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  • ying diao template group

    Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology

    When it comes to efficiency, sometimes it helps to look to Mother Nature for advice – even in technology as advanced as printable, flexible electronics.

    Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed bio-inspired dynamic templates used to manufacture organic semiconductor materials that produce printable electronics. It uses a process similar to biomineralization – the way that bones and teeth form. This technique is also eco-friendly compared with how conventional electronics are made, which gives the researchers the chance to return the favor to nature.  

  • Potholes, like this one on the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are a common obstacle this winter.

    Is there a cure for potholes?

    Temperatures may be on the rise, but many motorists and pedestrians remain focused on the ground as they attempt to navigate safely around the many potholes that develop this time of year. Industrial and enterprise systems engineering professor Henrique M. Reis spoke with Illinois News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about how potholes form and if there are any potential solutions.

  • Molecular prosthetics are small molecules that can replace missing proteins to treat diseases. Illinois professor Martin Burke describes one that could treat anemia by replacing an iron transport protein.

    ‘Molecular prosthetics’ can replace missing proteins to treat disease

    Researchers have demonstrated that a small molecule can transport iron in human cells and live animals when proteins that normally do the same job are missing, a condition that often causes severe anemia in patients. Such “molecular prosthetics” might treat a host of incurable diseases caused by protein deficiencies, such as anemias, cystic fibrosis or certain types of heart disease.

  • Anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy supports proposed legislation that would require universities to report sexual harassment and assault by academic researchers to federal funding agencies.

    Is Academia Waking Up to the Problem of Sexual Harassment?

    U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy supports a federal legislative effort that would require universities to report – and federal funding agencies to consider – findings that any university professor engaged in discrimination on the basis of sex. 

  • Supervolcanoes are likely triggered externally, when the rock around them cracks or collapses, according to a study led by Illinois geologist Patricia Gregg.

    Supervolcanoes likely triggered externally, study finds

    Supervolcanoes, massive eruptions with potential global consequences, appear not to follow the conventional volcano mechanics of internal pressure building until the volcano blows. Instead, a new study finds, such massive magma chambers might erupt when the roof above them cracks or collapses.

  • Illinois researchers developed a way to target tumors using sugars that are metabolized by the cancer cell’s own enzymes. From left: postdoctoral researcher Yang Liu, professor Jianjun Cheng, postdoctoral researcher Zhiyu Wang, graduate student Kaimin Cai, research scientist Iwona T. Dobrucka, professor Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki and graduate student Ruibo Wang (seated).

    Tumor-targeting system uses cancer’s own mechanisms to betray its location

    By hijacking a cancer cell’s own metabolism, researchers have found a way to tag and target elusive cancers with small-molecule sugars. This opens treatment pathways for cancers that are not responsive to conventional targeted antibodies, such as triple-negative breast cancer.

  • Postdoctoral researcher Jaemin Kim, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Yang Hong and graduate student Pei-Chieh (Jack) Shih are part of a team that developed a new material that helps split water molecules for hydrogen fuel production.

    New, highly stable catalyst may help turn water into fuel

    Breaking the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen in water could be a key to the creation of hydrogen in a sustainable manner, but finding an economically viable technique for this has proved difficult. Researchers report a new hydrogen-generating catalyst that clears many of the obstacles – abundance, stability in acid conditions and efficiency.

  • With expansion, the sugarcane-to-ethanol industry in Brazil could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, an international team reports.

    Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissions

    Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

  • Aadeel Akhtar, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Illinois, developed a control algorithm to give prosthetic arm users reliable sensory feedback.

    Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds

    Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. 

  • Atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles is an expert on climate and climate change

    Are global warming, recent Midwest cold snap related?

    Last month, the Midwest experienced record-breaking cold temperatures and many are wondering how, when the climate is experiencing an unprecedented warming trend, we can still experience such frigid cold. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian asked University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles to explain.

  • Battery technology could charge up water desalination

    The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.

  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla leads one of eight Illinois projects awarded funding from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute to help mitigate COVID-19.

    Eight projects awarded funding for AI research to mitigate COVID-19

    Eight University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign projects are among 26 to receive the first C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute awards for artificial intelligence techniques to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The institute will provide a total of $5.4 million over the next year to projects that examine the medical, social and economic impacts of the novel coronavirus and inspire researcher collaboration in advanced machine learning and other AI disciplines. 

  • Portrait of researches in laboratory.

    Solid-state batteries line up for better performance

    Solid-state batteries pack a lot of energy into a small space, but their electrodes are not good at keeping in touch with their electrolytes. Liquid electrolytes reach every nook and cranny of an electrode to spark energy, but liquids take up space without storing energy and fail over time. Researchers are now putting solid electrolytes in touch with electrodes made of strategically arranged materials – at the atomic level – and the results are helping drive better solid-state battery technologies.

  • Using public health and transportation data, Illinois professor Sheldon H. Jacobson and colleagues found that higher mass transit use is correlated with lower obesity rates.

    Study: Higher mass transit use associated with lower obesity rates

    Healthy mass transit systems could contribute to healthier communities, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers that determined higher mass transit use was correlated with lower obesity rates in counties across the United States.

  • Industrial and enterprise systems engineering professor Lavanya Marla and collaborators used artificial intelligence to design a customized pricing model for airline customers.

    Artificial intelligence could help air travelers save a bundle

    Researchers are using artificial intelligence to help airlines price ancillary services such as checked bags and seat reservations in a way that is beneficial to customers’ budget and privacy, as well as to the airline industry’s bottom line.

  • Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation

    Understanding the complex geological processes that form supervolcanoes could ultimately help geologists determine what triggers their eruptions. A new study using an advanced computer model casts doubt on previously held theories about the Yellowstone supervolcano’s origins, adding to the mystery of Yellowstone’s formation.

  • Used plastic shopping bags can be converted into petroleum products that serve a multitude of purposes.

    Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel, researchers report

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.

  • Researchers Sheldon H. Jacobson, right, and Douglas M. King developed a new computer algorithm that may offer state legislators a new solution to the contentious task of congressional redistricting.

    Congressional redistricting less contentious when resolved using computer algorithm

    Concerns that the process of U.S. congressional redistricting may be politically biased have fueled many debates, but a team of University of Illinois computer scientists and engineers has developed a new computer algorithm that may make the task easier for state legislatures and fairer for their constituents.

  • Illinois professor Nick Fang developed a two-dimensional acoustic cloak that makes objects in the center invisible to sonar and other ultrasound waves.

    Newly developed cloak hides underwater objects from sonar

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In one University of Illinois lab, invisibility is a matter of now you hear it, now you don't.

  • Using techniques both common and new to geology and biology, researchers make new discoveries about how kidney stones repeatedly grow and dissolve as they form inside the kidney.

    Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological histories

    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.

  • Individual photos of each of the three researchers described in this release.

    Three Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential

    Three faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2020 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world. It is based on an analysis of journal article publication and citation data, an objective measure of a researcher’s influence, from 2009-2019.

    The highly cited Illinois researchers this year are: materials science and engineering professor Axel Hoffmann, crop sciences and plant biology professor Stephen Long, and plant biology professor Donald Ort.

  • Stephen Boppart, an Illinois engineering professor and a medical doctor, led a team that developed a tool to help surgeons determine the extent of cancerous tissue to remove.

    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.

  • The research team includes, from left, agricultural engineering professor Yuanhui Zhang; undergraduate student Zhenwei Wu; graduate student Timothy Lee; visiting scholar Buchun Si; Illinois Sustainable Technology Center senior research engineer B.K. Sharma; and Chia-Fon Lee, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the U. of I.

    Team converts wet biological waste to diesel-compatible fuel

    In a step toward producing renewable engine fuels that are compatible with existing diesel fuel infrastructure, researchers report they can convert wet biowaste, such as swine manure and food scraps, into a fuel that can be blended with diesel and that shares diesel’s combustion efficiency and emissions profile.

    They report their findings in the journal Nature Sustainability.

  • Study offers clearest picture yet of how HIV defeats a cellular defender

    A new study offers the first atomic-scale view of an interaction between the HIV capsid - the protein coat that shepherds HIV into the nucleus of human cells - and a host protein known as cyclophilin A. This interaction is key to HIV infection, researchers say.

  • Illinois professor Nancy Sottos and postdoctoral researcher Wenle Li led a team that developed color-changing indicators to highlight microscopic cracks in structural materials.

    Making the invisible visible: Color-changing indicators highlight microscopic damage

    Damage developing in a material can be difficult to see until something breaks or fails. A new polymer damage indication system automatically highlights areas that are cracked, scratched or stressed, allowing engineers to address problem areas before they become more problematic.

  • A new class of muscle-powered walking bio-bots responds to light and has a modular design.

    Light illuminates the way for bio-bots

    A new class of miniature biological robots, or bio-bots, has seen the light – and is following where the light shines.

  • Postdoctoral researcher Fengjiao Zhang and professor Ying Diao developed devices for sensing disease markers in breath.

    Sensors detect disease markers in breath

    A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building’s air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. By riddling the thin plastic films with pores, University of Illinois researchers made the devices sensitive enough to detect at levels that are far too low to smell, yet are important to human health.

  • Illinois geology professor Patricia Gregg, right, and graduate student Haley Cabaniss have developed the first quantitative model that could help predict supervolcano eruptions.

    Study suggests ample warning of supervolcano eruptions

    Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.

  • The surge in passenger vehicle usage in the U.S. between the 1950s and today may be associated with surging levels of obesity, says Sheldon H. Jacobson, a University of Illinois researcher who specializes in statistics and data analysis.

    Study: Surge in obesity correlates with increased automobile usage

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Junk food, video games and a lack of exercise all have received their fair share of blame for the spiraling epidemic of obesity in the U.S. But according to a University of Illinois researcher, public health enemy No. 1 for our supersized nation may very well be the one staple of modern life most Americans can't seem to live without one (or more) of: the automobile.

  • Illinois researchers Sheldon H. Jacobson and Douglas M. King found that mass-killing events in the United States have occurred at a steady rate for more than a decade, yet the method and timing are random.

    Mass killings happen randomly, yet rate has remained steady, study finds

    Mass killings may have increasing news coverage, but the events themselves have happened at a steady rate for more than a decade, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Researchers can simulate atomic and subatomic dynamics in large molecular systems. Here is a visualization of the process by which the amino acid glutamate (Glu) is attached to a specific region of its transfer RNA (tRNA).

    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.

  • Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. The restorative material is delivered through two, isolated fluid streams (dyed red and blue). The liquid immediately gels and later hardens, resulting in recovery of the entire damaged region. This image is halfway through the restoration process.

    Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it.

  • A key factor in the crash was the curved opening of the bridge. The posted height was the maximum in the center, not the lower curved section above the outer lanes, which the truck hit, which means the databases that shipping companies rely on to plan routes may be inaccurate.

    Structural, regulatory and human error were factors in Washington highway bridge collapse

    When an important bridge collapsed on Interstate 5 near Mount Vernon, Washington, in 2013, questions were raised about how such a catastrophic failure could occur. A new analysis by a team of civil engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign outlines the many factors that led to the collapse, as well as steps that transportation departments can take to prevent such accidents on other bridges of similar design.

  • A new, faster modeling technique for galaxy formation has been developed by University of Illinois student Harshil Kamdar and professor Robert Brunner. The technique uses machine learning to cut down computing times from thousands of computing hours to mere minutes.

    Machine learning could solve riddles of galaxy formation

    A new machine-learning simulation system developed at the University of Illinois promises cosmologists an expanded suite of galaxy models – a necessary first step to developing more accurate and relevant insights into the formation of the universe.

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Thomas Huang, 83, died Saturday, April 25.

    Thomas Huang, pioneer in image compression, has died

    Thomas Huang, a pioneering researcher in the field of image compression and an influential educator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, died Saturday. In his long career as a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Huang was ranked among the world’s most influential researchers and mentored more than 100 students. He was 83.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Nancy Sottos has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

    Sottos elected to National Academy of Engineering

    Nancy Sottos, an engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She is one of 87 new members and 18 international members announced by the Academy on Feb. 6.

  • Anthropology professor Rebecca Stumpf is one of six U. of I. professors named as Guggenheim Fellows.

    Six Illinois professors named Guggenheim Fellows

    Six professors at the University of Illinois have been named 2016 Guggenheim Fellows, bringing to 13 the number of U. of I. faculty members who have been honored with the fellowship over the last three years. This year’s fellows are Dennis Baron, Karin A. Dahmen, Craig Koslofsky, Mei-Po Kwan, Ralph W. Mathisen and Rebecca Stumpf.

  • University of Illinois researchers Jeremy Guest, left, John Trimmer and Daniel Miller have developed a conceptual roadmap to help guide others through the unexplored environmental and economic aspects of sanitation.

    Human waste an asset to economy, environment, study finds

    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.

  • Spliced portrait showing all four winners.

    Four Illinois faculty members elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Education Dean James Anderson, physics professor Nadya Mason, chemistry professor Nancy Makri and materials science and engineering professor Kenneth Schweizer have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation.

  • A laser stylus writes on a small array of multifunction pixels made by dual-function LEDs than can both emit and respond to light.

    Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays

    Cellphones and other devices could soon be controlled with touchless gestures and charge themselves using ambient light, thanks to new LED arrays that can both emit and detect light.

  • Rhanor Gillette and his colleagues built a virtual ocean predator that has simple self-awareness.

    Virtual predator is self-aware, behaves like living counterpart

    Scientists report in the journal eNeuro that they’ve built an artificially intelligent ocean predator that behaves a lot like the original flesh-and-blood organism on which it was modeled. The virtual creature, “Cyberslug,” reacts to food and responds to members of its own kind much like the actual animal, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica, does.

  • Graduate student Reshmina William, left, and civil and environmental engineering professor Ashlynn Stillwell pause on the green roof over the Business Instructional Facility at the University of Illinois. Their research is helping to simultaneously evaluate the performance of green roofs and communicate their findings with urban planners, policymakers and the general public.

    Engineers find way to evaluate green roofs

    Green infrastructure is an attractive concept, but there is concern surrounding its effectiveness. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using a mathematical technique traditionally used in earthquake engineering to determine how well green infrastructure works and to communicate with urban planners, policymakers and developers.

  • Illinois mechanical science and engineering student and lead author of a new study Benjamin Sohn holds a device that uses sound waves to produce optical diodes tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip.

    Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communication

    Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip. These devices, called optical isolators, may help solve major data capacity and system size challenges for photonic integrated circuits, the light-based equivalent of electronic circuits, which are used for computing and communications.

  • Yan Li and his colleagues found that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert could have beneficial climatic and ecological effects.

    Study: Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetation

    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.

  • Photos of new NAS members

    Three Illinois faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

    Three University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professors have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. Physics professor Nadya Mason and chemistry professors Ralph Nuzzo and Wilfred van der Donk are among 120 newly elected U.S. members – 59 of whom are women, the most elected in a single year – and 30 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

  • Professor Kaiyu Guan, left, graduate student Yunan Luo and professor Jian Peng have developed a new algorithm that solves an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery  whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. Their algorithm can generate daily continuous images going back to the year 2000.

    New algorithm fuses quality and quantity in satellite imagery

    Using a new algorithm, University of Illinois researchers may have found the solution to an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery – whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. The team’s new tool eliminates this trade-off by fusing high-resolution and high-frequency satellite data into one integrated product, and can generate 30-meter daily continuous images going back to the year 2000. 

  • Sheldon Jacobson and Janet Jokela stand outdoors.

    Study of non-COVID-19 deaths shows 2020 increase in several demographics

    March through May saw a significant increase in deaths over previous years – and not just from COVID-19, says a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    When deaths attributed to COVID-19 were removed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention totals, the death rate in several demographics outpaced the same period in 2019, the study found. The timeframe represents the first three months of response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

  • Researchers have demonstrated a new fabrication technique that allows them replicate the nanostructures found on cicada wings that make them water- and microbe-repellent.

    Cicada-inspired waterproof surfaces closer to reality, researchers report

    A multidisciplinary group that studies the physical and chemical properties of insect wings has demonstrated the ability to reproduce the nanostructures that help cicada wings repel water and prevent bacteria from establishing on the surface. The new technique – which uses commercial nail polish – is economical and straightforward, and the researchers said it will help fabricate future high-tech waterproof materials.

  • Graduate student Edmund Han, left, professor Elif Ertekin, graduate student Jaehyung Yu, professor Pinshane Y. Huang, front, and professor Arend M. van der Zande have determined how much energy it takes to bend multilayer graphene – a question that has long eluded scientists.

    Graphene: The more you bend it, the softer it gets

    New research by engineers at the University of Illinois combines atomic-scale experimentation with computer modeling to determine how much energy it takes to bend multilayer graphene – a question that has eluded scientists since graphene was first isolated. The findings are reported in the journal Nature Materials.

  • Professor Jim Best led a review of the health and resiliency of the world’s largest river systems and calls for multinational governance and scientific collaboration to confront the mounting effects of human activity and climate change faced by rivers.

    Human activity on rivers outpaces, compounds effects of climate change

    The livelihoods of millions of people living along the world’s biggest river systems are under threat by a range of stressors caused by the daily economic, societal and political activity of humans – in addition to the long-term effects of climate change, researchers report.