blog postsTeam measures puncture performance of viper fangsApr 16, 2019 7:00 pm370 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 pm707 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 am1254 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 am799 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 am794 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 am15119 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 pm3567 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 pm1584 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 pm6553 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 am1255 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 am2271 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 pm1352 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 am3629 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 am565 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 am1932 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 pm1104 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 am279 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 pm809 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 am1213 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 am2512 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 am2456 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.Cilia beat to an unexpected rhythm in male reproductive tract, study in mice revealsJan 14, 2019 2:00 pm1404 views Waves of undulating cilia drive several processes essential to life. They clear debris and mucus from the respiratory tract, move spinal fluid through the brain and transport embryos from the ovaries to the uterus for implantation. According to a new study in mice, however, cilia perform somewhat differently in the male reproductive tract.Environmental greenness may not improve student test scores, study findsJan 4, 2019 8:30 am1358 views Researchers at the University of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service suggest in a new study that environmental greenness may not be associated with higher test scores in schoolchildren after all.Unmuting large silent genes lets bacteria produce new molecules, potential drug candidatesDec 31, 2018 10:00 am1204 views By enticing away the repressors dampening unexpressed, silent genes in Streptomyces bacteria, researchers at the University of Illinois have unlocked several large gene clusters for new natural products, according to a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.Camera trap study reveals the hidden lives of island carnivoresDec 21, 2018 8:45 am1609 views Researchers placed 160 cameras on 19 of the 22 Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin to see which carnivores were living there. After taking more than 200,000 photos over a period of three years, the team discovered that several carnivores are living on various islands in this remote archipelago in Lake Superior.Study links nutrient patterns in blood to better brain connectivity, cognition in older adultsDec 19, 2018 8:00 am2129 views A new study links higher levels of several key nutrients in the blood with more efficient brain connectivity and performance on cognitive tests in older adults. The study, reported in the journal NeuroImage, looked at 32 key nutrients in the Mediterranean diet, which previous research has shown is associated with better brain function in aging. It included 116 healthy adults 65-75 years of age.New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trialsDec 13, 2018 9:30 am1824 views A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports.Dracula ants possess fastest known animal appendage: the snap-jawDec 11, 2018 6:00 pm1583 views Move over, trap-jaw ants and mantis shrimp: There’s a faster appendage in town. According to a new study, the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae, can snap its mandibles at speeds of up to 90 meters per second (more than 200 mph), making it the fastest animal movement on record.Study: Early career choices appear to influence personalityDec 10, 2018 8:15 am3327 views In the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 16-year-old students in middle-track schools decide whether to stay in school to pursue an academic career or enroll in a vocational training program. A new study offers evidence that the path they choose influences their personality years later.Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 29, 2018 10:15 am10377 views Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.North American checklist identifies the fungus among usNov 28, 2018 8:15 am2183 views Some fungi are smelly and coated in mucus. Others have gills that glow in the dark. Some are delicious; others, poisonous. Some spur euphoria when ingested. Some produce antibiotics. All of these fungi - and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more - occur in North America. Of those that are known to science, 44,488 appear in a new checklist of North American fungi, published this month in the journal Mycologia.Four Illinois faculty members elected AAAS FellowsNov 27, 2018 10:00 am1973 views Four professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are: mechanical science and engineering professor Narayana Aluru, computer science professor William Gropp and plant biology professors Andrew Leakey and Ray Ming.Effort clarifies major branch of insect tree of lifeNov 26, 2018 2:00 pm1377 views The insects known as Hemiptera are not a particularly glamorous bunch. This group includes stink bugs, bed bugs, litter bugs, scale insects and aphids. Their closest relatives are thrips, bark lice and parasitic lice. But with a massive number of species, two-thirds of which are still unknown to science, these insects together make up one of the twiggiest branches on the tree of life. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences collected a vast amount of molecular data on these insects and used the information to help tease out their family relationships and evolutionary history.Scientists study puncture performance of cactus spinesNov 20, 2018 6:00 pm749 views Researchers discovered that the same biomechanical traits that allow the barbed spines of the jumping cholla and other cacti to readily penetrate animal flesh also make the spines more difficult to dislodge.Study: At-risk mothers receive less support, information on breastfeedingNov 5, 2018 12:30 pm830 views Single mothers, those with less education and mothers enrolled in the WIC Program may receive less information and support with breastfeeding, University of Illinois researchers found in a new study.Caterpillar, fungus in cahoots to threaten fruit, nut crops, study findsNov 5, 2018 8:00 am485 views New research reveals that Aspergillus flavus, a fungus that produces carcinogenic aflatoxins that can contaminate seeds and nuts, has a multilegged partner in crime: the navel orangeworm caterpillar, which targets some of the same nut and fruit orchards afflicted by the fungus. Scientists report in the Journal of Chemical Ecology that the two pests work in concert to overcome plant defenses and resist pesticides.Berenbaum named PNAS editor-in-chiefOct 31, 2018 8:30 am1174 views University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and longtime editorial contributor to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other journals, has been appointed editor-in-chief of PNAS, effective Jan. 1.Four factors influence social media reach of public health tweets, study saysOct 30, 2018 8:30 am706 views Four factors account for public health messages accruing retweets on Twitter, says research co-written by U. of. I. social psychology expert Dolores Albarracin and a team of U. of I. graduate students.Study finds potential benefits of wildlife-livestock coexistence in East AfricaOct 15, 2018 9:45 am826 views A study of 3,588 square kilometers of privately owned land in central Kenya offers evidence that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals – to the benefit of all.Honey bee researcher Gene Robinson elected to National Academy of MedicineOct 15, 2018 8:15 am2146 views Entomology professor Gene Robinson, an international leader in honey bee research, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior.” Robinson directs the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Effects of epilepsy on neural activity in mice fluctuate with reproductive cycle, study findsOct 12, 2018 10:00 am1181 views Mice with epilepsy have altered patterns of neuron activity in the portion of the brain that controls the reproductive endocrine system, University of Illinois researchers report in a new study. Furthermore, the differences in neuron activity in female mice fluctuate across the reproductive cycle, the team found.‘Native America’ documentary including work by U. of I. researchers at Cahokia to be screened on campusOct 2, 2018 8:45 am2192 views University of Illinois anthropologists talk about their work at Cahokia in the new documentary “Native America,” about the cities built by Native Americans.Study: Damaged liver cells undergo reprogramming to regenerateSep 26, 2018 8:15 am1144 views In Greek mythology, Zeus punishes the trickster Prometheus by chaining him to a rock and sending an eagle to eat a portion of his liver every day, in perpetuity. It was the right organ to target – the liver has the ability to regenerate itself, though not overnight nor for eternity. New research conducted by biochemists at the University of Illinois has determined how damaged liver cells repair and restore themselves through a signal to return to an early stage of postnatal organ development.Author David Quammen to speak about his book featuring microbiologist Carl WoeseSep 20, 2018 8:00 am565 views Author David Quammen will speak at the University of Illinois about his new book, which features the revolutionary work of microbiologist Carl R. Woese.Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilmsSep 19, 2018 10:15 am1788 views Stiff microbial films often coat medical devices, household items and infrastructure such as the inside of water supply pipes, and can lead to dangerous infections. Researchers have developed a system that harnesses the power of bubbles to propel tiny particles through the surfaces of these tough films and deliver an antiseptic deathblow to the microbes living inside.Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological historiesSep 13, 2018 4:00 am2521 views A geologist, a microscopist and a doctor walk into a lab and, with their colleagues from across the nation, make a discovery that overturns centuries of thought about the nature and composition of kidney stones. The team’s key insight, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, is that kidney stones are built up in calcium-rich layers that resemble other mineralizations in nature, such as those forming coral reefs or arising in hot springs, Roman aqueducts or subsurface oil fields.Study: Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetationSep 6, 2018 9:45 am2362 views Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial – or detrimental – to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.Our brains process irony in emojis, words in the same waySep 5, 2018 12:45 pm2592 views The brain processes ironic or sarcastic emojis in the same way it does ironic or sarcastic words.Discovery: Mechanical properties of viral DNA determine the course of infectionSep 4, 2018 8:00 am2579 views A new study reveals a previously unknown mechanism that governs whether viruses that infect bacteria will quickly kill their hosts or remain latent inside the cell. The discovery, reported in the journal eLife, also may apply to viruses that infect humans and other animals, the researcher said.Infants can distinguish between leaders and bullies, study findsSep 3, 2018 2:00 pm1250 views A new study finds that 21-month-old infants can distinguish between respect-based power asserted by a leader and fear-based power wielded by a bully.