 2018 8:15 am1706 views 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 potentialMar 12, 2018 8:30 am718 views 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 counterpartMar 1, 2018 8:30 am2387 views 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 conceptsFeb 28, 2018 8:30 am489 views 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 rocksFeb 27, 2018 8:30 am701 views 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 laterFeb 26, 2018 8:15 am2963 views 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 pigletsFeb 20, 2018 4:30 pm715 views 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 lastFeb 19, 2018 9:15 am1274 views 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 pollingFeb 15, 2018 10:00 am901 views 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 FellowsFeb 15, 2018 9:00 am8691 views 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 glandFeb 14, 2018 8:30 am401 views 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 FestivalFeb 13, 2018 11:15 am594 views 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 diabeticsFeb 12, 2018 9:15 am1327 views 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?Jan 31, 2018 8:00 am874 views Whether or not survivors share their stories publicly, they often carry lifelong scars associated with being sexually traumatizedLessons in nature boost classroom engagement afterward, researchers reportJan 17, 2018 10:30 am1976 views 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, speechJan 15, 2018 11:00 am788 views 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 findsJan 8, 2018 9:30 am4121 views 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 vinesJan 8, 2018 9:00 am3308 views 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 riskDec 21, 2017 11:30 am983 views 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.