blog postsResearchers build microscopic biohybrid robots propelled by muscles, nervesSep 16, 2019 2:00 pm5089 views Researchers have developed soft robotic devices driven by neuromuscular tissue that triggers when stimulated by light – bringing mechanical engineering one step closer to developing autonomous biobots.Five professors named University Scholars for Urbana-Champaign campusSep 12, 2019 10:45 am3243 views Five Urbana-Champaign campus professors have been named University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.Research tracks narcissism from young adulthood to middle ageSep 11, 2019 8:15 am1183 views The belief that one is smarter, better looking, more successful and more deserving than others – a personality trait known as narcissism – tends to wane as a person matures, a new study confirms. But not for everyone, and not to the same extent.Tiny thermometer measures how mitochondria heat up the cell by unleashing proton energyAug 29, 2019 12:45 pm1801 views Armed with a tiny new thermometer probe that can quickly measure temperature inside of a cell, University of Illinois researchers have illuminated a mysterious aspect of metabolism: heat generation.New technique gives polyurethane waste a second lifeAug 26, 2019 4:00 am914 views Polyurethane is used in a wide range of materials, including paints, foam mattresses, seat cushions and insulation. These diverse applications generate large amounts of waste. A team at the University of Illinois has developed a method to break down polyurethane waste and turn it into other useful products.Indigenous scholars confront the power, limitations of genomicsAug 20, 2019 8:30 am1001 views They traveled to central Illinois from Manitoba, Mexico City, Nova Scotia and 18 U.S. states, bringing expertise in a variety of fields, including anthropology, biomedical engineering, ethics, health and environmental policy, law, neurobiology, and social and behavioral science. Participants in the 2019 Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics spent a week together in the classroom and the lab, learning not only how to amplify and sequence a fragment of their own DNA, but also discussing the implications of genomics research involving their ancestors and communities.Dog down: Effort helps emergency medical staff treat law enforcement K-9sAug 19, 2019 9:00 am1291 views Recognizing a gap in care for law enforcement K-9s injured on the job, a team of veterinarians, emergency medical services experts and canine handlers has developed protocols for emergency medical service personnel who may be called upon to help treat and transport the injured dogs.Researchers embrace imperfection to improve biomolecule transportAug 5, 2019 10:00 am827 views While watching the production of porous membranes used for DNA sorting and sequencing, University of Illinois researchers wondered how tiny steplike defects formed during fabrication could be used to improve molecule transport. They found that the defects – formed by overlapping layers of membrane – make a big difference in how molecules move along a membrane surface. Instead of trying to fix these flaws, the team set out to use them to help direct molecules into the membrane pores.Infants expect leaders to right wrongs, study findsJul 29, 2019 2:00 pm989 views Infants 17 months of age expect leaders – but not others – to intervene when one member of their group transgresses against another, a new study reveals. The findings add to growing evidence that children in their second year of life have a well-developed understanding of social hierarchies and power dynamics, the researchers say. Left eye? Right eye? American robins have preference when looking at decoy eggsJul 23, 2019 7:00 pm850 views Just as humans are usually left- or right-handed, other species sometimes prefer one appendage, or eye, over the other. A new study reveals that American robins that preferentially use one eye significantly more than the other when looking at their own clutch of eggs are also more likely to detect, and reject, a foreign egg placed in their nest by another bird species – or by a devious scientist.For anemonefish, male-to-female sex change happens first in the brainJul 23, 2019 8:30 am1397 views The anemonefish is a gender-bending marvel. It starts out as a male, but can switch to female when circumstances allow – for example, when the only female present dies or disappears. In a new study, researchers found that the male-to-female sex-change occurs first in the fish’s brain and only later involves the gonads – sometimes after a delay of months or years.Human waste an asset to economy, environment, study findsJul 8, 2019 8:00 am2517 views Human waste might be an unpleasant public health burden, but scientists at the University of Illinois see sanitation as a valuable facet of global ecosystems and an overlooked source of nutrients, organic material and water.Aggressive, non-native wetland plants squelch species richness more than dominant natives doJun 19, 2019 8:30 am610 views Dominant, non-native plants reduce wetland biodiversity and abundance more than native plants do, researchers report in the journal Ecology Letters. Even native plants that dominate wetland landscapes play better with others, the team found.Biochar may boost carbon storage, but benefits to germination and growth appear scantJun 19, 2019 8:15 am1277 views Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils – especially poor quality ones – but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils’ responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar’s ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions.New insight from Great Barrier Reef coral provides correction factor to global climate recordsJun 18, 2019 9:45 am898 views Newly developed geological techniques help uncover the most accurate and high-resolution climate records to date, according to a new study. The research finds that the standard practice of using modern and fossil coral to measure sea-surface temperatures may not be as straightforward as originally thought. By combining high-resolution microscopic techniques and geochemical modeling, researchers are using the formational history of Porites coral skeletons to fine-tune the records used to make global climate predictions.Does more rain mean more risk of mosquito-borne diseases in Illinois?Jun 18, 2019 8:45 am1038 views Experts have ranked May 2019 as one of the wettest Mays on record in central Illinois. Is it possible that the incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses increases with the amount of rainfall? To find out, News Bureau science writer Ananya Sen asked Brian F. Allan, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois.A warming Midwest increases likelihood that farmers will need to irrigateJun 18, 2019 8:45 am673 views If current climate and crop-improvement trends continue into the future, Midwestern corn growers who today rely on rainfall to water their crops will need to irrigate their fields, a new study finds. This could draw down aquifers, disrupt streams and rivers, and set up conflicts between agricultural and other human and ecological needs for water, scientists say.Researchers develop fast, efficient way to build amino acid chainsJun 6, 2019 8:30 am661 views Researchers report that they have developed a faster, easier and cheaper method for making new amino acid chains – the polypeptide building blocks that are used in drug development and industry – than was previously available. The new approach purifies the amino acid precursors and builds the polypeptides at the same time, unlike previous methods in which the processes were separate, laborious and time-consuming.'Citizen scientists' help track foxes, coyotes in urban areasJun 4, 2019 8:15 am601 views As foxes and coyotes adapt to urban landscapes, the potential for encounters with humans necessarily goes up. A team of scientists is taking advantage of this fact to enlist the eyeballs and fingertips of humans – getting them to report online what they see in their own neighborhoods and parks.'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers reportMay 29, 2019 8:00 am19877 views A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology. The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said University of Illinois geology professor Bruce Fouke, who led the new, NASA-funded study.New mutations for herbicide resistance rarer than expected, study findsMay 28, 2019 10:00 am824 views New evidence suggests that the mutation rate in amaranth – a group that includes several agricultural weeds – is quite low and that low-level exposure to herbicides contributes little, if anything, to the onset of herbicide-resistant mutations in this group.Mechanics, chemistry and biomedical research join forces for noninvasive tissue therapyMay 6, 2019 2:00 pm1681 views A fortuitous conversation between two University of Illinois scientists has opened a new line of communication between biomedical researchers and the tissues they study. The new findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, show that high-intensity focused ultrasound waves can penetrate biological tissue to activate molecules able to perform specific tasks.Researchers find protein that suppresses muscle repair in miceMay 6, 2019 12:15 pm716 views Researchers report that a protein known to be important to protein synthesis also influences muscle regeneration and regrowth in an unexpected manner. The discovery, reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could one day lead to new methods for treating disorders that result in muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass, the researchers said.Long elected to National Academy of SciencesMay 1, 2019 8:00 am1037 views Stephen P. Long, a professor of crop sciences and plant biology at the University of Illinois, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive.Excessive rainfall as damaging to corn yield as extreme heat, droughtApr 30, 2019 8:15 am1460 views Recent flooding in the Midwest has brought attention to the complex agricultural problems associated with too much rain. Data from the past three decades suggest that excessive rainfall can affect crop yield as much as excessive heat and drought. In a new study, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Illinois linked crop insurance, climate, soil and corn yield data from 1981 through 2016.Study: Mindfulness may help decrease stress in caregivers of veteransApr 29, 2019 12:30 pm467 views Mindfulness therapy may be an effective way of mitigating the stress experienced by spouses and other informal caregivers for military veterans, a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests.Injections, exercise promote muscle regrowth after atrophy in mice, study findsApr 25, 2019 1:00 pm644 views By injecting cells that support blood vessel growth into muscles depleted by inactivity, researchers say they are able to help restore muscle mass lost as a result of immobility.How does sexual harassment affect young women in physics?Apr 23, 2019 10:30 am2054 views In a study reported in the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research, nearly 75% of 471 undergraduate women in physics who responded to a survey offered during a professional conference reported having experienced at least one type of sexual harassment – mostly gender harassment – in their field. U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy, a co-author of the report, talked to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the study, which also examined the respondents’ feelings of belonging and legitimacy as scientists and scholars.Illinois chancellor and chemist elected to American Academy of Arts and SciencesApr 17, 2019 5:00 am1095 views Chancellor Robert J. Jones and chemistry professor Catherine J. Murphy have been elected as members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Team measures puncture performance of viper fangsApr 16, 2019 7:00 pm411 views A team that studies how biological structures such as cactus spines and mantis shrimp appendages puncture living tissue has turned its attention to viper fangs. Specifically, the scientists wanted to know, what physical characteristics contribute to fangs’ sharpness and ability to puncture?Smart antioxidant-containing polymer responds to body chemistry, environmentApr 16, 2019 1:00 pm733 views Oxidants found within living organisms are byproducts of metabolism and are essential to wound-healing and immunity. However, when their concentrations become too high, inflammation and tissue damage can occur. University of Illinois engineers have developed and tested a new drug-delivery system that senses high oxidant levels and responds by administering just the right amount of antioxidant to restore this delicate balance.Low-calorie sweetener derived from lactose gets manufacturing boost from yeastApr 15, 2019 11:15 am1309 views The quest to satisfy the sweet tooth without adding to the waistline has a new weapon in its arsenal: a strain of yeast that can metabolize lactose, the sugar in dairy products, into tagatose, a natural sweetener with less than half the calories of table sugar.Microbes in the human body swap genes, even across tissue boundaries, study indicatesApr 11, 2019 4:00 am822 views Bacteria in the human body are sharing genes with one another at a higher rate than is typically seen in nature, and some of those genes appear to be traveling – independent of their microbial hosts – from one part of the body to another, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.Ralph S. Wolfe, who helped discover new domain of life, dies at 97Apr 2, 2019 8:30 am942 views Ralph Stoner Wolfe, a professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Illinois who contributed to the discovery of a third superkingdom of life, died Tuesday, March 26, at Meadowbrook Health Center in Urbana. He was 97.Counties with more trees and shrubs spend less on Medicare, study findsApr 1, 2019 8:00 am15240 views A new study finds that Medicare costs tend to be lower in counties with more forests and shrublands than in counties dominated by other types of land cover. The relationship persists even when accounting for economic, geographic or other factors that might independently influence health care costs, researchers report.Study in mice examines impact of reused cooking oil on breast cancer progressionMar 21, 2019 1:00 pm3616 views University of Illinois researchers found in a new study of mice that consuming the chemical compounds found in thermally abused cooking oil may trigger changes that promote the progression of late-stage breast cancer.Study: Free fatty acids appear to rewire cells to promote obesity-related breast cancerMar 13, 2019 2:15 pm1603 views Scientists at the University of Illinois have found that free fatty acids in the blood appear to boost proliferation and growth of breast cancer cells - potentially explaining obese women's higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.Potential new cystic fibrosis treatment uses 'molecular prosthetic' for missing lung proteinMar 13, 2019 1:00 pm6655 views An approved drug normally used to treat fungal infections could also do the job of a protein channel that is missing or defective in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, operating as a prosthesis on the molecular scale, says new research from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa. Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong disease that makes patients vulnerable to lung infections. There are treatments for some but not all patients, and there is no cure. The drug restored infection-fighting properties in lung tissue donated by human patients as well as in pigs with cystic fibrosis. It has potential to become the first treatment to address all types of cystic fibrosis, regardless of the genetic mutation that causes the protein deficiency.Mutations in noncoding genes could play big role in regulating cancer, study findsMar 12, 2019 11:00 am1283 views RNA transcribed from genes that seem not to code for anything may play an important role in regulating cancer, a new study suggests. A number of these noncoding RNA fragments lie next to known cancer genes, the study found. Understanding how they interact with those cancer genes could open new avenues to understanding cancer’s behavior and treating it.Study: Messages of stewardship affect Christians' attitudes about climate changeMar 6, 2019 9:30 am2298 views Christians’ attitudes toward the environment and climate change are shaped by whether they hold a view of humans as having stewardship of the Earth or dominion over the planet, and reading material from religious sources advocating a stewardship interpretation can increase their concern for environmental issues, a new study found.Ancient extinct sloth tooth in Belize tells story of creature’s last yearFeb 27, 2019 1:00 pm1373 views Some 27,000 years ago in central Belize, a giant sloth was thirsty. The region was arid, not like today’s steamy jungle. The Last Glacial Maximum had locked up much of Earth’s moisture in polar ice caps and glaciers. Water tables in the area were low. The sloth, a beast that stood up to 4 meters tall, eventually found water – in a deep sinkhole with steep walls down to the water. That is where it took its final drink.Study: Countering stereotypes about teens can change their behaviorFeb 27, 2019 11:00 am6593 views In many societies, teenagers are repeatedly told – by adults, peers and popular media – that teens are more likely than younger children to take risks, ignore their parents, skip schoolwork and succumb to bad influences. But stereotypes are not destiny, a new study of Chinese middle school students suggests.Termite threats on the big screen at Insect Fear Film FestivalFeb 19, 2019 9:30 am602 views The 2019 Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois features termites – a threat to all things wooden but also a valuable part of the ecosystem.Future of US citrus may hinge on consumer acceptance of genetically modified foodFeb 13, 2019 10:45 am1962 views A tiny insect, no bigger than the head of a pin, is threatening to topple the multibillion-dollar citrus industry in the U.S.The battle to save it is pitting producers and researchers against a formidable brown bug, the Asian citrus psyllid.Study of Arctic fishes reveals the birth of a gene – from ‘junk’Feb 11, 2019 2:00 pm1176 views Though separated by a world of ocean, and unrelated to each other, two fish groups – one in the Arctic, the other in the Antarctic – share a surprising survival strategy: They both have evolved the ability to produce the same special brand of antifreeze protein in their tissues. A new study describes in molecular detail how the Arctic fishes built the gene for their antifreeze from tiny fragments of noncoding DNA, regions once considered “junk DNA."Experts call for national research integrity advisory boardFeb 11, 2019 9:45 am286 views It’s been proposed before, but so far no one has heeded the call for an official advisory board to support ethical behavior in research institutions. Today, leaders in academia with expertise in the professional and ethical conduct of research have formalized a proposal to finally assemble such an advisory board. The proposal appears in the journal Nature.Phthalates may impair fertility in female miceFeb 7, 2019 12:00 pm825 views A phthalate found in many plastic and personal care products may decrease fertility in female mice, researchers at the University of Illinois found in a new study.Conservation efforts help some rare birds more than others, study findsJan 23, 2019 8:15 am1251 views Land conservation programs that have converted tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land in Illinois back to a more natural state appear to have helped some rare birds increase their populations to historic levels, a new study finds. Other bird species with wider geographic ranges have not fared as well, however.Feeling groovy: Neurons integrate better with muscle grown on grooved platformsJan 22, 2019 9:00 am2544 views Growing muscle tissue on grooved platforms helps neurons more effectively integrate with the muscle, a requirement for engineering muscle in the lab that responds and functions like muscle in the body, University of Illinois researchers found in a new study.'Revealing Greater Cahokia' details research on ancient North American metropolisJan 22, 2019 8:15 am2849 views With a population between 10,000 and 30,000 in its heyday (A.D. 1050-1200) and a sprawling assortment of homes, storage buildings, temples, cemeteries, mounds and other monuments in and around what is now St. Louis and East St. Louis, Illinois, the ancient Native American city known as Greater Cahokia was the first experiment in urban living in North America. A new book, “Revealing Greater Cahokia, North America’s First Native City,” offers the most complete picture yet of a decade of archaeological research on a little-known part of the larger city and its precincts in East St. Louis.