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  • Bedlam unfolds as Illinois fans celebrate a major upset victory over heavily favored Wisconsin.

    Surviving a football frenzy

    Thirty-one. That’s the number the Illinois football coaching staff writes on the white board for the players to see. Many of the fans filing into Memorial Stadium today know this number, as well. Thirty-one is the number of points by which pundits predict Illinois will lose to Wisconsin. That’s a tough number. 

    Doesn’t matter. My job as a university photographer is to tell the Illini story. There is always plenty to capture and celebrate. The weather is spectacular. It is Homecoming. Illinois has been competitive against some tough foes. I can work with that. 

  • A new study links blood levels of a key nutrient to brain structure and intelligence in older adults.

    Study links nutrition to brain health and intelligence in older adults

    A study of older adults offers insight into how a pigment found in leafy greens that tends to accumulate in brain tissue may contribute to the preservation of “crystallized intelligence,” the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.

  • Researchers tested 11 household fabrics that are commonly used for homemade masks and found that all are effective at curbing the small and large respiratory droplets that are released when we speak, cough or sneeze.

    Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds

    Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks.

  • Christy Lleras, a professor of human and community development, says that "soft skills" are better predictors of earnings and higher educational achievement later in life than having good grades and high standardized test scores.

    Social skills, extracurricular activities in high school pay off later in life

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It turns out that being voted "Most likely to succeed" in high school might actually be a good predictor of one's financial and educational success later in life.

  • Thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The new device was developed by John A. Rogers of Illinois and Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University.

    Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.

  • University of Illinois engineers developed fiber-optic technology that can transmit data at a blazing-fast 57 gigabits per second, without errors. Pictured are graduate students Curtis Wang and Michael Liu with professor Milton Feng.

    Record-speed data transmission could make big data more accessible

    With record-breaking speeds for fiber-optic data transmission, University of Illinois engineers have paved a fast lane on the information superhighway – creating on-ramps for big data in the process.

  • There is a "highly significant relationship" between law students' math skills and the substance of their legal analysis, according to research from Arden Rowell, a professor of law and the Richard W. and Marie L. Corman Scholar at Illinois.

    Research: Poor math skills affect legal decision-making

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The stereotype of lawyers being bad with numbers may persist, but new research by two University of Illinois legal scholars suggests that law students are surprisingly good at math, although those with low levels of numeracy analyze some legal questions differently.

  • Charles Hillman and Darla Castelli, professors of kinesiology and community health, have found that physical activity may increase students' cognitive control - or ability to pay attention - and also result in better performance on academic achievement tests.

    Physical activity may strengthen children's ability to pay attention

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As school districts across the nation revamped curricula to meet requirements of the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act, opportunities for children to be physically active during the school day diminished significantly.

  • Kumar_Richardson

    Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

    Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

  • Masks are an important tool for fighting COVID-19 but wearing one can make it difficult for others to hear us speak. Using a unique laboratory setup, Illinois researcher Ryan Corey tested how different types of masks affect the acoustics of speech.

    Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking, study finds

    Researcher Ryan Corey recently heard from a friend who teaches at a school where some of the students have hearing loss. The friend wanted to know if he had any ideas to help her communicate with these students while wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Corey, who also has hearing loss, did not know what to tell her. So, he headed to the Illinois Augmented Listening Laboratory to look for solutions.

  • A new book offers an in-depth picture of what archaeologists found, and learned, from the vast collection of artifacts uncovered at Cahokia

    'Revealing Greater Cahokia' details research on ancient North American metropolis

    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.

  • Wendy Haight

    How does parents' methamphetamine use affect their children?

    A Minute With™... Wendy Haight, a professor of social work

  • As computer models predicted, genetically modified plants are better able to make use of the limited sunlight available when their leaves go into the shade, researchers report.

    Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yield

    Researchers report  that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible.

  • Scott R. White, a pioneer of self-healing materials, died May 28 at age 55.

    Scott R. White, pioneer of self-healing materials, has died

    University of Illinois aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White, an innovator of self-healing and self-regulating materials, died Monday of cancer at age 55.

  • University of Illinois researchers and physicians at Carle Foundation Hospital developed a rapid test for sepsis that counts white blood cells and certain protein markers on their surface to monitor a patient's immune response.

    Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of blood

    A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood.

  • How has Twitter changed news coverage?

    A Minute With...™ Alecia Swasy, professor of business journalism

  • A student writes in Hittite using cuneiform symbols pressed into clay.

    Hittite class offers glimpse of Bronze Age language, technology

    Illinois students in a Hittite class learn to write the ancient language in clay using cuneiform symbols.

  • Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Illinois acquires Isaac Newton manuscript

    The University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library has acquired a manuscript written by Sir Isaac Newton that includes instructions for making the philosopher’s stone.

  • Colleges and universities that want to boost completion rates among underrepresented students may want to pay closer attention to students first-semester GPAs, which are reliable predictors of whether students will persist to graduate or drop out, suggests new research by Susan Gershenfeld, who conducted the research while earning a doctorate in social work at Illinois. Gershenfelds co-authors were educational policy studies professor Denice Ward Hood and social work professor Min Zhan, who also was Gershenfelds thesis adviser.

    First-semester GPA a better predictor of college success than ACT score

    Underrepresented students’ first-semester GPA may be a better predictor of whether they’ll graduate college than their ACT score or their family’s socioeconomic status, a new study found.

  • Two Indian corn plants standing in the sun.

    Cahokia's rise parallels onset of corn agriculture

    Corn cultivation spread from Mesoamerica to what is now the American Southwest by about 4000 B.C., but how and when the crop made it to other parts of North America is still a subject of debate. In a new study, scientists report that corn was not grown in the ancient metropolis of Cahokia until sometime between A.D. 900 and 1000, a relatively late date that corresponds to the start of the city’s rapid expansion.

  • Portrait of Gratton and Fabiani

    Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults

    The brains of healthy adults recovered faster from a mild vascular challenge and performed better on complex tests if the participants consumed cocoa flavanols beforehand, researchers report.

  • U. of I. veterinary oncologist Dr. Timothy Fan, left, chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother and their colleagues are testing the safety of a new cancer drug in a clinical trial for humans with late-stage brain cancer. The compound has worked well in canine patients with brain cancer, lymphoma and osteosarcoma.

    Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patients

    A drug that spurs cancer cells to self-destruct has been cleared for use in a clinical trial of patients with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor, and glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive late-stage cancer of the brain. This phase Ib trial will determine if the experimental drug PAC-1 can be used safely in combination with a standard brain-cancer chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

  • The Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s nearly 100 faculty include prominent researchers, administrators and medical professionals with a broad range of expertise. Pictured, back row, from left: Jeff Woods, professor, College of Applied Health Studies; Dan Morrow, professor, College of Education; Dr. Priyank Patel, Carle; Wawryneic Dobrucki, professor, College of Engineering. Front row, from left: Margarita Teran-Garcia, professor, College of ACES; Susan Martinis, professor, College of LAS; and Janet Liechty, professor, School of Social Work.

    Carle Illinois College of Medicine announces inaugural faculty

    The Carle Illinois College of Medicine has announced nearly 100 inaugural faculty members.

  • Illinois professor Aron Barbey led a study that found the functional network organization in the brain mediates the relationship between nutrition and intelligence.

    Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization, new research finds

    A new study found that monounsaturated fatty acids are linked to general intelligence and the organization of the brain’s attention network.

  • Nick Holonyak Jr. smiles at a reception for the 2015 Draper Prize.

    Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, awarded Queen Elizabeth Prize

    Nick Holonyak Jr., a renowned innovator of illumination, has been awarded the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering “for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid-state lighting technology.” Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, now commonly used in light bulbs, device displays and lasers worldwide.

  • A new study of Cahokia finds that those buried in mass graves likely lived in or near the pre-Columbian city most of their lives.

    Ancient bones, teeth, tell story of strife at Cahokia

    Dozens of people buried in mass graves in an ancient mound in Cahokia, a pre-Columbian city in Illinois near present-day St. Louis, likely lived in or near Cahokia most of their lives, researchers report in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 

  • An artist rendering of a new generation of bio-bots – soft robotic devices powered by skeletal muscle tissue stimulated by on-board motor neurons.

    Researchers build microscopic biohybrid robots propelled by muscles, nerves

    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.

  • An ultrathin, electronic patch with the mechanics of skin, applied to the wrist for EMG and other measurements.

    Smart skin: Electronics that stick and stretch like a temporary tattoo

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo.

  • Illinois researchers adapted CRISPR gene-editing technology to help a cell skip over mutated portions of genes. From left, professor Pablo Perez-Pinera, graduate student Alan Luu, professor Jun Song and graduate student Michael Gapinske.

    New CRISPR technique skips over portions of genes that can cause disease

    In a new study in cells, University of Illinois researchers have adapted CRISPR gene-editing technology to cause the cell’s internal machinery to skip over a small portion of a gene when transcribing it into a template for protein building. This gives researchers a way not only to eliminate a mutated gene sequence, but to influence how the gene is expressed and regulated.

    Such targeted editing could one day be useful for treating genetic diseases caused by mutations in the genome, such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease or some cancers.

  • Psychology professor Brent Roberts and his colleagues found no evidence that narcissism among college students increased between the 1990s and the 2010s. If anything, the team reports, narcissism declined over that period.

    No ‘narcissism epidemic’ among college students, study finds

    Today’s college students are slightly less narcissistic than their counterparts were in the 1990s, researchers report in a new study – not significantly more, as some have proposed. The study, reported in the journal Psychological Science, analyzed data from 1,166 students at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1990s, and from tens of thousands of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Davis in the 2000s and 2010s. All of the students completed the Narcissism Personal Inventory, the oldest and most widely used measure of narcissism.

  • Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor Viktor Gruev, right, and graduate student Missael Garcia have developed a camera capable of sensing both color and polarization by mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp that may improve early cancer detection and provide new understanding of underwater phenomena.

    Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden world

    By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization. The bioinspired imager can potentially improve early cancer detection and help provide a new understanding of underwater phenomena, the researchers said.

  • With their colleagues, veterinary clinical medicine professors, from left, Dr. Ashley Mitek, Dr. Stephanie Keating and Dr. Maureen McMichael, developed an online pain management training program for veterinarians.

    Prescribing oral opioids for dogs likely doesn’t help them, veterinary experts say

    Sending ailing dogs home with oral opioids may not be an effective way to manage their pain, experts report in a free, online continuing education program recently developed for veterinarians. In light of growing evidence that such drugs don’t work well in dogs – added to the fact that humans sometimes abuse opioids prescribed for pets – the common practice of prescribing oral opioids for dogs in pain should be reexamined, the experts say.

    Anticipating the need among opioid prescribers for additional training to meet regulatory mandates, these experts created an online continuing education program that addresses the problem. The training includes cautions about unwarranted prescription of oral opioids and advice on effective pain management for veterinary patients. 

  • Graduate student Josephine Watson, professor Aditi Das, graduate student Megan Corbett, professor Kristopher Kilian and their colleagues discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3-derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules.

    Study: Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

    Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, THC, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high. 

  • U. of I. psychology professor Justin Rhodes and his colleagues discovered that the male-to-female sex change in anemonefish occurs first in the brain.

    For anemonefish, male-to-female sex change happens first in the brain

    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.

  • 3-D cow app will help veterinary students learn anatomy

    Point your phone or tablet at the poster with a cow image and a small 3-D cow appears before you – Desktop Bessie, with her skeleton, circulatory, digestive and nervous systems, and various organs visible as you move around her.

    If you’re a veterinary student, the augmented reality cow is a great way to learn a cow’s anatomy.

  • Researchers including, from left, Valeria Sanabria Guillen, Jung Soon Hoon Kim, Kathy Carlson, John Katzenellenbogen, Yvonne Ziegler, and Benita Katzenellenbogen developed new drug agents to inhibit a pathway that contributes to cancer. The compounds killed cancer cells and reduced the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.

    New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasis

    Scientists have developed new drug compounds that thwart the pro-cancer activity of FOXM1, a transcription factor that regulates the activity of dozens of genes. The new compounds suppress tumor growth in human cells and in mouse models of several types of human breast cancer.

  • Photo of a typewriter used by Hugh Hefner in college.

    Rare Book and Manuscript Library exhibit to feature typewriters used by Hefner, Ebert, Sandburg

    A Rare Book and Manuscript Library exhibit will showcase typewriters used by Hugh Hefner, Roger Ebert, Carl Sandburg and James Jones.

  • A new study reveals how many extra calories Americans consume from sugar, fat and saturated fat when they flavor their coffee and tea drinks.

    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.

  • Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweeds, while adults consume the nectar of milkweeds and many other flowering species.

    Report: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declines

    Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report.

  • Five Illinois faculty awarded NEH Fellowships

    Five University of Illinois faculty members have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for 2016 – the second year in a row that the Urbana campus has garnered more of these awards than any single institution.

  • Andrew Miller and his colleagues created the first comprehensive checklist of North American fungi.

    North American checklist identifies the fungus among us

    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.

  • Freeform printing allows the researchers to make intricate structures, such as this model of a heart, that could not be made with traditional layer-by-layer 3-D printing. The structures could be used as scaffolds for tissue engineering or device manufacturing.

    3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing

    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.

  • Information sciences graduate student Joseph Porto searches through the scrapbook of a student who attended the university 100 years ago.

    Telling stories and touching history

    I slowly turn each page of Florence Lee’s large paper scrapbook, making sure not to wrinkle any of the items she placed inside. Its contents offer a snapshot of student life in the early 20th century at the University of Illinois: a laminated orange and blue button from a homecoming football game, a brochure from the Anti-Cigarette League of America, ribbons and tickets from Dad’s Day events and dozens of photographs of scenes around campus, including personal photographs of Florence Lee with her family and friends. All of these items were either glued or, in the case of some of the flat paper items, had their corners tucked into angled slots cut into the pages. The items that Florence Lee placed in this scrapbook come from her undergraduate years at the University of Illinois – 1917-20. This memento offers a window into that time.

  • Carl Bernacchi is one of six faculty members from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign named as AAAS Fellows this year.

    Six Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Evolution, ecology and behavior professor Alison Bell; plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi; bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava; materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun; chemistry professor Prashant Jain; and materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos are among the 489 scientists to be awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year.

  • A team of researchers led by professor Brian Fields hypothesizes that a supernova about 65 light-years away may have contributed to the ozone depletion and subsequent mass extinction of the late Devonian Period, 359 million years ago. Pictured is a simulation of a nearby supernova colliding with and compressing the solar wind. Earth’s orbit, the blue dashed circle, and the Sun, red dot, are shown for scale.

    Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows

    Imagine reading by the light of an exploded star, brighter than a full moon – it might be fun to think about, but this scene is the prelude to a disaster when the radiation devastates life as we know it. Killer cosmic rays from nearby supernovae could be the culprit behind at least one mass extinction event, researchers said, and finding certain radioactive isotopes in Earth’s rock record could confirm this scenario.

  • Our brains process irony in emojis, words in the same way

    The brain processes ironic or sarcastic emojis in the same way it does ironic or sarcastic words.

  • University of Illinois psychology professor Aron Barbey proposes that the brain’s dynamic properties drive human intelligence.

    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.

  • Psychology professor Brent Roberts is one of five Illinois faculty members on the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.

    Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world."

  • University of Illinois psychology professor Brent Roberts and postdoctoral researcher Rodica Damian conducted the largest study yet of birth order and personality. They found no meaningful relationship between birth order and personality or IQ.

    Massive study: Birth order has no meaningful effect on personality or IQ

    For those who believe that birth order influences traits like personality and intelligence, a study of 377,000 high school students offers some good news: Yes, the study found, firstborns do have higher IQs and consistently different personality traits than those born later in the family chronology. However, researchers say, the differences between firstborns and “laterborns” are so small that they have no practical relevance to people’s lives.

  • Photos of Dan Morrow, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, and Karen Dunn Lopez, the director of the Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness at the University of Iowa

    Electronic health record system increases clinicians' cognitive workload, study finds

    Adopting a new electronic health records system doubled the amount of cognitive effort clinicians at two urgent care clinics expended during the first six months after implementation, researchers found in a recent study.