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  • 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.

  • Team discovers how bacteria resist 'Trojan horse' antibiotic

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study describes how bacteria use a previously unknown means to defeat an antibiotic. The researchers found that the bacteria have modified a common "housekeeping" enzyme in a way that enables the enzyme to recognize and disarm the antibiotic.

  • Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body’s armor

    Scientists have discovered how a unique bacterial enzyme evades the body’s key weapons in its fight against infection.

  • Team discovers how a cancer-causing bacterium spurs cell death

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers report they have figured out how the cancer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori attacks a cell's energy infrastructure, sparking a series of events in the cell that ultimately lead it to self-destruct.

  • Team discovers a new invasive clam in the U.S.

    A new invasive clam has made its official debut in North America.

  • Team develops new weapon to fight disease-causing bacteria, malaria

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report that they have discovered - and now know how to exploit - an unusual chemical reaction mechanism that allows malaria parasites and many disease-causing bacteria to survive. The research team, from the University of Illinois, also has developed the first potent inhibitor of this chemical reaction.

  • Team determines how estrogens persist in dairy farm wastewater

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Wastewater from large dairy farms contains significant concentrations of estrogenic hormones that can persist for months or even years, researchers report in a new study. In the absence of oxygen, the estrogens rapidly convert from one form to another; this stalls their biodegradation and complicates efforts to detect them, the researchers found.

  • Team designs a bandage that spurs, guides blood vessel growth

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers have developed a bandage that stimulates and directs blood vessel growth on the surface of a wound. The bandage, called a "microvascular stamp," contains living cells that deliver growth factors to damaged tissues in a defined pattern. After a week, the pattern of the stamp "is written in blood vessels," the researchers report.

  • Team delivers development aid via cell phone animations

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A farmer in Niger learns how to protect his crops from insects. A resident of Port-au-Prince or a rural Haitian village learns how to avoid exposure to cholera. An entrepreneur in Mali gets step-by-step instructions on extracting the oil from shea seeds to make shea butter she can sell at a local market.

  • Team converts sugarcane to a cold-tolerant, oil-producing crop

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A multi-institutional team reports that it can increase sugarcane's geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production.

  • 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.

  • Team aims to make sugarcane, sorghum into oil-producing crops

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - With the support of a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers will take the first steps toward engineering two new oil-rich crops. They aim to boost the natural, oil-producing capabilities of sugarcane and sorghum, increase the crops' photosynthetic power and - in the case of sugarcane - enhance the plant's cold tolerance so that it can grow in more northerly climes.

  • Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold

    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.

  • Targeted culling of deer controls disease with little effect on hunting

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Chronic wasting disease, the deer-equivalent of mad cow disease, has crept across the U.S. landscape from west to east. It appeared first in captive mule deer in Colorado in the late 1960s. By 1981, it had escaped to the wild. It reached the Midwest by 2002. Little is known about its potential to infect humans.

  • Symposium marks milestones in honey bee management, research

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - In 1851, Lorenzo Langstroth, a Congregational minister and young ladies' school principal based in Philadelphia, revolutionized the practice of beekeeping. He had observed that honey bees will fill a large space in their hives with honeycomb and seal small cracks with propolis, a resinous "bee glue" made from tree sap and other sticky substances, but will leave any gap that is about 3/8 of an inch wide - just big enough for a bee to pass through. Langstroth was the first to incorporate this "bee space," which allows bees to navigate through the hive, into the design of his box-frame hive.

  • Symposium marks century of discovery for U. of I. entomology department

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The University of Illinois department of entomology celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2009 and will mark this milestone with a symposium Dec. 11 - two days before the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Indianapolis.

  • Symposium marks 30th anniversary of discovery of third domain of life

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Thirty years ago this month, researchers at the University of Illinois published a discovery that challenged basic assumptions about the broadest classifications of life. Their discovery - which was based on an analysis of ribosomal RNA, an ancient molecule essential to the replication of all cells - opened up a new field of study, and established a first draft of the evolutionary "tree of life."

  • Switch from corn to grass would raise ethanol output, cut emissions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Growing perennial grasses on the least productive farmland now used for corn ethanol production in the U.S. would result in higher overall corn yields, more ethanol output per acre and better groundwater quality, researchers report in a new study. The switch would also slash emissions of two potent greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

  • Survival of many of the world’s nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts report

    A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world – the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.

  • Survival gardening education goes global via cellphones

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Subsistence farmers in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean are learning how to construct raised planting beds and install drip irrigation systems to boost their agricultural productivity, conserve water and perhaps even halt the rapid advance of desertification in some drought-prone regions.

  • Survey reveals widespread bias in astronomy and planetary science

    In an online survey about their workplace experiences, 88 percent of academics, students, postdoctoral researchers and administrators in astronomy and planetary science reported hearing, experiencing or witnessing negative language or harassment relating to race, gender or other physical characteristics at work within the last five years. Of the 423 respondents, 39 percent reported having been verbally harassed and 9 percent said they had suffered physical harassment at work.

  • Surgical probe seeks out where cancer ends and healthy tissue begins

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A new surgical tool that uses light to make sure surgeons removing cancerous tumors “got it all” was found to correlate well with traditional pathologists’ diagnoses in a clinical study, showing that the tool could soon enable reliable, real-time guidance for surgeons.

  • Supervolcano eruption - in Sumatra - deforested India 73,000 years ago

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study provides "incontrovertible evidence" that the volcanic super-eruption of Toba on the island of Sumatra about 73,000 years ago deforested much of central India, some 3,000 miles from the epicenter, researchers report.

  • Summer drought may dull fall color

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The deep reds, crisp oranges and golden yellows that usually punctuate the fall landscape may not be so spectacular this year after a summer of statewide heat and drought.

  • Success of new bug-fighting approach may vary from field to field

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new technique to fight crop insect pests may affect different insect populations differently, researchers report. They analyzed RNA interference (RNAi), a method that uses genetic material to "silence" specific genes - in this case genes known to give insect pests an advantage. The researchers found that western corn rootworm beetles that are already resistant to crop rotation are in some cases also less vulnerable to RNAi.

  • Substances in honey increase detoxification gene expression, team finds

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Research in the wake of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady afflicting (primarily commercial) honey bees, suggests that pests, pathogens and pesticides all play a role. New research indicates that the honey bee diet influences the bees' ability to withstand at least some of these assaults. Some components of the nectar and pollen grains bees collect to manufacture food to support the hive increase the expression of detoxification genes that help keep honey bees healthy.

  • 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.  

  • 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.

  • Study: Two ancient populations that diverged in the Americas later ‘reconverged’

    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 tracks brain gene response to territorial aggression

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. — With a mate and a nest to protect, the male threespined stickleback is a fierce fish, chasing and biting other males until they go away.

  • Study: This is your teen's brain behind the wheel

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study of teenagers and their moms reveals how adolescent brains negotiate risk - and the factors that modulate their risk-taking behind the wheel.

  • Study tallies extra calories Americans consume in their coffee, tea

    A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.

  • Study: Talking while driving safest with someone who can see what you see

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study offers fresh insights into how talking on a cellphone or to a passenger while driving affects one's performance behind the wheel. The study used a driving simulator and videophone to assess how a driver's conversation partner influences safety on the road.

  • Study supports new explanation of gender gaps in academia

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It isn't that women don't want to work long hours or can't compete in highly selective fields, and it isn't that they are less analytical than men, researchers report in a study of gender gaps in academia. It appears instead that women are underrepresented in academic fields whose practitioners put a lot of emphasis on the importance of being brilliant - a quality many people assume women lack.

  • Study suggests stress of task determines if estrogen helps cognition

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Does estrogen help cognition? Many women ponder that question as a quality-of-life issue while deciding on estrogen therapy since it has been linked to potential disease complications. Now, a new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that the stress of any given task at least partially determines if hormones will help the mind.

  • Study suggests police officer wrongfully convicted for missing the 'obvious'

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - In a new study, researchers tested the claims of a Boston police officer who said he ran past a brutal police beating without seeing it. After re-creating some of the conditions of the original incident and testing the perceptions of college students who ran past a staged fight, the researchers found the officer's story plausible.

  • Study suggests motivation to be active may lead to impulsive behavior

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Those motivated to actively change bad habits may be setting themselves up for failure, a new study suggests.

  • Study suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adults

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Practicing hatha yoga three times a week for eight weeks improved sedentary older adults' performance on cognitive tasks that are relevant to everyday life, researchers report.

  • Study suggests commercial bumble bee industry amplified a fungal pathogen of bees

    Scientists hoping to explain widespread declines in wild bumble bee populations have conducted the first long-term genetic study of Nosema bombi, a key fungal pathogen of honey bees and bumble bees. Their study found that Nosema infections in large-scale commercial bumble bee pollination operations coincided with infections and declines in wild bumble bees.

  • Study: Strength of brain connectivity varies with fitness level in older adults

    A new study shows that age-related differences in brain health – specifically the strength of connections between different regions of the brain – vary with fitness level in older adults.

  • Study shows parenting styles have similar effects in China and U.S.

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study from the University of Illinois puts to rest the idea that overly controlling or manipulative parenting styles are less destructive to a child's emotional and academic functioning in China than in the U.S.

  • Study shows new forests cannot take in as much carbon as predicted

    As carbon emissions continue to rise, scientists project forests will grow faster and larger, due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which fuels photosynthesis. But a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom finds that these projections are overestimated.

  • 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.

  • Study shows hands-free cell phones dangerously distracted drivers' attention

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Driving with one hand on the wheel and another on a cell phone has led to legal restrictions and proposals to require drivers to use hands-free phones.

  • 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.

  • Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions

    Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and collaborators published their findings in the inaugural edition of the journal Nature Energy. The researchers call it the most comprehensive study on the subject to date.

  • Study: 'Run-down' feeling with illness may last longer as people age

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Aging may intensify and prolong feeling run down when common infections like the flu occur, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Study rewrites the evolutionary history of C4 grasses

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - According to a popular hypothesis, grasses such as maize, sugar cane, millet and sorghum got their evolutionary start as a result of a steep drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the Oligocene epoch, more than 23 million years ago. A new study overturns that hypothesis, presenting the first geological evidence that the ancestors of these and other C4 grasses emerged millions of years earlier than previously established.

  • Study rewrites early history of corn in corn country

    A new study contradicts decades of thought, research and teaching on the history of corn cultivation in the American Bottom, a floodplain of the Mississippi River in Illinois. The study refutes the notion that Indian corn, or maize, was cultivated in this region hundreds of years before its widespread adoption at about 1000 A.D.

  • Study reveals surprising details of the evolution of protein translation

    CHAMPAIGN - A new study of transfer RNA, a molecule that delivers amino acids to the protein-building machinery of the cell, challenges long-held ideas about the evolutionary history of protein synthesis.