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  • Gut bacteria help digest dietary fiber, release important antioxidant

    Dietary fiber found in grains is a large component of many diets, but little is understood about how we digest the fiber, as humans lack enzymes to break down the complex molecules. Some species of gut bacteria break down the fiber in such a way that it not only becomes digestible, but releases ferulic acid, an important antioxidant with multiple health benefits, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • 50 million-year-old fossil assassin bug has unusually well-preserved genitalia

    The fossilized insect is tiny and its genital capsule, called a pygophore, is roughly the length of a grain of rice. It is remarkable, scientists say, because the bug’s physical characteristics – from the bold banding pattern on its legs to the internal features of its genitalia – are clearly visible and well-preserved. Recovered from the Green River Formation in present-day Colorado, the fossil represents a new genus and species of predatory insects known as assassin bugs.

  • Latch, load and release: Elastic motion makes click beetles click, study finds

    Click beetles can propel themselves more than 20 body lengths into the air, and they do so without using their legs. While the jump’s motion has been studied in depth, the physical mechanisms that enable the beetles’ signature clicking maneuver have not. A new study examines the forces behind this super-fast energy release and provides guidelines for studying extreme motion, energy storage and energy release in other small animals like trap-jaw ants and mantis shrimps.

  • Paper: Underemployment pervasive for part-time workers in Illinois

    As many as 61% of hourly workers in Illinois are underemployed, underscoring the need for the state to adopt a fair-workweek law, says Alison Dickson, a senior instructor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Pollinators not getting the 'buzz' they need in news coverage

    A dramatic decline in bees and other pollinating insects presents a threat to the global food supply, yet it’s getting little attention in mainstream news, says a new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study. The research is based on a search of millions of news items in the university’s Global News Index, a unique database that draws from thousands of global news sources and decades of their publications.

  • New process more efficiently recycles excess CO2 into fuel, study finds

    For years, researchers have worked to repurpose excess atmospheric carbon dioxide into new chemicals, fuels and other products traditionally made from hydrocarbons harvested from fossil fuels. The recent push to mitigate the climactic effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has chemists on their toes to find the most efficient means possible. A new study introduces an electrochemical reaction, enhanced by polymers, to improve CO2-to-ethylene conversion efficiency over previous attempts.  

  • Study: Religion, psychology share methods for reducing distress

    Religious people facing life crises rely on emotion-regulation strategies that psychologists also use, a new study finds. They look for positive ways of thinking about hardship, a practice known to psychologists as “cognitive reappraisal.” They also tend to have confidence in their ability to cope with difficulty, a trait called “coping self-efficacy.” Both have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Paper: Emotionally appealing ads may not always help consumer memory

    Emotional appeals in advertisements may not always help improve consumers’ immediate recall of a product, says a new paper co-written by Hayden Noel, a clinical associate professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business at Illinois.

  • Projects explore role of social-emotional learning in healing racial wounds

    U. of I. scholars are coordinating online parenting seminars and activities for students and staff members at two Illinois school systems that will explore the role of social and emotional learning in healing racial wounds. 

  • Retracted scientific paper persists in new citations, study finds

    Information sciences professor Jodi Schneider is leading an effort to prevent the spread of retracted research.

  • What happens when the coronavirus mutates?

    New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. In an interview, crop sciences professor Gustavo Caetano-Anollés discusses viral mutation and what it could mean for vaccinations.

  • New data-driven global climate model provides projections for urban environments

    Cities only occupy about 3% of the Earth’s total land surface, but they bear the burden of the human-perceived effects of global climate change, researchers said. Global climate models are set up for big-picture analysis, leaving urban areas poorly represented. In a new study, researchers take a closer look at how climate change affects cities by using data-driven statistical models combined with traditional process-driven physical climate models.

  • 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.

  • What is the new variant of coronavirus in the UK?

    New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including one in the United Kingdom with higher infection rates that has sparked new travel bans. Erik Procko, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been studying mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to human cells. In an interview, Procko discussed the new variation and whether mutations to the spike protein could create resistance to vaccines or other treatments.

  • Model predicts where ticks, Lyme disease will appear next in Midwest states

    By drawing from decades of studies, scientists created a timeline marking the arrival of black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, in hundreds of counties across 10 Midwestern states. They used these data – along with an analysis of county-level landscape features associated with the spread of ticks – to build a model that can predict where ticks are likely to appear in future years.

  • Brain gene expression patterns predict behavior of individual honey bees

    An unusual study that involved bar coding and tracking the behavior of thousands of individual honey bees in six queenless bee hives and analyzing gene expression in their brains offers new insights into how gene regulation contributes to social behavior.

  • Virtual reality provides new tool for fashion design class

    Illinois students created dress designs on a mannequin in the virtual world.

  • Two Illinois professors awarded NEH Fellowships

    Illinois professors Bobby Smith II and Eduardo Ledesma have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for 2021.

  • Technology loan program helps families receive early childhood services online

    The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse lends computer tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots to families of infants and young children who need them to conduct online sessions with their children's therapists during the pandemic.

  • Study tracks elephant tusks from 16th century shipwreck

    In 1533, the Bom Jesus – a Portuguese trading vessel carrying 40 tons of cargo including gold, silver, copper and more than 100 elephant tusks – sank off the coast of Africa near present-day Namibia. The wreck was found in 2008, and scientists say they now have determined the source of much of the ivory recovered from the ship.

  • Antifungal drug improves key cystic fibrosis biomarkers in clinical study

    A drug widely used to treat fungal infections improved key biomarkers in lung tissue cultures as well as in the noses of patients with cystic fibrosis, a clinical study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa found.

  • 2020 a bad year in many respects, but what about global carbon emissions?

    The Global Carbon Project recently published the Global Carbon Budget 2020, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends. Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was part of an international team of scientists that contributed data to the report. Jain talked about the carbon budget and this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian.

  • Efforts to combat COVID-19 perceived as morally right

    According to new research, people tend to moralize COVID-19-control efforts and are more willing to endorse human costs emerging from COVID-19-related restrictions than to accept costs resulting from other restraints meant to prevent injury or death. The level of support – and resulting outrage in response to perceived violations of this moral ideal – differs between liberals and conservatives.

  • How has COVID-19 affected food insecurity in the US?

    The economic devastation wrought by COVID-19 accounts for an almost 43% increase in food insecurity in the U.S., said Craig Gundersen, the ACES Distinguished Professor in the department of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Warmer springs mean more offspring for prothonotary warblers

    Climate change contributes to gradually warming Aprils in southern Illinois, and at least one migratory bird species, the prothonotary warbler, is taking advantage of the heat. A new study analyzing 20 years of data found that the warblers start their egg-laying in southern Illinois significantly earlier in warmer springs. This increases the chances that the birds can raise two broods of offspring during the nesting season, researchers found.

  • Reinstallation of KAM's ancient Andean art collection will show artistic exchange between cultures

    An interdisciplinary group of scholars is researching Krannert Art Museum’s ancient Andean collection in preparation for a major reinstallation.

  • Study adapting HIV/AIDS behavioral interventions to mitigate COVID-19

    A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health is exploring whether interventions effective at engaging high-risk populations in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment can be adapted to mitigate COVID-19.

  • Can employers legally require employees to vaccinate against COVID-19?

    In most cases, an employer could require an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. While that might seem like a violation of an employee’s personal freedom, “No one has a legally enforceable right to a specific job,” says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Researchers confront optics and data-transfer challenges with 3D-printed lens

    Researchers have developed new 3D-printed microlenses with adjustable refractive indices – a property that gives them highly specialized light-focusing abilities. This advancement is poised to improve imaging, computing and communications by significantly increasing the data-routing capability of computer chips and other optical systems, the researchers said.

  • Krannert Center presenting adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol' using puppetry, original music

    Performances of “Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol” will be livestreamed through Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 5-6.

  • Projects offer COVID-19 testing, explore virus transmission's social factors

    U. of I. researchers, local clinicians and volunteers are providing pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics in Rantoul, Illinois, to essential workers and other high-risk residents, and are exploring the behavioral factors behind infection clusters.

  • Hunting Goodenough Days

    HUNTING GOODENOUGH DAYS aptly describes what I am doing during the isolation of 2020. These words are surnames found among the 7,000 headstones that I have photographed during my travels to cemeteries seeking new names that are parts of speech – words that I can use to create poetry for my visual books that investigate language, history and life’s events.

  • 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.

  • Team uses copper to image Alzheimer's aggregates in the brain

    A proof-of-concept study conducted in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease offers new evidence that copper isotopes can be used to detect the amyloid-beta protein deposits that form in the brains of people living with – or at risk of developing – Alzheimer’s.

  • Study: Gut hormones' regulation of fat production abnormal in obesity, fatty liver disease

    Gut hormones play an important role in regulating fat production in the body. One key hormone, released a few hours after eating, turns off fat production by regulating gene expression in the liver, but this regulation is abnormal in obesity, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found in a new study.

  • Adjusting to these 'ever-changing times'

    My mask keeps my face warm as I make my way to the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory this cold November morning. Campus is starting to empty out as students leave for the holidays. However, with cases of COVID-19 increasing again, many students may not return until next semester and many others will be isolating in their homes. Back in March, I worked remotely when the pandemic shut campus down, and since early summer, I have been working in person again. After the holidays pass, I hope we won’t have to give up our time in the laboratory to do virtual work alone.

  • 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.

  • Paper: Value of vaccine to end COVID-19 pandemic worth 5%-15% of global wealth

    The monetary value of a vaccine that could potentially bring about the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is between 5%-15% of worldwide wealth, according to a new paper co-written by Timothy Johnson, the Karl and Louise Schewe Professor of Finance at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Illinois theatre department films political satire with COVID-19 safety changes

    “Psh*tter! A Drinking Song for the Year of Our Lord 2020” looks at greed, corruption and the pursuit of power driving an authoritarian ruler. It will be available on Vimeo.

  • Today's catastrophic concerns shaped by past interactions between science, culture

    A global pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes have made 2020 a year of catastrophes. David Sepkoski’s new book “Catastrophic Thinking” looks at how current-day concerns about threats to both the planet and the human race came to be. Sepkoski is a history professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, specializing in the history of science.

  • Enrollment open for study comparing COVID-19 testing methods

    Students, faculty members and staff at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who are asked to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure or a positive test now have the opportunity to participate in a study that will help inform the national effort to manage the pandemic.

  • 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.

  • Does the US need to pursue transitional justice in the post-Trump era?

    To promote accountability in government, President-elect Biden ought to pursue “transitional justice” in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, said Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at Illinois and an expert in political reconciliation.

  • Driver behavior influences traffic patterns as much as roadway design, study reports

    Urban planners may soon have a new way to measure traffic congestion. By capturing the different routes by which vehicles can travel between locations, researchers have developed a new computer algorithm that helps quantify regions of congestion in urban areas and suggests ways around them

  • 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.

  • Disaster apps share personal data in violation of their privacy policies

    Information sciences professor Madelyn Sanfilippo examined popular disaster apps and found that many of them provide personal information – including a user’s location – to third parties long after a disaster has passed.

  • Study: Political representativeness affects trade union membership, influence

    A country’s political system can positively or negatively affect trade union membership and influence, says a new paper co-written by J. Ryan Lamare, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

  • Should we rethink assumptions about the 2020 election?

    The polls prior to Election Day and other circumstances suggested to many that the presidential results would be different than they were. We may want to question some assumptions about state-level voting predictions and the role of the pandemic, says Scott Althaus, a professor of both political science and communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Does hunting with lead ammunition endanger human, environmental health?

    A recent study from Wesleyan University found that 48% of ground meat samples made from white-tailed deer killed with lead shotgun slugs in Illinois were contaminated with lead, while meat from deer killed by archers contained no lead. Illinois Natural History Survey human dimensions scientist Craig Miller spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the risks associated with lead ammunition in hunting.

  • Marching Illini director provides guidance on band safety protocols

    Marching Illini director Barry Houser helped develop public health guidelines for music classes and designed a face covering that can be used while playing any wind instrument.