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  • 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.

  • Three Illinois professors elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Three University of Illinois professors have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the longest-standing honorary societies in the nation. Tere R. O'Connor, a professor of dance; John A. Rogers, the Swanlund Chair of Materials Science and Engineering; and Wilfred A. van der Donk, the Richard E. Heckert Endowed Chair in Chemistry, will join other new members in an induction ceremony in October at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

  • Those unsure of own ideas more resistant to views of others

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - We swim in a sea of information, but filter out most of what we see or hear. A new analysis of data from dozens of studies sheds new light on how we choose what we do and do not hear. The study found that while people tend to avoid information that contradicts what they already think or believe, certain factors can cause them to seek out, or at least consider, other points of view.

  • Those less motivated to achieve will excel on tasks seen as fun

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Those who value excellence and hard work generally do better than others on specific tasks when they are reminded of those values. But when a task is presented as fun, researchers report, the same individuals often will do worse than those who say they are less motivated to achieve.

  • Thin skin, slow-growing gills protect larval stage of Antarctic fish

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Very thin but hardy, unblemished skin and slow developing gills appear to be keys to survival for newly hatched Antarctic notothenioids, a group of fish whose adults thrive in icy waters because of antifreeze proteins (AFPs) in their blood.

  • These bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - They're soft, biocompatible, about 7 millimeters long - and, incredibly, able to walk by themselves. Miniature "bio-bots" developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology.

  • The science suggests access to nature is essential to human health

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Elderly adults tend to live longer if their homes are near a park or other green space, regardless of their social or economic status. College students do better on cognitive tests when their dorm windows view natural settings. Children with ADHD have fewer symptoms after outdoor activities in lush environments. Residents of public housing complexes report better family interactions when they live near trees.

  • The rise of the "super toxic" new strain of E. coli

    A Minute With™... veterinary pathobiologist Carol Maddox 

  • The research is in: Physical activity enhances cognition

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Exercise doesn't only strengthen your heart and muscles - it also beefs up your brain. Dozens of studies now show that aerobic exercise can increase the size of critical brain structures and improve cognition in children and older adults.

  • The phthalate DEHP undermines female fertility in mice

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two studies in mice add to the evidence that the phthalate DEHP, a plasticizing agent used in auto upholstery, baby toys, building materials and many other consumer products, can undermine female reproductive health, in part by disrupting the growth and function of the ovaries.

  • 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.

  • The nonagenarian athlete: Researchers study Olga Kotelko's brain

    In the summer of 2012, Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old Canadian track-and-field athlete with more than 30 world records in her age group, visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois and submitted to an in-depth analysis of her brain.

  • The first decade: Team reports on U.S. trials of bioenergy grasses

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The first long-term U.S. field trials of Miscanthus x giganteus, a towering perennial grass used in bioenergy production, reveal that its exceptional yields, though reduced somewhat after five years of growth, are still more than twice those of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), another perennial grass used as a bioenergy feedstock. Miscanthus grown in Illinois also outperforms even the high yields found in earlier studies of the crop in Europe, the researchers found.

  • The emerald ash borer has been found in Chicago. Can its spread be stopped?

    A Minute With™... Extension entomologist Phil Nixon

  • The dietary supplement genistein can undermine breast cancer treatment

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Women taking aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer or prevent its recurrence should think twice before also taking a soy-based dietary supplement, researchers report.

  • Tension in axons is essential for synaptic signaling, researchers report

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Every time a neuron sends a signal - to move a muscle or form a memory, for example - tiny membrane-bound compartments, called vesicles, dump neurotransmitters into the synapse between the cells. Researchers report that this process, which is fundamental to the workings of the nervous system, relies on a simple mechanical reality: Tension in the axon of the presynaptic neuron is required.

  • Technique provides new look on response of diseased canine heart

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Using newly available biological technology, researchers have developed the first molecular portrait of multiple gene activity in diseased heart tissue taken from dogs near death from a devastating disease. The discovery sheds new light on the heart's response to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease of large-breed dogs.

  • Team uses forest waste to develop cheaper, greener supercapacitors

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today's activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost - and with environmentally friendly byproducts.

  • Team uses a cellulosic biofuels byproduct to increase ethanol yield

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Scientists report in Nature Communications that they have engineered yeast to consume acetic acid, a previously unwanted byproduct of the process of converting plant leaves, stems and other tissues into biofuels. The innovation increases ethanol yield from lignocellulosic sources by about 10 percent.

  • Team tracks antibiotic resistance from swine farms to groundwater

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The routine use of antibiotics in swine production can have unintended consequences, with antibiotic resistance genes sometimes leaking from waste lagoons into groundwater.

  • Team to study health effects of botanical estrogens

    CHAMPAIGN, lll.- An ongoing research initiative into the health effects of botanical estrogens will get an $8 million boost from the National Institutes of Health.

  • Team studies the social origins of intelligence in the brain

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, scientists are tackling -- and beginning to answer -- longstanding questions about how the brain works.

  • Team studies immune response of Asian elephants infected with a human disease

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes tuberculosis in humans, also afflicts Asian (and occasionally other) elephants. Diagnosing and treating elephants with TB is a challenge, however, as little is known about how their immune systems respond to the infection. A new study begins to address this knowledge gap, and offers new tools for detecting and monitoring TB in captive elephants.

  • Team solves mystery associated with DNA repair

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Every time a human or bacterial cell divides it first must copy its DNA. Specialized proteins unzip the intertwined DNA strands while others follow and build new strands, using the originals as templates. Whenever these proteins encounter a break - and there are many - they stop and retreat, allowing a new cast of molecular players to enter the scene.

  • Team solves decades-old molecular mystery linked to blood clotting

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Blood clotting is a complicated business, particularly for those trying to understand how the body responds to injury. In a new study, researchers report that they are the first to describe in atomic detail a chemical interaction that is vital to blood clotting. This interaction - between a clotting factor and a cell membrane - has baffled scientists for decades.

  • Team shows how the honey bee tolerates some synthetic pesticides

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study reveals how enzymes in the honey bee gut detoxify pesticides commonly used to kill mites in the honey bee hive. This is the first study to tease out the precise molecular mechanisms that allow a pollinating insect to tolerate exposure to these potentially deadly compounds.

  • Team reports on abuse of students doing anthropological fieldwork

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - College athletes are not the only ones who sometimes suffer at the hands of higher ups. A new report brings to light a more hidden and pernicious problem - the psychological, physical and sexual abuse of students in the field of biological anthropology working in field studies far from home.

  • Team overcomes major obstacle to cellulosic biofuel production

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The sugars are glucose, a six-carbon sugar that is relatively easy to ferment; and xylose, a five-carbon sugar that has been much more difficult to utilize in ethanol production. The new strain, made by combining, optimizing and adding to earlier advances, reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods.

  • Team nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expression

    Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA to speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes.

  • Team models photosynthesis and finds room for improvement

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Teaching crop plants to concentrate carbon dioxide in their leaves could increase photosynthetic efficiency by 60 percent and yields by as much as 40 percent, researchers report in a new study.

  • Team looks to the cow rumen for better biofuels enzymes

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - When it comes to breaking down plant matter and converting it to energy, the cow has it all figured out. Its digestive system allows it to eat more than 150 pounds of plant matter every day. Now researchers report that they have found dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen - the cow's primary grass-digestion chamber - that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source.

  • Team learns how cellular protein detects viruses, sparks immune response

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A study led by researchers at the University of Illinois reveals how a cellular protein recognizes an invading virus and alerts the body to the infection.

  • Team identifies new breast cancer tumor suppressor and how it works

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers have identified a protein long known to regulate gene expression as a potent suppressor of breast cancer growth. Their study, in the journal Oncogene, is the first to demonstrate how this protein, known as Runx3, accomplishes this feat.

  • Team finds promising new drug target for Alzheimer's disease

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified a potential drug target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a receptor that is embedded in the membrane of neurons and other cells.

  • Team finds new way to attach lipids to proteins, streamlining drug development

    A new study reveals an efficient means of attaching lipids (fat molecules) to peptides (the building blocks of proteins). This can improve the molecules’ drug-delivery capabilities.

  • Team finds mechanism linking key inflammatory marker to cancer

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - In a new study described in the journal Oncogene, researchers reveal how a key player in cell growth, immunity and the inflammatory response can be transformed into a primary contributor to tumor growth.

  • Team finds markers related to ovarian cancer survival and recurrence

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified biomarkers that can be used to determine ovarian cancer survival and recurrence, and have shown how these biomarkers interact with each other to affect these outcomes.

  • Team finds link between stomach-cancer bug and cancer-promoting factor

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers report that Helicobacter pylori, the only bacterium known to survive in the harsh environment of the human stomach, directly activates an enzyme in host cells that has been associated with several types of cancer, including gastric cancer.

  • Team finds key mechanism of DDT resistance in malarial mosquitoes

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois researchers have identified a key detoxifying protein in Anopheles mosquitoes that metabolizes DDT, a synthetic insecticide used since World War II to control the mosquitoes that spread malaria.

  • Team finds gene that helps honey bees find flowers (and get back home)

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Honey bees don't start out knowing how to find flowers or even how to get around outside the hive. Before they can forage, they must learn how to navigate a changing landscape and orient themselves in relation to the sun.

  • 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.

  • Team finds a new way to inhibit blood clotting and inflammation

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Scientists have identified a group of small molecules that interfere with the activity of a compound that initiates multiple steps in blood clotting, including those that lead to the obstruction of veins or arteries, a condition called thrombosis. Blocking the activity of this compound, polyphosphate, could treat thrombosis with fewer bleeding side effects than the drugs that are currently on the market.

  • Team finds an economical way to boost the vitamin A content of maize

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A team of plant geneticists and crop scientists has pioneered an economical approach to the selective breeding of maize that can boost levels of provitamin A, the precursors that are converted to vitamin A upon consumption. This innovation could help to enhance the nutritional status of millions of people in the developing world.

  • Team finds a better way to watch bacteria swim

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers have developed a new method for studying bacterial swimming, one that allows them to trap Escherichia coli bacteria and modify the microbes' environment without hindering the way they move.

  • Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The finding, described in Nature Communications, will aid efforts to model human motor neuron development, and to understand and treat spinal cord injuries and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

  • Team finds a better way to gauge the climate costs of land use change

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Those making land use decisions to reduce the harmful effects of climate change have focused almost exclusively on greenhouse gases - analyzing, for example, how much carbon dioxide is released when a forest is cleared to grow crops. A new study in Nature Climate Change aims to present a more complete picture - to incorporate other characteristics of ecosystems that also influence climate.

  • Team explores the effects of exercise on ulcerative colitis

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study indicates that aerobic exercise can lessen - or worsen - the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, depending on the circumstances under which the exercise is undertaken.

  • Team discovers new inhibitors of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have discovered a new family of agents that inhibit the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. The finding, described today at a meeting of the Endocrine Society, has opened an avenue of research into new drugs to combat estrogen-dependent breast cancers.

  • Team discovers how western corn rootworm resists crop rotation

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study answers a question that has baffled researchers for more than 15 years: How does the western corn rootworm - an insect that thrives on corn but dies on soybeans - persist in fields that alternate between corn and soybeans? The answer, researchers say, has to do with enzyme production in the rootworm gut.

  • Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report in the journal Nature that they have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.